16 Best Things to do in Nantucket, Massachusetts

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Discover the top 16 best things to do in Nantucket, Massachusetts, with this comprehensive guide. Explore the island’s charming attractions, beautiful beaches, historic sites, and more for an unforgettable experience.


Nantucket, Massachusetts, is a picturesque island known for its rich history, stunning landscapes, and charming seaside towns. With an array of activities to suit every taste, Nantucket offers a unique blend of relaxation and adventure. In this article, we will explore the 16 best things to do on this beautiful island, ensuring you have an enriching and unforgettable vacation.

16 Best Things to Do in Nantucket, Massachusetts

1. Explore the Whaling Museum

Begin your journey into Nantucket’s maritime past with a visit to the Whaling Museum. Learn about the island’s significant role in the whaling industry and marvel at the extensive collection of artifacts and exhibits. From the awe-inspiring skeleton of a sperm whale to fascinating tales of the high seas, the museum offers a captivating experience for history enthusiasts and curious minds alike.

2. Stroll through Historic Downtown

Take a leisurely stroll through Nantucket’s historic downtown, where cobblestone streets, charming boutiques, and quaint architecture await. Discover the Nantucket Atheneum, the island’s oldest library, and admire the captivating Federal-style houses that tell stories of the past.

3. Relax on Cisco Beach

Head to Cisco Beach to bask in the sun and unwind on the sandy shores of the Atlantic Ocean. This popular beach is ideal for surfing, beachcombing, or simply soaking in the tranquil ambiance. Don’t forget to capture the breathtaking sunsets that paint the sky with vibrant hues.

4. Visit Brant Point Lighthouse

A trip to Nantucket is incomplete without a visit to Brant Point Lighthouse. As the second oldest lighthouse in the United States, it offers a glimpse into the island’s maritime heritage. Take a moment to enjoy the picturesque views and watch sailboats glide gracefully along the harbor.

5. Climb to the Top of Sankaty Head Lighthouse

For panoramic views of the island’s rugged coastline, venture to Sankaty Head Lighthouse. A short hike rewards visitors with a mesmerizing vantage point, making it a favorite spot for photographers and nature enthusiasts.

6. Take a Bike Ride along the Moors

Rent a bike and explore Nantucket’s serene moors, a vast landscape of rolling hills and coastal heaths. Enjoy the fresh sea breeze as you pedal through the picturesque trails, encountering diverse wildlife and stunning vistas along the way.

7. Indulge in Fresh Seafood

Nantucket boasts a culinary scene that celebrates its coastal location. Treat your taste buds to delectable seafood dishes, from succulent lobster rolls to freshly caught fish served at waterfront restaurants. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor Nantucket’s culinary delights.

8. Discover Jetties Beach

Jetties Beach offers a family-friendly atmosphere with calm waters, perfect for swimming and beach games. Enjoy a picnic on the shore, build sandcastles with your loved ones, or simply relax under the warm sun.

9. Tour the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge

Embark on a guided tour of the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge, where you can witness diverse ecosystems, including sandy beaches, tidal flats, and salt marshes. Keep an eye out for seals, shorebirds, and other wildlife that call this sanctuary home.

10. Explore the Oldest House

Step back in time by visiting the Oldest House, a historic landmark that dates back to the mid-17th century. Discover the intriguing stories of the families who once lived here and admire the well-preserved period furnishings.

11. Enjoy the Nantucket Film Festival

If you’re visiting in June, don’t miss the Nantucket Film Festival, an annual event that celebrates the art of storytelling through film. Immerse yourself in captivating narratives, attend filmmaker discussions, and be inspired by the creative talent on display.

12. Experience a Whale-Watching Tour

Embark on a thrilling whale-watching tour to witness majestic humpback and finback whales in their natural habitat. These magnificent creatures often grace the waters around Nantucket, providing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness their awe-inspiring presence up close.

13. Visit the Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum

Learn about the daring rescues and maritime disasters that shaped Nantucket’s history at the Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum. Engaging exhibits and interactive displays offer a glimpse into the island’s heroic past.

14. Explore Great Point

For an off-the-beaten-path adventure, venture to Great Point, located at the northern tip of the island. Accessible by four-wheel-drive vehicles, this remote destination offers seclusion, pristine beaches, and the chance to observe seals and shorebirds in their natural habitat.

15. Discover the Nantucket Garden Festival

Green thumbs and nature lovers will delight in attending the Nantucket Garden Festival, held in July. Immerse yourself in the island’s beautiful gardens, attend workshops, and gain valuable insights from expert horticulturists.

16. Savor Nantucket’s Whimsical Charm

Lastly, take time to embrace the whimsical charm that permeates every corner of Nantucket. Stroll through charming villages, engage with friendly locals, and appreciate the slow pace of life that defines the island.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Q: How do I get to Nantucket?
    • A: Nantucket is accessible by ferry or air. Ferries depart from various locations in Massachusetts, while flights operate from several major cities.
  2. Q: What is the best time to visit Nantucket?
    • A: The best time to visit Nantucket is during the shoulder seasons of spring and fall when the weather is pleasant, and the crowds are thinner.
  3. Q: Are there accommodations available on the island?
    • A: Yes, Nantucket offers a range of accommodations, including charming inns, luxurious resorts, and cozy vacation rentals.
  4. Q: Can I explore the island on foot?
    • A: Yes, Nantucket is relatively small and easy to navigate on foot or by bike. Walking or biking allows you to explore the island’s beauty at a leisurely pace.
  5. Q: Is it possible to spot whales from the shore?
    • A: While it’s rare to spot whales from the shore, certain high vantage points, such as Sankaty Head Lighthouse, offer excellent opportunities for sightings.
  6. Q: Are there any kid-friendly activities on the island?
    • A: Absolutely! Nantucket offers plenty of family-friendly activities, including beaches, museums, and outdoor adventures suitable for all ages.


Nantucket, Massachusetts, is a destination that captivates the hearts of visitors with its timeless allure, rich history, and natural beauty. From exploring the island’s maritime heritage to basking on its sandy shores, Nantucket offers a diverse range of experiences for every traveler. Whether you seek relaxation or adventure, this enchanting island promises to leave a lasting impression on all who visit.

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Upendra Yadav is a seasoned Data Analyst with a passion for exploring new places and immersing himself in different cultures. With a curious mind and an eye for detail, Upendra delves deep into the history, people, and cuisine of the places he visits, and brings his experiences to life through his writing.. His work has been featured in various travel blogs, where he shares his insights and recommendations for fellow explorers. Through his writing, Upendra aims to inspire others to venture beyond their comfort zones and discover the hidden gems of the world. When he's not analyzing data or traveling to new destinations, Upendra can be found indulging in his other hobbies, such as photography and trying out new recipes. He is currently working on his next travelogue, where he hopes to take his readers on a journey to even more exciting and lesser-known destinations.
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