The beautiful island of Nantucket is one of my favorite places. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve visited, the moment I arrive to the “Grey Lady,” I fall in love all over again. I’m fortunate to travel to Nantucket several times each year, and every time, I have a list of things I must do (or eat!) while I am on the island. I almost feel as if my trip wouldn’t be complete unless I check them all off of my list!
Last summer, I wrote about how to enjoy a perfect weekend on Nantucket, but I thought it might be fun and helpful to share my personal “bucket list” for a Nantucket getaway. If you’ve never been to Nantucket or are headed there for an upcoming summer vacation and could use a few additional suggestions, this guide rounds up what I consider to be quintessential must do’s on ACK!
For my fellow Nantucket lovers, do you have favorite activities or places to see while on Nantucket? I’d love to hear!
The A-Lyst for What Not to Miss on Nantucket
Explore the ‘Sconset and Stroll the Bluff Walk
During the summer, the village of ‘Sconset comes alive with color and charm. Each year around the 4th of July, the roses that climb all of the shingled cottages begin to bloom, creating the most picturesque summer scene. If you plan your visit right, you’ll be greeted with one gorgeous garden after another, and one of the best ways to take in the scenery of ‘Sconset is by exploring the Bluff Walk. This unpaved path takes you behind some of the most amazing homes in the village, giving you a firsthand look at the owners’ meticulous landscaped yards coupled with stunning ocean views. You can walk for as long as you like, strolling through rows of hydrangeas and private pathways down to the beach. It’s unbelievably beautiful and I promise that you’ll have selected countless “dream homes” by the time you are done!
I’m excited to say that I officially checked off this “bucket list” item on my most recent trip to Nantucket! For years, I’ve eyed Peter Beaton Hat Studio, making countless trips to owner Darcy Creech’s charming Federal Street shop, but somehow always left empty-handed. I’d leave Nantucket still thinking about her hats and kicking myself for not getting one. During my last visit, I spent an hour trying on every hat in the store and finally found the perfect one…I can’t stop wearing it! Darcy and her staff will custom fit the hat to your head and help you choose the best ribbon or straw tassel to adorn it — better yet, you get to take your new purchase home in the most adorable black and white hat box for safekeeping. A Peter Beaton hat is truly a Nantucket treasure and a forever keepsake.
Let’s just say, if the line for The Juice Bar isn’t around the corner, consider yourself VERY lucky! With the most delicious creamy ice cream, homemade waffle cones and cups, and countless toppings (including uber rich hot fudge!), this is THE place to get your ice cream fix on Nantucket. TIPS: It’s cash only and on busy summer nights, there will be two lines (the one on the left may look shorter, but there’s only one scooper, so I’d recommend going in the longer line as it will likely move faster!).
Watch a Sunset Over the Ocean
There are so many wonderful beaches on Nantucket, but when it’s time for the sun to go down, I recommend heading to either Galley Beach or Madaket Beach. If you love to dress up and imbibe in delicious martinis while sitting fireside with your feet in the sand, head to the beach lounge at Galley Beach. I caution you that it is quite the scene on a weekend summer night, but I personally love its fun energy and sexy beach chic vibe! For those who prefer a more low-key, blanket-in-the-sand sunset experience, watching the sun set over Madaket Beach is amazing. I recommend packing a picnic of snacks to enjoy before the sun goes down and then at dusk, head over to Millie’s for tacos and other Mexican-inspired fare.
Biking is probably the easiest and most popular mode of transportation on Nantucket, so if you don’t bring your own bikes over on the ferry, I suggest renting them for your visit! Once you have your wheels, one of the first places you should head is Cisco Brewers because what’s better than enjoying an afternoon of Figawi Wowies and Whale’s Tale Pale Ales under the sun?! Part brewery, part distillery, part winery, there’s something for everyone at Cisco plus food trucks, live music, and lawn games. It’s a great spot to come with friends and spend a low-key summer afternoon. Also, don’t pass up taking home some of their alcohol (Triple Eight Blueberry Vodka is a personal favorite) or a signature Cisco baseball hat!
Earrings: J.Crew Beaded Ball Drop Earrings
Hat: Peter Beaton Hat
The A-Lyst is a Boston-based lifestyle blog curating the very best of style, beauty, food, and travel.