The dreamy summer vacation island of Nantucket has unmatched charm and, as such, has become a beloved tourist destination for thousands of visitors every year.
If you are still trying to decide whether to add the small New England island to your travel bucket list, read on for eight good reasons to do so.
Located just 30 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, MA, Nantucket can be reached by ferry or plane and has a wide variety of beautiful accommodation options in all of its picturesque neighborhoods and villages.
Here are eight reasons why you should consider booking a ferry ticket and a local house for an unforgettable trip to the “Little Grey Lady of the Sea.”
The free and beautiful beaches
Unlike other upscale summer resorts, all of the beaches on the island of Nantucket are free to access and open to the public. You can choose from one of the over 25 beaches spread along 80 miles on all island coasts.
Whether you are looking for some leisurely sunbathing or swimming or want to engage in surfing, kayaking, or fishing, there are beaches for every preference there.
Some are more popular among families with children, while others are preferred by youngsters and watersports lovers. You can also go to the more remote and quiet beaches for a quieter and more tranquil experience.
The charming shingle-style houses
If you have stumbled upon photos from Nantucket, you have probably seen ones depicting the postcard-like old cottages covered with pink and red crawling roses and surrounded by blooming hydrangeas and other colorful flowers.
The shingle-style houses are iconic for Nantucket and for the other New England beachfront towns and counties.
The houses are cladded with cedar wood shakes, which naturally become gray-colored after exposure to the wind, rain, and salt from the ocean.
Thanks to the strict regulations for building and renovating on the island, the majority of the houses – big and small are built in this colonial style.
The best place to admire the rose-covered shingle-style cottages is at the Sconset Bluff Walk through the village of Siasconset.
The remarkable history
Nantucket may be tiny and away from the mainland, but it has a truly remarkable history, which has inspired the writing of some of the most famous novels in the USA, and which is still very much visible thanks to the meticulously restored and preserved historic buildings and sites there.
The entire island was declared a National Historic Landmark District and is home to over 750 pre-civil war mansions, houses, three lighthouses, the oldest working windmill in the USA, and other buildings.
You will feel like you have been teleported back in time when you walk through the historic downtown, with its paved cobblestone streets, the captain’s mansions, and other colonial, federal, and Greek Revival-style buildings from the glorious whaling years.
You can visit the famous Whaling Museum to see a real sperm whale skeleton and learn more about the ships and captains that inspired the classic American novel Moby-Dick by Herman Melville.
The tight-knit and friendly community
The permanent residents on the island of Nantucket are less than 15,000 people. The fact that they are so few and live isolated from the mainland and the island’s history has turned them into a friendly and tight-knit community.
Since whaling was abandoned, tourism became the number one business of Nantucket. The year-round residents are also united in their goal of preserving the unique charm, the historical and natural riches, and the special vibes of the island.
So, when you get there, you will be pleasantly surprised by the dedication of the local people to welcome the guests of the island.
The mouthwatering fresh seafood
Nantucket is the place to go if you are a seafood lover. The island has a century-long fishing heritage and is known for its abundance of delicious and freshly caught seafood.
You can choose among some of the best fine dining restaurants located there or choose from the plenty more casual or family-friendly options, including beach shacks, food trucks, and fish and farm markets to eat some of the best local seafood delicacies.
Nantucket is known for some of the best lobster rolls, its local clambakes, the freshly shucked raw oysters harvested near its shores, the blue crab cakes, the hearty scallop soup, and a wide variety of ocean fish dishes.
The blooming gardens
Nantucket is home to some of the most vibrant blossoming gardens in the country. You will see blooming hydrangeas, beach roses, pink and red hollyhocks, blue delphiniums, foxgloves, and hundreds of other flowers in the neatly maintained gardens of the locals.
Nearly every window in the historic downtown and on the island has a window flower box, and there are planters at every suitable spot on the streets, sidewalks, and elsewhere there.
The trellises and lattices with climbing roses and other climbers are also very typical of the island’s outdoor style.
One of the most significant events held every year is the Daffodil festival held in April. It celebrates the daffodils, the spring, and the beginning of a new life.
There is an annual garden tour that you can join to explore some of the most impressive and manicured gardens in Nantucket, according to the local Nantucket Garden Club.
The easy and convenient transportation
Although it cannot be reached by driving, Nantucket is actually relatively easy to get to via plane or ferry. Furthermore, getting around the small island without a car is even easier.
The small island is just 14 miles long and 3 to 5 miles wide, so it is easy and quick to get from one point to another by walking, cycling, or bus.
There are many bike lanes connecting most neighborhoods and sites.
You can bring your own bike, rent one, or if you are lucky, you can get one as an amenity provided with your chosen rented accommodation.
The stunning nature and wildlife
Thanks to the constant efforts of the local Land Bank, the conservation foundations, and the authorities, nearly 50% of the land on the island is protected.
There are several wildlife sanctuaries and refuges, such as Coskata-Coatue, Masquetuck, Tupancy Links, and more, which are home to some rare local plants, trees, birds, and animals.
You can walk or hike through many of these untouched natural areas to enjoy the scenic views and the unscathed flora and fauna.