The island of Nantucket, MA, used to be a whaling hub in the mid-1800s, and today is one of the top upscale East Coast escapes, so explore this list of Things to Know Before Your 1st Nantucket Vacation.
It has remarkably well-preserved historic buildings, the most iconic being the pink rose-covered weathered gray shingle-style cottages.
Plus, half of its land is conserved, and no development is allowed, so the nature there is stunning. Best of all, the endless beaches are all open to the public and free to use.
If you are going to Nantucket for the first time, here are some tips that can help you prepare well and have the best time.
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Things to Know Before Your 1st Nantucket Vacation
A Remarkable Variety of Accommodation Options
After the latest record price of 33 million was paid for a high-end estate on the island this summer, Nantucket has been called a “billionaire’s isle.” The truth is that due to the rigid restrictions for new development and high demand, few properties on the New England island are up for sale.
But fortunately, the island has a pervasive range of old and new cottages, houses, mansions, and other properties offered as short-term residences for the many tourists who arrive each summer.
By renting one of these homes for your vacation, you can get the real feeling of living on this exclusive island.
There are small rentals and massive estates with pools, piers, and all the amenities to feel like you are in a 5-star hotel in all neighborhoods.
The Best Time to Go
Summer is a verb on the island because regular or first-time visitors often say, “we summer in Nantucket.”
But during the peak of the summer, the population on the island swells up from 10,000 to 50,000 and more people. So, it can be pretty crowded and busy in July and August there.
One of the best-kept secrets is that fall is actually the best time to go to Nantucket. The first weeks of October are when most summer vacationers have left, the beaches, streets, and restaurants aren’t as crowded, but the weather and ocean are still lovely and warm.
Fall is perfect for surfing, sailing, leisurely strolls, biking, and lobstering in Nantucket.
The best eateries, boutiques, and venues are still open then. Autumn is the time for the famous Cranberry Festival and the traditional Nantucket Bay Scallop season.
Another way to escape the crowds is to plan your trip to the island in the spring or spend Christmas there and participate in the Christmas stroll.
The Tight-Knit Community is Very Welcoming
The people of Nantucket are very friendly to tourists. Don’t be surprised if you get stopped by some of the locals for a nice friendly chat. Many of the people will be happy to share some fascinating stories about the island with you.
And remember to give the drivers who let you cross the street a friendly wave when exploring the island.
It is a Second Home and the Preferred Vacation Spot for Many Celebrities
This New England coastal destination is a preferred spot for many rich and famous people, some of which own vacation homes there, and others come to have a good time in the summer. They are frequent guests of the best restaurants, bars, and clubs, as well as in the exclusive boutiques and galleries there.
So, don’t be surprised if you run into some well-known politicians, actors, musicians, influences, and other famous people when you are in Nantucket.
Pack Some Stylish Flats Instead of High Heels
Although Nantucket is a place for upscale vacationers, and preppy attire is considered the norm, you can easily leave behind those high heels at home or bring them only for trendy restaurants and bars.
Especially if you plan on walking through those historic cobblestone streets and taking strolls on the sandy beaches, bring some comfortable flats instead.
Also, keep in mind that, like in other coastal New England areas, the weather in Nantucket can be unpredictable. So, take some shoes, a raincoat or other clothes for possible rain and colder weather.
In the peak of the summer, pack some sunscreen, sunglasses, and beachwear for spending endless days and evenings on the beach and outdoors sipping on some chilled rose or a craft cocktail.
The best types of clothes to bring to Nantucket for a summer vacation are some nautical-inspired preppy clothes in pastel colors, with colorful prints and ruffles, and the signature Nantucket Reds pants.
Trying the Seafood is a Must
Nantucket has become a popular destination for foodies, thanks to its exclusive restaurants and other eateries and the local cuisine, which utilizes the best fresh seafood and seasonal veggies and fruits for creative takes on the traditional dishes from the area.
Some of the foods to enjoy while vacationing in Nantucket include the local fresh raw oysters, the famous lobster rolls (chilled or served warm), the clam bakes, and scallops.
The island has an excellent craft beer brewery, a winery, and a distillery. Most restaurants and bars have curated lists of the best wines and beverages from around the world.
If you are planning a special event and want to experience an exclusive fine-dining experience on the very waterfront, then you should book a table at Brant Point Grill, Cru, or Straight Wharf.
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Other places like Millie’s, Sandbar at Jetties, and the Straight Wharf Fish Store are more casual and chill.
There are also many food trucks, snack shacks, beach bars, ice cream parlors, and markets where you can eat snacks and more elevated meals on the beach or on the go.
One of the coolest places to eat and drink and mingle with the locals and the vacationers is Cisco Brewers. It has an open-air beer garden, daily live music, the best local and other brews, wines, spirits, mixed drinks, and food trucks for various seafood and other snacks and dishes.
The Best Places for Photos
Nantucket is among the most Instagrammed places in the country. Literally, everything about this picturesque island is Insta-worthy.
It has three historic lighthouses, Brant Point Light, Sankaty Head Light, and Great Point Lighthouse, with a coastline of more than 80 miles of beaches, dramatic cliffs, and stunning ocean views.
The island also has several wildlife refuges, 50% of the land is protected, so the wildlife, flora, and fauna are spectacular.
Apart from that, the island prides itself on the highest concentration of perfectly preserved historic buildings of all towns in the USA.
The rose-covered cottages with weathered gray shakes, the blooming hydrangeas, the postcard-like cobblestone streets of the historic Downtown, the red brick mansions, and blooming flowers are all excellent photos ops to share with your followers and friends or keep as a memory from this beautiful island.