Nantucket is renowned for its unique beauty and charming atmosphere. Located just off the coast of Massachusetts, Nantucket offers stunning beaches, quaint shops, delicious seafood restaurants, and an array of outdoor activities.
From whale watching to sunbathing, this tiny island is the perfect place for a getaway. But when is the best time to visit Nantucket?
We’ll share what we believe to be the best time to visit for most people but also provide alternative options that may suit your needs, interests, budget, and trip goals.
We’ll also offer top recommendations for Nantucket highlights during your stay and answer related questions so that you’ll be well-equipped to plan your dream trip!
Why You Should Visit Nantucket
Nantucket is a remarkable destination for many reasons. Nantucket has something for everyone, from its picturesque beaches to its rich history. The island is home to a few of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Whether you’re looking for a quiet escape or a vibrant beach party, Nantucket has what you’re looking for.
The island is also renowned for its delicious seafood restaurants and boutique shops. You can find anything from gourmet ice cream to handmade jewelry.
All in all, Nantucket offers a unique and relaxing atmosphere that every traveler should experience at least once. It’s an ideal location for family vacations, couples trips, or even solo getaways.
Overall Best Time to Visit Nantucket
The overall best time to visit Nantucket is from June to August.
The summer months offer beautiful weather, with temperatures ranging from the mid-50s to mid-70s Fahrenheit (around 14 to 26 degrees Celsius). It’s also a very popular tourist season, so you can expect the island to bustle with activity.
There’s always something exciting going on, from beachside bonfires to rooftop concerts. In addition, Nantucket hosts several festivals and special events during this time of year, such as the annual Nantucket Film Festival in June.
Cheapest Time to Visit Nantucket
The cheapest time to visit Nantucket is from October to May or outside of the sunniest summer months.
More specifically, the months of March, April, May, and October are the cheapest because things get a bit more expensive again during the holiday season between November and February.
These months are the best for travelers who want to save money on lodging and flights. The weather during October is still relatively mild, with temperatures ranging from the high-40s to low-60s Fahrenheit (around 8 to 17 degrees Celsius).
Similarly, the weather in March, April, and May is certainly colder than the summer months, but quite nice if you don’t mind bundling up a bit.
You’ll still be able to catch some big festivals and events, such as the Figawi Race in May. The Figawi Race is a sailing race that has been taking place in Nantucket since the 1970s.
Least Busy Time to Visit Nantucket
The least busy time to visit Nantucket lines up with the cheapest months – October, March, April, and May.
The fall and spring seasons in Nantucket are when the shops are quieter, the beaches are less crowded, and the overall atmosphere is quite peaceful.
As mentioned earlier, the weather during these months is still relatively mild for the most part, with temperatures ranging from the high-40s to low-60s Fahrenheit.
If you want to have a relaxing time with your loved ones, avoid any crowds, and save some money while still enjoying decent, sweater-weather temperatures, going during one of these low-season months is the perfect option.
There won’t be as much to do in festivals and events, but there are still plenty of activities to enjoy. Indulge in some retail therapy, take a beautiful stroll along the beach, or even explore some of the island’s amazing nature trails.
Worst Time to Visit Nantucket
Although many people claim February is the “hate month” of Nnatuket because the winter is so bleak, the worst time to visit Nantucket completely depends on what you’re going to Nantucket for in the first place.
If you want to enjoy nice weather, winter is the worst time to go, between December and February. The weather in Nantucket during this time is quite cold, with temperatures ranging from the low-20s to high-40s Fahrenheit (around -5 to 9 degrees Celsius).
Alternatively, if you want to enjoy Christmas in Nantucket, where you can experience Christmas tree lightings, Christmas-themed shops, and Christmas shows, going anytime outside November or December won’t be ideal.
If you love the bustle of the vibrancy of having plenty of people around, going during the shoulder seasons of fall and spring will be the worst option for you.
Things to Consider
Here are key items to consider when planning a trip to Nantucket:
- Weather. If you like sunny, warm weather, the best months to visit are June, July, and August, when the weather is warmest.
- Transportation. There are plenty of transportation options available, like car rentals, ferries, and flights.
- Accommodations. Consider booking your accommodation in advance if you are going during the peak season, as many popular lodging options book up quickly during the summer months.
- Budget. Consider your budget when deciding what time to visit. Flights and hotels tend to be more expensive during the summer months. Additionally, restaurants, excursions, and other purchases may also be higher during the summer.
- Taxi vs. Uber. Keep the Uber app but check both prices if you’re trying to save money. Sometimes Uber might be cheaper, while other times, it might have a high surcharge.
- Etiquette. People are very friendly in Nantucket, so it’s a great idea to be friendly back. Don’t hesitate to say hello, and don’t forget to say please and thank you with a warm smile.
- Footwear. Since there are cobblestone streets, it’s important to wear sensible footwear. For example, high heels would be a bad choice if you plan on perusing the streets in Nantucket.
Activities to Consider
When planning a trip to Nantucket, it’s also essential to keep in mind the type of activities you’d like to partake in.
- Beach hopping
- Whale watching
- Fishing charters and boat tours
- Annual Summer Concert Series
- Apple picking
- Ghost walks through Old Town
- Visit local wineries and breweries
- Annual Fall Festival
- Sleigh rides around the island
- Ice fishing on the harbor
- Winter snowshoeing and cross-country skiing
- Holiday events and celebrations
- Visit local farms and farmers’ markets
- Ferry to Martha’s Vineyard
- Sheep shearing festivals
- Annual Spring Festival
- Visiting museums and historical sites
- Exploring the neighborhoods (Brant Point, Madaket, Siaconset)
Specific Attractions to Consider
Now that you understand the types of activities you can partake in, it’s time to get into specific attractions!
Here are the top recommendations for Nantucket:
- Brant Point Lighthouse. Popular landmark with scenic beachside views
- Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge Gatehouse. Pristine beach area with seals and seagulls
- Madaket Beach. Gorgeous beach with sunset views
- Nantucket Shipwreck and Lifesaving Museum. Learn about maritime rescues and tragedies
- Whalehead Club. Historic building with classic architecture
- Great Point Lighthouse. The northernmost lighthouse on Nantucket, offering stunning views
- Sconset Beach. Wide beach, ideal for surfers
- Young’s Bicycle Shop. A place to rent a bike to explore the island
- Dreamland Film, Theatre & Cultural Center. Shows and performances
- Artists Association of Nantucket Gallery. Charming art gallery
- Mitchell’s Book Corner. An endearing bookstore with a wide selection
- Miacomet Golf Club. A golfer’s paradise
- Nobadeer Beach. Excellent for picnics and other gatherings
- Nantucket Historical Association. Site to learn more about Nantucket
- Nantucket National Wildlife Refuge. Historical wildlife site and a great beach to watch seals
Best Outdoor Restaurants in Nantucket
One of the best activities during summer in Nantucket is sitting down for a lovely meal!
Here are some of the top restaurants in Nantucket:
- Straight Wharf Restaurant
- Breeze Restaurant
- Brant Point Grill
- Island Kitchen
- Ventuno Restaurant
- Fusaro’s Homemade Italian
- Sandbar at Jettie’s Beach
Frequently Asked Questions
Are you interested in learning more about Nantucket? Here are our answers to related questions that will help you plan the perfect trip:
What is the best month to visit Nantucket?
The best month to visit Nantucket is in June. The weather is warm and delightful, and the town might not be as crowded as it gets in July and August.
However, prices will be higher in June than at other times, such as October, March, April, and May. So if you want to save money on flights, accommodation, and excursions, you might opt for one of those months instead.
How many days do you need in Nantucket?
It depends on your interests and the experience you’re looking for. If you’d like to explore all of Nantucket’s attractions, you’ll need at least four days.
However, if you’re looking for a more relaxed vacation with time to relax on the beach and explore the charming streets, you should plan for at least five to seven days.
What is tourist season in Nantucket?
The primary tourist season in Nantucket starts in June and ends in August. The summer is when many people flock to the island for its beaches and attractions.
If you want a more relaxed experience with fewer people, consider coming outside of the main tourist season. For example, you’ll find fewer crowds and more budget-friendly options from October to April.
Is it better to stay in Cape Cod or Nantucket?
It depends on what you’re looking for. If you want to be near the beach and enjoy plenty of attractions, then Nantucket is the better option for a summer escape.
However, if you want a more city-like experience with a more active metropolis and more restaurants and nightlife, then Cape Cod is ideal.
Do you need a car on Nantucket Island?
While having a car is helpful for getting to some attractions and exploring the island, it’s not necessary. There are plenty of public transportation options on Nantucket, including buses and ferries.
Also, there are plenty of bike shops that rent out bicycles to get around. If you’re staying in the main tourist area, you can easily get around by bike.
What is the nicest part of Nantucket?
Most people find that Brant Point is the nicest part of Nantucket. It’s a great spot to watch the sunset over the harbor and congregate with locals and other tourists alike.
Also, a few attractions are located nearby, such as the Brant Point Lighthouse and Jetties Beach. It’s an ideal spot for spending quality time with your loved ones.
What is so special about Nantucket?
Nantucket is special because it’s a unique combination of contemporary and historical. It has maintained its status as a quaint, coastal village while offering plenty of modern attractions and amenities.
The island has a rich history, with its cobblestone streets, historic buildings, and colorful culture. It’s a great place to explore the past while also enjoying contemporary activities, such as golfing, fishing, kayaking, and more.
Where do you fly into for Nantucket?
You can fly into the Nantucket Memorial Airport. Other nearby airports include Martha’s Vineyard (MVY), Hyannis (HYA), Boston (BOS), and Providence (PVD).
Is a day trip to Nantucket worth it?
If you’re visiting Cape Cod or are in the surrounding area, a day trip by ferry to Nantucket is well worth it! You can explore the town and its nearby beaches, take photos of the iconic lighthouse, or dine at one of its many delicious seafood restaurants.
Can you swim on beaches in Nantucket?
North Shore beaches tend to be great for swimming, as the waters are calm and delightful. However, only strong swimmers should swim on the South Shore beaches, as the currents and waves are strong.
Does Nantucket have a dress code?
There’s no official dress code on the island, but most people dress in smart-casual attire. You’ll find people wearing button-down shirts, flowy skirts, nice flats, and casual jeans.
Is Nantucket worth visiting in the winter?
Nantucket is definitely worth visiting in the winter. The island looks especially beautiful, blanketed in snow and with a much slower pace of life.
You can explore the island’s back roads, cozy up with a cup of hot cocoa, and enjoy winter activities like ice skating or snowshoeing. Plus, with fewer crowds and lower prices, winter is an ideal time to plan a getaway to Nantucket.
Can you walk around with alcohol in Nantucket?
No, it's not legal to consume alcohol while walking around in public on Nantucket. You can only drink outdoors if you’re at a restaurant or bar that has an outdoor seating area.
So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Nantucket?
Nantucket has something to offer every type of traveler due to its various attractions, events, scenic views, historical sites, and activities.
The overall best time to visit Nantucket is during the summer months of June through August, as the weather is usually sunny, warm, and dry and the beaches are open, and the town is bustling with activity.
However, you can go at other times of the year if you want fewer people, holiday events, or lower prices. Enjoy your trip!