5 Things to Consider for Your Family Vacation in Nantucket

Nantucket island is one of the best getaways for a family vacation in the summer. The natural island exemplifies a simple way of life away from the hassle and bustle of the big city. It is as family-friendly as it can get with numerous activities for kids to do; thus, bundling it all up into a family vacation is the way to go. The island is only about 100 sq mi, and you can enjoy a few of the many entertainments, from lobster dinners to surf lessons, critter cruises, and historical adventures, to mention a few.

Where to stay

For a family looking for a holiday recess, several options are available on where to live during their stay. The number multiplies significantly, so it can be pretty hard to know where to start, and having a place to stay is on top of that list. Booking early to get the best early bird deals on rental homes and hotels alike is always a good idea. 

Renting a house, in my opinion, is the best way to go for a family with kids. It ensures more space, privacy, freedom, and extra amenities not common to hotels for the family. Nantucket’s private rental homes fetch between $179-$480 a night. Experts from Congdon & Coleman can help choose the perfect house at a budget-friendly cost, but the prices are subjective. They are mainly influenced by the season of travel, property location, travel dates, and amenities within the home. You don’t have to worry about the wake-up call, waiting for breakfast, and the company of other tourists at a rental home, which will make your experience more private and authentic.

How to reach the island

Seeing as the island is surrounded by water, obviously, the only means of accessing it is by air or sea. Families with a van or suburban can carry their luggage and pets and come to the island with them. It is even more enjoyable since beach off-roading is allowed as long as someone has an Over-sand vehicle permit from the local authorities. 

Three ferry companies serve the Nantucket-Cape pod route; Hyline cruises, Steamship Authority, and Freedom Cruise Lines. There are two departure ports where the ferries dock and collect passengers; Hyannis harbour and Saquatucket Harbor in Harwich Port. The former provides year-round ferry service while the latter services seasonal ferries only. Hyline Cruises charges roundtrip fares of $81 for adults and $52 for kids between the ages of 5-12 and is free for kids below 4years. The high-speed ferry takes one hour from pier to pier and sails all year round. Unfortunately, they do not offer vehicle transportation.

The Steamship Authority’s traditional ferry offers year-round service, but the high-speed ferry is seasonal operating only from mid-April to mid-October. The conventional ferry offers vehicle transport. The high-speed ferry takes an hour, while the traditional ferry takes two hours and 15 minutes from pier to pier. The high-speed ferry charges $75 and $38 for adults and kids aged 5-12. It is free for kids below 5. The traditional ferry charges $39 for adults and $20 for kids around 5-12 years. It is also free for kids under 5. There are additional charges for bringing on board vehicles; the cost varies depending on the size of the car. Vehicles under 17′ in length fetch a $246 price tag for a one-way trip but $275 on weekends. Vehicles 17′ but less than 20′ attract $271 for a one-way trip but $300 on weekends.

Families can also fly in and land at the Nantucket airstrip, which is much quicker but has limitations on luggage. Once on the island, several attractions are perfect for family time, from museums to the beaches and historic museums.

Learn about the history of the island

Nantucket shipwreck and lifesaving museum

This place is one of the most iconic attractions on the island and offers an insight into the profound maritime history of the island. The museum is dedicated to all the people who lost their lives at sea and those who went in to save the capsized sailors. It boasts galleries and hallways that depict paintings of the sea and models of the shipwrecks lying at the bottom of the sea. There are several family-friendly films to watch, making for a low-cost family activity. Kids can also enjoy interactive virtual reality and knot tying activities while here.

Whaling museum

Located in the original candle-making factory on the island, the place is a must-visit for families with kids. The most famous artifact is the forty-foot sperm whale skeleton that hangs from the ceiling. The museum offers several exhibitions, including the legendary Moby Dick and numerous paintings and collections of Scrimshaw art. It provides family-friendly rates and guided tours.

Nantucket beaches

Nantucket beaches are quite a draw for numerous visitors who flock to the island during summer. Children’s beach is synonymous with families since the waters here are calm, and paddleboarders usually frequent this place. Jetties Beach is also on the island’s north shore, which is only a short walk from the town. It has tennis courts, a skateboard park, and a playground perfect for family time. The Southshore beaches are more intimidating with heavy turf but are round-bottomed, thus ideal for surfing. Famous beaches along the Southshore are Surfside, Tom Nevers, and Miacomet, to mention a few.

Family-friendly places to enjoy

Dreamland Film and Performing Arts Theatre

This cultural icon has been standing since the 1800s. The theatre entertains visitors and residents with films, community activities, exhibits, and educational programs. A perfect evening would start with ballet, a movie, and an opera show. During anniversary restoration screenings, classic films are brought to life: Fantasia and My Fair Lady. Performing arts are perfect for the whole family and should be just as captivating.

Loines Observatory

The observatory is perfect for gazing up at the stars. The on-site astronomy team usually helps navigate the night sky, pointing out space phenomena and constellations unknown to tourists. The summer lecture they offer at this place ensures visitors interact with leading astronomers. It can be quite a treat for the family and children who are always curious to learn about a world beyond their own.