Provincetown  might be the fat boy in the canoe—drawing much of the area’s attention, day-trippers, and spending dollars—but for natural beauty alone, Eastham, Wellfleet, and Truro have their own spotlight. Wellfleet is home to arguably the best bivalves (clams and oysters in particular) in the nation. And Eastham, historically a farming community, provides easy access to the breathtaking National Seashore (plus several exceptional beaches that are open to non-residents).
Part museum, part working lighthouse, the 18th-century Highland House (27 Highland Rd., Truro, 508/487-1121, www.trurohistorical.org , 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m. mid-May–Oct., tours are $4 adults) is full of exhibits on sea memorabilia, with exhibits on shipwrecks, 17th-century weapons, and whaling gear. The observation deck of the adjoining lighthouse is one of the highest vantage points on all of Cape Cod . Children must be at least 51 inches tall to climb the lighthouse stairs.
The oldest windmill on Cape Cod  is Eastham Windmill (Rte. 6 and Samoset Rd., Eastham, 508/240-5900), built in the mid-17th century in Plymouth , moved to Provincetown  in the latter part of that century, and finally moved to Eastham in 1793. Tours are offered in summertime.
Raw bar and oceanfront restaurant by day, music venue and bar by night, the Beachcomber (1120 Cahoon Hollow Rd., Wellfleet, 508/349-6055, www.thebeachcomber.com , Memorial Day–Labor Day) is a great spot for live rock, zydeco, and rockabilly bands.
The small but daring Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre (Rte. 6, 508/349-6835, www.what.org ) is a point of community pride for its original political satires, modern tragedies, and whodunnits for kids.
Consignment shops don’t get much better than The Emperor’s Old Clothes (354 Main St., Wellfleet, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Sat.; 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Sun., 508/349-1893), stocked with a mix of elegant kimonos, brocade bags, and plush hand-knit sweaters.
For far above-average gifts and furnishings, pay a visit to Whitman House Gift Shop (Rte. 6 at Great Hollow Rd., North Truro, 508/487-1704, www.whitmanhouse.com , 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Sat.; 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Sun.) and find handmade Amish quilts, dining tables, and painstakingly constructed chairs.
Fresher-than-fresh seafood can be found at the deceptively humble-looking Finely JP’s (554 Rte. 6, 508/349-7500, 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m. daily, $17–29). Don’t miss excellently prepared dishes like garlicky calamari and scallop fettucine. Outside of Provincetown , The Wicked Oyster (50 Main St., Wellfleet, 508/349-3455, 5 p.m.–10:30 p.m. Tues.–Sat.; 5 p.m.–9 p.m. Sun.–Mon., $10–30) is about as cool as Cape Cod  gets. The casual spot jumps with young well-dressed patrons supping on fennel-infused oyster stew and spinach-and-scallop salads.
For plain ol’ simple-but-scrumptious fried fish, get on line at Mac’s Seafood Market (Wellfleet Town Pier, Wellfleet, 508/349-0404, www.macsseafood.com , 8 a.m.–9:30 p.m. daily June–Oct., $4–40). Order up a plate of steamers (or an entire lobster clambake) and head out back to one of the umbrella-covered picnic tables overlooking the bay.