Nantucket on a Budget!

Nantucket on a budget? It's not totally out of the question. Below you'll find some helpful tips for getting the most for your money.

Although a lot of visitors complain about the prices, there really is no place in the world quite like Nantucket. With miles and miles of beaches, breathtaking views, historic sites and beautifully preserved historic homes, museums and galleries, historic bed and breakfasts, cozy cafes and world-class restaurants, it is a place everyone needs to see at least once. And the good news is that it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. You can enjoy the best Nantucket has to offer at reasonably affordable prices.

Here are some budget conscious suggestions for planning your visit!


To take advantage of the best prices on hotels or bed and breakfasts. consider going off-season. Spring or fall is a great time to visit the island. We prefer going in September when the weather is beautiful, and the island is less crowded. Some restaurants may be closed, but many are open year round. Also, some of the guided tours may not be operating, but you can see almost everything worth seeing on your own.


Although some airports have direct flights to Nantucket, the fares can be pretty pricey. You can always fly into Boston and take a small plane to the island, but that can still be pretty expensive and there are cheaper and more enjoyable options. We usually fly into Boston, take a shuttle to Hyannis, and then take a ferry to the island. It takes a little more time, but it is less expensive, the views from the ferry are breathtaking, and you don’t have to worry about flight delays in or out of the Nantucket airport due to bad weather. Fog is a frequent visitor to the island - there is a reason that Nantucket is known as the grey lady!


Plan to stay in the downtown area near the wharfs and harbor. Most of the bed and breakfasts, restaurants, shopping and historic sites will all be within walking distant.


Don’t plan to bring a car. You can bring one over on a ferry, but that will set you back a few hundred dollars. You can bring a bike for a nominal cost, much less than renting one on the island. If you stay in the historic downtown area, almost everything is within walking distance, but for more remote excursions, renting a bike is preferable to renting a car or taking taxis. Many of the nicer hotels provide bikes to their guests, so check before bringing your bike.

Nantucket has a great shuttle system that will get you just about anywhere you want to go for a very reasonable prices. As of April, it is open all year round.  This is a dream come true for all of us off-season visitors.  NRTA Wave.


Nantucket luxury hotels are fabulous, but the rates can be pretty high. Prices are usually discounted in the off-season months, but probably still too expensive for most budget-conscious travelers.

Bed and Breakfasts / Inns
Some of the charming inns and beds and breakfasts have more affordable rates. These cozy, intimate accommodations are perfect for a romantic getaway. Many of them are former sea captains homes - what better way to experience the island. Most beds and breakfasts provide at least one meal, and some have evening receptions. To learn more about the best Nantucket Bed and Breakfasts, Click here!

Vacation Rentals
There are lots of vacation rentals on the island. If you’re bringing your family, and intend to stay for a few days, you might want to consider this option. It is usually a lot less cheaper than the hotels, and you can prepare your meals at home and avoid the high-priced restaurants.

VRBO - Vacation Rentals By Owner

If you are traveling light and really want to save money, you might think about checking HI-Nantucket


OK, maybe you can't eat cheap, but there are affordable options that won't strain your budget. Nantucket’s award winning restaurants and world class chefs make for some marvelous dining options, but they can be expensive! Take heart, there are plenty of other choices for great food at prices that should fit within your budget.

  • If you are dying to try one of the fine dining restaurants, try their lunch menu. You still get the same wonderful food at reduced prices.
  • Delis and take-out. There are a number of amazing delis with fresh sandwiches and a variety of take-out choices on the island. Perfect choices for picnics, bike rides or just relaxing at the beach. For a list of some of the island's best delis, Click here!
  • There are several cafes and casual restaurants, like the Easy Street Cantina, with great food and reasonable prices in the downtown and wharf areas. Check out: Nantucket Casual Dining

VHN Travel Tip: Many of the restaurants are BYOB, so check before you go.  You can always pick up a bottle at one of the island's well-stocked liquor stores.


For those watching their budget, the best thing about Nantucket is that there are lots of fun and exciting things to do at little or no cost!

  • Beaches, Beaches, Beaches! Need I say more? For more more information about Nantucket beaches, Click here!
  • Discover Nantucket's Whaling History
    Visit the Whaling Museum!
    Yes there is a fee, but it is worth every penny and it is a must-see for anyone with a interest in Nantucket's whaling history. Also, for a little more money, you can get a ticket that will get you into most of the historic sites that are open to the public. And be sure to check out their gift shop! One of our favorite shopping destinations. For more information: Nantucket Whaling Museum.
  • Explore a lighthouseThe picturesque Brant Point lighthouse is located at the end of Brant Point Beach. Conveniently located, the lighthouse is one of the most photographed sights on the Island. For more info on Nantucket's famous lighthouses: Nantucket Lighthouses
  • Picnic Pick up a great sandwich at one of Nantucket's convenient deli's and head for the beach!
  • Relax and enjoy the spectacular views!
  • Ride a bike It's the best way to see the island. If you don't want to bring your bike on the ferry, you can always rent one. We recommend Young’s shop on the wharf. Prices are reasonable, and you can pick up one of the best maps of the island for free!

    Check out Young's Self-guided Bicycle Tours.
    You'll also find biking trail maps at Wheels, Heels and Pedals
  • Shop - yes there are some affordable options. Nantucket does have some amazing shops with very unique one-of-a-kind items, but avoid the higher priced shops unless you're really into window shopping and have no problem resisting temptation! Shopping is always my downfall. Fortunately, there are some less expensive shops, especially near the wharf area, where you can pick up fun souvenirs and other interesting items. Also, you can usually find discounted prices on t-shirts in the off-season months, especially September and October. For more information on Nantucket shopping, Click here!
  • Stroll Through the Historic DistrictThe Nantucket Preservation Trust has downloadable self-guided walking tour maps. You'll also find walking maps at Wheels, Heels and Pedals.
  • Take a Hike You'll find great hiking trail maps and information at Wheels, Heels and Pedals
  • Visit one of Nantucket's amazing art galleries For more information on these unique galleries, Click here!
  • Watch an amazing sunset at Madaket Beach!
    Although sunsets are beautiful from anywhere on Nantucket, Madaket Beach is the best place to watch a sunset on the island!


Probably the best way to save a lot of money is to stay at a hotel or motel on the Cape and then ferry over and back for the day. But I really have a hard time recommending it, because once I get to Nantucket, I just don’t want to leave. Who wouldn't want to spend every possible moment in paradise?

Things to splurge on

Sunset Sailing Cruise
How can you pass up a 90 minute sunset sail around the harbor on the 14-seat Endeavor docked at the straight wharf? It's BYO cocktails and food. Prices vary, but it is worth every penny!

VHN Travel Trip: Nantucket isn't a "cheap" vacation destination by any means, but there are affordable options that will allow you to experience the best of Nantucket. Don't let the fear of high prices keep you away. The best things about Nantucket are FREE!

From Nantucket on a Budget to Visit Historic Nantucket

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Nantucket Whaling MuseumNatucket Whaling Museum

This is a must-see for all visitors to Nantucket!  Great gift shop with unique gifts.  You can order online too!.  Visit their website for more information.

Easy Street Cantina, NantucketEasy Street Cantina

Easy Street is one of our favorite "fast-food" restaurants. Fast, affordable, and family friendly.

Brant Point Beach, NantucketBrant Point Beach
Brant Point Lighthouse, NantucketBrant Point Light

Looking for a house rental? Check out Nantucket vacation rentals! Ideal for family vacations!

VRBO - Vacation Rentals By Owner

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