Nantucket is a dreamy vacation destination, suitable not only for preppy youngsters, romantic couples, or celebrities and influencers. It is also a family-friendly spot where you can create unforgettable memories with your family and young kids.
Here are some tips for having the best time while visiting the idyllic New England island with your children so that everybody in the family is happy.
Getting to Nantucket with Children
The small island of Nantucket is 30 miles south of Cape Cod and mainland Massachusetts, so it can only be accessed by sea or by air.
The least expensive and most fun way to reach the island is by hopping on the Steamship Authority traditional ferry from Hyannis in Cape Cod.
The trip will cost you about $40 for adults and $20 for children. Kids under the age of 5 travel for free.
You will get to ride on the ferry for about 2 hours and 15 minutes and enjoy the ocean views on the way.
Faster passenger-only hi-speed ferry options are available for those of you who prefer to get there in about an hour from the mainland.
But if the little ones are fussy or get seasick, you may want to consider flying to Nantucket Memorial Airport from Boston, NYC, or other big cities.
Keep in mind that bringing your car to Nantucket is expensive and is not the best option for getting around the island. Instead, you can either bring your own bikes or rent some when you land there. Or rely on the regular shuttle buses, Uber rides, and cabs.
Where to Stay in Nantucket with Kids?
The island used to be considered the whaling industry capital of the world in the 1880s, but today its main business is tourism. So, there are hundreds of places where you can stay when you visit.
You can pick one of the many luxurious hotels in Nantucket. But renting one of the many short-term rental homes or dwellings is a much more family-friendly and less expensive option. This is especially true if you are going on a trip with extended family or friends so that you can share the costs.
If you rent one of these dreamy homes for your stay, you can make your children feel more at home, prepare breakfast and snacks there, and take advantage of the many amenities that rental property owners offer. You may be able to rent housing with available beach toys, bikes, and other baby and kid’s gear included in the price.
Plus, you can rent a house or apartment near the beach or in the neighborhood in Nantucket where you prefer to spend most of your time during your trip.
If you are looking for a more budget-friendly family vacation, you may want to plan your trip for the months before or after the peak of the summer season. The second half of May or September are excellent dates for a holiday if you want to enjoy fewer crowds and more affordable prices.
Eating in Nantucket with Kids
There are many top-of-the-line fine dining restaurants in Nantucket. But there are also a lot of family-friendly eateries and places to eat with your children there.
Millie’s is one of the island’s best places to eat with kids. It is away from Downtown and is located in Madaket near the western shore. But this kid-friendly restaurant is definitely worth the trip.
The Mexican food is spot on and suitable for children of all ages and for adults as well. Next door, you can treat the children to some ice cream from Millie’s Market and head off to Madaket Beach to take some stunning family photos of the sunset.
Island Kitchen is another place to go for a delicious breakfast or brunch with the children.
The Sandbar at Jetties Beach is another spot that you should not miss when vacationing in Nantucket. You can eat some yummy hamburgers, French fries, and chicken fingers with your toes buried in the sand.
Cisco Brewers may not sound very kid-friendly, but it is a great spot to spend a fun evening with the children. While the adults enjoy tasting some of the unique local brews, wines, or distilled spirits, the children can play in the large beer garden, listen to live music, and get snacks from the food trucks there.
Things to do With Kids in Nantucket
The island known as “The Little Grey Lady of the Sea” may be small, but it is filled with kid-friendly venues and things to do.
Your kids will love the Critter Cruise or the Ice Cream Cruise offered at the harbor. The cruises are created for children and will take you and the little ones on fun-filled sailing tours and experiences.
Your children will get to learn about, catch and even handle some of the local crabs, lobsters, fish, and critters. Or can eat delicious ice cream while listening to fun stories from the crews of these boats.
Another experience you and your children should not miss while enjoying your vacation in Nantucket is visiting the famous Whaling Museum.
It is in Downtown Nantucket and has hundreds of artifacts and exhibits that will keep you and your kids entertained for hours. Your children will get to see a real 46-foot skeleton of a sperm whale, as well as historic Fresnel lenses from one of the island’s lighthouses. They can listen to the stories of the adventures of the local whaling ships and their crews. You and the kids can learn more about the true story of the Essex whaling ship, which inspired the writing of Moby-Dick by Herman Melville.
Another fun way to spend your holiday in Nantucket is to sign your kids up for some local surf or boogie boarding lessons. Individual and group lessons are offered at Nobadeer Beach and Cisco Beach. You can rent all the gear you will need for surfing or enjoying other water sports from them too. Surfside Beach is another top-preferred beach for families who love water sports.
If you are not into watersports, you can still enjoy spending your days on the beaches of Nantucket. The most family-friendly beaches like Children’s Beach are located on the island’s northern shores, where the water is warmer, shallower, and calmer.
You can enjoy an unforgettable beach ride to 40th Pole Beach, but you will need a beach driving permit and a suitable vehicle to get there.
Of course, don’t forget to show your children at least one of the three historic lighthouses on Nantucket. The Brant Point Lighthouse is the smallest but easiest to access. The Sankaty Head Light is on the eastern coast and near the picturesque village of Siasconset. The Great Point Lighthouse is the most remote one, as it is at the northernmost point of Nantucket, but getting there and exploring the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge while getting there is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you will remember and cherish.
Spend a day at the Maria Mitchell Aquarium with the kids and learn more about the local sea creatures. The hands-on activities there are perfect for curious minds of all ages.
There are also great hiking trails on Nantucket that are perfect for exploring with the kids. Some of the most popular ones are Miacomet Pond Trail, Wompatuck State Park, and nature trails at Eel Point and Great Point.
Nantucket is an amazing island destination that the whole family can enjoy. With its kid-friendly beaches, fun activities, and historic sites, there is something for everyone to enjoy on this beautiful island. So pack your bags and get ready for a vacation that the whole family will love. Just follow these tips and you will have an unforgettable time visiting Nantucket with your kids.