Located 30 miles south of Cape Cod, MA, the small island of Nantucket has become a top-desirable summer vacation destination in recent years.
It can be reached only by air or sea, so it is recommended that you book your ferry or plane ticket well in advance.
Luckily, the short-term rental business on this New England island has been booming in recent years, so you can easily find the dream accommodation for your stay in any of its neighborhoods.
With some of the most beautiful beaches, dramatic coastlines, pristinely preserved historic buildings, enchanting cottages and gardens, and conserved natural reserves, Nantucket offers endless possibilities for fun, sightseeing, activities, and relaxation for all tastes and lifestyles.
Here are seven of the iconic places to add to your program for your trip to this gem of an island.
The Whaling museum
“Moby-Dick or the Whale” by Herman Melville has consistently ranked among the top 10 best American novels of all prestigious lists. But not everybody knows that the story of the quest of Captain Ahab to kill the white whale named Moby Dick in this masterpiece was inspired by a real historic captain of a whaling ship from Nantucket.
You can learn more about him, his Essex whaling ship, and the hundreds of other brave captains and crews who risked their lives in pursuit of the then-precious whale oil at the Whaling Museum.
It is set in an old factory for producing candles from whale oil. It features thousands of unique exhibits, including a nearly 50-foot-long sperm whale skeleton, the first Fresnel lens used in an American lighthouse, and other incredible artifacts.
This Museum is undoubtedly the most famous site in Nantucket and will help you learn more about what made this island so unique.
The Museum has a viewing deck, offering one of the best panoramic views of the Nantucket Sound, the historic Downtown, and the Nantucket Harbor.
Brant Point Lighthouse
Brant Point Lighthouse will be the first building to greet you if you are traveling to Nantucket via ferry.
The small lighthouse at the Harbor greets and sends off all boats arriving there and has guided the mariners since it was first built in 1746.
Today’s tower was rebuilt in 1901 and is the country’s second oldest still functioning lighthouse.
Local legends say that if a traveler throws two pennies by the lighthouse as the boat or ferry passes, this will ensure a safe return to Nantucket someday.
It is one of the leading photo-op sites on the island and is incredibly picturesque in April when locals decorate it with a giant spring flower wreath for the famous local Daffodil Festival.
Around the 4th of July, Brant Point Light proudly displays an oversized American flag, and on Christmas, it is adorned with a beautiful Christmas wreath.
The entire island of Nantucket has been recognized as a National Historic District Landmark and is home to over 750 immaculately preserved and restored buildings from centuries ago.
One of the best ways to experience the unique and intimate feeling of the island’s remarkable history is by taking a stroll on Main Street.
With its round cobblestones, its fully functioning gas lanterns, and all of the stunning and perfectly preserved Greek Revival, Federal, and other pre-civil war mansions and buildings, Nantucket’s Main Street will magically send you back in the years when the local economy was thriving thanks to the successful whaling business.
It is also home to some of the best boutiques, stores, and galleries in Town.
One notable store you should visit is Murray’s Toggery Shop, where you can buy some authentic Nantucket Reds pants to blend into the island’s smart coastal dressing style.
The ‘Sconset Bluff Walk
This unique footpath was originally created by a landowner named William Flag back in 1873. In 1892, the summer resident decided to sell much of his land in the area and petitioned that the path remain public.
Thanks to his efforts, today, it is possible to pass right by some of the country’s most expensive, pristine, and famous summer shingle-style waterfront properties.
Located in the village of Siasconset, this one-mile-long walkway is one of the most picturesque walking paths in the world.
You can admire the postcard-like rose-covered cottages, the perfectly manicured gardens behind white picket fences, and the ocean view from the top of the tall cliffs.
Then, you can reach the top of the steep bluffs or take a turn at the end of the walkway and head to the beautiful Siasconset Beach and the nearby historic Sankaty Head lighthouse.
This is not just a brewery but encompasses the local winery and spirit distillery as well. Cisco Brewers has a large beer garden with comfy tables, benches, three bars, and a scene where live music is performed every day.
You can sign up for one of the many tasting tours or sit back and enjoy some of the best local brews, wines, spirits, or handcrafted mixed drinks on the island there.
There are several excellent food trucks on the premises so that you can order delicious fresh seafood snacks, meals, and delicacies as well.
Jetties Beach is preferred by vacationers and locals for several reasons. Firstly, it is within walking distance from Town. Also, it is on the North coast of the much calmer, shallower, warmer, and safer waters of the Nantucket Sound.
Jetties has all the amenities you need to spend all day long on the beach, including an excellent restaurant and bar where you can enjoy a tropical cocktail or chilled rose alongside some fresh oysters, lobster rolls, and other local delicacies right on the beach. Jetties also has a pavilion, restrooms, a playground, volleyball nets, a skate park, and lifeguards.
Cru is among the top-ranking fine-dining restaurants in Nantucket. It is known for its award-winning wine list, its delicious and exquisite menu, the fantastic Raw Oyster bar, and last but not least, the stunning waterfront setting and views. It is one of the best places on the island to have a romantic date or celebrate a special event while watching the mesmerizing sunset above the harbor.
Some of the best dishes to try when dining at Cru include the chilled lobster roll and the freshly harvested raw oysters from the nearby waters.