Although it is often lumped up with the other islands in the Massachusetts archipelago, Nantucket is a definite standout and has its own very unique character and charm.
This historical New England Island has some features which can be found in Nantucket only. One of them includes the famous Nantucket Reds. These are actually pants which are in a faded red brick to salmon pink color, made of sailcloth and invented to mimic the red sails of the ships in France. The only place in the world where you can buy a pair of these pants, or other Nantucket Reds clothes is at Murray’s Toggery Shop on Main Street. It was there where the owner first introduced these very specific pants back in the 1960s.
But it’s not only the red and pink pants that make the island of Nantucket so special. It is the whole vibe of this place that will enchant you.
Nantucket is a perfect destination to head to if you want to get away from everything, and yet be in the center of the civilized world. After booking a place to stay, you can explore the wildlife and nature of the remote areas of the island, or spend your day in town where there are exclusive boutiques and some of the best restaurants in the USA. There is something for everybody on this island, which is often referred to as the Little Gray Lady of the Sea.
Where should you eat in Nantucket?
Since it has become such a popular destination and magnet for the rich and famous, it comes to no surprise that there are some of the finest restaurants and eateries which have set up shop there.
In fact, it has become a favorite vacation spot for foodies, especially for those who enjoy eating the freshest seafood, and the best lobster rolls.
But even if you are not into seafood, you will surely find the right food to meet your preferences when visiting Nantucket.
As soon as you step off of the ferry and onto the island, you can go straight into the seafood restaurant CRU. This is where you can eat some of the best oysters and lobster roll, and where the menu changes daily based on the catch of the day.
Around the corner of this restaurant, you will find the Straight Wharf Restaurant. It has been working for over forty years and offers some of the best seafood and fresh produce dishes in Nantucket.
It is located in a shingle-style building but inside, you will be able to experience a true fine dining experience thanks to the talented team of chefs and the brilliant service. If you are new to this restaurant, you can try out the Seafood bake which is their specialty and includes lobster, littleneck clams, potatoes and chorizo.
Dune is another top-rated restaurant where you can eat elevated seafood and fresh produce dishes, choose from a long list of wines or enjoy some handcrafted cocktails.
If you feel like eating a delicious steak, or surf and turf, then you should go to Brant Point Grill.
Topper’s is further away from the center of the town but is often referred to as the best restaurant on Nantucket. At Topper’s you can eat some Resto Oysters which are cultivated at less than 100 yards from the restaurant, and choose from over 1,500 of the best wines in the world.
If you want to find somewhere where you can enjoy a few drinks, then you can go to Galley Beach where you can enjoy drinking a craft cocktail in the Lounge or Beach Bar of an unadulterated view of the Atlantic.
The Club Car is a historical diner that used to be a railroad station in the late 1800s. Since rail transport never really caught up in Nantucket, it was reformed into a diner and the railroad and trains were removed and sold as scrap. Today it is one of the most popular restaurants and piano bars on the island.
If you prefer a more relaxed atmosphere, you should visit Cisco Brewers. It has a beer garden where you can enjoy the crafted beer from the brewery, as well as multiple other beverages including wine and liquor from the vineyards and distilleries in the region.
Cisco Brewery is open from 11 am every day and the live music starts playing at 3 pm, so by the evening it has a festival-like vibe.
What are the best things to do in Nantucket?
You can choose from over 25 of the most beautiful beaches in the world when you are on vacation in Nantucket. Each of the beaches has its charm, advantages and disadvantages, but all of them will provide you with some of the most stunning ocean views you have ever seen.
You can also take leisurely walks on the many walking paths of the island. One of the most picturesque and romantic ones is the Sconset Bluff Walk from the village of Siasconset to the Sconset Beach and the Sankaty Head Light.
There are two more spectacular and fully functional lighthouses in Nantucket, including Brant Point where you can witness some of the most stunning sunsets and views of the harbor.
Exploring the town and the other villages and areas on the island is a complete pleasure thanks to the picture-perfect setting, the New England-style historic architecture, the abundance of blossoming flowers, and the cobblestone roads. You can also rent and ride bikes on the island, and take some bike audio tours. There are also crag climbing spots at Sleighride for an outdoor adventure for the sporty tourist.
Or, you can delve into the history of the island, and visit the Whaling Museum, the Shipwreck and Lifesaving Museum, as well as other historic sites to find out why the people of Nantucket are proud of their history and are doing their best to preserve it until this day. You will also learn more about why the island was called the whaling capital of the world, how it inspired the writing of Moby Dick, and what the local people risked for helping all of the shipwreck victims through the years.
When to go to Nantucket?
While the peak of the season is during July and August, the summer season officially starts in May and ends on Labor Day in October.
During the peak, the island can become very overcrowded, which is why it is a good idea to consider visiting Nantucket in the spring or fall, during the shoulder season, which includes May, June, September and October.
There will be fewer people, more available hotel rooms or short-term rentals, and more tables and seats in the best restaurants. Plus, there are several local festivals that are held during these months, including the Cranberry, Book, Wine and Film festivals.
Where to stay in Nantucket?
This depends on your budget and preferences. There are some excellent luxurious hotels and inns in Nantucket, with all amenities and everything you will need in order to enjoy a perfect vacation. But for a more authentic experience and in many cases a much less expensive one, you may want to book one of the many short-term rental residences on the island. Some of the leading residential rental companies offer online bookings and a wide choice of homes and accommodations of different types, in various areas and for all budgets.
If you are planning on a wedding or another celebration in Nantucket, renting a house or more residences will not only save you money but will also be a much more convenient way to accommodate and enjoy more time with your family and guests.