Almost everyone has heard of Nantucket Island, but I'm often asked "where is Nantucket?" We'll answer that question here and provide you with some interesting facts and tidbits.
Should you find yourself tempted to visit Nantucket, check out the rest of our website. You’ll find everything you need to plan the perfect trip to America’s favorite island!
So Where Is Nantucket?
Nantucket is a tiny jewel of an island just 30 miles south of Cape Cod and about 15 miles southeast of Martha's Vineyard.
Nantucket is a town, an island, and a county, and it consists of 49 square miles of land and measures 15 miles long and 3 miles wide. Although the island is surrounded by 82 miles of beaches, most of the beaches are actually private property. Fortunately, thanks to the generous property owners, most of the beachfront is available to the public. Nearly 40% of the island is protected conservation land.
Founded in 1641, Nantucket is a beautifully preserved whaling village where you visit the past on every corner. Once the whaling capital of the world, the last whaling ship sailed off in 1869, never to return. But for the better part of a century, the whaling industry defined the lives of those who sailed as well as those who were left behind. And the influence of that era is evident everywhere you look. They no longer hunt the gentle giants, but the town and harbor looks much the same architecturally as it did 200 years ago. The historic district boasts more than 800 pre-Civil War era houses and several historic churches. Factories and warehouses have been converted into art galleries and museums and old-fashioned lamps still line the cobblestone streets. The beautiful harbor that once welcomed whaling crews home from their long difficult journeys now serves as one of the finest docking facilities in the world.
The Nantucket Historic District which comprises all of Nantucket Island was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.
For more history: Nantucket History
The tourism industry breathed new life into Nantucket after the decline of the whaling industry. The island boasts a year-round population of about 10,000 but that swells to more than 50,000 during the summer months.
Nantucket has a mild climate compared to the rest of New England with temperatures in the mid to upper 70s in July and August which tend to be the warmest months. The humidity is fairly high in the summer, but more comfortable than the mainland due to the ocean breezes.
Expect morning and evening fog which explains how the island earned the nickname "Gray Lady."
Best Time To Go?
Anytime except winter, when the weather is dreary, and almost everything is closed. Spring and fall are great if you want to avoid the crowds. We prefer to go in September or early October. The weather is warm, the hotel rates are cheaper and most of the restaurants, shops and attractions are still open. However, if you plan on doing a lot of sight-seeing outside of the historic downtown or wharf areas, you'll need to think about transportation. Ride a bike, rent a car or take a tour. Nantucket's convenient and affordable shuttle system only runs a few basic routes in the off-season.
What's So Special About Nantucket Island?
Absolutely everything... Who could imagine that a small island has so much to offer. Explore the Gray Lady's pristine beaches, picturesque lighthouses, breathtaking views, miles of biking and hiking trails, art galleries, museums, historic homes and unique shops.
There is something for everyone, and our goal is to provide all the information you need to make the most of your Nantucket vacation. Discover for yourself just how special Nantucket Island really is.