Are you finally ready to go on your dream vacation to the charming New England island of
Nantucket? The small island is 30 miles south of mainland Massachusetts and attracts thousands of summer vacationers, affluent celebrities, adventurers, history buffs, and foodies every year.
Here are five essential tips for where to stay, what to do, eat, and enjoy there. They can help you
make the most of your trip.
Rental houses are fabulous
Buying and owning a house on the island is mostly reserved for billionaires. But, although Nantucket is an upscale vacation spot, there are ways to enjoy spending time there, even on a limited budget. One of the most affordable ways is to book a short-term rental house for your stay.
There is a wide variety of rental residences available for people of all budgets and preferences. You can book a house in any of the neighborhoods of the picturesque island. You can choose from mansions, houses, and cottages which were built centuries ago.
Or opt for more modern or modest smaller lofts and living spaces for your vacation there. You can enjoy the authentic experience of residing on this historical island by booking a rental. Plus, you can split the rental costs with friends or extended family members to get an even better deal.
Due to the high demand for lodgings during the peak of the summer season, it is a good idea to
book well ahead of time. Or you can plan your trip during the so-called shoulder season before
or after the crowds flood Nantucket.
It is an island
The fact that Nantucket is an island is a huge part of its charm and popularity. But getting there and living on an island can have its perks and disadvantages, which you should be aware of.
The only way to get to Nantucket is via sea or air. Unless you own your own boat or helicopter,
you will have to choose to take the ferry or book an airplane ticket there. But keep in mind that Nantucket has been nicknamed the “Little Grey lady of the Sea” because of the sudden fogs and weather changes. This means that it may not always be possible to arrive or depart Nantucket as you wish.
The other disadvantage is that many of the products and services imported from the mainland to
the island cost much more there. This is due to the more complicated and expensive
transportation costs. Lastly, the island is tiny, and the chances of enjoying a lot of privacy and anonymity there are slim.
But for most, the advantages of it being an island surpass the disadvantages. The most obvious
ones are Nantucket’s endless beaches, mesmerizing ocean views, and the tight-knit community
dedicated to preserving the original charisma of the island.
Fantastic place for history enthusiasts
Nantucket has a fascinating history. The small island’s name translates to “faraway land” from
the language of the Wampanoag tribe that originally inhabited it.
The first settlers arrived in the early 1600s and engaged in fishing, building boats, and trade.
After the arrival of the Quakers in the 1690s, the island became one of the whaling ship and
whaling industry hubs. Quickly, Nantucket became one of the most affluent towns and busy ports and retained this status until the Civil War.
During those years, the local whaling captains and other influential residents built some of the
most stunning mansions, houses, lighthouses, and infrastructure. Luckily, the local authorities and people of the island have done their best to preserve and restore most of these buildings.
Today, the island has the most historic buildings concentrated in such a small area than in any
other town or county in the USA. History buffs come here to explore the unique historic buildings and infrastructure. These include the cobblestone streets, the captain’s mansions, old houses, the oldest working windmill in the country, the old jail, the Athenaeum, and the three historic lighthouses. Brant Point Light, Great Point Light, and Sankaty Head Light are still fully functioning and among the oldest in the USA.
One of the fascinating and most famous places to visit when in Nantucket is the Whaling
Museum. It includes some unique exhibits and artifacts from the whaling years. There you can
see authentic relics from the whaling ship and the captain who inspired Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick.”
Heaven for seafood lovers
Apart from its endless beaches, historic buildings, and the sheer beauty of the island, Nantucket
is also known as a dreamland for seafood lovers. It has become a popular culinary destination with some of the best restaurants. Many of them offer elevated takes on coastal and international cuisines.
But the thing to eat when in Nantucket is the local fresh seafood. There are some fine-dining restaurants as well as more casual and affordable eateries and places there. You can choose where to enjoy the delicious local clams, oysters, lobsters, and other seafood freshly caught from the Atlantic.
Remember to make a reservation well ahead of time if you are planning a dinner or special event. This is especially true for fine-dining restaurants such as Cru, Straight Wharf, or Brant Point Grill in the summer.
If you prefer something more casual, you can eat some delicious clam bake, lobster rolls, or fresh oysters at one of the many family-friendly eateries in Nantucket. Some of them include Black Eyed Suzan, Millie’s, Surfside, and others.
There are also food trucks and markets such as the Straight Wharf Fish Store, Sayles, and Bartlett’s Farm. There you can eat fresh seafood dishes and food on the beach or while enjoying a picnic.
Don’t forget to pay a visit to Cisco Brewers. This is the place to taste the local brews, wines, and spirits. It is also where you can eat some mouthwatering snacks while mingling with the other guests and the locals and listening to live music in the beer garden.
Plenty of picture-worthy spots
Nantucket offers endless possibilities for taking some superb photos to share with friends or
keep as personal memories. Literally, every spot on this New England island is Insta-worthy.
The most popular photo-op places and things in Nantucket include the three historic lighthouses,
the rose-covered charming cottages of Siasconset, the historic streets, buildings, and of course, the stunning ocean views.
Some of the top-rated Instagrammable places on the island include the Sconset Bluff Walk, the
entry to Steps Beach, the sunset at Madaket Beach, the wildlife and views at Altar Rock, the
Whaling Museum, the historic downtown, and the harbor of Nantucket.
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