Nantucket

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.

A hand-carved wooden sign bearing golden whales and a big American flag mark the outside of this off-the-radar gray-shingled cottage that teems with antiques: vintage postcards of the Nantucket Yacht Club, whale-shaped ashtrays, weathered wooden buoys, and Nantucked Railroad signs.

Beautiful hand-loomed blankets, throws, rugs, and upholstery fabrics—many of them made on-site in the second-floor weaving studio—have been the hallmark of this weaving collective-cum-shop since 1968.

A fashion boutique fit for the streets of Los Angeles or New York City, Gypsy was founded by stylist Paola Gonfrade in 2003 to offer shoppers more than the usual pink and green Nantucket fashion.

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 40-year-old store on Main Street was in danger of closing until Wendy Schmidt, wife of Google CEO Eric Schmidt, swooped in to save the historic mainstay.

Drop by this downtown Nantucket shop to see why it calls itself “The French General Store.” Since 1996, L'Ile de France has been importing directly from its eponymous country.

Anyone fascinated by Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick (or, more recently, Nathan Philbrick’s National Book Award-winning In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex) will find plenty to enjoy in this small downtown museum.

The original source of the iconic brick-red sailcloth trousers known as Nantucket Reds, Murray’s has been a mainstay of old-guard islander fashion since 1945.

The best way to beach-hop during the days in on the 26 miles of bike paths that trace Nantucket's shores. Young's Bicycle Shop is the time-honored spot for renting cruisers and Bianchis; it offers discounts if you book online.

Nantucket is angler heaven: striped bass, bluefish, cod, fluke, tuna, and even blue sharks all make their home in the cold, deep waters around the island.

A venerable, family-owned restaurant since 1958, the Galley—where untold numbers of Nantucketers have celebrated their anniversary dinners—got a chic new facelift for its own 50th anniversary this summer.

This family-run farm has been in the Slosek family since the mid-1970’s. It started as a way to make some money off of extra vegetables, but now it has food fill Nantucket tables for every meal. For breakfast, there are eggs from barnyard chickens and honey from the farm's bees.

Between May and October, visitors to Nantucket can get a glimpse of the island as it was meant to be seen: from the water, and under sail.

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.