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10 Best Beaches on Nantucket

The island of Nantucket, located 30 miles off the coast of Massachusetts, is famous for its history, its rose-covered cottages, its nautical charm, and its endless beaches.

There are more than 22 beaches on all coasts of the island, spread over 80 miles. There are different types of beaches on Nantucket suitable for every taste and lifestyle on this New England island. Some are more popular, crowded, and exposed, while others are more tranquil and hidden away in bays.

Beaches on Nantucket
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All of the beaches in Nantucket are free to access and have soft, powdery white sand and clear waters and are surrounded by dunes, unique local shore vegetation, salt marshes, and more. You can go to a new beach every day during your vacation, or simply find accommodation close to your favorite Nantucket beach and enjoy it every day.

Here are 10 of the best beaches on the island of Nantucket.

Cisco Beach

Cisco Beach is on the south coast of the small island, on the shore of the open Atlantic Ocean. It is among the most popular beaches among youngsters, surfers, boogie boarders, and other extreme water sports fans.

Cisco Beach is home to the Nantucket Island School, where you can rent a board, a wetsuit, or other gear or sign up for private or group surfing lessons.

The beach is wide and beautiful and has lifeguards on-site during the summer. When heading to this beach, it is recommended to bring some snacks and drinks because there are no food trucks or eateries nearby.

Or, you can head off to Cisco Brewers to enjoy some excellent local craft brews, wines, spirits, and handcrafted cocktails while listening to live music and mingling with the other vacationers and locals in the spacious beer garden.

Sconset Beach

Sconset, short for Siasconset, is a beach on the east coast of Nantucket, right next to the village of the same name. Siasconset is known for its famous rose-covered gray shingle-style cottages and the picturesque Sconset Bluff Walk.

You can reach the Siasconset beach by exploring the beautiful homes and gardens of the locals, located alongside the iconic 1-mile-long walking path. The beach has fine soft, white sand and grassy dunes and is right next to the Sankaty Head Lighthouse.

Sconset Beach
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Sconset Beach is the perfect spot for a romantic picnic, photos, or watching the sun rising over the Atlantic Ocean.

Jetties Beach

Jetties Beach is on Nantucket’s north shore and is a mere 10 minutes away from town. It is one of the top-preferred beaches by vacationers and families with young children because the water of the Nantucket Sound is calmer, warmer, and safer.

Jetties Beach has lifeguards, restrooms, a playground, a pavilion, a skate park, tennis courts, volleyball nets, and all amenities you will need to spend an entire leisurely and fun day on the beach.

It is also home to the Jetties Beach Bar and Restaurant, so you can enjoy sipping on a chilled cocktail and eating some fresh raw oysters, lobster rolls, or other seafood delicacies on the beach.

Nobadeer Beach

Nobadeer beach is another southern shore beach that is preferred by water sports enthusiasts, surfers, and youngsters.

The ACK Surf School is located there, so you can easily rent the gear you need to enjoy surfing, stand up paddle boarding, boogie boarding, or other fun sports in the beach’s clear waters. Nobadeer Beach is also an excellent spot for surfcasting, kite flying, and for plane spotting, as it is close to the island’s Memorial Airport.

The beach has lifeguards and various food trucks around it where you can grab the drinks, snacks, and dishes you want.

Francis Street Beach

Francis Street Beach is a small beach located just 9 minutes away from the Harbor and 5 minutes from Downtown, but it has a charming appeal and offers one of the best views of the Nantucket Sound and Harbor.

The small sandy beach has restrooms, a jungle gym, and a rental for kayaks, so you can explore the Harbor by paddling or even head on a more extended adventure and paddle up to the Coatue or the Creeks.

Or, for a more relaxed sailing trip, you can get on the nearby Sunset Cruise from the Straight Wharf and enjoy a tour around the Harbor, among the luxurious yachts and with a stunning view of the sunset and of the island.

Brant Point Beach

This small, less crowded beach is next to the Nantucket Harbor and the Brant Point Lighthouse, the second oldest working lighthouse in the USA.

The water on the sheltered beach is calm and warm, perfect for swimming and kayaking, despite the pretty heavy boat traffic nearby.

The wide, sandy, and quiet beach is perfect for spending a relaxing day watching the ferries and boats coming and leaving Nantucket.

Madaket Beach and Smiths Point

Madaket Beach is located on the west coast and is more remote than most other beaches. Still, it is one of the top-preferred spots for romantic and wedding photos, proposals, and other romantic events. The main reason is that the sunsets there are incredible.

During the day, the white sandy beach is usually less crowded than the others and is a perfect spot for those looking for a quiet and tranquil time.

Smith’s Point, located at the northernmost point of the island, has one of the most stunning barrier beaches.

It is also known as “Esther’s Island” because it appeared as a result of Hurricane Esther. The beach is another perfect spot for a romantic stroll or picnic and watching the sunset. It has two shorelines – one to the north and the other to the south, and some beautiful rolling dunes with fine white sand.

It is an excellent place to spot whales, watch birds, enjoy some fishing, or for relaxing.

Steps beach

This beach is less famous than its next-door neighbors, Dionis and Jetties, but Steps Beach has been voted as one of the top photo-op and Insta-worthy spots on the entire island of Nantucket. It is on the north shore and has a set of a lot of steep steps which lead to the beach below the dramatic cliffs. The best part of Steps Beach is the panoramic view from the top of these steps. You can see the Harbor, the Brant Point Lighthouse, the Nantucket Sound, and the beautiful green flora on the shore from the top of the steps.

Keep in mind that it is harder to reach due to the steps, but this also means that the beach is less crowded than the other north shore beaches as well.

Surfside Beach

Surfside is no doubt the most popular beach on the island. It is located on the south shore and has lifeguards, restrooms, facilities, and a restaurant.

Surfside Beach
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The vast and family-friendly beach is popular among surfers, as well as for beach volleyball and games, picnics, and other fun activities on the sand or in the water of the Atlantic Ocean.

Don’t forget to enjoy a cool drink and delicious snacks at the famous Shack Snack Bar on the beach or at one of the many food trucks nearby.

Miacomet Beach

Miacomet Beach is between the popular Cisco and Surfside beaches but is generally less crowded and quieter than its neighbors.

The long and wide sandy beach has access to a freshwater pond with calm and warm waters, where you can enjoy some safe swimming and kayaking. There are no eateries, amenities, or lifeguards at Miacomet Beach, so be prepared with a picnic basket and cooler when heading there.

Frequently Asked Questions

Name some best beaches to visit in Nantucket?

Cisco Beach, Jetties Beach, Francis Street Beach, Steps Beach, and there are many of them.

What are the best months of the year to visit Nantucket?

You can visit the best beaches in Nantucket in the summer months of the year, namely March, April, September, and October, which are also called shoulder months. The beaches at this time of the year are sunny and buzzing with energy.

Are there beaches in Nantucket that don’t get much crowded, even during the peak season?

Of course, there are. You can explore the less crowded options like Dionis Beach, Miacomet Beach, Eel Point Beach, and Madaket Beach, which are located farther from the main town, and can get a peaceful experience visiting these beaches.

Are there any restrictions on swimming or beach activities at Nantucket beaches?

Yes, there are, which includes restrictions on swimming during certain times of the day, some rules and regulations about littering, and restriction on the use of watercraft. It is advisable to check the local regulations before planning your visit to any beach.