What Makes Nantucket Perfect for Your Family Vacation?

This historic island, nicknamed the “Little Grey Lady of the Sea,” was once known as the world’s whaling capital. Today it has become a top vacation and second home destination.

In fact, it has been dubbed “the new Martha’s Vineyard” because of its popularity, especially among the most affluent and famous people in the USA.

It features some of New England’s most expensive coastal properties, leading restaurants, and high-end boutiques.

But it isn’t a place only for the rich and the famous – Nantucket is perfect for a family vacation too.

Although it is an island, Nantucket is easy to reach via ferry from Cape Cod or by plane.

You and your kids can enjoy multiple family-friendly beaches, restaurants, and activities while vacationing there. There is even an ice skating rink which is open all year round, where your children can practice some ice skating during your vacation there.

At the same time, the parents can enjoy the local art galleries, restaurants, and boutiques which are abundant in Nantucket.

The quaint historical island is small, so you can easily get around by bike, Uber, bus, or walking.

You and the whole family can explore the historic buildings, walk the cobblestone streets, see some incredible exhibits at the Whaling Museum, and take some stunning photos of the lighthouses and the many sandy beaches there.

Best of all, you don’t need to own a home there to spend some time in one of the stunning residences on the island. This is because you can choose from many available short-term rental residences.

Here are some of the reasons why Nantucket may be one of the best upscale, family vacation spots for you.

Plenty of rental houses to choose from

Because of the strict regulations for new construction and development, the available properties for sale in Nantucket are limited, and their prices are rocket high.

Thankfully, hundreds of local houses, lofts, and other dwellings are available for short-term rent in all neighborhoods of the island.

Even though Nantucket is small, it makes sense to pick a house that is near the beaches and sites you are planning on spending the most time during your vacation. This is especially true when the kids are young, and the logistics are more complicated.

The most child-friendly beaches are on the North coast of Nantucket. There the water of the Nantucket Sound is much warmer, calmer, and shallower than the other coasts and the open ocean.

There are rental residences suitable for all budgets and preferences you can choose from.

Some are luxurious, and others offer a more down-to-earth feel. You can find rentals on the coastline with pools, playgrounds, and all kinds of amenities for you and for the kids.

There are rentals in the town of Nantucket itself, as well as others which are located in other areas which are more secluded, which you can select from. You can even book one of the iconic rose-covered gray shingle-style cottages in the village of Siasconset for your stay.

Renting a house for your stay is usually cheaper than booking a hotel for the entire family. Plus, you can feel more comfortable, prepare snacks, and feel more at home if you book a house for your stay. To save money, you can share the rental residence with friends or with extended family.

You can plan a special family event, such as a wedding, anniversary, birthday, or other, and invite guests to stay in your rental too.

Amazing beaches and water activities

Thanks to the efforts of the Land Bank, the Nantucket Conservation Foundation, and the people of Nantucket, access to all of the beaches is free for everyone. Plus, fifty percent of the land of this island is non-developed and has conserved natural resources.

The endless sandy beaches are among the top reasons why the population of Nantucket increases almost five times every year during the summer season.

Many beaches are suitable for families, even with the youngest kids.

The best beaches for the young are Children’s Beach and Jetties, which are on the shore of Nantucket Sound on the island’s north coast. They are close to town, and the water there is much calmer, warmer, and safer for children than on the other shores, which border the open ocean. So, if your little ones want to enjoy some tide pooling or learn how to swim, these are the beaches to choose from.

They also have fun amenities to keep the kids happy throughout the day, including playgrounds, grassy fields, snack shacks, and more.

If your children are older and want to enjoy some boogie boarding or surfing, then you may want to pick Cisco Beach, Nobadeer, or other beaches where the waves are bigger, and there are surfing schools and rentals on site.

For other water activities, which are safer, you can opt for one of the many kid-friendly cruises offered at Straight Wharf. They will undoubtedly love the Ice Cream Cruise, the Critters Cruise, and other family tours of the harbor and island.

Beautiful scenery and nature

As mentioned earlier, over half of the land of the island is preserved, so the nature there is stunning. There are many easy hiking trails that are suitable for adults and kids alike, which you can enjoy during your family vacation there.

You can explore the cranberry bogs, the forests, pastures, swamps, lakes, and the natural refuges of the island. There you can show your children the unadulterated flora and fauna and maybe spot birds, seals, and even whales.

Another beautiful route to enjoy with your children is the Sconset Bluff Walk. It is only a mile long and passes through the charming village of Siasconset. It reaches the eastern shore of Nantucket and the famous Sankaty Lighthouse. The seashell-covered walking path passes through the Instagram-worthy cottages. Most are covered by crawling roses and surrounded by blooming hydrangeas and gardens behind the white picket fences.

The historic Downtown is another place to explore and admire the impeccably preserved pre-civil war buildings, the cobblestone streets, and of course, the Whaling Museum. There they can see a 46-foot whale skeleton and learn more about the actual ships and captains that inspired the writing of Moby-Dick by Herman Melville.

Wonderful food

Nantucket is not only loved for its historic charm, beautiful beaches, and untouched nature, but it is also a mecca for foodies from around the country. Some of the best chefs create culinary masterpieces at the best restaurants there.

But apart from the fine-dining restaurants, there are some more family-friendly diners, snack shacks, ice cream stores, markets, and other eateries. 

You and the kids can have some excellent food, try the local fresh-caught lobsters, oysters, clams, or some kid-friendly sandwiches, pizzas, and tacos.

If you have a free afternoon, make sure to take the whole family to Cisco Brewery. While a brewery may not sound like the best place to take the kids, Cisco Brewery is a beautiful exception. It has a vast beer garden, surrounded by many food trucks, and a stage with live music. The brewery is next to the winery and local distillery. So the parents can taste some of the best locally made craft beers, wines, and liquors or enjoy some unique cocktails while the kids dance, play, and have fun.

Other popular family-friendly eateries include Black Eyed Susan, Surfside, Millie’s, Lola Burger, and many more.

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