Bucket list trips. We all have them. We all crave them. For my mom, it’s Cape Cod and the surrounding area. We decided to spend a day in Nantucket to explore this faraway island! We chased lighthouses, we shopped, we dined, and we got wonderfully lost. Check out below for our perfect day in ACK!
Getting to Nantucket
8:00 AM: Depart Harwich Port on the first ferry aboard the Nantucket Ferry Freedom Cruise line.
Nantucket is an island located thirty miles from Cape Cod. There are two ways to get to this beautiful, quaint town: by boat or air. If, like us, you’re spending time on the Cape, your best option for a day trip is the ferry. If Nantucket is the only destination, I would recommend flying.
Flying to ACK
- Often times you’ll hear locals refer to the city as ACK. This is the code for the Nantucket Memorial airport.
- The following airlines have flights into ACK daily: United, Delta, CapeAir, American, JetBlue
Ferry to ACK
- There are two ports in which you can catch a Traditional Car Ferry or High-Speed Ferry.
- Hyannis Port: This area is more commercialized and therefore busier. If you want your car with you on the island, this is the port to leave from. Below are links you can use to book your ferry to Nantucket from Hyannis.
- Harwich Port: Harwich is easily accessible, smaller, and less busy. We booked the ferry out of Harwich Port and it was a breeze an not crowded in the least!
- My biggest piece of advice is to book in advance! When I called to investigate purchasing tickets, I was told they suggest booking one to two months in advance during high season.
- So, let’s talk pricing. From Harwich Port it is $75 round trip/person. Parking was free for the day and $19 for overnight parking. During your one hour twenty minute ride, you’ll be comfortable inside or out in airplane like seating. There are also drinks/snacks aboard for purchase.
A Perfectly Nantucket Day
9:30AM-12:00PM: Dock at the Harbor in Nantucket. As you make your way to pick up your rental, peer into the shops as the owners prepare for the hustle and bustle of tourists and locals alike for another beautiful day on the island.
- Chase the Lighthouses. My mom and I are fascinated by lighthouses. They are a beacon of hope shining bright in the stormiest of weathers. Luckily, there are three gorgeous lighthouses in Nantucket that shouldn’t be missed if this is your cup of tea.
- Great Point Lighthouse: Located on the northernmost point of Nantucket, this is a lighthouse that is worth the long trek to get there!
- A4x4 vehicle is required if you want to get to the lighthouse. We found a great rental company, here, that included the permit that is needed to drive on the beach. The team there will give you very explicit instructions on the dos and don’ts of driving in the area so worry not!
- Once you get the Wauwinet gatehouse, you’ll be asked to lower your tire pressure. Do not skimp on this or you’ll risk getting stuck in the sand!
- Be sure to follow the outer route signs as this is where you’ll drive on the water as the waves crash into the shore. We chose the wrong route to begin with and had a nasty battle with a million mosquitos. My dad’s words: “put this in your blog!” There you go, dad, we’ll always have the mosquito war of 2017.
- Take your time. Not many people want to put the effort into getting to this serenely beautiful lighthouse so you’ll have it to yourself. Pack a lunch and enjoy it on the beach after you walk around the area!
- Sankaty Lighthouse: A lighthouse that is still in operation and not far from Great Point is Sankaty. Located in the village of Siasconset, this lighthouse brings a larger crowd. It is right next to a golf course and near another pristine beach.
- Brant Point Lighthouse: You’ll catch a glimpse of this beauty as you make your way into Nantucket on the ferry. This lighthouse is much smaller than the above two, but ruggedly beautiful in its own way. The beach it sits on is more private and a great spot to watch the boats come in and out of the harbor.
12:00PM- 1:00PM: Now that you’ve chased the lighthouses through the island, you’ve definitely worked up an appetite and deserve a drink!
- Kick back and relax at Cisco Brewers: I had read that Cisco Brewers was not to be missed while in Nantucket so we thought it would be the perfect stop before heading back into town to shop.
- As soon as you enter the brewery it feels like a backyard picnic with hundreds of your closest friends. There were brews and wine tastings, live music, and several food trucks with mouthwatering options to choose from. We enjoyed a drink, listened to the music and did some serious people watching!
1:00PM-3:00PM: Shop until you drop! Men, grab a few brews at the many pubs and bars overlooking the water!
- Shopping: There is just something about perusing boutique shops on cobblestone streets, in a quaint village, with your mom, that just makes everything right in the world. We had such an amazing time shopping and just having girl time together. Below are a few of our favorite stores!
- It’s a Shore Thing: Home goods store with french country, beach cottage decor. I bought our Nantucket ornament here and cannot wait to add it to our tree!
- The Skinny Dip: I know I mentioned this shop in my Charleston series, but it stemmed from the Nantucket branch! I absolutely could not come to Nantucket and not see this gem! It is located right on the water and SO cute!
- Annie & The Tees: If you’re on the hunt for clothing or hats to commemorate your time in ACK, this is the best shop we found at the best price!
3:00PM-4:30PM: With the top down in your jeep, drive through the streets of Nantucket. From the multi-million dollar homes to the quaint cape cod cottages, I dare you to find an eye sore in the lot.
- Get wonderfully lost in the streets of Nantucket: We just couldn’t get enough of the homes, the blooming hydrangeas, and the cobblestone streets. Many of the homes have names and it was so fun to see what the owners came up with! By the time we left, we all had names picked for our homes, too!
- There is no shortage of beauty in Nantucket. Take time to get lost.
5:00PM-6:45PM: Enjoy pre-dinner drinks on the water before heading to your dinner reservation. Be sure to keep close tabs on the time to make your ferry departure this evening!
- Cocktail Hour: As you wind down from a full day, grab drinks at Galley Beach. You’ll take in spectacular views of the water and if you’re lucky catch a breathtaking sunset.
- Dinner: You’d think I’d have learned living in DC that dinner reservations are a must. However, because we were so unsure as to what to expect in our adventure packed day, we decided to forego dinner reservations. MAJOR rookie mistake. None of the restaurants I wanted to go to were available. I was so disappointed and definitely bummed that my mom didn’t get a teste of the best lobster on the island. Here’s where we would have went:
- Cru: I’ve read they have the best lobster rolls on the island. They also have a killer raw bar that cannot be missed. Sigh, I’ll be back for you, Cru.
- Millies: Although we didn’t eat at this establishment in Nantucket, they have a sister restaurant in DC that Gus and I have been too and really love! I suggest the lobster quesadilla, but the Cisco Po’ Boy is also a fantastic option
- Dessert: There’s only one stop to satisfy that sweet tooth craving. The Juice Bar was at the top of my list and we did NOT miss out on this. With over 50 homemade flavors to choose from, you’ll be craving it long after you bid this island adieu. I tired Almond Joy and I’m still dreaming about it.
7:10PM: After grabbing your ice cream cone, start the ten minute walk to the harbor to board the last ferry out. The ferry will leave precisely at 7:15PM. Unless, you’ve always wondered what it’s like to sleep under the Nantucket stars, don’t be late!
I am the first to admit that there is so much more to this island than we could ever accomplish in just a day. As we made our way back to the Cape, we watched as the sunset on a near perfect day on the island and vowed that we’d definitely be bACK; for longer the next time.
Look out for the next post on Cape Cod and all the trouble we got into in the area! Until next time, friends. Thanks for following along, as always, on these adventures of mine!