Provincetown, MA

Get grizzly at P-town's Bear Week.

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BEST WEEKEND TO GO: July 11--18

DISTANCE: 297 mi -- about 5 hours 22 mins

WHY GO: You're not imagining things. That "woof" you heard is the mating call of bears, the subculture of gay men identifiable by their large girth, furry faces and body hair. And their gathering place this weekend is P-town, for the grand finale of a full week of parties geared toward bears (ptownbears.org; July 11--18; final-weekend event pass $55). Official events include cocktail parties, tea dances, a jazz brunch and the annual Fireman's Ball, a fund-raiser for sexy men in uniform. "They drive the truck down and pose for pictures for the guys," says Provincetown Bears board member Chris Medeiros, adding that the entire town seems to get swept up in the mirthful bear mania. "There's such a wonderful, warm feeling of camaraderie during the week," he says.

WHY STAY: When strutting your hirsute stuff on Commercial Street gets tired, try your paw at renting a bike from Ptown Bikes (42 Bradford St; 508-487-8735, ptownbikes.com; $22 per day) and pedaling the scenic bike trails. Eye other massive beasts on a boat tour with Dolphin Fleet (800-826-9300, whalewatch.com; $39) or relax on the vast, sandy beaches.

WHAT TO EAT: Pack your picnic basket with grilled chicken and provolone sandwiches, spicy edamame salad and fab baked goods like bear-shaped sugar cookies from Relish (93 Commercial St; 508-487-8077, ptownrelish.com; sandwiches $7.95), where owner Frank Vasello hangs his bear flag outside every day of the summer. Bubala's by the Bay (183--185 Commercial St; 508-487-0773, bubalas.com; breakfast $6--$12, lunch and dinner $11--$27) "is great for brunch—and people-watching," advises DJ Gustavo Motta, whose New York soiree Snaxx hits Bear Week on July 16.

WHERE TO STAY: This tiny town is packed with inns that are more enticing than generic hotels. On the high end, the Brass Key Guesthouse (67 Bradford St; 508-487-9005, brasskey.com; $180--$679 per night) is a classy compound of Cape Cod architectural styles; it's got a pool, spa services and massive breakfasts. An excellent mid-range option is the White Wind Inn (174 Commercial St; 508-487-1526, whitewindinn.com; rooms $155--$275 per night), with 12 rooms housed in a Victorian mansion (plus an adjacent duplex cottage) and a popular porch perched high above buzzing Commercial Street. Penny-pinchers will appreciate the hotel-style Pilgrim House (336 Commercial St; 508-487-6424, thepilgrimhouse.com; rooms $129--$189 per night).

GET THERE: It's a seven-hour drive from New York—but since you won't need a car once you get there, try hopping a train (Amtrak starts at $62 one-way; Acela Express trains start at $93) or bus (Bolt Bus averages $15 one-way) to Boston, where you'll then catch the Bay State Cruise Company's fast ferry (baystatecruisecompany.com; one-way $58, round-trip $86) for the 90-minute ride to Provincetown. Or you could fly from JFK via Boston on the Jet Blue--Cape Air partnership deal (jetblue.com, from $154 each way).

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