30 miles off the coast of Massachusetts is the tiny island of Nantucket, a destination for some of the wealthiest and most luxury driven families in the USA. It’s also a destination for regular families and friends looking to discover what the buzz is all about – join me as we travel to Nantucket today!
Are you visiting Nantucket for the first time? Below is a list of “Insider Tips” for things to see and do in ACK – the nickname and airport code for this lovely island.
When I have a visitor from out of town that’s wanting to island hop, the first place they want to see is downtown Nantucket, but I first I take them to the beach – for a more local, authentic experience. Any of the beaches on Nantucket are a sight to be seen, relaxing with impressive surf.
If you want to escape the crowds/tourists, visit Nantucket between the months of April and May or September and October. Visiting in August is asking to be mobbed by crowds, thus the early spring or late fall are ideal times. The crowds are gone and left is the quintessential part of the island, what makes it loved by everyone.
If this is a romantic trip, I recommend The Galley restaurant for kissing with a view. The Galley is a restaurant right on the water, with the most gorgeous sunset on island. You’ll enjoy the sunset while sipping on bubbles and great food from the restaurant, the perfect spot for date night with a loved one.
The best place to walk the dog is definitely any of the 12 dog friendly beaches on Nantucket! Nothing better than a jog on the sandy beach early morning with man’s best friend. For a list of dog-friendly beaches, check out this link.
Museums are wonderful and you are traveling with kids, you’ll want to visit The Whaling Museum, one of my favorite museums ever! Whaling was a huge part of the Nantucket economy back in the days and this museum is one of the best on the subject.
If you are looking for typical New England cuisine, I recommend Cru for their classic New England Lobster Roll. It’s divine and the perfectly buttered bun stuffed with sweet lobster meat is just what the vacation doctor ordered!
The best place to go for coffee & a breakfast treat is Handlebar Cafe, owned by my friends Jason and Courtney Bridges. Their coffee is exceptionally sourced and their baked goods (order the morning bun) are brought in from local island bakeries, and the space lends itself perfectly to community meetings and relaxing on rainy days.
Looking for cheap food on Nantucket? It’s a stretch to find but don’t despair! For great deals at the fine finish restaurants, why not check out their lunch menus? Typically lower in price, it’s a great way to get to try the food without spending all the cash. Rose and Crown is a great pub for late night food!
Nautilus, The Pearl, Boarding House – all of these restaurants are the perfect spot for late night dining. You might even bump elbows with celebrities dining there!
For an expensive, yet quality meal, go to The Pearl. Seriously, hands down the best meal you’ll ever have. Try the Black Magic Noodles if they are on the menu (they only make a limited amount each night, so you might get lucky if you dine early!) or the wok lobster – a splurge, but definitely worth it!
Seeing a lot of Nantucket Reds? Nantucket is known for its preppy clothing and are a style of trousers distributed by Murray’s Toggery Shop on island.
When you come to Nantucket, get your picture taken at all the lighthouses – it’s always such a fun tour to do!
The best vantage points are taken by walking to the top of the highest point on the island, Sankaty Head, which stands 111 feet above sea level.
On Nantucket, outdoor lovers are all about the water – sailing, surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking, you name it!
Looking for a little exercise? Walk along any of the trails and bike paths!
After a day of adventure, RJ Miller Salons is the best place to go for a spa treatment.
If you are a museum lover, The Whaling Museum is the best museum on island! Also check out The Nantucket Lightship Basket Museum – Nantucket baskets are world known!
Looking for exciting night life? Go dancing at the Chicken Box for live music.
The Inquirer and Mirror will keep you posted on what’s happening on island! Also, Mahon About Town – sign up to his newsletter.
You can tell a lot about Nantucket from visiting and watching the annual event, Daffodil Weekend. The central event of this weekend is the “Antique Car Parade, showcasing over 100 vintage cars bedecked with sunny yellow daffodils and other creative embellishments”, and the picnic where everyone shares and wines and dines together. Definitely an event you should attend in the spring! Make sure to dress in yellow and green!
In the spring/summer you should also attend the Nantucket Wine Festival – one of the biggest wine festivals in the nation! Fall is perfect for observing the foliage and calmness, perfect for quiet getaways.
Want to explore more of the Cape and Islands? Take a ferry to Martha’s Vineyard and do some island hopping. Or catch the ferry all the way to the mainland and explore the Cape Cod towns.
These insider tips to Nantucket were written by Marnely Murray who pens Cooking with Books.