Nantucket Travel Guide

  • Historical homes
    Historical homes
    by 807Wheaton
  • Lots of lovely restaurants
    Lots of lovely restaurants
    by 807Wheaton
  • Large downtown area
    Large downtown area
    by 807Wheaton

Nantucket Highlights

  • Pro
    mikelisaanna profile photo

    mikelisaanna says…

     Historic town, plenty of beaches, comfortable weather 

  • Con
    daddygila profile photo

    daddygila says…

     Crowded and expensive in high season 

  • In a nutshell
    bdwoot profile photo

    bdwoot says…

     Worth a visit once to say you've been. 

Nantucket Things to Do

  • See the Stars at the Observatory

    The Maria Mitchell Observatory has public astronomy lectures and star viewing on clear Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights in the summer between 9PM and 10:30 PM. The program consists of a lecture by an astronomer about the seasonal constellations, stars and planets, followed by a chance for everyone to look through a telescope at one of the things...

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  • Maria Mitchell Aquarium

    The Maria Mitchell Association is a non-profit organization on Nantucket dedicated to promoting science education. One of the facilities that it operates is a small aquarium located along the waterfront in the town of Nantucket. The aquarium is great for small children because it allows them to touch many of the sea creatures, including horseshoe...

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  • See the boats

    Nantucket is a very wealthy resort town, and many of its summer and year-round residents have boats. We always like to walk around the docks checking out the boats, which run the gamut from small motorboats to huge yachts.

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  • Madaket Beach

    Madaket is the small town at the western end of Nantucket Island. It is a very quiet town, with almost no commercial businesses. We like to go there because its beach is almost always empty, and is a nice quiet place to read a book, look for seashells, and help Anna build sand castles. There are almost no waves at this end of the island, and the...

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  • Main Street

    Main Street is the heart of the historic town of Nantucket. It is a bumpy cobblestone street that begins at the waterfront and runs toward the center of the island. The first few blocks of Main Street are lined with shops, galleries, and real estate offices (unfortunately, every year seems to bring more galleries and real estate offices and fewer...

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  • Go On A Seal Encounter Cruise

    My family and I found the greatest thing, it's called Nantucket Adventures. These guys take you on a seal encounter cruise out to Muskeget Island. I though it would be fun for the kids but I must admit, I loved it and my wife loved it too. It was pretty amazing. The boat they use was built just to go out and see the seals. The seals get so close...

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  • Jeep driving on beach

    Every time we go to Nantucket we rent a Jeep and drive on the beach to Great Point unbelievable swimming , fishing and sunsets.Best family activity on Nantucket.We always rent from Nantucket Island Rent-A-Car at the airport, the staff is so friendly and helpful we would rent from no other place.Give them a try!

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  • The First Congregational Church

    The First Congregational Church is one of the oldest and largest churches on Nantucket. The church's interior is fairly plain, in traditional New England style. Church services are held on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings.The highlight of a visit to the church is the climb up the stairs of its belltower to a room at the top that offers one of...

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  • The Whaling Museum

    Nantucket's Whaling Museum gives visitors a good overview of the town's whaling history. One of the highlights of the museum is a 46-foot long skeleton of a sperm whale that washed ashore in the 1990s.

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  • Surfside Beach

    Surfside Beach is one of the more popular beaches on Nantucket. It is located on the island's southern coast, between the airport and Madaket. Surfside is a nice long and wide sand beach, with plenty of room to spread out. Older kids like surfside because of the big waves that it gets and because its water is deep enough for swimming. However, you...

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  • Lighthouses

    We took a day and biked around the entire island. This was a marvelous but very tiring day. I think our favorite sights were the lighthouses. They are scattered hither and yon, so it takes some effort to see many of them.

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  • Go scalloping!

    You drag a basket across the water and catch scallops. In the basket you see them open and close. Kids love it. Fun summer activity. Take a boat to one of the quiet beaches and run around in the long grass with barefeet.

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Nantucket Hotels

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Nantucket Restaurants

  • Good food and good service

    The ferry drops the tourists off very near the downtown area. It was almost lunchtime when we arrived on Nantucket and after walking around for a while we stopped and ate at Fog Island Café. It was very clean and pleasant inside. There was no line to wait for lunch at this time of year and we were seated right away. Our pleasant server came to our...

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  • Cooking on your own

    Nantucket is the place to get fresh seafood. People fish here, and that fish is about as fresh as you can get. It's cheaper and just as good to do it yourself if at all possible. I whipped up some fresh mussels in a wine and garlic broth, my oh my, was that tasty.

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  • Nantucket Hotels

    54 Hotels in Nantucket

    131 Reviews and Opinions

Nantucket Transportation

  • The ferries to and from Nantucket

    The cheapest way to get to Nantucket island is to drive to Hyannis, a town located on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, and then take a ferry boat over to Nantucket. There are two companies that offer ferry boat services to Nantucket from Hyannis: the Steamship Authority and the Hy-Line. Each company offers two types of boats - a slow ferry that takes...

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  • Mopeds, Bicycles and Public...

    For the fit there are bicyle rentals.....mopeds for the less so. I forget my credit card so I had no choice but to use public transportation. It actually turned out to be the best.You can get a daily unlimited pass for $5 and visit the surrounding towns quickly.

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Nantucket Shopping

  • Our favorite bookstore in Nantucket

    Nantucket Bookworks is a small independent bookstore in downtown Nantucket that we always enjoy visiting. It has separate sections for children, teenagers and adults. In addition to books, the shop also sells cards, games, and puzzles. It's a fun place to to buy things to do on a rainy day.

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  • Our favorite Nantucket toy store

    The Toy Boat is a cute little toy store located in the complex of shops along the Nantucket waterfront. It has a good mix of contemporary and old-fashioned toys for boys and girls, and is a great place to stop if your child forgot to pack enough toys for the vacation. The people in the shop were very helpful and patient as Anna pondered her choices...

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Nantucket Local Customs

  • Awake and ready

    by vancoffy Written Oct 29, 2006

    Locals and visitors alike make their way to the bean all year long for the Best of the Cape and Islands (Cape Cod Magazine) Coffee Shop. Nantucket Coffee Roasters showcases world class specialty coffee at the bean on 29 Centre St. There are few places on the east coast who take coffee as seriously as the bean. Pay ommage!

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Food and Dining

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Nantucket Warnings and Dangers

  • Traffic and Parking in the town of...

    The town of Nantucket can get very crowded with cars during July and August. As a result, you will often have to spend a while driving around before finding a parking space. Also, its one-way streets can often add to the frustration when you are driving through town. If renting a car on Nantucket, rent something smaller - it will make your life...

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  • Be careful riding a bike

    I know I mentioned a couple times that getting around by bicycle can be easier than driving. And while this can certainly be true, do beware that some of the roads crisscrossing the island are narrow and do not have shoulders, bike lanes, or sidewalks, which can make it somewhat dangerous to ride a bike there. Just exercise some extra caution and...

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  • Nantucket Hotels

    54 Hotels in Nantucket

    131 Reviews and Opinions

Nantucket Tourist Traps

  • daddygila's Profile Photo
    Hyannis Harbor

    by daddygila Written Jun 18, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Seconds after pulling in on a patch of dirt to park for the ferry, someone will appear asking for $15 to park for the day. A cab might be cheaper. In any case no one warned us about this "expense."

    Fun Alternatives: Take a cab

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Nantucket Off The Beaten Path

  • Playing in the sand! ...

    Playing in the sand! Actually, there is an annual sandcastle competition at the jetties. Some of the creations are fantastic, but, like the Zen Buddhist mandalas, they are temporary.

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  • There are a couple of old...

    There are a couple of old cemeteries on the island, that are a must-see if you are interested in history or funerary art, or are looking for a bit of solitude and quiet time.

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Nantucket Favorites

  • SueRivet's Profile Photo

    by SueRivet Written Aug 25, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Rosa rugosa, which thrives in the sandy soil and sea air, is everywhere on the island. In the fall the plants are covered with fat red hips, which can be made into a delightful jelly.

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