The enchanting island of Nantucket is a top desired spot for vacations, weddings, second home purchases, and American history-inspired trips.
The small but magical island is 30 miles south of mainland Massachusetts. It has some remarkable natural and historical assets.
The endless beaches are free to access by all. Over half of the island’s territory is conserved, and development is prohibited, so flora and fauna are untouched. Most importantly, the local authorities, the historic preservation organizations, and the people of the island work restlessly to preserve its unique pre-civil war mansions, buildings, cobblestone streets, and lighthouses.
While buying a house in Nantucket is reserved for the most affluent only, you can still feel the magic of spending some time in one of the fantastic houses, lofts, or cottages on the island, which are available for short-term rent.
If you have already rented a house for your stay and have booked your ferry or plane tickets, you can start preparing for your trip to Nantucket.
Here are five of the places you shouldn’t miss when visiting “The Little Grey Lady of the Sea.”
The Three Lighthouses
Undoubtedly, the three historic lighthouses on the island are among the most recognizable sites of Nantucket.
They were all built hundreds of years ago by the island’s first settlers. Since then, they have been rebuilt several times and are still functioning today, showing the way and keeping the mariners and ships safe in the Atlantic Ocean waters.
Brant Point Light is the first lighthouse that will greet you when you arrive by ferry to the harbor.
Sankaty Light is located on a high cliff on the eastern shore of the island, next to the village of Siasconset. The iconic red and white striped lighthouse is among the most photographed places on Nantucket.
Great Point Lighthouse is on the northeast point of Nantucket and is only reachable via a 7-mile hike through the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge or with a 4WD vehicle and a special permit for over sand driving.
The Whaling Museum
This unique museum has been the number one top-rated attraction in Nantucket for years. It is the place to go to learn more about the glorious years when whaling was a leading business on the island. In fact, Nantucket was often referred to as the whaling capital of the world for years before whaling became prohibited.
The museum is set in a renovated factory for candles made of whale oil. At the museum, you can see a real 46-foot whale skeleton, a real Fresnel lens, and many artifacts and exhibits from the whaling years which shaped the life, culture, and architecture of the island.
At the museum, you can learn more about the Essex whaling ship and its captain, who inspired Herman Melville to write his masterpiece Moby-Dick.
Bartlett’s Farm is the oldest farm owned and run by the same family on the island. In fact, today, a seventh generation of the same family is growing the freshest produce in Nantucket.
You can visit the farm as well as its Garden Center and Grocery Market. You can buy fresh veggies and fruits, groceries, cut or potted flowers and plants, and buy some snacks or enjoy a delicious fresh farm-to-table lunch at the Farm Kitchen at Bartlett’s Farm.
Cisco Brewers is next to Bartlett Farm and was once famously called “the happiest place on earth” by a writer.
This is not an ordinary brewery. In fact, Cisco Brewers is a top preferred spot for socializing and partying by locals and tourists alike.
It has a vast beer garden with many food trucks offering snacks and meals for all tastes.
The brewery offers tasting tours and, of course, its best locally brewed craft beers.
But even if you don’t like beer, you can still enjoy your time there, as it is right next to the Nantucket Vineyards and the Triple Eight Distillery, so everyone can find a drink for his own preference there.
The brewery is dog-friendly and kid-friendly and offers live music every day during the summer season.
The Juice Bar
Despite its name, The Juice Bar is not a place for kids or health nuts only. It is one of the most popular places to go to get a delicious smoothie, lemonade, juice, frappe, and the best ice cream and baked goods in Nantucket.
There are more than 40 types of homemade ice cream you can choose from, including healthier yogurt, low-fat or vegan ice cream, and sorbet. There are also mouthwatering ice cream cakes and pies and an endless selection of toppings.