If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that a few weeks ago my husband and I took our first trip to Nantucket. For years we have been wanting to go and see what all the fuss is about! I am not going to lie, I really wasn’t that impressed and I’m not sure if we’ll ever go back. But nonetheless, I am glad we tried something new.
Perhaps the disappointment came from the fact that we were expecting something completely different; many people have compared it to Palm Beach when speaking to us, and the two aren’t very similar. However, I still wanted to write a post to share our trip and share some of our favorite parts, as well as answer some FAQs.
How do you get to Nantucket?
Nantucket isn’t very easy to get to, unfortunately. Unless you’re coming from somewhere like NYC or Boston, or flying private, you’ll likely have a layover. We found a great deal on a flight through Delta for around $300 per person roundtrip. However, that price is a rarity depending on the city you’re coming from, as well as the days you’re traveling. It is common to see flights around $800 per person roundtrip. There is one tiny airport on the island and from there you can either Uber or rent a car to get to your next spot. Another option is to drive to Cape Cod and take the ferry, either with or without your car. But I am not going to lie, the ferry can get expensive – especially if you take a car or if you have a group of people coming, so it may be best to do research to compare options.
Where should I stay?
We stayed in an Airbnb that was about a mile outside of town. There are definitely benefits of staying in town; however, the place we stayed was around $200 a night which is an absolute steal. It was the whole first floor of a guest cottage, it had a full kitchen and a washer and dryer, etc. There are countless rentals in the area, but they do book up fast and are not cheap! We booked ours back in December and our host is currently booked all summer (which I’m not surprised about considering the price point). If we’d ever head to Nantucket again I would stay at The White Elephant. It is in town, they have great service, a great restaurant, bikes for guests, and wagons for kiddos and their families. Additionally, the hotel portion of The White Elephant is right on the kid’s beach which has a nice playground and park. Plus it being within walking distance from town makes it easier for families with kids, in my opinion.
How do I get around?
Depending on where you’re staying, it may be easier/harder to get around. There are car rental services on the Island, but they are extremely expensive. If we would have booked one for 3 nights it would have been over $500. I honestly would only suggest bringing a car over on the ferry if you’re staying within walking distance from town. Parking in town gets to be a nightmare, and it is easier to just walk or Uber in. However, having a car would become useful when traveling to other areas of the island that aren’t within walking distance. We Ubered everywhere and for our trip, it was cheaper than renting a car would have been. We had considered renting bikes but we are glad we didn’t. It was just too windy while we were there, and since we mainly spent time in town where bikes aren’t the easiest to ride, it was easier to just Uber and walk. The town has original cobblestone roads and uneven brick sidewalks, which makes it hard to get around on a bike or with a stroller or wheelchair.
When is the best time to go?
Since we were first-timers, we may not be the best people to answer this. However, according to numerous locals we spoke to, we came at a good time. Locals told us that around June 20th is when things really pick up – things are also busier on the weekends or if there is an event like a festival happening locally. When things get busy, sidewalks become shoulder-to-shoulder, restaurants require reservations, waits are long, and a drive that should take 10 minutes takes 30 minutes. But keep in mind, many places are seasonal and don’t open until the week before Memorial Day. Also, a good amount of shops and restaurants don’t open until Wednesday or Thursday during the week. We traveled Tuesday through Friday and had more than enough time to do and see everything – we even went to Martha’s Vineyard one day. I think it was the perfect travel schedule for this destination.
Where to eat?
We ate somewhere different for every meal and some places were definitely better than others. But here were our favorite spots:
- Steamboat Pizza – this is a great option if you want to order in for a relaxing evening – or grab pizza by the slice at their little storefront. This is genuinely some of the best pizza I’ve ever had!
- Lemon Press – we enjoyed breakfast here and it was great to have some healthier options to choose from. They offer breakfast and lunch – dine-in or carry-out. Plus the aesthetic was a vibe!
- B-ACK Yard BBQ – we love BBQ places and this did not disappoint! They have three different sauces at the table and tons of meat choices.
- Brant Point Grill – located at the White Elephant and open for all meals. We had breakfast here and it was fabulous! Our favorites were the chocolate chip pancakes and a breakfast sandwich that isn’t on the website menu currently.
- Island Kitchen – this is not in town, but is a great option if you can get there! They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner – we had breakfast and it was delicious and super affordable.
- The Juice Bar – if you’re in the mood for ice cream, The Juice Bar is THE stop. Like most food on Nantucket, it is extremely overpriced, but it is a rite of passage.
What to do?
Honestly, there wasn’t a ton to do on the Island in my opinion. Maybe that is another reason why I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. Being New England, swimming in the ocean is pretty much out of the question. But there are some nice shops to walk around (especially in town), some museums to visit, and you can charter a boat for the day depending on the weather. You can also sightsee at one of the lighthouses on the island – we went to the Brant Point lighthouse which is an easy walk from town.
We visited the Whaling Museum and it was much bigger than we expected it to be! A lot of the information was very interesting. However, it is still a smaller museum so I can see it getting very crowded. Additionally, it isn’t a very “kid-friendly” activity – I think the exhibits would be quite boring for many children. However, they do have a play area for children in the museum that is quite nice.
On our trip, we only packed carry-on sized suitcases, which kept my shopping to a minimum. However, I still wanted to share my favorite shops we stopped in if you’re curious to check them out. There were some “chain” stores that were worth visiting – like Lilly Pulitzer, Vineyard Vines, Veronica Beard, and Ralph Lauren. Plus, Hill House opened a summer pop-up shop the day we left – I am so sad we didn’t get to see it! But for some more local/small businesses we really enjoyed Murray’s, Erica Wilson, Cattivo, The Lovely, and Grace Geier – just to name a few.
We also felt the need to visit Cisco Brewers – which is a very popular spot on Nantucket. They make wine, beer, and hard liquor – so there is really something for anyone who enjoys alcohol. They also have a few food trucks set up each day. We enjoyed tacos from Millie’s – which is a restaurant we had heard a lot about so we were happy to see they had a setup there. The tacos were delicious! The brewery was smaller than we had imagined, but it was a great little spot to enjoy a drink and grab a snack.
I hope you all enjoyed this post on suggestions for Nantucket. While the trip wasn’t exactly what we expected it to be, it was nice to visit somewhere new and check it off of our bucket list! Be sure to subscribe to my email list down below to get notified when I put out more content just like this.
Thanks for reading!