The Best Way to Summer on Nantucket: Midweek Stays & Exploring The Island’s Best Beaches
It’s officially peak season on Nantucket, which means the island is bustling with visitors and weekenders coming from all corners of the Northeast and beyond. We at Hotel Pippa love the vibrant atmosphere of summer on Nantucket, walking the busy Main Street or seeing guests enjoy the island’s many stunning beaches and dreamy sunsets.
If you haven’t made plans to escape to Nantucket this season, we wanted to let you in on a little secret: the best way to summer on the island (and to avoid the crowds) is to plan a midweek getaway here. You will find that Nantucket is as exciting as ever on weekdays (and weeknights!) but plane fares and hotel rates are more affordable, and the crowds thin out during the week.
The other secret we like to share with our guests is an exhaustive list of our favorite beaches. The island boasts 82 miles of picture-perfect, freely-accessible, and highly-acclaimed beaches. The team at Hotel Pippa can outfit 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 for a picnic by the ocean. Here are some of our favorite spots we recommend exploring this summer:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
So pack up your towel and sunscreen – we hope to see you at the beach or at Hotel Pippa this summer!