Looking to live on island time while staying in the States? Head out East and visit Nantucket, a tiny island located off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The island is 14 miles in length and three and a half miles wide. It is not easy to get to, but the overwhelming amount of generations of summer visitors speaks for itself. The charming family oriented island is worth the travel time.
Travel by plane into Nantucket Memorial Airport (arguably the cutest airport) via a quick layover in New York, New Jersey, or Boston. Do not forget to pick up quite possibly the trendiest airport code bumper sticker sporting the ACK acronym. Keep an eye out for a direct flight from ORD to ACK offered every so often by United Airlines. As another option, you can enjoy a quick passenger ferry ride from a number of different ports along the East Coast.
The island is home to several breathtaking and convenient bike paths making bike rental essential. Blend in with the locals and rent a Jeep Wrangler to help you successfully navigate around the island. A highlight of your trip will include picking up a beach permit, packing a cooler, deflating your tires, and heading out onto Great Point for a stunning sunset or lighthouse excursion. To elevate your experience, rent a Boston Whaler from Nantucket Boat Basin to explore the sea and check out the local oyster farms.
Once a thriving whaling capital of the world, Nantucket is now a designated National Historic Landmark keeping the town and homes uniquely manicured. The cobblestoned streets and unpainted cedar shingled buildings are what give Nantucket its irresistible charm. As for lodging on the island, many visitors choose to rent one of the hundreds of homes offered by Airbnb or Vrbo. Other options include The Wauwinet Hotel, which is also home to one of the nation’s most acclaimed restaurants, TOPPER’S. Famous for their oysters harvested just 300 yards away, TOPPER’S is a must regardless of where you choose to stay. For a stay closer to town, The White Elephant, is a luxurious resort located alongside the historical harbor. You can also escape to Sconset and stay in a private cottage at The Summer House.
One of the most romantic dinner destinations on the island, The Chanticleer, located in Sconset is perfect for an intimate night out. For a bigger party, book one of their personal dining rooms for an unforgettable night with family and friends. The show stopping menu will leave you booking a second reservation. For a signature dinner, make sure to book The Pearl—located in town—weeks ahead of time as it has been awarded “The Best Seafood Restaurant in all of New England” by New England Travel & Leisure. For a more laid back night, pick up Sayle’s Seafood and host your own clambake dinner at home. Their clam chowder, steamers, mussels, corn on the cob, steamed red potatoes, and buttery lobster forced my family to order Sayle’s two nights in a row!
Every summer night on vacation should be capped with some ice cream. Visit the Juice Bar, located in the heart of Nantucket’s downtown, for irresistible handmade ice cream. Be prepared to wait in a line that wraps around the block!
From t-shirts to couture and khakis to cashmere, Main Street is lined with plenty of retail and home shops to choose from. A fan favorite includes The Skinny Dip, a designer collective that will not leave you empty handed. Walk into Murray’s Toggery Shop to pick up a staple pant known as Nantucket Reds. Other things on the ACK agenda include visiting one of the island’s 3 golf courses or many enchanting resort spas.
Be sure to stop at Something Natural for an Arnold Palmer and Claudette’s Sandwich Shop before heading to one of the 20 public beaches scattered on Nantucket. Popular beaches include Jetties, Nobadeer, Surfside, and Fisherman’s. Keep an eye out for seals basking in the sun! After a relaxing day on the beach, head on over to Cisco Brewers to sip on one of their famous craft beers or a cocktail from their onsite distillery. Remember to bring extra cash as you will undoubtedly stop for some trendy Cisco gear. Continue the evening and head on over to The Gazebo overlooking the harbor for fantastic views and a legendary Gazebo Mudslide. If you have an itch for some live music, be sure to check out the Chicken Box for a fun night on the town.
Whether you are looking to relax on a beach, try some fresh seafood, or indulge in retail therapy Nantucket is a perfect spot to claim the title of next vacation destination.