Town Spotlight: Nantucket
Find Fun Things to Do On Nantucket Island
With beautiful beaches, trendy boutiques, and historic lighthouses, Nantucket has everything needed for a perfect vacation.
Outdoorsmen love the numerous bike trails as well as fishing and sailing charters. The miles upon miles of public beaches are perfect for family picnics, beach parties, and romantic strolls at sunset. Birders will be especially enamored, as the sandy shores are home to Piping Plovers, Least Terns, and American Oystercatchers.
For family fun in June, visit the Nantucket Book Festival, which includes story times for children, meet-and-greets with acclaimed authors, and other free activities. Nantucket Ice, a year-round ice rink for all ages, is the perfect place to skate and escape the heat.
Science fans should check out the family-friendly museums on the island. The Nantucket Whaling Museum features a massive, 46-foot sperm whale skeleton and a hands-on discovery room. Head over to the Maria Mitchell Association’s campus for amazing science lessons; discover local Nantucket sea life at the Aquarium. The Natural Science Museum will teach visitors about the plants, animals, and birds of the island, including six species of snakes. The two observatories give future astronomers a place to gaze upon the planets and stars.
Nantucket gained prominence as a whaling town, but Main and Centre Streets have been greatly modernized, now packed with clothing boutiques, home décor shops, and fine dining restaurants. For nightlife, the Rose & Crown may be the only downtown nightclub, but it’s more than enough with live music, friendly bartenders, and great food. Fun on the outskirts of the island includes Cisco Brewers, which offers excellent brewery tours and tastings and has a free shuttle to and from downtown.
Plenty of the island’s original charm can still be found. Old lighthouses dot the island and make for excellent photos and postcards, with some offering tours. Elegant mansions from the 1800s still stand, while weathered wharves linked by cobblestone streets lead to town. In fact, for all of downtown’s modernizing, the entire town of Nantucket is a National Historic District, to the point where there aren’t even any traffic lights.
Getting to the island is easy during the summer, as there are four ferry lines; two year-round and two seasonal. The Steamship Authority is the only service that can transport cars, so it’s the best for those planning a long stay on the island. Anyone heading in just for a day or two would be better off leaving the car behind and instead explore by foot.
With so much to see and do, it’s smart to plan to stay overnight. Luckily, lodging options range from resorts and hotels to dozens of historic bed & breakfasts in authentic period buildings. Long-term visitors can even rent one of the picturesque, grey-shingled cottages that cover Nantucket.
Children’s show icon Fred Rodgers of Mister Rodger’s Neighborhood had a summer home on Nantucket Island.
Brant Point Lighthouse, built in 1746, is the second-oldest lighthouse in the United States.
-By Ettractions Digital Content Editor, ALLISON BENNETT
-Photos by William DeSousa-Mauk, Mike Gavin, & Brand USA Amon Focus,
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