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The Overall Best & Worst Times to Visit Nantucket in 2024

The Overall Best & Worst Times to Visit Nantucket in 2024

What's the best time to visit Nantucket?

The best time to visit Nantucket is from June to August when the weather is ideal for beach activities and the island is fully lively. Summer brings pleasant temperatures, the least rainfall, and the warmest ocean waters, perfect for outdoor adventures. It’s also the peak season for festivals, including the Nantucket Film Festival and Independence Day celebrations.

The island of Nantucket just off the coast of Massachusetts is one of the most famous beach destinations in the Northeast United States, and with good reason. Visitors can enjoy the sandy beaches on the island, which is small enough that you can easily get around by bike.

It’s also one of the most historic beach destinations in the United States. You can check out the history of the island at the Whaling Museum, or just admire the well-preserved clapboard houses.

Complete your beach experience with a lobster roll, some local beer, or shopping in quaint boutiques. Since Nantucket is a beach destination, most of its attractions are fairly seasonal, so you need to pick the best time to visit.

Overall Best Time to Visit Nantucket

Beautiful sunrise over small wooden homes on stilts in the harbor during the best time to visit Nantucket


The best time to visit Nantucket for the quintessential New England experience is in the summer (from June to August), when the weather is perfect for the beach and the island is fully open for the season.

Nantucket never gets as hot as other beach destinations such as Florida, but in the summer months, the temperature is pleasant for a bike ride among the sandy shores and for going swimming.

Average high temperatures in July and August are around 75-76 degrees Fahrenheit. These months are also the driest months of the year, with the highest guarantee of sunny days.

The gorgeous weather is the main reason why people want to visit in the summer. It is perfect for any outdoor activities you want to do, from swimming to hiking and cycling.

Most of the island is actually covered by preserved natural areas, such as the Nantucket National Wildlife Refuge, so you have plenty of places to explore the unique ecosystem of this part of New England. If you want to swim in the ocean off of Nantucket, then summer is the best time to do so.

The water temperature is warmest around this time. In August, the average water temperature is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, the warmest it gets all year.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, Nantucket is at its liveliest. All of the businesses, museums, and historic areas are open for visitors. Some places tend to close during the off-season since Nantucket lives by the rhythm of tourist arrivals.

Many beach bars, restaurants, and even hotels are closed from October to March, but reopen come summer to welcome tourists. Summer is also the peak festival season in Nantucket. Even though the island is small, there is always something going on.

Popular events include:

Some may say “liveliest” is just a euphemism for saying Nantucket is at its most crowded in the summer.

It’s true that hotel prices are at their highest, lines at their longest, and traffic at its most unbearable from Memorial Day to Labor Day. However, it is worth it to enjoy perfect beach weather, and there are ways to beat the crowds even in the summer.

Least Expensive Time to Visit Nantucket

Fishing boats in a dry part of a marsh on a gloomy day during autumn, one of the cheapest times to visit Nantucket


The cheapest time to visit Nantucket is in the spring (April-early May), when you’ll get lower hotel rates and other discounts. The tourist season formally runs from April to October, but most people arrive between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

By visiting in the spring, you ensure that more businesses will be open, meaning you have a higher chance of finding a hotel room in your budget.

Outside of the summer high season, hotel rates drop drastically in Nantucket. The best discounts are in April, when you can find rooms even in high-end resorts for over 50% off compared to peak season prices.

You can also find some discounted rooms heading into May, as long as you come before Memorial Day weekend. Getting to Nantucket also costs less in the spring. The island has a small airport, whose flights are discounted in the spring shoulder season.

If you are driving, you will have to take the ferry from Hyannis. While regular price tickets are the same all year round, certain upgrades are about $10 less in the spring.

Spring in Nantucket is a bit unpredictable, with average high temperatures in April still around 51 degrees Fahrenheit. The water is too cold for swimming until late May, but you can enjoy hikes and cycling trails. There are also some events kicking off the season, such as the Daffodil Festival (April).

Least Busy Time to Visit Nantucket

Several empty beach chairs on the sandy beach next to a grassy field with homes in the background at sunset during the least busy time to visit Nantucket

Adam Ninyo/Shutterstock

To beat the crowds, many locals recommend visiting Nantucket in the fall, when the number of visitors goes down drastically. However, locals consider September and October to be the best time to visit.

Once Labor Day passes, most tourists go home, and the island breathes a little easier. Occupancy rates in hotels go down, so you’ll have an easier time finding a room, there is far less traffic, and you can actually find a place to lay your towel.

The weather remains pleasant into early fall. Average temperatures in September are around 70 degrees, and the water temperature is around 63 degrees Fahrenheit into October, so you can even go swimming.

Even if you find it too cold to go swimming, the weather is warm enough for other outdoor activities, such as hiking and cycling.

This is the best season for cycling since you can ride your bike all over the island without worrying about reckless drivers. The tourism season has extended into fall, which means that many businesses stay open until October when they used to close after Labor Day.

There are also several interesting events in the fall, such as:

Worst Time to Visit Nantucket

Nantucket harbor with snow on the trees and gloomy sky in the winter, the worst time to visit

ESK Imagery/Shutterstock

Nantucket in the winter is not a great place to visit, since the weather is chilly, and a lot of the island is boarded up. Still, it can be an interesting getaway for lovers of solitude.

Nantucket in the winter is warmer than mainland Massachusetts, but hardly a beach destination. Average high temperatures in January are about 39 degrees Fahrenheit, and nighttime temperatures are well below freezing.

Most businesses in Nantucket close between October and April since there are so few visitors around. You’ll have fewer choices of where to eat, where to stay, and what to do.

Even vital infrastructure, such as ferry departures and island public transportation, runs less often in the winter.

Visiting in January or February requires a lot of planning to see what is open or not. However, visiting during the off-season is the best guarantee that you will have low prices and few people around.

If you want to hike the sandy beaches and pretend you are a character in a Herman Melville novel, this is the best time to visit. Another benefit of visiting in the winter is that you get to experience Christmas in Nantucket, which some people say is actually the best time to come.

December on the island feels like a quintessential New England Christmas, with holiday lights and plenty of events such as the Christmas Stroll.

Nantucket by Month: Climate & Activities

Entrance to the harbor pictured from the air with a lighthouse at the tip of the beach during the best time to visit Nantucket

TeBe Photographs/Shutterstock

Still unsure about the best time to visit Nantucket? Take a look at our summary of the weather and climate by month below:


January in Nantucket, with temperatures often ranging from 25 to 38°F (-4 to 3°C), offers a quiet and serene atmosphere. It’s perfect for cozying up in local cafés, visiting the Whaling Museum to learn about the island’s history, and enjoying peaceful winter walks along the shore.


February continues with the winter charm, ideal for exploring the island’s historic lighthouses like Brant Point, enjoying the tranquility of the off-season, and indulging in the local culinary scene with fewer crowds.


As spring approaches, March brings temperatures from 30 to 43°F (-1 to 6°C). This is a great time for bird watching as migratory species return, exploring the quaint streets of downtown Nantucket, and visiting the Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum.


April’s milder weather, with temperatures between 38 to 51°F (3 to 11°C), beckons for strolling through the blooming daffodils during the island’s annual Daffodil Festival, cycling along the scenic bike paths, and exploring the local art galleries.


May brings warmer days, from 47 to 60°F (8 to 16°C), perfect for visiting the Sankaty Head Lighthouse, enjoying the Nantucket Wine & Food Festival, and exploring the island’s natural beauty as it comes to life in spring.


June, welcoming summer with temperatures between 56 to 69°F (13 to 21°C), offers ideal conditions for relaxing on beautiful beaches like Surfside and Cisco, kayaking in the serene waters around the island, and enjoying the Nantucket Film Festival.


July’s warmth, ranging from 63 to 75°F (17 to 24°C), is all about outdoor dining at the island’s many excellent restaurants, sailing in the Nantucket Sound, and participating in the Independence Day celebrations and fireworks.


In August, with temperatures of 63 to 75°F (17 to 24°C), visit the Cisco Brewers for local craft beers, enjoy whale watching tours, and explore the Nantucket Conservation Foundation’s properties for hiking and nature walks.


Welcoming fall, September, with temperatures from 58 to 70°F (14 to 21°C), is perfect for the Nantucket Project festival, enjoying the quieter beaches, and exploring the island’s historic sites and museums without the summer crowds.


October’s cooler days, from 48 to 61°F (9 to 16°C), are ideal for the Nantucket Cranberry Festival, experiencing the island’s beautiful fall foliage, and enjoying cozy evenings at local inns and restaurants.


November, as the air turns crisp, temperatures from 38 to 52°F (3 to 11°C), is a time for a more intimate experience of the island, exploring the charming downtown decorated for the holidays, and enjoying peaceful walks along the deserted beaches.


December brings a festive and cozy atmosphere, with temperatures ranging from 31 to 44°F (-1 to 7°C). Enjoy the Nantucket Christmas Stroll, shop for unique gifts in the island’s boutiques, and celebrate the holiday season in the quaint and charming setting of Nantucket.

Frequently Asked Questions

Small cottages along the water in Nantucket

NANTUCKET, MA -4 AUG 2017- Traditional New England buildings and stores on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts. Nantucket is an exclusive preppy summer destination off of Cape Cod near Boston/EQRoy/Shutterstock

Here are a few of the most common questions people have asked about visiting Nantucket:

How many days do you need in Nantucket?

You should spend four or five days in Nantucket. You want to have enough time to explore all of the trails, visit a few of the towns, and of course, relax on the beach.

What is the busiest month in Nantucket?

August is the busiest month in Nantucket, followed by July. In general, the summer season is the busiest time on the island.

When is the Nantucket season?

The Nantucket season, or the busiest time of year to go to Nantucket, is the summer. This is the liveliest time on the island, but lately more and more events are happening in spring and fall.

Is Nantucket worth a visit?

Nantucket is worth a visit if you want a quaint England experience. On the island, it feels like time has stopped and it isn’t as developed as other parts of the region.

Is Nantucket expensive to vacation?

If you’re visiting in the summer, Nantucket is going to be fairly expensive (although not as much as Martha’s Vineyard). However, during the shoulder seasons, you can find good bargains.

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Nantucket?

For a typical Nantucket beach getaway, the best time to visit is in the summer when the weather is warm enough for the beach. However, spring and fall offer better discounts and fewer crowds.

So, with so much to see and to and plenty of amazing times to visit, what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience for yourself all that Nantucket has to offer. Happy travels!