The island of Nantucket is one of the best places in the United States to spend a summer vacation — or any vacation, for that matter. The island off the coast of Massachusetts is petite, but it packs a lot into its 47 square miles. Renowned for its family-friendly atmosphere and idyllic villages, Nantucket delights travelers of all ages with activities ranging from the historical whaling museum to interactive wildlife experiences, and there’s plenty of fun for adults too: fishing, nature walks, fine dining, and much more.
Our trip to Nantucket was absolutely wonderful. The home is perfect for large family gatherings, reunions, and trips with friends. The local concierges were very attentive and saw to our every need. Bike rentals delivered to the house were ideal. Our experience on Nantucket allowed us to create memories we will never forget with our family and friends. We highly recommend it.Heather H.Inspirato Member
Inspirato’s vacation rentals on Nantucket range from large residences with ample yard space — perfect for hosting a traditional lobster boil, pizza party, or family reunion — to charming homes located closer to town. Wherever members stay, there’s plenty of activities for filling an itinerary of any length. Check out some of our favorites below and start planning the perfect Nantucket vacation.
Things to Do in Nantucket
Picnic with a Landmark
With beach grasses blowing in the wind and waves crashing in the distance, the scene at Great Point Lighthouse is quintessential Nantucket. Immerse the family in the iconic environs for a beach picnic. The peninsula upon which the lighthouse is located is a protected wildlife refuge teeming with numerous species of birds, seals, and flora, plus miles of trails. You will need a vehicle with four-wheel drive, as you will need to drive on the beach for part of the trip.
Explore by Bike
The historic streets and sights of Nantucket are best enjoyed — and often easiest to navigate — from a bicycle. Inspirato’s team can arrange bike rentals for the whole family, allowing everyone to leisurely pedal through the quaint setting. For an informative excursion, try a guided bike tour; members can customize their own trek or go for one of the classic tours that emphasize Nantucket history and scenery.
Get on the Water
The waters around Nantucket are rife with marine life and a charter with vendors like Absolute Sport Fishing is a great way to experience it all. Climb aboard the 40-foot boat alongside an expert captain and crew, who will help scope out striped bass, tuna, and even sharks. Or, sail the storied waters aboard the Endeavor, the longest operating sail charter on Nantucket.
Have a Drink
Cisco Brewers is Nantucket’s local spirits makers. Chances are, if you have a drink anywhere on the island, Cisco made it, whether beer, wine, or liquor. Sit outside at their beer garden and sample the spirits to the tune of live music. Members can also tour the three booze-making facilities, sipping tasty concoctions at each stop. Be sure to try the Whale’s Tail Pale Ale and Cap’n Swain’s Extra Stout.
The Beaches of Nantucket
Nantucket has a full 82 miles of some of the most beautiful coastal beaches in New England. North Shore beaches are ideal for young families, the South Shore is great for surfers, and the East Shore makes a perfect spot for four-wheeling. Some our favorites include:
Services include a playground, water-sports rentals, a restaurant, restrooms, and more.
Great for picnics, surfing, and lounging.
Gentle surf with long, uncrowded stretches of sand; a popular spot for watching sunsets.
Close to the popular and quaint village of Sconset with beach and pond access
Dining in Nantucket
The Nantucket Lobster Trap – The Lobster Trap has been catching tourists and locals alike for more than 40 years. With a lobster tank up front, your handpicked dinner awaits. This go-to seafood spot always serves up the best the island has to offer.
The Summer House Restaurant – A lovely evening awaits you wherever you sit at this cozy Nantucket favorite. Inside, gentle lighting and live piano music complement the menu of East Coast classics. The patio boasts great ocean views.
Straight Wharf Restaurant – With a menu that changes daily based on the day’s local haul, you can be sure each plate of fish, mussels, scallops, clams, and more is as fresh as it gets. The restaurant is something of a local landmark, thanks to its beloved renditions of classic New England cuisine and elegant ambiance.
CRU — Seafood reigns supreme on Nantucket, and oysters are among the top of the pack. CRU serves an array of locally sourced oysters — check the daily menu card for the day’s selections — and other seafood in a beautiful waterfront setting. A spot on the patio is one of Nantucket’s most coveted.
Things to Know About Nantucket
Nantucket’s most popular season is summer, when the weather is warmer and sunnier. The summer season typically begins around Memorial Day weekend and ends around Labor Day weekend though fall events and early spring festivals attract visitors to the island outside of the high season. Expect summer temperatures to range from the high 50s to mid-70s, and winter temperatures to hover around the mid-20s to mid-40s.
Fly into Nantucket Memorial Airport (ACK). A few airlines offer year-round service, but seasonal options expand from June through September. Connections are usually available through several major East Coast airports, with Boston generally offering the most options. Alternatively, take a ferry from Hyannis on Cape Cod. Choose from high-speed options or traditional ferries that can carry a car to the island. Ferries book up quickly, so it’s best to make a reservation as far in advance as possible.
Since the island is just 47 square miles, you won’t have a long drive or ride to many places. The preferred mode of transportation is bicycling, and Inspirato’s team is happy to rent bikes for members. Rental vehicles are also available, though limited.