If you are visiting New England, then you have to check out this cute island! These are the most fun things to do in Nantucket on vacation!
Nantucket is a scenic small town and one of the most sought-after vacation spots in New England.
Whether you choose to go for a weekend or to rent a summer home and spend the entire summer, we guarantee that you will not get tired of Nantucket.
This picturesque island is a paradise for those of you who love endless sandy beaches, exploring charming historic seaside cottages, enjoying views of the ocean, eating buttery and delicious lobster rolls, and shopping in the most exclusive boutiques.
You can choose to spend your vacation on this beautiful island by doing nothing, sleeping late in your rented house, having long brunches, and heading to the beach. Or you can go sightseeing, learn about the island’s history, explore the wildlife and the fantastic views, and more.
Although it is a relatively small island, Nantucket offers endless possibilities for having a fun time throughout the entire summer season.
Here are some of the best ways to spend your time when vacationing in Nantucket.
Ride a bike around the island
The island of Nantucket is only 14 miles long and from 3 to 5 miles wide, and it has an extensive network of bike paths that will allow you to explore all parts of Nantucket while riding a bike.
You can take your own bike with you when you go to Nantucket. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by my lightweight folding bike (view bike) as the quality is very good. It costs only $14 per bike if you take the Steamship Authority Traditional Ferry from Hyannis, MA.
You can also rent a bike or moped for a day, week, or other from one of the several local bike rentals on the island. The average price is $20-$30 per day.
There are some fun-filled and fascinating bike audio tours you can download and listen to as you explore Nantucket.
One of the best bike paths to take is the one from downtown to Sconset.
Walk the Sconset Bluff Walk
This is one of the most picturesque walking paths in the country, so make sure you don’t miss it when you are in Nantucket.
The path is made of beautiful white shells and is about a mile long. As you take a leisurely walk, you will be able to see all of the unique and quaint cottages and gardens in the Siasconset village. These are the iconic weathered gray shingle-style houses with climbing pink roses on trellis and flowers everywhere, becoming a symbol of Nantucket.
The path starts from 21 Front Street and passes by the beautiful Sconset Beach and the colorful Sconset market. The endpoint is the Sankaty Head Light, where you can take some magnificent ocean and landscape pictures.
So, don’t miss out on the opportunity to enjoy a relaxing and romantic walk on this spectacular walking path.
Take a cruise on the harbor
Make sure to plan a harbor cruise in the evening because it is the place where you can enjoy some of the most stunning sunsets in the world.
You can choose from various tours and cruises, including fancy schooners, small tug boats, and some whale watching boats at the Nantucket harbor.
Some of these cruises even offer ice cream and even cocktails and some charcuterie and even oysters. They will take you around the harbor alongside the scenic Brant Point Lighthouse. So, you can enjoy one of the best views on the entire island and take some beautiful photos.
Brant Point Light is the top choice for Instagrammable spots on Nantucket, so you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to take a gorgeous photo of the sun setting above it.
Sydney Harbour is one of the most beautiful places in the world, but it’s hard to enjoy without your own boat. Buying a boat can be incredibly expensive, and there are a lot of rules and regulations that you need to follow.
Take a tour of the Whaling Museum
The Nantucket Whaling Museum is rated as the top attraction on the island by the leading tourism and trip guides. It is home to some unique exhibits, including different whaling tools, models of whaling ships, scrimshaw, paintings, and even a 46-foot sperm whale skeleton.
The museum is located in an original whale oil candle factory from 1847.
You can learn everything you need to know about the glorious days when Nantucket was considered the whaling capital of the world. And also the true horror story of the Essex whaler ship attacked and sunk by a sperm whale which inspired the writing of Moby Dick by Herman Melville and In The Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick.
Since the whaling industry plays such an essential role in history and today’s life on the island, the Whaling Museum is probably the first place to go if you want to understand more about Nantucket’s history, architecture, and people.
Visit and explore the three lighthouses
There are three historic and fully-functioning lighthouses on Nantucket. They are beautiful to observe and crucial for the safety and navigation of the boats and ships passing by or heading to the island.
The Brant Point Lighthouse is one of the best places to enjoy a magnificent sunset and view of the harbor.
The Great Point Lighthouse is on the northernmost point of the island. To get there, you will need to pass through the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Reserve, where you can view various shorebirds, wild animals, and beach plants.
Sankaty Lighthouse is on the easternmost point of the island and is a pretty red and white lighthouse, which was actually moved back by 400 feet from its original site about 15 years ago to protect it from being destroyed by the corroding rocks and beach.
All three lighthouses are fully operational and are among the oldest ones left in the USA.