Trying to fit the whole Cape-and-Islands experience into one vacation? We recommend building a Nantucket day trip into a longer stay on Martha’s Vineyard. The Vineyard is considerably larger, with multiple distinct towns and things to do, whereas Nantucket’s action is more concentrated in one downtown area — perfect for a day trip. Martha’s Vineyard lodging is also more abundant and tends to be more reasonably priced. Still, our neighbors on Nantucket share a sense of island life all their own. Check out these tips for a Nantucket day trip, hop on the ferry, and experience the island next door.
Nantucket Day Trip Transportation
Unless you’re among the world’s small cohort of private yacht owners, getting across the Sound for your Nantucket day trip takes a little planning. Hy-Line Cruises runs ferry service back and forth — hop the first one from Oak Bluffs in the morning and heading back in the evening just before dinner time.
Once you’re on land, you’ve got a couple of options for getting around. For a first-time visit, simply strolling around Nantucket town is more than enough to fill a day. If you do want to venture further away to popular spots like Cisco Brewers or Sankaty Head Lighthouse, Easy Riders Bike Rentals is your ticket. Nantucket is only about 14 miles long and five miles wide, so two wheels and some leisurely pedaling will serve you well.
Nantucket Day Trip Activities
Sip a cocktail by the water, shop the boutiques in town, or get little lesson in Nantucket history. The world is your oyster.
Downtown Nantucket is packed with shops and boutiques — some storefronts change with the tides of fashion while other mainstays have been around for decades. Murray’s Toggery Shop is one of those classics, as essential to Nantucket style as Vineyard Vines is to our home island. Come back sporting a pair of Nantucket Reds and we’ll know your trip was a success. For more ACK shopping hotspots, check out the Nantucket Chamber of Commerce‘s complete list.
Nantucket Historic Sites
If you see one historic site on your Nantucket day trip, make it the Nantucket Whaling Museum. This museum offers an astounding look at the industry that made both Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket commercial hotbeds some 200 years ago. Highlights include the 46-foot skeleton of a real sperm whale and a restored candle factory that occupied the building in the mid-1800s. Before you leave the museum, head up to the rooftop observation deck for stunning views of Nantucket harbor. Your hosts at the museum desk can also direct you to a number of other properties entrusted to the Nantucket Historical Association, including the Old Mill, the Jethro Coffin House, and the Old Gaol.
Nantucket Food & Drink
No day trip to Nantucket would be complete without sampling some of the island’s cuisine for lunch. Cru, located right on the harbor, is one of the hottest places to see and be seen. Get fancy, grab a cocktail, and start shucking at this upscale raw bar. For more casual fare, try Black-Eyed Susan’s and Centre Street Bistro.
Where to Stay
Ready to plan your inter-island adventure? We’d love to make Vineyard Square your home base. Our modern, beachy accommodations and homemade continental breakfast in the heart of downtown Edgartown make traveling, sightseeing, and relaxing as easy as can be.