Nantucket vs. Cape Cod: Discovering Your Island Style

Vacationing in Coastal New England offers a variety of island hopping options. From the shores of the Cape to tiny islands like Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, there is so much to explore. Defining your island style means knowing the distinct differences between each one. Are you looking to relax on a quiet beach with your newest hardback in hand? Or are you searching for bustling city streets? Discover the difference between Nantucket vs. Cape Cod right here!

Want to dive deeper into Nantucket’s rich culture? Access our exclusive Vacation Guide today for all of the best restaurants, things to do, and what to see during your visit! Best of all? It’s free!

Get the Guide

Everything You Need to Know About Nantucket vs. Cape Cod

Although it’s necessary to travel through the Cape to make your way to Nantucket, the two coastal towns could not be more different in style. Cape Cod is an active metropolis while Nantucket is a cozy cobblestone town. Discover everything you need to know when comparing Nantucket vs. Cape Cod. 

Quiet vs. Busy

Cape Cod is filled with popular chain restaurants and shops offering nearly every big-name retailer you could imagine. The Cape is buzzing with activity due to the number of travelers coming in and out. To get to any of the islands, you’ll have to travel to Hyannis which can create heavy traffic in nature. The coastline is also brimming with tourists during the summer season. 

Nantucket affords a more laid back feel with nostalgic cobblestone streets and gorgeous sea-worn cottages. Nearly everything is walkable (or bikeable) on the island, and there is plenty to see. Line the grassy coastline for a quiet stroll on the beach or venture downtown for a peaceful shopping trip. 

Big vs. Small

Cape Cod is a 339 mile long hook-shaped peninsula off the coast of Massachusetts. The Cape boasts a population of approximately 216,000 and is divided into 15 towns and villages. It’s the perfect spot for an active vacation. The peninsula offers a stretch of beaches similar to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, but due to its easily accessible nature, they tend to be more crowded than the islands. 

Nantucket is a tiny island 30 miles off of the Cape. It’s just over 100 miles in area and teeters on a population of 10,000. The beaches are typically quite, and the coastline boasts towering cliffsides and quintessential lighthouses. The downtown area is exclusively Nantucket, and chain corporations are banned on the island. If you’re looking for a quiet escape to a picturesque Atlantic island, you’ll want to plan a visit to Nantucket.         

Escape to Nantucket’s Periwinkle Inn

Ahab room Periwinkle InnIf a quiet, centrally located bed and breakfast is what you’re searching for, look no further than the Periwinkle Inn. Book Ahab, a large corner room boasting a heated floor, a plush king-size bed, and luxurious amenities. Each morning of your stay at the Periwinkle Inn includes a warm continental breakfast served by the innkeeper. 

Discover even more of our favorite things to do in Nantucket right here! From our favorite bike trails to guided tours, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Nantucket. We can’t wait to welcome you to our tiny island in the sea!