One of the destinations on my very long bucket list is Nantucket. I’ve even had a few Nantucket travel guides saved to my Pinterest in hopes I’ll one day make it to this charming island.
I remember a friend growing up from elementary school whose family went to Nantucket every summer to vacation. I never really thought about this destination outside of that until more recently.
More friends keep visiting and it seems to be growing in popularity. Not that it wasn’t ever a great destination, but more and more friends seem to making the trip to check out this quaint New England island. And I finally had too much FOMO and needed to see it for myself.
Nantucket Travel Guide
If you’re heading to the grey lady (a charming nickname for this island) for a little getaway, here is my ultimate Nantucket travel guide. From where to stay on the island, to the best restaurants and meals I ate. Plus, a few tips on navigating the island and things to know before you visit.
Things To Do On Nantucket
Walk The Bluff
This is a beautiful walk along the backyards of gorgeous homes on one side, and the ocean on the other. Walk all the way down to the Sankaty Head Lighthouse. This is located at Sconset Beach and is known as the Sconset Bluff Walk off Baxter Road.
Watch The Sunset At Galley Beach
A beautiful spot to watch the sunset with cocktails and you can get a few bar bites too. The dinner menu looked great.
Walk Around Downtown Nantucket
There are so many great shops, boutiques and restaurants in this area. Browse, grab a snack, head to the docks, and just stroll the cobblestone streets.
A few favorites to stop into include Current Vintage which has a great wine shop and also vintage clothing, Veronica Beard, Faherty, and Bodega for their home decor selection.
Rent a bike from one of the many bike shops in town and bike along this cute island. You can get to just about anywhere by bike if you really want to.
You can’t go to Nantucket and not get on the water. Book a sunset sail to enjoy the water and do something a little different. Bring some easy snacks or a sandwich and some wine to have dinner on the boat if you like.
Best Restaurants On Nantucket
The spot to get ice cream. They also serve up smoothies and blended drinks. All the flavors we tried of their ice cream were delicious. And extremely generous portions.
Head to Jack & Charlie’s for a sweet treat with their ice cream. But this spot is also open for breakfast to grab coffee and breakfast. Choose from their various breakfast sandwiches, bagels, yogurt parfaits and homemade muffins
The Proprietors Bar & Table
A great spot to share a few plates. We loved the eggplant tartine, roasted carrots and cavatelli.
Known for their great sandwiches this is an easy and quick spot to grab breakfast or lunch. Grab a sandwich before heading out to sail as this is located right near the dock.
The pastry chef here is whipping up your classic croissants, but also the most EPIC cookies. Get the Snickerdoodle cookie as it is packed with white chocolate chips and one of the best cookies I think I’ve ever had.
Head to Island Coffee Roasters for a spicy chai latte, or drip coffee. Grab their cinnamon muffin (my favorite) or chocolate croissant. Limited pastries, mostly muffins, but good solid coffee options.
Head to the casual beachside restaurant, Sandbar, to grab lunch or dinner. The BLT sandwich and fish sandwich were our favorites. Or grab a cocktail and sit in an Adirondack chair and just chill.
Come for dinner or just drinks and light bites to watch the sunset. One of the best spots to take in the view. Definitely a nicer spot and you’ll probably want to make reservations.
The oysters also came with one of the best mignonettes I have ever had. Bar menu is limited.
A laid-back casual seafood spot. Epic lobster quesadillas and they are known for their tacos. I wasn’t super blown away by this place.
Grab a coffee and muffin before you start your day at this charming coffee shop. From chai lattes, to london fogs and classic espresso drinks, grab a beverage and sit outside next to their vintage truck.
Don’t overlook this liquor store that is serving up the most delicious and flavorful breakfast burritos I have ever had. Their menu includes breakfast tacos and acai bowls, to cubanos for lunch and giant rice krispie treats, this spot is a must visit.
Really yummy sandwiches and a few baked goods. We got the turkey salad sandwich and the roast beef. Both were delicious, but the roast beef was really delicious!
One of my favorite meals and you’d never suspect it at this little self serve taco stand. This is a fast-casual order at the counter taco spot.
The tacos are MASSIVE and could easily be shared. They also serve up frozen strawberry lemonades and soft serve ice cream.
Tips To Visiting Nantucket
Best Time Of Year To Visit Nantucket
I visited Nantucket towards the end of September which was getting close to end of season. A handful of places had shut the week before for the season, but most things were still open.
This meant a much quieter island and honestly, I loved it. The days were warm, and the evenings were chilly. It meant packing a lot of options, but otherwise, it was really pleasant weather.
There were still tons of limelight hydrangeas in bloom, but nothing like it is in the spring and summer.
Shoulder seasons are those in-between months where things aren’t too busy like March, April and September, October. May through August are going to be much busier and hotter but you’ll definitely get that quintessential Nantucket boom of hydrangeas.
Getting To Nantucket
Nantucket makes for a really easy weekend trip from New York City or Boston and even Philadelphia.
Where To Stay On Nantucket
There are a few hotels on the island like the beautiful White Elephant Inn, Life House, and Hotel Pippa to name a few. Hotels are pretty pricy and have limited space and smaller rooms (mostly fitting just two people).
For more space, you can try Airbnb’s on the island. We stayed at this Airbnb and loved how close it was to town.
When deciding where to stay, you’ll probably want to be close to downtown Nantucket or Brant Point. This area is very walkable, and then you can Uber or bike elsewhere.
Other Things To Know About Visiting Nantucket
I can’t end this Nantucket travel guide without a few things to know before you go. Here’s a few tips to make the most of your trip.
This is a small town with small restaurants, so it’s important to make reservations when you can. I also found this island to be insanely expensive.
Between the wealthy tourists to the fact that everything needs to be shipped or flown in, it just added to the prices. Keep this in mind as you will not find many deals.
There is just one grocery store on the island, Stop & Shop. I’d come prepared with things you really need.
The airport is insanely small so you don’t need a lot of time to get through it.