Nantucket is often synonymous with summer, whether it’s tourists visiting for a day or week, or folks who ‘summer’ on the island year after year. From May to October the island is a hive of activity, with shops, restaurants, bars, beaches, bikes, boats and more! Many folks think they’d like to live in that summer all year round, never leaving the island.
If you’re one of them, or simply curious, check out these 5 things to know about living year-round on Nantucket.
1. The population fluctuates between seasons!
For those living year-round on Nantucket, the pace of life changes with the seasons. Be prepared for a flurry of visitors, summer folks, and tourists from May through October, with a quieter pace in the winter months. The year-round population has risen from hovering around 11,000 in 2018 to 14,255 in the 2020 census. With the COVID pandemic, the lines between summer people and year round residents has begun to blur in many places, and Nantucket is no exception. In the summertime the population swells to over 80,000!
2. Remember, you’re on an island!
Ok, you probably knew that… but living 26 miles offshore comes with its own share of logistics along with the stunning scenery. Getting on and off the island requires a boat ride or plane trip. If you’re planning to take a car out to the island you’ll need to take the slow boat, with the ride taking a little over an hour. If you’re looking to just go as a passenger the fast ferry will have you there in just over an hour. A flight from Hyannis to Nantucket takes just 25 minutes. A number of ferries can transport you to Nantucket from several locations around Cape Cod.
When storms blow up in the winter months those modes of transportation might not be an option, so you should be prepared to hunker down and wait for the weather to clear. Since the food comes to the island the same way as the people, the shelves at the Stop and Shop might look a little leaner during these periods.
3. Things cost more!
Don’t forget about the added cost of everyday items. Whether you’re visiting on living year-round on Nantucket you’re sure to notice the added cost of everyday items, be it groceries or gas. The average gas price on the island is currently hovering around $4.48/gallon. Just like getting yourself to Nantucket, getting goods to the island isn’t always easy, and the price of items reflects that.
4. Housing can be tricky!
While Nantucket real estate is known for its homes worth millions, finding housing can be a challenge for those living year-round on Nantucket. Non-profit Housing Nantucket has been working to provide equitable, affordable housing for those living year-round on Nantucket. Some seasonal employers offer housing as part of the job.
5. Beauty and Community!
Despite the challenges that come with living year-round on Nantucket, there’s a lot to love. The community is tight knit, even more so the community of folks who are living year-round on Nantucket. There are stunning views everywhere you turn, from the crashing waves, historic shingles and cobblestones, and natural wonder. You can enjoy beaches year-round, strolling, sunbathing, and splashing in the surf. And from Figawi weekend to October the island will be bustling with people who can’t wait to spend time in the beautiful place you call home.
If you’re not up for living year round on Nantucket just yet, check out our advice on the best things to do on Nantucket, tips for visiting Nantucket on a day trip, in the winter, and about the history of Nantucket and its whaling.