Nantucket is one of my favorite places on Earth. I started going almost ten years ago when I tagged along with my best friend’s family who goes every year. The 8-mile wide island is full of adorable shingled cottages, hydrangeas, and gorgeous sandy beaches. I am so excited to share my guide to Nantucket today, and I hope you get a chance to visit soon!
Nantucket is 30 miles out to sea, so getting there can seem a little intimidating. There is a tiny airport with direct flights to Boston and New York. Most people take the ferry from Hyannis in Cape Cod, which is a gorgeous (and less expensive) way to get there. When I came from Nashville, I flew into Logan Airport, took a bus to Hyannis, then took the ferry to the island. The whole trip cost me less than $200!
straight wharf restaurant
straight wharf is a must for dinner one night during your stay. The location (overlooking the harbor) is dreamy and food is exquisite. You’ll leave full and happy.
Tavern is one of the more casual dining spots in town, but don’t be fooled by the relaxed atmosphere – the seafood is still top of the line (I always get the scallops). Sit on the second floor for a nice view of the wharf.
The Lobster Trap
I love lobster, but I never understood why it has turned into a white tablecloth occasion meal, because it is one of the messiest situations I’ve ever put myself in. That’s why I LOVE The Lobster Trap. It has all the laid-back vibes of your favorite bar, and they even do the initial breaking of the lobster for you, so you just get to do the fun part. It’s the perfect lobster experience, sans all the pretension.
Every night after dinnertime, you’ll see a line around the block for Juice Bar – and with good reason. They make homemade ice cream and serve dozens of flavors, and are constantly adding new ones. It’s the perfect way to cap off a perfect summer day on island.
This is a newer sandwich maker inside an old bait & tackle shop. You can order one of their signature recipes or make your own. It also doubles as a liquor store with an extensive wine collection – they label their reds & whites “redheads” & “blondes.”
When you’re on the island, you’ll see a distinct flower sticker plastered all over the jeeps & trucks. That is the logo of Something Natural, an iconic Nantucket sandwich spot. Head there for lunch and a sticker of your own.
This my favorite boutique in Nantucket. It’s right on cobblestoned Main Street, and features exclusive collections from bougie beach brands Roller Rabbit and Poupette St. Barth, as well as designers like Ulla Johnson.
Skinny Dip is a really cool shop that showcases capsule collections from a diverse yet relevant selection of designers – like Draper James & Andie Swim.
Annie & The Tees
You would be remiss to leave Nantucket without a signature sweatshirt or tee! Pick one up at Annie & The Tees.
Nantucket is an island, so take your pick of any of the beautiful ones surrounding you for a gorgeous beach day. Steps & Jetties beach are walking distance from town, while Cisco and Surfside are on the South side and have great waves for surfing.
Before it was a playground for the rich, Nantucket was settled as a whaling village and inspired stories like Moby Dick. Visit the Whaling Museum for an extensive history into the town’s origins, which date back to before America was even America.
Cisco Brewery was founded a few years ago and has taken off as one of the coolest destinations on the island. They produce an amazing selection of the best local beer, and the brewery location also features local wine tastings, food trucks, and live music. You could stay there all day and have everything you need.
Affectionately just called ‘Sconset by locals, this neighborhood is on the Easternmost point of the island. Take a day trip there to walk the bluffs and pass the cranberry bogs on your way.