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Nantucket, Massachusetts Travel Guide

Nantucket Summary


  • Over 100 miles of beautiful, pristine beaches
  • World-class restaurants, high-end enough for even the most refined palates
  • Fun for all ages: playgrounds for the kids; quaint shops and luxurious eateries for the adults; the beach for, well, everyone
  • Easily accessible from Cape Cod or Martha's Vineyard via ferry
  • A photographer's delight, with plenty of rocky cliffs, hushed harbors, historic lighthouses, and stunning old mansions
  • Home to cute, comfy bed and breakfasts, cozy inns, and luxury hotels
  • Isolated, tranquil areas, like Siasconset and Madaket (though locals are concerned about development spoiling the serenity)
  • Extremely safe, especially for children and families


  • Expensive dining
  • Increase of development, much to the locals' dismay
  • Mass influx of tourists during summer months

What It's Like

After its money-making whaling industry capsized, tourism saved this little island, located 30 miles off the coast of Massachusetts. With over 100 miles of free, public sandy shores, Nantucket -- a Native American word meaning "land far out to sea" -- is basically one big beach. Consequently, the island's multiple shores, like Children's Beach (ideal for families) and Surfside Beach (a popular swimming and biking beach), are its main attractions.

Nantucket's Whaling Museum is also one of the island's focal points, enticing visitors with a 43-foot skeleton of a finback whale at its entrance. Shopping abounds on Nantucket as well, with oodles of locally-made goods to choose from: handmade baskets; custom jewelry; fine textiles; hand-hooked rugs.

Like on many other New England islands, dining in Nantucket can be quite a pricey affair. Fortunately, just about all of it is fabulously delectable. Visitors craving seafood will find an especially wide variety of fresh picks of the day like lobster, bluefish, and clams.

Where To Stay

The historic district, or the harbor area, is a great place for visitors who want to be close to shops and restaurants. (Most of the hotels and B&Bs are conveniently located in this area, anyway.) But for visitors seeking a remote, romantic getaway, a few hotels lie in Wauwinet and Siasconset, which are more distant locales.

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