Nantucket family vacation
Brant Point Lighthouse on Nantucket Island, iStock Photo

As you dive into summer planning, let me steer you toward one of my favorite family trips — an unforgettable getaway on Nantucket Island. This gem offers a perfect mix of upscale beaches, delectable dining, and endless outdoor adventures for the kids, all wrapped up in the charm of a quintessential New England town.

How to get there

Just 30 miles off the shore of Cape Cod, Nantucket provides a unique and remote ambiance, creating an ideal escape from the everyday hustle. Whether you choose a boat ride with Seastreak from New Bedford, MA, or opt for Hy-line or the Steamship Authority departing from Hyannis, MA, the island’s charm begins before you even set foot on its sandy shores. (Be mindful of parking costs if you go for the budget-friendly boat options; consider flying from New Bedford or Hyannis for a crowd-free experience and more affordable parking.)

Where to stay and how to get around

Once on Nantucket, the accommodation options are diverse, from cozy Airbnb and Vrbo rentals to family-friendly hotels like the Nantucket Hotel and the White Elephant, strategically located near the harbor. Whether you prefer the convenience of a rental car or the leisurely pace of biking, the island is a perfect canvas for exploration.

A man wearing a hat and a red t-shirt is pushing a bike with a kids trailer. behind a woman is pushing a walking a bike.

Where to eat

There are plenty of family-friendly dining experiences on Nantucket Island. Revel in beachfront views and stunning sunsets at Sandbar, or discover the perfect blend of kid and adult menus at Brotherhood. For a taste of the best quesadillas and Mexican fare, don’t miss Surfside Taco Stand or Madaket Millie’s.

For the coffee enthusiasts among you, Nantucket’s charming coffee shops are not to be missed. Start your day at Rostd General Store for a cozy atmosphere and freshly brewed delights. Experience the rich flavors at Island Coffee Roaster, offering a wide selection of artisanal coffees. Dive into the unique offerings at Faraway, a coffee shop that takes your taste buds on a journey. And don’t forget to check out The Hub for a vibrant coffeehouse experience that perfectly complements the island vibe.

And for a sweet treat on those warm summer days, don’t miss the delightful ice cream shops on Nantucket like Island Kitchen and The Juice Bar. Indulge in delicious frozen delights as you explore the island’s enchanting streets, adding a touch of sweetness to your family adventure!

Where to play

For the little ones, Children’s Beach — with its own playground — and Jetties Beach are the go-to spots. A short car ride to Dionis Beach opens up another world of seaside fun.

Engage your kids in art classes at Barnaby’s Toy & Art, dive into a good book at Nantucket Bookworks or the public library, explore marine life at the Maria Mitchell Aquarium, step into history at the Jethro Coffin House, or get mesmerized by the wonders of the sea at the Whaling Museum.

Pink, purple and blue hydrangeas in Nantucket, MassachusettsNantucket beckons with a perfect blend of relaxation and family fun, making it the ideal summer destination for Boston-based families! Dive into the charm and excitement of this island escape, creating lasting memories with your loved ones.

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