What to Do in Nantucket?

The picture-perfect island of Nantucket used to be the whaling capital of the world. But today, it is a leading destination for summer vacations and a preferred location for the rich and the famous.

But you don’t have to be a billionaire to enjoy an unforgettable trip or vacation on this New England island.

Luckily for all who want to experience the vibes of this iconic island, it is relatively easy to get there, and there are some more affordable places to stay.

What to do in Nantucket?

Where Can You Stay in Nantucket?

This year, the property values and sales reached a record high for the entire state of Massachusetts and the region. So, it comes as no surprise that the prices of the luxurious hotels and inns on the island are rocket-high.

But thankfully, there is a vast choice of available short-term rental residences available for visitors to Nantucket, which you can choose from as well. There are rentals suitable for any taste and budget, including the high-end luxurious mansions on the waterfront, as well as smaller and more reasonably priced options in the various neighborhoods of Nantucket.

If you are on a tighter budget, you may want to plan your vacation for the shoulder months before or after the high summer season. Also, you may want to consider sharing a rental residence with friends or extended family members.

How to Get Around Nantucket

Taking your vehicle with you to Nantucket is quite expensive, complicated, and generally frowned upon.

Instead, you can take your bicycle with you, or rent one when you get there. Plus, many of the rentals and hotels offer complimentary bicycles for their guests.

There are bike lanes connecting all beaches and parts of the island, and Nantucket itself is small enough so that you can reach just about anywhere by cycling.

There are also regular shuttle buses, cabs, and uber rides there. If you need to drive, you can rent a car for your stay in Nantucket. If you are planning on doing some beach driving, you will need a special permit and a four-wheel drive vehicle.

Essential Things to Do in Nantucket

Even though it is relatively small, the island of Nantucket offers endless possibilities for its visitors and for vacationers to have the best time of their lives.

Whether you are a beach person, a history buff, a foodie, a surfer, an angler, or a romantic, you can find so many things to do there that the choice may become overwhelming.

To make planning easier and to feel the real spirit of Nantucket, here are several ideas for the essential things you shouldn’t miss when visiting “The Little Grey lady of The Sea.”

Explore at least one walking trail

Thanks to the endless efforts of the authorities, conservation organizations, and the residents of the island, more than half of its land is conserved. This means there are vast areas of untouched wildlife which you can explore there. It also means that all of the 81 miles of beaches are free to access by all.

During your stay in Nantucket, you should explore at least one of the many walking trails on the island.

The top trails for nature lovers include the Sanford Farm, Ram Pasture and Woods, the Miacomet Trail, the Stump Pond Loop, and the Tupancy Links Trail.

If you want to take some stunning vacation photos or enjoy a romantic stroll on one of the most beautiful walking paths in the state, then make sure to go on the Sconset Bluff Walk. It passes through the postcard-like village of Siasconset with cottages covered with roses and surrounded by beautiful gardens. The one-mile path reaches the eastern shore, where you can have a picnic at Siasconset Beach. Or you can head off to visit the iconic red and white striped Sankaty Head lighthouse.

Enjoy a boating excursion

There is no better way to enjoy and explore this idyllic island than by sea. Make sure to go on one or more of the many available cruises and boat tours offered there.

There are cruises suitable for every taste, such as ice cream cruises for the little ones, oyster and cocktail cruises for the adults, historical cruises, fishing tours, and even whale spotting excursions you can sign up for.

Spend time at Cisco Brewery

Cisco Brewery is an essential part of the party scene of Nantucket. It has a large beer garden with a stage with live music and multiple food trucks. You can enjoy tasting the unique local craft brews, or if you prefer, try out some of the best local wines and liquors at Cisco Brewery, which is right next to the Triple Eight Distillery and the Nantucket Vineyard.

What to do in Nantucket.

Learn about the history

Nantucket has some of the best preserved pre-civil war colonial buildings in the country. It is a historic island that used to be a leading world whaling hub and which inspired the famous novel Moby-Dick by Herman Melville.

Make sure to explore the historic Downtown with its cobblestone streets and perfectly preserved whaling captain mansions. You should also visit the famous Whaling Museum to find out more about the history of the island. Other historical sites to add to your list include the Oldest House, the Old Mill, the Old Gaol, and of course, the three historic lighthouses on the island.

Go to the beach

There are more than 20 beaches, spreading along more than 80 miles on all shores of Nantucket. They are all clean and sandy and offer stunning ocean views.

There are beaches that are more suitable for families with children, where the water is calmer and warmer, and there are amenities such as playgrounds and more. Others are more suitable for adventurers, surfers, and water sports lovers.

There are beaches that are quieter and less crowded, beaches that are preferred for weddings and romantic events and photos, and more.

So, make sure to research the beaches of Nantucket before planning your stay there. It may be helpful to book rental accommodation near the beach which you prefer.


A wanderer. A frustrated photographer. Hiker. Lover. Half extrovert, half introvert. Solo traveler.

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