Nantucket combines picturesque beauty and a relaxed, coastal atmosphere, with elegant cocktail bars and restaurants.
Make getting around Nantucket part of your experience. Hire a bicycle from one of the rental shops dotted around the island. The terrain is flat, and there are 29 miles (47 kilometers) of bicycle paths around the island. The Wave, a seasonal bus service, covers major routes.
Most of Nantucket’s beaches are suitable for sunbathing and long sunset strolls, but each of the three shorelines have something different to offer. For families with kids, head to the gentle surf at North Shore.
The East Shore has more isolated stretches of coast and inner-harbor beaches, while on the South Coast, the waves are bigger, and the beaches are busier. To get closer to Nantucket’s marine life, take one of the seal or whale tours from the Town Pier downtown. You can discover more about whales and the whaling history of the area at the Whaling Museum on Broad Street.
As well as beautiful beaches, Nantucket offers a great wealth of history. Jethro Coffin House is the oldest house on Nantucket and dates back to the 17th century. History buffs will also want to pay a visit to Nantucket Windmill, which was constructed in 1745-6 by local carpenter Nathan Wilbur. Try to see at least one of Nantucket’s three historical lighthouses as well.
The island is most commonly a summer destination. Its mild summer attracts many tourists, sometimes swelling the population five-fold. For such a small island, Nantucket has many fine-dining restaurants, and dining out is a popular pastime. A visit out of season will allow more peace and quiet, but many attractions and shops won’t be open.
Summer is also when you’ll find an ongoing schedule of events, including the Dance Festival, Sandcastle and Sculpture Day, an Arts Festival, and Independence Day fireworks. On Saturday mornings, wander downtown to visit the Nantucket Farmers & Artisans Market which showcases the wares of different island producers and artists.