Nantucket has been on my radar since I moved to Boston, and it was only a matter of time until I crossed it off my bucket list. If you haven’t traveled to the quaint little island yet, it’s time you book a trip. You’ll find delicious food and drinks, shingled cottages, fine sanded beaches, and cobblestone streets.
Here is my Nantucket travel guide with where to stay, what to do, what to eat, & insider traveler tips! And we only spent 3 days on this quaint island so I’ll give you everywhere we went to and places we wanted to but didn’t make it to.
Also known as “The Grey Lady” because it’s like the grey lady of the ocean because the island gets covered with a thick fog. People also refer the island as “ACK” because that’s the airport code for the airport. I will say it’s not a budget friendly island, especially in peak season. The island’s population in the offseason is 2,000 which can grow up to 55,000 in the summer months even though it’s less than 48 square miles. One of my favorite things about Nantucket is one side you have the beach and the other side of the harbor.
How to get on the Island
You can fly into “ACK” from nearly airport but I wouldn’t say that’s the easiest nor do you get the full experience.
There’s a ferry from Hyannis with two companies operating out to the island – HyLine & Steamship Authority which both take about an hour. I’d recommend flying into Boston and then driving the hour to Hyannis and hopping on the ferry! You’ll get the full experience pulling right up into the beautiful Nantucket Boat Basin which will give you your first taste!
Where to Stay in Nantucket
We stayed at an AirB&B but i’ve long admired The Cottages at Boat Basin or The White Elephant. Both looked very cute and would give you the ideal “Nantucket” experience. We enjoyed our AirB&B a lot though and there were sooo many to choose from. I would recommend bringing some cash as some places are cash only so it’s nice not to run into any problems finding an ATM.
What to Eat in Nantucket
Island Kitchen – We sat outside at Island Kitchen and they have a lot of seating and can accomodate large groups. They did move on island time, so if you’re in a hurry this may not be the spot for you. I got the tofu scramble, but you can’t go wrong with the avocado toast, eggs benedict, breakfast burrito, or the animal (pictured) which is panko crusted eggs, bacon, sausage, with hollandaise on a brioche bun.
Lemon Press – While we didn’t eat there we did have their lavender lemonade which everytime I see on a menu I have to get. And we stopped in for drinks. I’ve heard this place though, if a great spot for breakfast.
Downyflake – These donuts are the perfect size and they weren’t too dry. They’re cash only ($1) and come in cinnamon sugar, chocolate frosted, coconut, and plain. We got a chocolate and coconut and they were both amazing.
The Handlebar Cafe – I thought this was the best iced coffee we had on the island. They have a cute little water bowl out in front for the pups and you have to walk around to their secret garden to drink your coffee.
Keepers Restaurant – We loved our breakfast here. 3 out of 4 of us got some version of the eggs benedict (fish cake bene & lil’ buddy bene) and both were delish! We got tried “the keeper” because how could you not?
Where we didn’t get to: Black Eyed Susan’s for the pancakes, ‘Sconset Market for the (specifically) blueberry muffins, Brant Point Grill for a bougie brunch with a legendary lobster bloody mary, or 45 Surfside which is known for their pastries.
Oath Pizza – this place has outdoor seating on the water with endless pizza options which makes for a very affordable meal with a view of the harbor.
Millie’s – is right on Madaket Beach so if you go for dinner make sure you walk down to the beach for sunset. But this place is off the beaten path so it was fun to see more of the island on our way. We got some apps and drinks and shared. We got the dip trio with guacamole, queso, & salsa and then a grilled shrimp quesadilla & a steak quesadilla which hit the spot. I also heard the mahi mahi tacos & salads were to die for. After grabbing a bite to eat make sure you head over to Millie’s Market for some hot sauce to take home because it was that good!
Provisions – I heard a lot of buzz around these sandwiches, so I did have high expectations that were 100% met. We all got different sandwiches so we could try them all because so many of them sounded delicious. My favorites were the thanksgiving sandwich (it’s exactly what it sounds like) and the turkey. This place is another place that is cash only.
Cru – This way by far our most expensive meal but we knew it would be. We all got the lobster rolls for dinner with oysters. We could all agree that the lobster rolls were 10/10. They have a chic/nautical interior & right on harbor so you can’t beat the views. We sat inside but they have an adorable little patio as well. We did call and make a reservation which I highly recommend.
Where we didn’t get to: Galley Beach which I was bummed about because who doesn’t love a restaurant/bar sitting right in the sand?! Lola 41 which is the only buzzy sushi spot on the island, and Club Car for the small italian bites and they have a cute little club car which turns into a piano bar at night.
The Juice Bar – Notice how this is the only one listed? It’s because this ice cream shop is the best in the whole wide world. I’m not even kidding. I’d recommend going at an “off” time because there can get a line, even if there is one, it’s worth it.
Drinks & Cocktails
The Gazebo – This bar is in the middle of the little downtown strip & gets really popular at night. It’s a must for a mudslide & 888 vodka drink. We did see El Presidente there…heard he frequents the spot a lot.
Chicken Box – This bar has a stage with live music and can get a little rowdy. Your typical live music/bar scene for a fun night of drinks and dancing.
Straight Wharf – Right next to The Gazebo so it’s a great next spot to go get another drink and keep the night going.
What to do in Nantucket
Brandt Point lighthouse – This is the iconic lighthouse you see everywhere when you think of Nantucket. It was first built in 1746 and then automated in 1965. It’s a great photo op and if you take the ferry in, you’ll get some great views of it.
Cisco Brewery – Cisco is a fun place to spend the afternoon, we went to Cisco beach before we wanted to go because we thought that they were close..learn from us, it’s not within walking distance. But it’s a great place to grab a bite to eat, have a drink, & spend the afternoon. They do have other things than beer to drink, like cocktails and wine! There’s also food trucks to grab a bite and live music to enjoy the afternoon.
Whaling Museum – This is a little museum in town to learn about the history of Nantucket. We didn’t get a chance to stop by but it
Rent Bikes or Mopeds – This is a fun way to get to a different part of the island and see more that you may not be staying around.
Explore the ‘Sconset Bluff Walk – This walk is beautiful walk with views of the ocean and beautiful big homes. You can walk past the cottages and it will lead you straight to Sankaty Head Lighthouse.
Go sailing or out on a boat. Why not be on the water every second you can get.
Head to the beach! We spend a day at both Surfside Beach & Cisco Beach and had a blast at both. Surfside was a little busier and had a restaurant and bathrooms. For majority of the time, we were the only ones at Cisco which was amazing.
Shop – Nantucket is FULL of shopping! If you want it you can get it there from your typical touristy shops and then other must – go to’s including For Now which is a pop-up so consumers can discover new brands and their motto is “find what you weren’t looking for” which I am obsessed with. There’s also a Beautycounter pop up so you can try all their products, if you do go – make sure if you buy anything to let them know you’re shopping with me! (Amanda Sobkowiak). There’s also Skinny Dip Nantucket and Levitate which both have good items to check out!
There’s no way you can cram everything into one trip, we sure didn’t. Trust me, you’ll be back. I know I will!
Until next time, Nantucket!
~ XOXO, Becky aka Amanda