Nantucket Travel & Tourism

Visitor Map of Nantucket

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At thirty miles out to sea, Nantucket Island is a world away from the frenzied pace of the mainland, or as islanders prefer to call it, “America.”  Its incredible natural beauty and unspoiled historical charm make it one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.  Because the island is warmed by the waters of the Gulf Stream, its temperatures tend to be considerably  warmer than the mainland in winter and cooler in summer.

In season, hydrangeas of vibrant blues, pinks and reds accent weathered gray-shingled cottages, and rose-covered trellises conceal passageways to breathtaking private gardens. 

Over 800 houses still stand that were built before the Civil War-- the largest collection in the United States, and its cobblestoned Main Street has been named one of Ten Great Streets in America.

The island’s diverse natural landscape—punctuated with heath-like moors, serene ponds, salt marshes, creeks and cranberry bogs—is home to an array of rare and endangered plant and animal species.  Nantucket is a birder’s paradise, as its isolated location serves as a migration route and living habitat for hundreds of unique species.  Anglers, too, are drawn to Nantucket Harbor and its surrounding waters, which teem with the delectable bay scallop, bluefish and striped bass.  

From the mid 1700’s until the late 1830’s, Nantucket reigned as the Whaling Capital of the World, with as many as 150 ships making port in the Harbor during its peak.  This renowned fleet was responsible for lighting most of the world’s oil lamps until kerosene, a less-expensive alternative to whale oil, gained popularity and heralded the demise of the whaling industry.  Other factors contributed to the decline, including the “Great Fire” of 1846 which destroyed the Town’s commercial center and wharves.  

By the mid 19th-century, tourism began to flourish, as Nantucket maintained its historic appeal and the promise of the “necessary, invigorating and delightful indulgence of Sea Bathing,” according to an advertisement penned in 1828.  The island lays claim to more than 80 miles of pristine beaches, all open to the public free of charge. Residents and visitors alike enjoy the scenic bike paths, and the annual Daffodil Festival, Cranberry Festival and Christmas Stroll are world-renowned.  Restored in 2005, the Nantucket Whaling Museum received accreditation from the American Association of Museums, an honor bestowed upon fewer than one of every twenty-two museums in the country.  

World-renowned dining and lodging establishments set in charming historic homes continue to appeal to those who visit its shores.  Traditional crafts—such as lightship baskets and scrimshaw—remain popular and highly collectible. Art galleries abound, and the spirit of Nantucket’s heyday as an artist’s colony continues to thrive.  A haven for shoppers, the island harbors an impressive array of shops and boutiques to satisfy every taste, from the traditional to the whimsical.

A world away, and yet extremely accessible by ferry or plane, Nantucket Island and its many charms await you!.

Did you know....Nantucket was recently named Best Island in the World in National Geographic's "The 10 Best of Everything" book?



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