Nantucket is an elbow-shaped island located 30 miles off Cape Cod in Massachusetts. A favorite summer vacation destination in New England, Nantucket is loved for its seaside charm, great restaurants, beaches, trails, boating, and lively shopping scene. The island's 82 miles of prime coastline is a haven for outdoor fun and the entire town of Nantucket is a National Historic District with beautiful architecture.
Located about 30 miles off the coast of Massachusetts, Nantucket is accessible by air and sea. Several major cities, including New York, Boston, and Washington DC, offer season air travel to the island. Year-round ferry service from Hyannis to Nantucket is provided by HyLine Cruises and the Steam Ship Authority. Seasonal ferry service from New York, New Bedford, and New Jersey is offered via SeaStreak Ferry.
The best time to visit Nantucket for a beach vacation is summertime, however it is busy with travelers from around the world. The spring and fall months are generally quieter times of year, and most shops, restaurants, and attractions are open for business. Following the annual Nantucket Christmas Stroll, held the first weekend in December, the island does slow down dramatically with many businesses and eateries closing for the months of January, February and March.
Nantucket is a small island with many attractions, beaches and restaurants within walking distance to the center of town. The island offers a seasonal public transit system, as well as bike paths, car rentals, and taxi and ride share services. With many options for transportation on the island, driving your own vehicle is not necessary.
Nantucket offers something for everyone. Experience the dining and shopping scene of Nantucket town, with unique shops, art galleries and restaurants. Anglers and boaters enjoy unforgettable fishing and boating experiences on the waters off Nantucket Island. There are numerous charter boats for sport-fishing and leisure cruises. Explore Nantucket's rich history as an early American whaling town at the Nantucket Whaling Museum or visit the island's notable historic sites. For families traveling with kids, Nantucket offers camps and classes, and several of our hotels provide kid's activities, scavenger hunts, and entertainment.
Nantucket is home to a vibrant culinary scene, with many excellent restaurants, cafes, and bars with incredible food and drink experiences. The Brant Point Grill, TOPPER'S and Nantucket Prime are among our top recommended dining spots on Nantucket.
Nantucket is blessed with pristine sandy beaches for every vibe and mood. Beaches along the harbor and on the north shore, protected by the Nantucket Sound, have calm waters, while south shore beaches such as Surfside and Cisco get heavier surf. Surfside Beach is Nantucket's most popular, where surfers and fishermen enjoy big waves and a wide beach. College kids and surfers head to Nobadeer and families flock to Jettie's Beach and Children's Beach, where gentle waves lap the pristine sand. Brant Point is the perfect place to relax, watch the boats in the harbor, and take pictures of the beach and picturesque lighthouse. Many Nantucket beaches have seasonal lifeguards and facilities.
While cars are allowed on Nantucket, it's much easier to get around on foot, bike, shuttle or ride share like Uber. The island is small, parking is limited and the cost to bring your car by ferry is expensive, so we recommend walking, riding a bike or moped, or renting a car. Don't ruin you're Nantucket vacation stressing over driving or trying to find a parking space in the midst of the summer crowds.
There are miles of bike trails around the island, and you could spend days exploring them all. So f you want to hit the roads by bike, consider a few of the most popular routes. Surfside Beach is an easy and flat 3.5-mile trip to a great family beach with waves, lifeguards, and snacks. Dionis is a short but slightly hillier ride that takes you to another great beach. Adventurous riders prefer the ride to Sconset, which is a 19-mile round trip that takes you to the most popular destination on the island. Surfers load up their boards and ride the four miles to Cisco Beach, where waves and a local brewery are the ultimate reward.
If your dog loves the beach as much as you do, then Nantucket Beaches are the ideal destination. Your four-legged friend is even welcome on all the shuttle buses (but not on the seats)! Leashed dogs are welcome on a large number of the island's beaches on both the calm north shore and wilder south and east shores. During high season (Apr. 1 - Aug. 31), dogs are only permitted before 9:00 a.m. and after 5:00 p.m. on all designated lifeguard areas. Dogs (and their owners) are never permitted within dune vegetation, protected wildlife areas, marsh grass or other fenced-off areas.
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