Things to do in Nantucket

Looking for what to do in Nantucket? A visit to the island is first and foremost about R&R.

Many of the most popular things to do in Nantucket take place in the great outdoors. Spend a day relaxing on the sand at beaches like Jetties and Siasconset, or take a more active route along shoreline hiking trails. Altar Rock provides its visitors with elevated, panoramic views of the island, too.

For history lovers, ideas for what to do in Nantucket include a stop at the Whaling Museum, where exhibits display relics from the harbor's roots. Nantucket Town itself is a designated National Historic District and boasts hundreds of buildings from the first half of the 19th century.

Nights on the town continue to top the list of things to do in Nantucket for many of the island's visitors. Especially during the summer, seasonal bars and restaurants open their doors to lively crowds. Upscale boutiques attract a similarly swanky crowd during the daylight hours.

Up the stairs from this restaurant’s main dining room (where patrons tuck into simple-yet-sophisticated dishes like yellowfin tuna tartare and plum-glazed, slow-roasted pork loin) is one of the most happening nightspots in town.

During World War II, a Red Cross volunteer gave David Hostetler something to draw with while he was recovering from a wound. From that beginning came a sculpting career that continues into the artist’s 80's.

Four-wheeling out on Nantucket’s remote, northeastern sand spits (which together form the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge) lets you experience the island’s most pristine land- and seascapes.

This downtown institution, which partly occupies an early-1900’s Pullman train coach, is actually a full-scale restaurant.

This cluster of buildings on the way to Cisco Beach is home base to Nantucket’s local spirits producers.

With water all around, sun-and-sand lovers have their pick of public beaches on Nantucket—but the different shorelines offer very distinct experiences.

If Ralph Lauren had married Lilly Pulitzer, their sons would shop here. Ties in nautical patterns, woven belts, madras shorts, and lobster-print totes are equal parts preppy and cheeky.

Shop for delicate straw summer hats; each style is named after one of the island’s romantic spots.

The first incarnation of this store, featuring Peter England’s luxuriously soft knitwear, ran from 1977 to 1986, in a different location. But the new shop is just as much a pleasure.

This cluster of buildings on the way to Cisco Beach is home base to Nantucket’s local spirits producers.

Labels like Bono's Edun and Nicole Miller Collection fill the racks at this eco-chic clothing shop in downtown Nantucket. You'll also find vintage Missoni dresses and a collection of wicker purses.

If you had only a few hours in which to outfit your entire summer cottage—from dining room to bedroom to bath—it wouldn’t be a bad idea to make this your one-stop shop.

Tucked in between the ocean and the harbor, the Hotel Wauwinet is home to this three-room spa. Hotel guests have exclusive access to spa services, which make use of Kerstin Florian International products such as mineral water, mud, and herbs.

Running along the southwest edge of Nantucket Island at the end of Bartlett Farm Road, this secluded beach is known locally as the place to go when seeking an escape from the crowds.