Nantucket Travel Tips

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Awe-inspiring beaches, pleasant weather, friendly locals, and an adventurous aura: that is Nantucket for you in a nutshell. This island, located around 30 miles off Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is the utter definition of calmness.

Before your trip, you should know some things about this graceful island to guarantee a satisfying time. Good news; we have your back if you plan on visiting Nantucket. We present you with a cheat sheet of how to make the best of your time when you finally land on the Island.

Nantucket boat
Nantucket boat

Preparation For Your Trip

As an avid traveler, you know how crucial it is to plan for your journey, especially if it is to a new place. Let us look at some things to tick off your checklist as you prepare for your trip.

Where to Stay

You'll need a place to stay when in Nantucket. The best option is to get a vacation home, and there are plenty of options. They have a homely feeling and are perfect if you are traveling with your family. While they might be pretty pricey, they offer amazing value. You may spend less when you opt for this arrangement than other means.

When to Visit Nantucket

What is the best time to visit Nantucket? It depends on your preferences. Nantucket is most vibrant during summer when the weather is warm. This tiny island’s population shoots up during summer, as many people want to experience its niceties.

If you do not mind the moderate crowding, summer is an excellent time to check out Nantucket. However, due to high demand, the prices of goods and services are relatively high. 

The off-peak months are great if you are traveling on a tight budget. The amenities are accessible and more affordable than during the peak season. 

How to Get to Nantucket

There are two ways to get to Nantucket from the mainland; air and water. Commercial airlines and charter companies handle air transport to Nantucket. Air travel is fast and comfortable, though it may be expensive.

For tight-budget traveling, you go for the ferry services from Hyannis, Harwich Port, New Bedford (MA), or New York City (NY). Although they are slower, you have enough time to experience the scenic ocean as it joins the island in the distance. Moreover, you may opt for luxury cruises, which are speedier than the standard ferry services.

Nantucket sailing
Nantucket sailing

Traveling Solo Vs. Guided Tours

Guided tours are excellent if it is your first time in Nantucket. Many guided tour service providers offer a unique package depending on what you want to do on the Island. Among the best ones include:

The tour service provider handles most logistics, from preparation to traveling and touring the island. You also get to meet new people who share the same interests as you on the tours, and this can make the trip even more fun. 

Additionally, you have an element of security when traveling with a guide and other people. You won’t have difficulty locating key places in Nantucket with the tours. A downside of the tours is the price of the services. Nonetheless, looking at the benefits, you see it is a great deal.

Solo traveling is good if you value your space and want a one-person exploration of Nantucket. It is flexible as you can go anywhere you want, anytime. However, it is best to travel solo if you are well-familiar with the island. 

Things to Do in Nantucket

Take a rest when settled in, as there is plenty to do in Nantucket. Let us look at things to do when you are ready to explore.

A Stroll on the Beach

You can ease the tension from traveling by walking on the beach. Nantucket has plenty of stunning and pristine beaches. You can walk barefooted on the smooth sand to get a first-hand experience of Nantucket’s grounds.

Beaches to explore include Madaket, Surfside, Jetties, Cisco, and Siasconset.


Do you want a dose of adrenaline? If yes, you can join the surfers who frequent the South Shore beaches to ride the waves. Don’t worry if you are a newbie, as the surfers can teach you how to surf. 

Optionally, you may enroll in surfing schools in Nantucket. While at it, you may try standup paddleboarding or body surfing.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Nantucket has a rich history, preserved in its many museums. Start with the Whaling Museum to appreciate Nantucket’s past economic activity. Later, you can pass by the Nantucket Shipwreck and Lifesaving Museum. 

Other interesting places include the Peter Foulger Museum and the Museum of African American History. Being a history buff, you will enjoy every moment at these establishments.

Chill Out at the Lighthouses

Three distinct lighthouses punctuate Nantucket’s landscape - the Great Point, Brant Point, and Sankaty Head lighthouses. The imposing structures are excellent places to spend an afternoon in the oceanic breeze. Pull out your phone or camera and take incredible snaps of these structures to wow your Instagram followers.

Lighthouse in Nantucket
Lighthouse in Nantucket

Enjoy Coskata-Coatue’s Natural Diversity

Nantucket is a land of contrast, with various amazing landscapes. Away from the beaches, the city center, and residential areas, you find the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge, a nature preserve. This establishment comprises hundreds of acres of rolling maritime dunes dotted with beach plum, heather, bayberry, and beach grass.

The nature preserve is also home to fauna like gray and harbor seals, great blue herons, egrets, willets, and osprey. It is a great place for fly fishing, birdwatching, and hiking.

Refreshments at Cisco Breweries

Summarize your day with a mug of freshly-brewed beer at Cisco Breweries. It is the go-to hub if you want some fun with the locals and tourists over drinks.

Besides beer, you may relish spirits, cocktails, and wines. Additionally, you may participate in the many festivals held at the brewery.

You can order some refreshments if you want to have drinks from your home’s comfort.

Winding Up

Nantucket is an underrated holidaying destination that you should explore. It has several attractions for everyone, as evident from this article. Highlighted are tips for traveling to this island. Start preparing for your trip by budgeting and looking for a place to stay.

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Daniel Metz

Daniel is a Partnerships Manager here at Backpacker Travel. He is slowly making his way around the world, next stop Australia.

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