The tiny but magical island of Nantucket is 30 miles south of mainland Massachusetts and has become one of the leading summer vacation destinations in the country in the past decades.
The “Little Grey Lady of the Sea,” as it is also known, is the most extensive National Historic Landmark District in the USA and has more than 20 of the most stunning beaches too.
The best news is that if you book in time, you can find suitable accommodation for your Nantucket adventure in one of the unique historical or new houses in all its neighborhoods.
While there is something suitable for every taste, lifestyle, and guest of the island, some activities are much more popular than others. Many of them are part of the factors that make Nantucket such an enchanting place and one to which you will want to keep returning year after year.
Here are five of the activities which will ensure that you make the best of your vacation on this New England island.
Being set in the Atlantic Ocean and across the Nantucket Sound from Cape Cod, Nantucket is a surfer’s paradise. It has over 80 miles of beaches which become thriving in the summer season and attract surfers from around the world in the autumn and the winter.
The summer is perfect for making your first steps in surfing, especially on Nantucket’s east coast, where the water is flat. But you can enjoy some consistent swells and stronger currents on the south coast if you are more experienced and up for a challenge.
There are two surf schools on the island. The ACK Surf School is located on Nobadeer Beach, and the Nantucket Surf School is at Cisco Beach. Both are on the south shore, where the island borders the open Atlantic Ocean.
You can sign up for private or group lessons or rent a board, wetsuit, and any other watersports from the schools. There are also quite a few surf stores and bars where you can mingle with fellow surfers.
If you prefer other watersports, you can enjoy standup paddle boarding, boogie-boarding, body surfing, and even relaxing yoga on a SUP board on the ocean waves.
Joining a cruise
For ages, the only way to reach the island of Nantucket was by sea. It was also one of the most important whaling centers of the world and known for its ship-making and brave whalers and mariners.
So, it is no surprise that today, you can enjoy many sailing cruises, excursions, and other tours when spending time on the island.
You can choose between shorter harbor cruises to more extended tours and excursions around the island and in the open ocean waters.
There are fun short harbor tours, such as the cocktail cruise, the critters cruise, the oyster cruise, the sunset cruise, and even the ice cream cruise you can go on.
If you are feeling more adventurous, you can go on a longer whale-spotting, fishing, or another trip further away.
You will be stunned by how beautiful Nantucket looks from the ocean.
Riding a bike
When coming to Nantucket, the best thing to do is leave your car behind and get on the ferry or plane. Firstly, it is costly and quite complicated to bring your vehicle via the traditional ferry. Also, the parking is tight, especially at the peak of the summer. And thirdly, the island is small and has a network of bike and walking paths, and its people and authorities recommend the more eco-friendly option of getting around, which is by cycling, walking, or by shuttle bus.
You can bring your own bicycle on the traditional ferry, but it is much easier to rent one as soon as you disembark at the dock there.
Plus, if you are lucky, your rented house may even include some bikes as complimentary amenities for the guests, so you will be set to go as soon as you get there.
The island is a mere 14 miles long and is wide from 3 to 5 miles, so pedaling from one point to the other is quite easy.
All the shuttle buses have bike racks, so even if you get tired, you can load your bicycle on the back and hop on the bus to your next destination in Nantucket.
Fishing has been the primary food source of the people of the island for centuries and still plays an essential role in the flourishing restaurant scene of Nantucket.
It is an excellent place to learn how to fish and be taught by one of the many expert local anglers and guides. But it is also perfect for more experienced anglers who want to engage in their favorite activity onshore or offshore.
You can rent a kayak or boat and do some fishing near the shore or go on a fishing charter to enjoy open ocean sports fishing for larger fish such as marlin, tuna, mahi-mahi, and sharks.
You can bring your own fishing gear, but there are rentals and local fishing guides who will provide you with everything you need to catch some fish in Nantucket.
While taking photos is usually something you will do while enjoying other activities, in Nantucket, you can spend hours and entire days concentrating on taking some stunning photographs.
The island has more than 80 miles of the most beautiful beaches, some mesmerizing sunsets, and more historic buildings in a small space than any other county or town of this size in the USA.
It is also known for its wildlife refuges, sanctuaries, and other protected natural and wildlife resources.
Nantucket is home to three of the oldest functioning lighthouses, the oldest working windmill, and streets made of cobblestones built centuries ago.
It is also home to the famous Whaling Museum, with unique exhibits, including a real sperm whale skeleton 46 feet long.
Plus, you can take charming and postcard-like photos of its famous rose-covered cedar shake cottages, the perfect blooming gardens, the beautiful gourmet seafood dishes and snacks there, and of the lovely people who choose Nantucket for their summer vacation and second house destination too.
So, overall there are so many places and things in Nantucket which are perfect photo-ops that you can spend a lot of your time there focusing on taking the best photos ever.