Art’s Dune Tours: A Cape Cod Tradition Since 1946

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Taking advantage of the exodus on Cape Cod after Labor Day this year, Rich and I hightailed it down to Provincetown on Monday morning as soon as we finished cleaning up from serving breakfast to our guests. It was a spectacular morning, the air and sky washed clean after our brief bout with Earl over the weekend. With mild temperatures in the low 70s and nothing but brilliant blue above, it was the perfect opportunity to test drive a dune tour with Art’s Dune Tours.

Art’s Dune Tours was founded by Arthur Costa in 1946. Known locally as the ”King of the Dunes”, Art began his eponymous company after a stint in the army during World War II by taking visitors on an adventure through the dunes of Provincetown in his 1936 Ford Wood . On each and every tour he shared his enthusiasm for the natural beauty of his hometown, along with his knowledge of, and passion for, the native birds, plants, and wildlife that make the dunes their home. Though he passed away in 2006, his son Rob continues the 60+ year dune tour tradition with a fleet of Suburban’s and some colorful and knowledgeable driver/guides.

Our guide, Dody, was an affable lady who regaled us with the history of Cape Cod’s original Life Saving Stations, the19 remaining ramshackle dune shacks and their noted residents, countless shipwrecks along the treacherous coastline, along with some interesting tidbits about the flora and fauna that inhabit the mountains of sand along the National Seashore.

The hour-long trip ended with an exciting moment of near calamity when we temporarily got stuck ascending a steep dune to partake of a beautiful vista of Provincetown and Cape Cod Bay from the top. But with some help from her expert driving companions, we managed to avert disaster and skillfully eject ourselves from the sandy grasp of the dune quite handily. The view from the top of that hill was breathtaking and well worth an anxious moment or two.

Several hour-long tours depart daily from the corner of Standish and Commercial Streets in Provincetown. In addition, Art’s offers two-hour sunset and clambake tours, as well as private charters, and a 90-minute excursion that includes a tour of Race Point Lighthouse. Advance reservations are recommended for all tours.