Provincetown has been attracting visitors for thousands of years. Native Americans first settled the region between 4,000 and 5,000 years ago and legend has it that Vikings landed on the shores of P-Town around 1,000 B.C. Though evidence for a Viking visit is somewhat shaky, we know for sure that French explorer Samuel de Champlain came to Provincetown as early as 1605.

Provincetown’s roots as a settlement go back to 1700, when it was settled as a fishing village. Though the population remained small (and still does), by the end of the century, P-Town was the major fishing and whaling center on the cape.

When the whaling industry went bust, and fishing declined, Provincetown began to rely on its storied locations, picturesque vistas and white sand beaches instead of its hooks and harpoons. At the turn of the 20th century, Provincetown had become one of the most popular tourist spots on the Cape, and quaint cafés, trendy boutiques and other attractions sprung up all over the town.

It wasn’t until the 1960s, though, that Provincetown really began to distinguish itself from its Cape neighbors. A major center of the counterculture movement, and home to an active and proud gay community, P-Town has become known with pushing borders and producing great works of art. The town remains one of the most culturally and creatively alive towns on the coast.