24 Things To Do in Nantucket

June 13, 2024

Things To Do in Nantucket

Nantucket is a place I hope I can continue returning to my whole life. There is something magical about this quaint island just off Massachusetts and you have to really experience it to understand. The pristine beaches, the fresh seafood, the warm hospitality, the fascinating history and the lovely summer weather all make this a place worth exploring.

I just returned from my sixth trip to the island and wanted to share an updated guide to what I think are the best things to do when you visit the island.

What To Do on Nantucket

24 Best Things to Do in Nantucket

Fun Things To Do in Nantucket

Nantucket Guide I wit & whimsy

Rent a boat

You can hire a boat to take you out on the seas or privatize one to sail yourself while on the island. It is a beautiful way to soak up summer by seeing the island from afar and being out on the Nantucket Sound. Don’t miss the opportunity to spot the famous lighthouses on island, too. There’s Sankaty Head Lighthouse, Brant Point Lighthouse and Great Point Lighthouse.

Nantucket Where to Eat Guide

Picnic on the Beach

There’s nothing better than a beach picnic, right?

You can shop at any grocery store on island but I’m also partial to all the delicious prepared foods being made at Bartlett Farms.

And I absolutely love getting sandwiches for the beach from either Something Natural or Provisions. 

Try Beer Flights at Cisco Brewers

Cisco Brewers was established on Nantucket and remains one of the best spots to visit when on the island. Each day they have a variety of food trucks on site and they even offer a free shuttle to and from the brewery to downtown. And the beers are so good! They have so many on tap to try.

What To Do on Nantucket

Experience the Beaches

There are a variety of beaches on the island with Steps Beach being my personal favorite. Surfside Beach and Fisherman’s Beach are also great. Pick a new one each day that you’re visiting and get a sense of each part of the island by doing so.

Have dinner at Bar Yoshi

Bar Yoshi serves Japanese-Asian inspired seafood including ceviche and sushi but don’t miss out on their dumplings and even the sweet potato fries, too. The Crab Rangoons are absolutely to die for.

What To Do on Nantucket

Rent Bikes

Seeing the island by bike is one of the best ways to experience it in my opinion! There are several bike rental shops in the downtown area and I personally like the staff at the Nantucket Bike Shop. Be sure to grab a free map to take with you in your bike basket so you can orient yourself and see what parts of Nantucket you may want to explore. 

What To Do on Nantucket

Stay at 21 Broad

Located in the heart of downtown, this boutique hotel makes for the perfect home base while on the island. There aren’t a lot of Nantucket Hotels so you’ll want to book early. The staff here is friendly and helpful, they serve a lovely continental breakfast and the rooms are airy and bright. 

They also put on a lovely little BYOB cocktail hour each evening with all sorts of mixers and warm chocolate chip cookies!

The 21 Broad Hotel is walking distance from so many of my island favorites and I absolutely love it for that.


The downtown area of Nantucket features all sorts of small boutiques amidst its cobblestone streets. From art galleries to clothing to jewelry, you’ll find a variety of darling shops to peruse. Bring home a famed Nantucket sweatshirt or visit Erica Wilson for charming needlepoint designs you can use to remember your time on the island.

Unique Things To Do in Nantucket

Hike in the Coskata Coatue Wildlife Refuge

Explore miles of trails including the popular Beach Trail, Inside Trail, and Coskata Woods Trail and you’ll enjoy miles of beachfront. It’s the perfect way to get in a workout while on the island.

What To Do on Nantucket

Enjoy Nantucket Restaurant Week

Every June for a few days, Nantucket Restaurant Week returns to the island and participating restaurants serve up special three course menus to enjoy their offerings.

Attend The Nantucket Film Festival

The Nantucket Film Festival was founded in 1996 and runs every mid-June on the island with a focus on screenwriting.

Visit the Nantucket Historical Association

If you’re a history buff, don’t miss the opportunity to pop by the Nantucket Historical Association. A ticket will also get you entry to the island’s Whaling Museum.

Nantucket Guide I wit & whimsy

Watch the Sunset at Galley Beach

Both a beach name and the name of a New American restaurant on the beach serving up delicious food and craft cocktails. Time it right and you’ll be able to enjoy a stunning Nantucket sunset from this spot. In summer this is one of the most popular spots so be sure to book in advance by calling for a reservation!

Rent a Jeep

Nantucket boasts areas on island where you can explore oversand vehicle routes and therefore Jeep rentals are a popular activity on island.

Go on a Walking Tour

The Nantucket Historical Association puts on walking tours that will guide you around town to better learn about the history of the island and much of what makes it so special.

Free Things To Do in Nantucket

Nantucket Summer Outfit White Dress

Enjoy the Sconset Bluff Walk

One of the most majestic and quiet sides of the island, “Sconset” is short for Siasconset – the Eastern end of Nantucket island. There’s a beautiful bluff walk along the cliffs that offers sweeping views of the ocean and a way to see a variety of homes and gardens in the neighborhood. 

While in the neighborhood, if you go in the morning, be sure to grab one of the famous blueberry muffins at the Sconset market. To die for!

Swim at Jetties Beach

Jetties is said to have the warmest water temperatures off the island so go for a dip at this beach that also features a casual sandbar restaurant nearby.

Visit the Book stores

Nantucket is home to some lovely bookstores that are worth browsing (and buying if you want to support some small businesses!) Two of my favorites are Nantucket Bookworks and Mitchell’s Book Corner.

Things To Do in Nantucket With Kids

Have a Photo Shoot

A beautiful souvenir to have from your family vacation are some photos taken on island. My friend Georgie Morley is an on-island photographer who is wonderful with family photography sessions. 

What To Do on Nantucket

Enjoy The Juice Bar Ice Cream

No trip to Nantucket is complete without a visit (or daily visits!) to the famed Juice Bar. Serving up the best homemade ice cream you’ll find, I dream of my return to this shop each time. I recommend the Cookies and Cream or the Peanut Butter Cookie Dough. And don’t miss their homemade sprinkles!

Watch a Puppet Show

Every Wednesday kiddos can watch a puppet show at Cisco Brewers put on by Nanpuppets. The perfect family friendly activity.

Take the Ferry

If you’re just coming for the day, take the kids on the high speed ferry. Be sure to book your tickets in advance.

Nantucket Waterfront

Visit the Whaling Museum

This is a well run museum with plenty of great history and artifacts on display to teach kids about the history of the island.

Climb a Church Tower

Get 360-views of the island, the Nantucket Sound and the Atlantic Ocean from the tower of the First Congregational Church. Kids 11 and under have free admission.

. . .

Nantucket What To Do

Have you been to Nantucket? I’d love to hear what you enjoy doing!

And don’t miss my Nantucket Travel Guide for even more of my favorite spots on the island.

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[Photos of me by Georgie Morley]

comments +

  1. Rebecca says:

    Just wanted Meghan to know she looks really good in all of these outfits. I’m hoping to go to France next year and use your travel site. We want to do a French class for 3 weeks maybe and n Lyon first? I want to visit Annecy and maybe Switzerland

    • Meghan says:

      This is so kind! Thanks, Rebecca! Our team would love to see if we might be able to help with your trip – feel free to submit a request when you’re ready! Love Lyon! Was just there a few months back!

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