A gem of an island off the coast of Cape Cod, Nantucket is full of thrills for all ages. From the rose-covered houses in the village of ’Sconset to the dune-lined south shore, this delightful escape is best explored by the miles of family-friendly bike trails. Nantucket also offers rich maritime history, unbeatable shopping and dining, plus sandy beaches that are sure to please even the toughest of little critics.
Tucked along Nantucket’s eastern shore, Siasconset (aka ’Sconset) is an idyllic retreat. Kids can stop and smell the roses on the ’Sconset Bluff Walk or stroll around and check out some of the island’s most stunning floral displays.
For an up close and personal experience with Nantucket's marine life, check out the Critter Cruise. Aboard the Monomoy, Captain Josh invites little ones to touch and feel the critters he nets on one-hour trips through Nantucket Harbor.
Offering a wide range of clothing for kids and adults, Murray’s Toggery Shop is a downtown Nantucket shopping staple. Since 1945, Murray’s has also been outfitting locals and visitors in Nantucket Reds — the iconic salmon-colored pants you see all over the island.
With a variety of locations around Nantucket, the White Elephant is a family favorite. At the original hotel (left), kids can participate in decorating Top Chef-style sweets and chill out in adorable tepees. Just a stone’s throw away, the White Elephant Village has a pool and free ice cream. Children can enroll in the Crew Kids Program at the White Elephant Cottage. All three spots provide bikes for island exploration.
Beyond Children’s Beach, Jetties Beach — a tried-and-true, kid-approved spot — is a blissfully welcoming alternative. Situated north of Nantucket Harbor, the wide, shell-dotted shores are the perfect place to let kids loose. Afterward, head to the Sandbar restaurant and watch the sunset roll in.
What's not to love about a lighthouse? Scattered across the island is a trio to discover: Sankaty Head, Great Point and Brant Point (above). Fun fact: When leaving the island on the ferry, many people throw a penny in the water as they pass the iconic Brant Point to ensure a return visit.
The Boat Basin is the perfect solution for a rainy island day. Wander the cobblestone streets, indulge with a waffle cone at the Juice Bar or watch the ferry shuttle visitors across the harbor. The working marina is sure to keep little ones entertained for hours.
For a classic New England lobster roll to savor with unbeatable water views, head to this adorable lunchtime spot in the village of Madaket. Kids can also enjoy treats such as tacos and quesadillas, while for mom and dad, there’s nothing like a plate of ceviche and one of Millie’s creative cocktails.
By Annie Harris