I’ve never had the urge to travel more now that we are all stuck in quarantine and unable to. My bestie and I are also watching Desperate Housewives for the first time from the beginning and the women of Wisteria Lane have the most gorgeous gardens full of hydrangeas. Seeing their gardens along with the want to travel made me start reminiscing and daydreaming about Erick & I’s trip to Nantucket last summer. Nantucket is quite literally a real life daydream full of charm. I was in awe from the moment we stepped off the ferry boat onto the island. We only spent a day here, not nearly enough time, and I’m already dreaming up my next trip back. Everything is truly aesthetically pleasing, from the cobblestone paths, the gray shingled homes, the immaculate hydrangea bushes, the sea swept seagrass and white sand beaches along with all of their darling boutiques, restaurants and hotels.
We went at the end of August and the day we were there happened to be pretty perfect. It started out overcast but the sun came out. It definitely wasn’t HOT like it is here in the midwest in late August. It was in the low 70’s and cooled off to the 60’s by late afternoon. I can imagine the evenings get quite chilly. You’ll see in my photos that everything was still green and the flowers were still in bloom but you could tell they were starting to fade from the summers heat. After doing some research on the best time to go I found that July is the most ideal month if you want to see the flowers in there best full bloom and have the perfect warm summer weather. June is still cooler out and the flowers haven’t fully bloomed. July and August are
the top two tourist months which also make it the most expensive. If you’re fine not seeing the flowers in all their glory September is going to be much more affordable. Still warm and much less expensive with summer vacation being over and many back to their regular school + work schedules.
There are two ways to get to the island of Nantucket, by small plane or ferry. Small planes just kind of freak me out honestly, I’ve read too many stories about families crashing in a field with a beloved pet in tow for my liking. There’s also the whole JFK Jr. small plane crash and with us being in that same area where the Kennedy history presence is very much felt, it just seemed like a bad idea. BUT, if you’re into small planes, go for it, lol. I did read that there are a lot of cancelations/delays with the small planes due to heavy fog being common in the area. Erick and I were staying the week in Boston which is 1.5 to 2 hours away from Hyannis where the Ferry to Nantucket is located. We took a Plymouth and Brockton Bus ($42 one way per ticket) from Boston to Hyannis South Station which is a 10 minute Uber ride to the Hy-line Cruises Ferry . Definitely allow some extra time for traffic and the quick bus stops picking up others along the way. The Ferry was actually really enjoyable, it was only an hour ride from Hyannis to Nantucket which is no time at all when you’re busy taking in all the unfamiliar + gorgeous views. You can even see the Kennedy compound on your way out of town, truly stunning.
There’s SO many cute boutiques and shops on the island. There are charming local shops along with national retailers you know and love like Gwyneth Paltrow’s goop, Lily Pulitzer, Vineyard Vines, Ralph Lauren Polo and more. Going to list the charming local must stop shops below.
Perch // This adorable boutique is in the former vineyard vines location near the Ferry. The exterior doorway arched with the most gorgeous flowers (see above photo) is enough of a reason to stop by.
CJ Lane // There are two locations on Nantucket, a bigger location in downtown and a smaller location in Sconset. Both are adorable! CJ Laing a selection of summer dresses, Oaxaca tops, and the cutest sweaters perfect for the beach along with jewelry and accessories.
Milly & Grace // Another boutique full of adorable clothing, jewelry and accessory options that sits right on the water – super cute location.
The Lion’s Paw //A nautical inspired home decor and interior design store. You’ll find pretty furniture, cozy throw blankets, accent picture frames, and Nantucket art prints.
3 Girls and a Dog + Annie and The Tees // Two shops right next to each other with the same ownership. These shops are full of the cutest Nantucket sweatshirts and tees, burlap tote bags and more.
28 Centre Point // A chic little coastal inspired home, gifts, and lifestyle store. This store is full of the cutest hostess gifts, custom furniture, original artwork, barware, jewelry, throws and more.
Serenella // A very high end and on trend women’s boutique on the island, I loved exploring this shop.
Nantucket Looms //Simplicity of Nantucket cottage-style living home decor and gifts.
The Skinny Dip // A designer collective store full of adorable pieces from multiple different owners, so much cute stuff including dresses, tops, sweaters and accessories.
As mentioned above we were only in Nantucket for the day so of course there were multiple places I wanted to eat at that we just possibly couldn’t do. I couldn’t even try all the fabulous dessert/treat recommendations if I wanted to let alone the restaurants. Listing all the top recommendations + the places we did get the chance to try.
Cru Oyster House // This stunning waterfront restaurant can be seen right as you step foot of the ferry. Enjoy a glass of champagne, indulge in caviar and perfectly-shucked oysters or sip on a glass of rosé at sunset. See the last two pictures that don’t even do it justice.
Millie’s // Millie’s is known for their Baja-style fare like fish tacos, poke, shrimp Caesar salads, and lobster quesadillas. Along with their menu choices they’re also known for their relaxed neighborhood vibe.
Galley Beach // A Nantucket staple since the 1920’s be sure to make a reservation at this popular dining spot long before your trip. “The belief that living and eating well is embodied by our location with an open air dining room, heated mosaic floors, feet-in-the-sand beach dining, canopied lounge with fire pits and beach bar. President’s have dined here, novels have been written about us and stars have sipped libations on our beach… We welcome you to our restaurant with its rich in history, impeccable service, award winning cuisine and its beach chic atmosphere. See you On The Beach.”
Sconset Market // A Fancy grocery store near Sconset beach full of the most delicious looking treats. Grab some snacks + sandwiches and walk down to the beach.
The Juice Bar //A well known one stop shop for ice cream and homemade waffle cones right in town.
Cisco Brewery // Est. in 1981 located in the pastoral heart of Nantucket on the way to Cisco Beach you’ll find Cisco Winery, Brewery, and Distillery. Each has its own bar along with a full liquor bar too. Cisco has food trucks and live music too. Known to be family-friendly and dog-friendly too!
Downyflake Donuts //Dine-in at this diner style restaurant for breakfast and lunch or grab a box of delicious donuts to go.
Lemon Press // Very popular place that serves up healthy, organic food, juices, and smoothies. There was a line out the door both times we walked by.
Black Eye’d Susan’s // A Popular casual spot for breakfast in the heart of downtown. There was also a line here however it seemed to be moving fast and something cool we learned is it’s BYOB.
Brant Point Grill // I really wanted to go here but time just didn’t allow it. This beach front restaurant is located inside The White Elephant hotel. Said to be famous for two things: it’s lobster mac and cheese and it’s gorgeous views of Nantucket Harbor. Request a table on the restaurant’s large and lively patio to take full advantage of the views.
Jack & Charlie’s Ice Cream // Ice Cream, Frozen Yogurt, Juice Bars & Smoothies, we stopped here for a cone on the way out of town and it was delish!
Rent a Bike or Vespa // Young’s Bicycle Shop or Nantucket Bike Shop will get you all set up with either bikes or vespas and will point you in the direct of some great bike trails out to different beaches. It truly is a great way to take in the views of Nantucket. We actually rode bikes all the way from town to Sconset beach which I only kind of regret lol (so far for someone who doesn’t bike often) but luckily the views were worth it.
Walk Sconset Beach // However you make it out to Sconset once you do I highly suggest doing the Sconset Bluff Walk. It starts in town at Front Street and takes you almost all the way up to Sankaty Head Lighthouse. You quite literally walk through people’s lawns and is the best way to see the dreamy shingled homes, the stunning pink climbing roses, the gorgeous blue hydrangeas, and beautiful ocean views.
Visit Lighthouses // Nantucket has three historic lighthouses that have each has its own distinct story, history, and look. Brant Point Light is the most photographed and the one that welcomes every visitor that travels to Nantucket by ferry. It’s the oldest lighthouse on Nantucket and the second oldest in the colonies. Sankaty Head Light sits at the end of Baxter Road in Sconset and has actually been moved from its original location due to cliff erosion. Great Point is special because it’s the hardest to get to as you can only access it with a 4-wheel drive vehicle and required permit.
Sailboat Excursion // A popular pick is to sail The Endeavor for a true Nantucket experience.
If you’re staying for an extended period of time you can find great options via AirBnb, VRBO or via one of the local real estate companies can help with a house rental. There are a lot of great boutique hotels to choose from as well, listing out my favorites I looked into (but didn’t stay at) below.
I hope this Nantucket travel guide helped, as always feel free to leave any questions you may have in the comments below.