One of the “Best Islands in the World,” Nantucket is dubbed The Faraway Land and known the world over for its charming cobblestone streets, rich history, beautiful gardens and rugged nature. The heart of Nantucket is idyllic Main Street, a beautiful thoroughfare where remarkably preserved 18th and 19th-century architecture coexists, along with shady streets and walking paths, shops, galleries, museums, theaters, bed & breakfasts, and restaurants.
But anyone visiting Nantucket should spend time exploring the island’s 82 miles of picture-perfect, freely-accessible, and highly-acclaimed beaches. The team at Hotel Pippa can outfit any guests with towels and beach chairs for a relaxing day at the beach; water games and sunscreen for the family; or snacks and a bottle of wine from Petrichor Wine Bar for a romantic evening picnic by the shore.
We highly recommend visiting Nantucket’s famed beaches year-round as every single season brings a different atmosphere and reasons to come back and explore the transformed yet idyllic settings.
The most popular spot on the calm North Shore, Jetties Beach is where locals and visitors mingle. Sandbar at Jetties Beach offers the quintessential beachfront experience – a low-key atmosphere paired with a view of Nantucket Sound. The Jetties Sailing Center, a nonprofit that promotes access to watersports on the island, offers sailboat rentals and lessons for those looking to venture out on the water.
Located on the South shore of the island and home to the Shack snack bar and Taco Truck, this beach is perfect for anyone looking for an easily accessible beach with food, ice cream and facilities, perfect for sunbathing or swimming in the waves. This is one of the few South Shore beaches that has a Wave Shuttle bus that can drop you right off and bring you back into town.
No trip to Sconset Beach is complete without a refueling stop at the Sconset Market to pick up the shop’s famous brownies. The enchanting bluff walk leads to the beautiful and peaceful beach where you can see seals swimming close to the shore. A hidden gem, the beach is never extremely crowded and lends itself perfectly to a romantic walk at sunset.
Water Tower Beach
The site of the original harbor, Water Tower Beach is known for its calm, almost lake-like character where locals like to go shelling.
The water is usually calm and a bit warmer on the Nantucket Sound side of the island. Steps Beach is off Cliff Road about two miles from town, sandwiched between Dionis and Jetties, and is not on most people’s radar. As you approach its signature set of stairs leading down, enjoy the view of harbor and the sound. Steps Beach offers protected shores with gentle waves washing onto the sandy beach, and gray-shingled mansions dotting the surrounding sand dunes.
After a big storm, experienced surfers on the island rush to Cisco Beach – this spot has a loyal following and is popular with young adults and surfers. It’s also home to Nantucket’s best surf school and visitors can rent surfboards, wetsuits, and stand-up paddleboards. On your way home, be sure to visit local brewery Cisco Brewers and try some of the select beers they brew onsite, which can only be found at the brewery
The pristine beach and Great Point Lighthouse (also known as Nantucket Lighthouse) make the long journey to the area worthwhile. The lighthouse sits on the end of a seven-mile strip of sand overlooking Nantucket Sound and Coatue. Here you will find windswept dunes, waving marsh grasses, miles of golden sand, and clear blue waves. Great Point is home to the island’s best fishing, which means you will find a crowd of passionate fishermen and plenty of bluefish (you can sometimes spot harbor seals fighting over them!). The only condition to experience this dreamy setting: four-wheel drive and a beach permit are required.
Madaket Beach & Smiths Point
On the far western end of the Island, Madaket Beach is home to the island’s strongest waves. Even the most adventurous beachgoers will recommend setting up a picnic on the notably soft sand and taking in the incredible sunset. Smiths Point also located in Madaket is the most westerly point of the island. Thos beautiful sanctuary is off the beaten path and is only accessible through permitted four-wheel drive cars.
About 3 miles out of town is Dionis, which enjoys the gentle sound surf and steep, picturesque bluffs. It’s a great spot for swimming, picnicking, and shelling. The dunes provide shelter from the summer’s typical southwesterly winds. The beach also boasts stunning views of Nantucket Sound.
Eel Point/North Point
One of the most remote beaches on island, Eel Point Beach is Nantucket’s finest sea shelling spot and one of our preferred areas to catch the sunset. Located on the western end of the North Shore, it has a lot of sea grass, which explains why you will spot many eels. Due to its remoteness, visitors will need four-wheel drive transportation to get to Eel Point.
Quidnet Beach & Sesachacha Pond
An ideal beach for families, Quidnet Beach is a short walk over the dunes and offers beautiful views of Sankaty Head Light. Sesachacha Pond is also a good spot for kayaking and sailing. The fine, soft sand provides great shelling opportunities.
Brant Point Beach
Technically a swimming beach, Brant Point is much more suited for sitting and watching the harbor traffic. A scenic viewpoint that features Brant Point Lighthouse, the second oldest lighthouse in the US, this spot is ideal to go wave goodbye to friends and family departing the island. One of the most photographed spots on Nantucket, it is also a special favorite for wedding photos. You can also stumble upon an actual ceremony taking place at Brant Point Beach, making it a locals’ favorite for people watching!
Pocomo Point Beach
A haven for calm and warm waters, Pocomo Point is an excellent spot to windsurf or launch a kayaking adventure. It is also a great beach for small children.
Low Beach is between ‘Sconset and Tom Nevers around 8 miles outside of Town on the South Shore of the island. This long stretch of beach is scarcely crowded and perfect for those seeking privacy and beautiful views of the water. Make sure you pack accordingly and bring enough food and drinks for the day as the remoteness of this beach does not lend itself well to making a trip back into ‘Sconset.