Things to Do in Nantucket
Nantucket provides many things to do for visitors and residents. From the downtown attractions including museums, galleries, live theatre, fine dining restaurants, historic sites, beaches, lighthouses, a local brewery, sailing, biking, surfing, fishing, golfing, tennis and much more. The Island of Nantucket is a National Historic Landmark with more than 800 pre-Civil War houses. Nantucket was the Whaling Capital of the world with over 100 whaling ships in the early 1800’s. Today, it is a popular summer destination for visitors both new and returning.
Below, find a few of our favorite things to do in Nantucket and places to explore.
THE NANTUCKET HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION
Includes not only the Whaling Museum but also the Oldest House, Old Gaol, America’s Oldest Windmill, the Hadwen House, Greater Light, and other sites. Historic walking tours are offered in season, with lectures, and Gams year-round.
Climb to the top of the tower of the First Congregational Church for the best view of Nantucket and the harbor.
BICYCLE AROUND THE ISLAND
Bike on over 35 miles of bicycle paths. Bring your own bike or rent a bicycle on Nantucket after you arrive.
NANTUCKET IS SURROUNDED BY BEACHES…ALL FREE
You can walk for miles and experience the harbor side beaches with sandbars for easy swimming or head to Surfside to enjoy the waves. Shells vary at different beaches, but you can always find Nantucket scallop shells. Lifeguards are in specific locations in the summer.
TAKE A GUIDED TOUR OF THE ISLAND
Many kinds of tours are available: walking tours, van tours, bike tours, nature tours, history tours, architectural tours and more. Explore the village of Sconset on the east end of the island with rose covered cottages in June or enjoy a magnificent Madaket sunset at the west end of the island. Wear comfortable walking shoes for our cobblestone streets and brick sidewalks. Transportation choices include tours, bicycles, taxis, seasonal bus service, or you can rent a car or Jeep for a day. But please leave your car on the mainland.
PICNIC AT BRANT POINT LIGHTHOUSE
Just a short walk from the Periwinkle Inn – don’t forget your camera! We’ll provide a Gore-tex beach bag and beach towels.
NANTUCKET ISLAND HAS THREE LIGHTHOUSES
- Brant Point
- Sankaty Light in Sconset
- Great Point Lighthouse
You might spot Great Point in the distance from the ferry when you are traveling to Nantucket. When you depart Nantucket by ferry it is a tradition to throw ‘two pennies overboard’ when you ’round Brant Point Lighthouse, to ensure your return to Nantucket…and hopefully Periwinkle!
ARTISTS LOVE THE LIGHT AND COLORS OF NANTUCKET’S BEAUTY
Sconset was once an Artist Colony. Today many art galleries in town have opening receptions on Friday nights in season, stroll downtown Nantucket and enjoy the art scene, featuring many local artists. The watercolor painting featured on our website banner was done by Edwin Rudd of Nantucket.
Nantucket’s quaint and historic downtown
Offering many unique shops, galleries and restaurants. When shopping on Nantucket you can find Nantucket RedsTM(pants) or a Nantucket Lightship Basket (purse or jewelry) both are unique to Nantucket.
COASTAL HEATHLANDS & SANDPLAIN GRASSLANDS
Nantucket’s rare coastal heathlands or “moors” and sandplain grasslands habitat support rare and endangered birds and plants.
NANTUCKET SEASONAL EVENTS
Attend one of our many seasonal events, including the Daffodil Festival, Film Festival and more.