Nantucket, also known as The Little Grey Lady of the Sea, is one of the few vacation destinations for people of all ages, preferences, and lifestyles.
This small island, located 30 miles off the coast of mainland Massachusetts, is a preferred vacation spot because of its rich history, stunning beaches and natural beauty, thriving cultural, art, and outdoor recreation scene, and vibrant local culinary scene.
The bad news is that buying a summer house on Nantucket is reserved for billionaires. The good news is that so many charming houses and lodgings are available for short-term rent there, making it possible for anyone to experience the unique vibes of residing on this picturesque island.
Whether you are a history buff, an angler, an adventurer, or seek relaxation and want to enjoy fresh seafood and farm-to-table cuisine, this New England island has something to offer everyone.
1) Enjoy the View on Sconset Bluff Walk
The Sconset Bluff Walk was developed more than 130 years ago. It is considered one of the top attractions of Nantucket and among the most beautiful walkways in the country.
It is a mile long but offers some stunning ocean views from the top of the bluffs on the island’s eastern shore.
It passes through the postcard-like village of Siasconset, best known for its historic rose-covered cottages. They were built in the 1800s and are surrounded by meticulously manicured gardens and white picket fences.
Since the path is only a mile long and is flat and easy, it is suitable for people of all ages who want to experience the ambiance of this walkway.
The quaint pastoral New England charm, combined with the natural beauty of the blooming flowers, the crawling roses reaching the roofs of the weathered gray cottages, and the ocean views, make the Sconset Bluff Walk a unique walking path.
You can reach the top of the bluffs or turn towards the stunning Siasconset beach. Then you can head to the historic red and white striped Sankaty Head lighthouse.
2) Explore the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge
This wildlife refuge is a conserved area of 395 acres. It is located on a picturesque barrier beach and a pair of peninsulas that separate the harbor from the Nantucket Sound.
Since it is located on the northernmost coast of the island, getting there can be a true adventure in itself, especially if you enjoy beach driving, hiking, or cycling.
This beautiful refuge is home to a number of different local wild animals, birds, and coastal plants. It is also known for having some of the most beautiful beaches in Nantucket.
The Coskata-Coatue Refuge is also famous for The Cedars, the most extensive red cedar woodland and savannah in New England.
You can reach the northernmost point of the island, where you can explore and take photos of the historic Great Point Lighthouse. It has been guiding mariners in the ocean for centuries.
3) Take Up Surfing Lessons
Nantucket used to be known as the “graveyard of the Atlantic” centuries ago because of the hundreds of shipwrecks that occurred on its coasts and nearby. But today, it offers favorable water and weather conditions for newbie surfers.
In the summer, the waves are calmer and suitable for those looking to learn how to surf.
The sandbars and the soft sandy ocean bottom make the task safer and easier for beginners.
There are two excellent surf schools – the Nantucket Island Surf School and ACK Surf School located on Cisco beach and Nobadeer beach on the south shore of Nantucket. The experienced instructors will teach you how to surf safely and will offer you all the gear, guidance, and tips you need to learn how to surf.
You can sign up for group classes or private lessons or even join a summer surf camp or course.
Nantucket has numerous rentals and shops where you can get all the surf and watersports gear you will need if you plan on surfing on your own too.
Nantucket is a suitable place to learn and enjoy a number of other watersports, including kayaking, boogie-boarding, kiteboarding, stand-up paddleboarding, sailing, fishing, and more.
4) Have Fun at Jetties Beach
Jetties Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Nantucket, especially among families with young children.
Located just 10 minutes away from town, Jetties is on the north coast of the island. It is more sheltered, and thus the water is calmer, warmer, and shallower than on the other shores of Nantucket.
The beach has all the amenities you will need to spend a wholly relaxing and fun day there. Some of them include a playground, a tennis court, a skate park, and volleyball nets for the adventurers and the kids. The beach also has bathrooms, showers, changing rooms, and an excellent seasonal restaurant to enjoy a snack, drink, or meal with your toes buried in the sand.
Jetties Beach is also an excellent place to watch the yachts and boats. You can also enjoy leisurely walks and hunting for beautiful seashells and sea glass treasures there.
5) Enjoy Live Music at Cisco Brewers
Cisco Brewers is not merely a brewery. It is one of Nantucket’s top-rated venues and party centers, preferred by locals and vacationers alike.
It has a spacious beer garden with comfy and casual tables and benches. You can enjoy tasting and drinking the local craft crews, the best local wines, and some unique local cocktails and spirits there.
Cisco Brewers includes the local Nantucket Vineyards and Triple Eight Distillery and offers tasting tours and drinks for every taste.
But it is also a family-friendly spot with a playground where the kids can play, and you can even bring your dog alone.
Several food trucks on the grounds offer delicious fresh seafood snacks and dishes. Plus, you can listen to live music for free every day there during the summer season.
6) Taste the Ice Cream at Juice Bar
The Juice Bar in Nantucket is the indisputable leader when it comes to delicious homemade ice cream on the island.
You can choose from over 40 delicious and unique homemade ice cream flavors and even more toppings, many of which are based on local fruits and produce.
There are low-fat and healthier variants and some vegan options served in mouthwatering homemade waffle cones.
You can also order frozen yogurt, sorbet, freshly squeezed juice, lemonade, and smoothie and eat some of the best home-baked goods there.
Just be prepared to wait in a long line for your ice cream if you happen to visit Nantucket in the peak of the summer season.