So, you are finally ready to cross off Nantucket as one of your dream vacation destinations on your bucket list?
Make sure to book a hotel or a short-term rental residence and ferry or plane tickets well ahead if your trip is planned for the peak of the summer season.
It is good to know that in July and August, the residents of the island swell up from the usual 10,000 to more than 50,000 people!
Here are some tips and ideas for making the most of your first trip to this idyllic New England island.
Move around on a bike
Since this tiny island is 30 miles off mainland Massachusetts, the only way to get there is by plane or boat.
Taking a car to Nantucket is possible via the traditional ferry, but it is expensive and not advisable.
Instead, bring a bike, or rent a bike for your stay on the island.
It is a small place with an extensive network of bike and multipurpose lanes, which can easily be explored by bike or by foot.
Some hotels and rental residences even include complimentary bikes for their guests.
All the shuttle buses have bike racks, so you can hop on one if you tire of turning the pedals all day.
Buy some Nantucket Reds
Looking for some fun local flair?
The famous Nantucket Reds symbolize the preppy New England coastal flair worn in Nantucket, Cape Cod, and Martha’s Vineyard by the summer visitors and residents.
The only store which carries the trademarked original Nantucket Reds Collection is Murray’s Toggery Shop on Main Street.
The Reds Collection, introduced in the 1960s by Philip C. Murray, is made of red cotton canvas that fade into a recognizable dusty rose color.
They are trademarked and are the popular choice for people on the island, who prefer Nantucket Reds instead of the traditional chinos or khakis.
If you visit the store, you will get the chance to meet at least one of the Murray family members who still run this famous store.
Explore the Sconset Bluff Walk
If you enjoy walking in nature, this one-mile-long walking path is considered one of the country’s most romantic and beautiful walking trails.
It is without doubt one of the top Instagrammed sites on the island, with charming old cottages with weathered gray shakes, white picket fences, impeccable gardens, and trellises with crawling red and pink roses.
The Sconset Bluff Walk is in the eastern village of Siasconset, known as Sconset.
It passes through these postcard-like cottages and gardens and reaches the Siasconset beach or the bluffs on the east shore of Nantucket.
Don’t forget to go to the Sankaty Head Lighthouse to take some incredible photos.
Enjoy the view at Brant Point Lighthouse
Nantucket is one of the most Instagrammable locations in the US, and one of the spots to take stunning photos to share with friends and followers is Brant Point Lighthouse.
It is the first building to greet the passengers of the arriving ferries and boats in the Harbor.
Located on the Harbor’s entrance, this lighthouse is the second oldest fully-functioning one in the country.
It was first built in 1746 and subsequently destroyed and rebuilt ten times through the centuries.
Today’s light tower is from 1901 and is a National Historic Landmark.
It still sends a bright light beam ten nautical miles into the Nantucket Sound to guide the mariners.
On Christmas, the historic lighthouse is adorned with a giant Christmas wreath, and in the spring, it is decorated with a Daffodil wreath.
Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum
This hidden gem is the perfect place to visit to learn more about the fascinating history of the over 750 shipwrecks that occurred on its coasts through the centuries.
The island was even called “the graveyard of the Atlantic” due to all of these wrecks.
The Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum contains artifacts from these shipwrecks, models of the boats and ships, and pictures and stories of the hundreds of locals who risked their own lives in attempts to save the boats and crews of these wrecks through the years.
The small museum is in the Forger’s Marsh area on 158 Polpis Road and is an excellent spot to enjoy a stroll, a picnic, or bird watching.
Go to the beach!
The endless white and paradise-like beaches of Nantucket are spread across 80 miles on all island shores.
There are more than 25 beaches, each of them completely free to access and open to the public, so you have quite a lot of beaches to choose from.
Some of the beaches, especially those on the Nantucket Sound coast, are a better choice for people who prefer calmer, shallower, and warmer water, such as Children’s, Jetties, and Dionis Beaches.
Others on the coasts of the open Atlantic are more suitable for surfing, other watersports, and adventurers, like Surfside, Cisco, and Nobadeer.
There are remote beaches where you can relax away from the crowds and the hustle and bustle and enjoy some kayaking.
Others are trendy and can be pretty crowded but have amenities such as restaurants, bars, playgrounds, lifeguards, and more.
Certain beaches are preferred for photo-ops because of their stunning views of the sunset or sunrise and the three historic lighthouses and the ocean.
For those seeking that ultimate snap, the most Insta-worthy beaches to check out are are Steps Beach, Madaket Beach, and Siasconset Beach.