In July, we roadtripped, then ferried, over to Nantucket Island for the first time! The flowers were almost done their big bloom season but we still caught the tail end of hydrangea and rose season! Nantucket’s charm is simply unmatched in the summer months, and we fell in love with this amazing island and its laid-back culture.
Nantucket is a tiny island about 30 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, with windy beaches, picturesque lighthouses, stunning sunsets, fresh seafood, shingled homes, and FLOWERS covering every surface of every home and building! We didn’t even rent a car for our time on the island – we rented scooters and had the best time zipping around the island via scooter! The few times it sprinkled rain (the weather is totally unpredictable on the island!), we easily caught a cab to take us to dinner. Overall – I think scooters are the most fun way to get around and there’s tons of places right in town you can walk up to and rent them from.
WHERE TO STAY IN NANTUCKET
There’s so many charming boutique hotels and amazing Airbnb / house rental options in Nantucket, it can be overwhelming! For our first visit, we chose to stay right in the downtown Historic District at the very chic Greydon House. This little boutique hotel was a perfect home base and I really loved the super chic tiled bathroom! Here’s a list of the most charming hotels which we also considered:
White Elephant Hotel
The Cottages & Lofts
Also, vacation homes are an amazing option for groups! VRBO and Airbnb are my two favorite sites to book through.
HELPFUL INFO ABOUT NANTUCKET’S TOWN & AREAS
If you arrive by ferry, you can come via two ferry lines from Hyannis, MA: the Hy-Line or the Steamship Authority. The Hy-Line is a quicker one hour ferry that cannot accommodate cars, and the Steamship Authority is a slower 2.5 hour ferry ride that can take cars on. Book early if you hope to bring a car or rent a car – we booked our ferry tickets too late and were not able to have a car (and every car on the island was sold out!). The ferry is lovely and a pretty fun way to get to the island! You can also fly directly to Nantucket Island via Jetblue from JFK airport – which I’ll do next time I think, as the drive to the ferry plus the ferry makes it an 8 hour journey for us! The ferry will deposit you right in Nantucket’s Old Town, a convenient walk away from any of the main hotels in Nantucket’s Town area. There are tons of restaurants, shops, car and scooter rental places within steps of your arrival from the ferry!
As far as areas of Nantucket – the Town is the main area, for sure! There are so many gorgeous, charming homes and hotels, restaurants and shops all within Nantucket town’s charming cobblestone streets. Other areas to explore, as per Travel & Leisure:
Downtown: Downtown Nantucket, also referred to as Town or Brand Point, is centrally located near Children’s Beach on the northern side of the island next to the Nantucket cliffs. Here, you’ll find classic grey wood-shingled homes, many of which have been converted into boutiques on Main Street. You’ll also find a high concentration of restaurants, ice cream and coffee shops, and souvenir stores.
Madaket: The western edge of Nantucket is known as Madaket. Six miles from town, Madaket is known for seemingly never-ending beaches and appeals to families keen on some tide pool exploration at Smith Point. You’ll catch the best sunsets of your trip in Madaket.
Sconset: On the opposite side of the island from Madaket is Sconset. Sconset, which is actually shortened from its full name Siasconset, is the neighborhood on the east side of Nantucket. Sconset is lined with restaurants and shops, and the winding streets are as idyllic as they come. The Sconset Bluff Walk was one of my FAVORITE things to do!
Cisco: On the southern side of the island, Cisco is a surfing neighborhood dominated by locals and home to one of the best beaches on Nantucket: Cisco Beach. You’ll also find Cisco Brewers and Bartlett’s Farm here and a relatively new bike path to explore.
Surfside/Tom Nevers: On the southern side of the island, Surfside is nestled between Sconset and Cisco. The area is home to lifeguarded beaches (perfect for families) and the inviting Surfside bike path.
WHAT TO DO IN NANTUCKET
Sconset Bluff Walk:
One of my favorite days! We took the scooters up to beautiful Sconset and hiked the Bluff Walk. It’s a narrow path set up on a bluff that is a grassy path in the backyards of some of the most spectacular homes in Nantucket. Perfect if you love flowers, ocean views, peeping at stunning homes and getting in some exercise at the same time!
Bike or Scooter the Island:
We rented scooters in town and loved bopping around the island to different beaches and areas to explore! If you’re up for biking the 14 miles of Nantucket’s coastline, it’s an amazing workout and there’s bike paths to all the main neighborhoods and beaches.
Visit Bartlett’s Farm
A charming market & farm kitchen with fresh produce, food & drinks.
Spend a day (or 7) at the Beach
There are many beautiful wild beaches on Nantucket. There’s Children’s Beach on the north side of the island, and Cisco Beach on the southern side. Jetties Beach is one of the locals’ favorite beaches, situated right next to Galley Beach and the scenic Nantucket Cliffs.
Stop at Cisco’s Brewers
A favorite among Nantucket locals, Cisco Brewers is known for their craft beer and spirits made on the island. While they now have locations across New England, it all started at their sprawling outdoor space on Bartlett Farm Road. Hang outdoors or in the taproom, sampling brews and enjoying live music.
Where to Eat in Nantucket
Breakfast or Brunch / Lunch: Island Kitchen, Lemonpress, Island Provisions, Surfshack Taco Truck, Handlebar Cafe, Downyflake – there are a myriad of breakfast spots in town, so take your pick! Summer House Hotel also had lovely poolside seating for lunch one day in Sconset.
Dinner: My favorite meal of the trip (pictured above!) was Galley Beach. I called weeks in advance to get a beachfront reservation and we had the best lobster, delicious drinks and a killer sunset with vibey music. It feels like the French Riviera! Also great: Club Car, Mille’s (in Madaket, worth the drive!), Cisco Brewery for the food trucks, Cru for lobster rolls on the wharf in town, Brant Point Grille, Oath Pizza, Brotherhood of Thieves.
Ice Cream: The Juice Bar, hands-down. We went every single day we were in Nantucket for some of the freshest, most creative ice cream you’ll ever eat!
WHAT TO WEAR IN NANTUCKET
Honestly? Nantucket’s a chic island, but a casual one. The weather is unpredictable and never really hot-hot, even in July or August (we were there in late July.) I never wore a pair of heels, although a chic pair of natural wedges would fit nicely at some dinner spots. Think breezy fabrics, and I wore a lot of linen dresses and tops accented with woven accessories like hats & belts. Definitely bring a very warm sweater, light rain jacket, and pants for dinner most nights, as it can get chilly later in the evenings!
I hope you enjoyed this Guide to Nantucket! Explore more Travel Guides by Lauren HERE!