Nantucket, Massachusetts is a small remote island 30 miles south of Cape Cod, in the United States, which has become a leading destination for summer vacationers, remote getaways, and for affluent owners of second homes.
In fact, what used to be a whaling hub that inspired the novel Moby-Dick has recently been dubbed the “isle of billionaires” with the most expensive properties in Massachusetts.
But thankfully, you don’t have to be a billionaire to enjoy a vacation or trip to this idyllic island. Thanks to the regular and affordable ferries, you can even go on a one-day or weekend trip to Nantucket.
If you feel like you will need more time to explore the island’s wonders, there are many vacation homes and residences spread throughout Nantucket which are available for short-term rent, which you can pick from.
Once you are set with your rental booking, and your ferry or plane tickets, you can begin planning your perfect vacation in Nantucket.
Even though it is a small and isolated island, there are so many things to do and see in Nantucket that it is a good idea to plan your trip ahead of time.
There are historic buildings and cobblestone streets to see. You can explore and take some stunning photos of the quaint lighthouses. Or you can relax on the endless clean and windblown dune beaches. During your stay, you will be delighted by the charming shingle-style cottages covered with roses and the delicious lobster rolls and craft cocktails. There are also sailing tours you can enjoy during your vacation on the “Little Grey Lady of the Sea.”
Here are the top 4 things to do when on vacation in Nantucket, Massachusetts.
Explore Nantucket by Bike
While in other areas where the rich and famous prefer to spend their vacations, showing up with a flashy car may be expected, cars are generally frowned upon in Nantucket.
The authorities and residents of the island are dedicated to keeping nature untouched and the island clean. This is why bike lanes cover the entire island, and it is expensive and undesirable to bring your own car over.
You can take your bicycle with you via the Steamship Authority traditional ferry or rent one as soon as you set foot on the island.
Thanks to its small size, Nantucket can easily be explored by cycling. You can cycle around to just about any point of the island and enjoy the stunning panoramic views of the endless dunes, wetlands, beaches, and remarkable buildings on the way.
One great idea for a bike tour is to cycle from Downtown Nantucket to the village of Siasconset and the Sankaty Light lighthouse.
Take the Picturesque Sconset Bluff Walk
When you reach Siasconset, also known as Sconset, it is time to leave the bike and head off to one of the most beautiful walking trails in New England.
The Sconset Bluff Walk is a one-mile-long walking path covered with white seashells, which is among the top-rated Instagram-worthy spots in the country.
You can go on a leisurely walk through the postcard-like village. The path will take you by the idyllic cottages with grey weathered shingle tiles and trellises with red and pink roses reaching their very roofs. Walking further on, you can admire some of the most beautiful gardens filled with blooming hydrangeas. Of course, you can take fabulous photos to share with your friends or to keep as memories from your Nantucket vacation.
The path will lead you to the local market. There you can grab some snacks, continue on to Siasconset Beach, and head off to the easternmost point and admire the Sankaty lighthouse.
This east coast beach and the historic lighthouse are among the best places to be if you want to enjoy an unforgettable sunrise over the Atlantic.
Visit the Famous Whaling Museum on Nantucket
The Whaling Museum is undoubtedly the number one rated attraction on the island. It is the perfect place to visit if you want to dive deep into the island’s past. It will help you understand the culture and lifestyle still very much present in Nantucket today.
The museum is located in a restored candle factory. This historical building is where the oil from the whales was processed into the only light sources at the time. This was in the 1880s when Nantucket was known as the whaling capital of the world.
You can explore the hundreds of artifacts and exhibits in the museum. There is a 46-foot sperm whale skeleton, an original Fresnel lens from one of the lighthouses, and many paintings and exhibits. You can learn more about the story of the glorious whaling years and the Essex whaling ship, which was the inspiration behind Herman Melville’s classic novel Moby-Dick.
The rooftop is a viewing deck where you can spend time admiring the panoramic view of the harbor, the ocean, and the historic Downtown.
Taste the local craft beers and listen to live music at Cisco Brewers
Cisco Brewers was once described by a writer as the “happiest place on Earth.” And this description could not be more accurate. It is more than just a simple brewery where you can take a tour and taste some local beers. Cisco Brewery is right next to the Triple Eight Distillery and the local Winery. It has a beautiful beer garden where you can spend hours having fun and tasting the best local liquors, brews, and wines. There is live music every day, and you can buy all kinds of delicious snacks from the food trucks on the site.
So, to get a taste of the local Nantucket party scene, you should definitely plan to spend an afternoon or evening at Cisco brewers. There you can enjoy some fab drinks, such as a Grey Lady Wheat Ale brew with a shot of locally sourced cranberry vodka, along with some lobster rolls and sweet potato fries.
If you want to explore all of the locally produced beverages, you can sign up for one of the tours of the brewery, distillery, and winery.
Even if you are going to Nantucket on a family vacation, Cisco Brewery is a suitable spot to spend time with your kids and your dogs.