Can You Do Historic Nantucket in a Day?

cape cod trivia nantucket in a day

Nantucket, the beautiful island off the coast of Cape Cod, is one of the most popular summer destinations in the country with many thing of interest to see, but if time is limited you can explore Nantucket in a day.

rasa nantucket in a day

Marked by beautiful sand-dune beaches, manicured privets, and 19th-century architecture, Nantucket has historically been a favored spot for tourists and summer residents.

But can you do Nantucket in a day trip? Of course you can, but it will leave you wanting for more! Read our guide below to get all your questions answered.

How to Get to Nantucket?

You can take a ferry from Hyannis to Nantucket and visit the the island for the day.  The regular ferry from Hyannis to Nantucket journey takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes or you can pay a little extra and take the high-speed ferry which arrives in about an hour. This ferry is recommended especially if you are only doing a trip to for a day in Nantucket.

Whether it’s a day trip or weekend getaway, you will enjoy the travel time. The ferries are very busy during the summer months so reservations are highly recommended, especially for for the high-speed ferry during peak summer weekends and all holiday weekends.

What to do in Nantucket for a Day?

With its beautiful scenery, incredible architecture, and super-friendly locals, a day in Nantucket is a great addition to any Cape Cod vacation.

nantucket in a day

Most of the island’s coastline is covered by beautiful beaches, making it a super relaxing place. There is diverse wildlife on the island, as well as beautiful churches, buildings, and museums.

If you are wondering what to do in Nantucket for a day, you will find numerous activities and sites to visit to fill up your day. For instance, you can take a small hiking tour across the island, chill at the beach, or simply visit different buildings and museums.

Where to Start a Day in Nantucket

Downtown is a great place to start when exploring the island for the first time. Right off the ferry you will find some nice cafes to start the day with coffee or breakfast

If you arrive before the museums or shops open, you can enjoy the historical vibe strolling the cobblestone streets,  observing the old sea captain houses, or window shop down Main Street and adjacent side streets.

Nantucket in a Day Can Still Include Museums

A short walk up from the ferry dock, you will find the Nantucket  Whaling Museum. Since the 18th century, the island has been known for its colossal whaling industry. 

The museum includes numerous galleries that highlight the whaling industry from the era. It’s a great place to start your journey, as it will give you the historical background to appreciate many of the island sites you will be seeing throughout a day in Nantucket.

nantucket in a day

If time allows you can also visit the Nantucket Shipwreck and Lifesaving Museum or the Museum of African American History, which is located in two buildings: the Florence Higginbotham House and the African Meeting House.

nantucket in a day

Consider Booking an Island Tour

If you are truly doing Nantucket in a day, you might want to consider booking a tour.  There are a variety of tours of the islands, which take in sites of the far side of the island which is not accessible on foot. Tour guides can also add local flavor, providing you with pro tips and island lore.

Some tours include museum stops, as well as visiting historical cottages from the 19th century in the Siasconset town, surrounded by beautiful green gardens. You will also find numerous restaurants in this area.

nantucket in a day

Depending on time, you may want to hike the Sconset Bluff Walk, which starts from the roundabout in the village. The path is surrounded by numerous houses and extends with the Cliffside and a stunning beach and wildflowers.

And let’s not forget the Sankaty Head Lighthouse. This lighthouse was built in 1850 and is just miles away from Siasconset. It is located near a golf course and makes an excellent place for photography

What food is Nantucket known for?nantucket in a day

Nantucket Island is not only known for its unique seascapes but also its delicious food.  After all, when visiting the island, how can you miss out on the food?

Here’s what you can try on Nantucket Island:

Turkey sandwiches from Provisions :Just when you arrive at the Hy-line terminal on the island, you can pick up these perfect sandwiches from Provisions’. With the Portuguese bread, finger-licking sauces, and stellar meat, these sandwiches are one of the best welcoming treats on the island.

Clams from Sayle’s: When taking a walk on the beach’s edge, how about grabbing some fried clams? Sayle’s is known for its hot fried clams spot that is not only a local’s favorite but keeps the tourists coming for more as well.

Cookies from Something Natural: Nothing gets better than a warm, gooey cookie on a cozy island. Something Natural offers the best chocolate chip cookies, fresh loaves of bread, and sandwiches on the island. You can even buy their cookie dough and take it home as a reminder of your trip.

Whale’s Ale from Cisco Brewers: Cisco’s beer is something that every tourist remembers when they come back from Nantucket.Not only does it offer cocktails, wine, and beer, but if you want to enjoy live music on the island, this is the place to visit.

3 Things to buy in Nantucket?

There are always many choices of souvenirs and gift shops to choose from when you are visiting a new location.  Nantucket has local gift shops and items that will add to your experience and authentic tour of Nantucket in a day.

Here are our top picks:

1. Hoodies & T-shirts : The Sunken Ship on Nantucket is a beloved local retail store and local dive shop located on Broad Street with a wide array Nantucket clothing and the authentic three strand Nantucket bracelet.

2. Cosy knits: Nantucket Looms on Main Street is committed to high quality handwoven textiles, representing the artisans of our island and giving nod to the seafaring heritage of Nantucket. Their designs reflect Nantucket’s natural beauty and heritage. and make a perfect keepsake of your journey.

nantucket in a day

3. Nantucket Reds:  If you visit Murray’s Toggery Shop on Main Street, you will be able to find the best of the Nantucket Reds Collection of men’s short, to help you blend in with the local scenery! Besides a wide selection of gifts, you can learn about their Nantucket history from the original store in 1843 and it’s path through Macy’s Dept Store.

 Why is Nantucket famous?

Nantucket is not just any random tourist location. The island is famous for its history in whaling and architectural value. It’s seafaring history reminds us of a significant part of US history.

nantucket in a day

Embrace and enjoy the beautiful sand-dune beaches, manicured privets, and 19th-century architecture.  Vacationing at Nantucket is definitely an experience you won’t find anywhere else.

If you have spent the entire day in Nantucket, consider booking your return ferry at sunset to enjoy fabulous view and photographic sunset opportunity at sea. Local lore has it if you cast a penny as you pass Brant Point Light you will return to spend another day in Nantucket!

So, book a ferry today and hop on it to visit one of the most tranquil, peaceful, and most incredible places on the northeast coast.Make sure to check out our Nantucket Event Calendar before your day in Nantucket to see if there are any special events going on.

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