Nantucket has become such a popular summer vacation destination that statistics show that the population grows from 10,000 to 50,000 during the peak of the summer season in July and August. These are the busiest months and the ones with the most crowds there.
In order to avoid the massive crowds, it is recommended to book your stay on the New England island during the shoulder months instead. The most suitable months to visit this charming island are either in the spring or after the peak of the summer – in the fall.
By choosing the shoulder season, you can find a more suitable and affordable local house or other accommodation for your stay. Plus, you will have a better chance of finding a free table in one of your preferred restaurants and will have a quieter and more peaceful time on the streets, beaches, and the conservation areas of Nantucket then.
The spring in Nantucket opens with the Daffodil Festival in April, and the fall is the time when the traditional Cranberry Festival and family scalloping take place.
Once you decide on the timeline for your summer vacation in Nantucket, you can start planning your stay so that you make the most of it. Here are some tips from locals and veteran vacationers there.
Book a house well in advance
Even though hundreds of available houses, cottages, mansions, and other accommodations are available for short-term rent on the island, it is still recommended that you book the one you prefer as early as possible.
This will ensure that you get the most suitable house for your Nantucket holiday at the price that you want.
You can select available accommodations in all of the island’s neighborhoods and all sizes and price ranges.
The earlier you book – the better the choice and deal you will get!
The same goes for booking your plane or ferry ticket for your Nantucket vacation. Make sure to buy them as early as possible to ensure that you will get there in time and at the best price possible.
Be ready for higher expenses
Nantucket has recently become known as the place with some of the most expensive properties on the entire east coast. It has long been a magnet for preppy vacationers and for the rich and famous people of the country. So, it is definitely not a budget destination.
Plus, the “Little Grey lady of the Sea” is located 30 miles off the coast of mainland Massachusetts and thus is harder to reach, which makes all of the supplies, deliveries, and imported labor on the island much more expensive.
So, be prepared for prices that are higher than the average summer vacation destinations of Nantucket in this area.
You can, of course, save money by planning your retreat for the months before or after the peak of the summer, booking early, and sharing the costs of renting a house with friends or extended family members.
Plus, while there are some upscale fine dining restaurants in Nantucket, you can still enjoy eating delicious fresh local seafood and elevated dishes and snacks at some of the more affordable and casual eateries there.
Or, you can shop for fresh produce and seafood from the local farms and stores and prepare mouthwatering food yourself in your vacation home.
Make time for visiting the historical spots
The island of Nantucket may be small and remote, but it has played an essential role in the history of the USA.
Today, the entire island has been recognized as a National Historic Landmark District and has more preserved and restored historic buildings in such a small space than any other town or county in the country.
Since this tiny island has more than 750 historic buildings and sites, it is hard to miss them. Then again, there are some significant historic buildings, places, and spots that you should definitely add to your itinerary for your Nantucket Vacation.
Some of them include three of the oldest working lighthouses in the country – Brant Point Light, Great Point Light, and Sankaty Head Light.
The others are – the cobblestone streets, the captain’s mansions, and other grand houses in the historic Downtown.
Also, make sure to visit the Old Mill, the country’s oldest still-functioning windmill of this kind.
You can also visit the Old Goal and Oldest House on the island, built centuries ago.
But, to learn more about the local whaling history and how it affected Nantucket’s development, architecture, and lifestyle through the years, you should definitely visit the Whaling Museum. There you will see a real sperm whale skeleton, the first Fresnel lens for the lighthouses, and find out more about the real story of the whaling ship and its brave captain that inspired the wiring of the adventure novel “Moby-Dick.”
Know the secret places
Although Nantucket is small in size, there are some hidden gems that are less known and hidden from the crowds.
You can spend time away from the noise and the hustle and bustle and enjoy some scenic views and sites there.
The top secret gems on the island include Great Point Light, the Nantucket Shipwreck and Lifesaving Museum, the Nantucket Lightship Basket Museum, and the guided hiking and natural history Nantucket Walkabout.
Another secret place where you can relax away from the crowds, even in the peak of the summer season, is in the garden of the Nantucket Atheneum, the only public library on the island located in a magnificent Greek Revival Style mansion in the historic Downtown.
Some beaches are also more remote or, for other reasons, are not as crowded and as noisy as others.
Some of the secret beaches you can go to include Ladies Beach, Schneidy’s, Gunrack, or Fisherman’s Beach on the south coast of Nantucket.
If you prefer the calmer north coast, which borders the Nantucket Sound, then you can go to the scenic Steps Beach or the Water Tower Beach. They will offer a more tranquil and quiet experience compared to the highly-popular neighboring beaches such as Jetties, Dionis, and Children’s.
Don’t miss enjoying water activities
Nantucket is an island with beautiful, accessible beaches and offers conditions for all sorts of water sports lovers of all skill levels.
The Harbor and other beaches bordering the Nantucket Sound are calmer and more suitable for newbies, while the south and other beaches are on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean and can have stronger currents and surf, which are ideal for experienced surfers.
The island has two surf schools, various surf shops, and rentals, and it also offers other watersport courses, gear, and tours, including snorkeling, kayaking, sailing, sports fishing, wakeboarding, and even SUP Yoga classes.
So, there is a water activity perfect for every taste of your summer vacation on Nantucket.
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