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Navigating Nantucket: Insider Tips for First-Time Visitors

 

Tips For Visiting Nantucket

 

For those looking to book their first trip to Nantucket, allow us to welcome you to our charming island known for its cobblestone streets, incredible history, and beautiful beaches. Whether you’re here for a weekend getaway or an extended vacation, navigating Nantucket can be a breeze with the right insider information. From transportation options to must-visit spots, here’s everything you need to know to make the most of your time on the island.

GETTING AROUND

Transportation Options

  1. Ferry: Arriving by ferry is one of the most popular ways to reach Nantucket. Several ferry companies operate services from the mainland, providing a scenic journey across the water including Hy-line Cruises and Steamship Authority.

  2. By Air (Commercial): For those seeking a quicker option, Nantucket Memorial Airport offers flights to and from various cities along the East Coast. It’s a convenient option for travelers with limited time. Check out Cape Air, JetBlue, Delta, United, and American for flight options. 

  3. By Air (Charter): Flying into Nantucket has never been easier! Offering a premium and personalized experience, check out charter options from Blade, Shoreline Aviation, Fly the Whale, Altius Aviation, and Tradewind Aviation.  

Tips for Navigating the Island

  1. Public Transportation: Nantucket’s public bus system, known as The WAVE, offers convenient transportation around the island, with routes covering the most popular destinations.

  2. Bike Rentals: With its flat terrain and bike-friendly roads, Nantucket is perfect for exploring on two wheels. Numerous rental shops offer bicycles for all ages and levels. Check out great options at Nantucket Bike Shop, Young’s Bicycle Shop, or Easy Riders Bicycles.   

  3. Mopeds and Car Services: For those looking for more ease and convenience, the island has moped and car service options available as well. We recommend Nantucket Bike Shop, Cranberry Transportation Services, or Young’s Bicycle Shop.

 

EXPLORING THE ISLAND

Must-Visit Landmarks and Attractions

  1. Brant Point Lighthouse: One of Nantucket’s most iconic symbols, Brant Point Lighthouse offers stunning views of the harbor and surrounding coastline.

  2. Sankaty Head Lighthouse: Situated on the eastern end of the island, this historic lighthouse provides breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.

  3. Cisco Brewers: A popular destination for craft beer lovers, Cisco offers brewery tours, tastings, and live music events.

Hidden Gems and Off-The-Beaten-Path Destinations

  1. Millie’s Restaurant: Tucked away in Madaket, this laid-back spot serves up delicious seafood dishes with stunning sunset views.

  2. Great Point Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge: A beautiful natural sanctuary accessible only by four-wheel-drive vehicles or hiking, this refuge is perfect for bird-watching and beach walks.

  3. ‘Sconset Bluff Walk: Take a leisurely stroll along this coastal path in Siasconset, offering unbelievable views of the ocean and historic cottages.

Outdoor Activities

  1. Beach Hopping: With over 80 miles of coastline, Nantucket is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in New England. From family-friendly shores to secluded coves, there’s a beach for everyone.

  2. Kayaking: Explore Nantucket’s waterways by kayak, with guided tours and rentals available for adventurers of all levels.

  3. Hiking Trails: Discover the island’s natural beauty on foot, with an extensive network of trails winding through conservation areas and nature reserves.

 

DINING AND CUISINE

Nantucket is a food lover’s paradise, with an abundance of restaurants serving fresh seafood, farm-to-table dishes, and local specialties that showcase the island’s rich culinary offerings.

Recommendations for Dining Experiences

  1. Waterfront Restaurants: Enjoy a memorable meal with a view at one of Nantucket’s waterfront eateries, where you can savor fresh seafood while watching the boats sail by. Stop by Cru Nantucket, Sandbar at Jetties Beach, or Straight Wharf Restaurant to enjoy island views with your meal.

  2. Quaint Cafes: Start your day with a delicious breakfast or brunch at one of the island’s charming cafes, serving up gourmet coffee and housemade pastries. Visit Handlebar Cafe, Corner Table, or The Green Market for a quick and delicious meal.

Tips for Making Reservations and Navigating Busy Hours

During the busy summer months, we recommend making reservations in advance, especially for popular restaurants. For those with more flexibility, you may also consider dining during off-peak hours to avoid crowds and secure a table with ease. 

 

SHOPPING AND SOUVENIRS

From upscale boutiques to unique galleries, Nantucket offers an incredible shopping experience with something for every taste and budget.

Explore Downtown Nantucket, Straight Wharf, and the Historic District to discover different streets each featuring unique shops, where you can find everything from handmade jewelry to Nantucket’s finest fashion.

Must-Visit Stores

  1. Murray’s Toggery Shop: Founded in 1945, Murray’s Toggery is famous for its classic Nantucket Reds clothing line, including items that have become a symbol of the island. They offer a wide range of clothing and accessories for men, women, and children, with a focus on timeless and preppy styles.

  2. Milly & Grace: This chic lifestyle shop is known for women’s clothing, cashmere, jewelry, home decor, and gifts. Be sure to check out their wedding planning and design if you are looking for your dream wedding on Nantucket!

  3. Nantucket Looms: A beloved Nantucket institution founded in 1968, traditional craftsmanship meets modern design at Nantucket Looms. You will find a stunning collection of handwoven textiles including blankets, scarves, and table linens, all crafted using traditional weaving techniques.

  4. Current Vintage: A boutique wine shop located on Easy Street downtown, Current Vintage is a wine lover's dream, offering an incredible selection of fine wines from around the world. 

 

PRACTICAL TIPS AND ADVICE

Packing Considerations

Pack accordingly for Nantucket’s coastal climate, with layers for cooler evenings and protection from the sun during the day. Don’t forget essentials like sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses. You’ll likely do a lot of walking, so bring comfortable shoes, especially if you plan to explore the cobblestone streets of downtown Nantucket.

Accommodations

Book accommodations in advance, especially if you’re visiting during the peak summer months. Nantucket offers a range of vacation rental options, and we’d be happy to work with you on the best fit! Staying near downtown allows for easy access to shops and restaurants, but there are also quieter spots available in other parts of the island if you prefer a more secluded experience. Reach out today and let’s find the perfect summer rental.

Navigating Nantucket is all about embracing the island’s laid-back vibe, rich history, and natural beauty. Whether you’re soaking up the sun on a stunning beach, enjoying fresh seafood at a local restaurant, or exploring charming boutiques, every moment on Nantucket is sure to be unforgettable. So pack your bags, hop on a boat (or plane), and get ready to discover why this island has captured the hearts of travelers for generations.

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