Visiting Nantucket

The Best Things to Do When Visiting Nantucket

If you are planning a trip to visiting Nantucket, we recommend creating a list of the places you want to visit and the things you want to do while on the island. This will help you make the most of your visit.

The Massachusetts island of visiting Nantucket is a charming town and county with a small all-year-round population of fewer than 15,000 people. But in the summer, thanks to the seasonal residents and the tourists, it can reach up to 50,000 people.

Thankfully, there are many beaches, places, museums, and attractions you can enjoy when vacationing there.

There are also great restaurants, cafes, bakeries, stores, markets, and more.

Here are some of the top things to put on your to-do list for your visiting Nantucket trip:

Enjoy the Beaches

With more than 24 beaches spanning 82 miles around the island, there is a perfect beach for everyone who visits Nantucket. 

The north shore beaches are the best option for families and older vacationers, as the water is calmer and warmer. 

The south shore ones are better for surfers, advanced swimmers, and adventurers. The eastern beaches have a stunning natural setting and wildlife.

Visit the Whaling Museum

The whaling industry was an important part of the history and life of the island of Nantucket. You can visit the unique Whaling museum to find out more, see a complete 12-meter long skeleton of a sperm whale there, and find out unknown details about the inspiration for the writing of Moby Dick.

The Sankaty Head Light Lighthouse

Built in1850, this beautiful lighthouse is located at the easternmost point of Nantucket in the Siasconset Village. It is an operating lighthouse to this day and one of the best spots for sightseeing and photos on the island.

The Shipwreck and Lifesaving Museum

Due to the strong waves and extreme weather around some parts of Nantucket, hundreds of ships were lost to shipwrecks back in time.

In this family-friendly museum, you will see various exhibits of actual parts and treasures from the ships and pictures and models of the different ships which are still on the bottom of the ocean.

The Old Mill

This is the single remaining smock mill on the island. It was built in the 1700s and was restored in the 1800s when it became a part of the Historical Association of Nantucket. You can visit it individually or join a Historic Sites guided tour to find out more about this historical building.

The Lightship Basket Museum

Lightship basket weaving has been a traditional craft on the island of Nantucket since the 1830s.

In this museum, you can see a large collection of baskets from the local Native Americans and more, which were made from the 19th century until today.

The Loines Observatory

You can spend a romantic evening or take your kids to the observatory on the island, where you can watch meteor showers explore different constellations as well as other phenomena viewable in the clear night sky above Nantucket.

The Coskata – Coatue Wildlife Refuge

At this wildlife refuge, you can see a wide array of different wild birds and animals, such as deer, seals, raptors, and more. The refuge includes 16 miles of roads and trails. There you can also see the lighthouse and the beautiful nature along the rolling dunes and the sandy beaches.

The Oldest House

As you can probably guess by its name, this is the oldest still existing house built on the island of Nantucket. It was built back in 1686 in a stunning meadow surrounded by old trees.

Today, this house, which is also known as the Jethro Coffin House, is part of the Nantucket Historical Association.

It is easy to get to, and depending on where you have rented a vacation home or are staying. You can reach it by car, bike, walking, taxi, or shuttle.

Go on an Endeavor Sailing Excursion

Book a sailing excursion around the Endeavor sloop for a tour around the Nantucket Sound. You can enjoy learning more about the history of maritime on the island, view some of the most stunning wildlife and views, and, if lucky, you can even get a sighting of a whale.

The Nantucket Aquarium

At the local aquarium, you can see all of the local fish and aquatic species that inhabit the island’s water.

You and your family and kids can enjoy viewing live fish, seahorses, sharks, and other species.

There is an outdoor tank for larger fish, sharks, and crabs and an indoor touch tank for fish, snails, and clams.

Best of all, if you are an animal lover, you will appreciate the fact that the Aquarium prides itself in the fact that all animals are returned back into the ocean where they can live freely.