The faraway land, as the name Nantucket translates in the native Wampanoag people language, is an island 30 miles south of Cape Cod. It is small, but its entire coast is surrounded by stunning beaches and magnificent waterfront properties.
Thanks to the efforts and local policies of the authorities, the community, and the conservation organizations of the New England island, all of the 80 miles of beaches are open to the public and are free to access and enjoy.
Then again, each of the over 20 beaches on the island has its unique qualities, charm, and benefits. Some of them, especially the beaches on the northern Nantucket Sound coast, are more suitable for families with young kids. The water there is calmer, shallower, and warmer than on the other shores of the island, which border the open Atlantic Ocean.
Surfers, adventurers, and youngsters prefer the southern and eastern shore beaches.
The western ones are the hardest to reach from the town. Thus they are quieter, less crowded, and more tranquil. This makes them perfect for beachgoers looking for some peace and quiet away from the cosmopolitan hustle and bustle.
Nantucket has some of the most Instagram-worthy beaches preferred by romantic and wedding couples and influencers, and photography buffs.
But whichever beach you choose on the island, you can be sure that the views of the ocean, the harbor, the lighthouses, and the waterfront properties will be stunning.
The good news is that there are many houses and other properties offered for short-term rent around the island. And if you are lucky and book ahead, you can find the best one, close to the beach of your choice, for your Nantucket vacation.
Here are seven of the must-see beaches on this idyllic island in Massachusetts.
Even though it is located between the famous Jetties and Dionis beaches, Steps Beach is not as popular as some other beaches on the island. Then again, it is definitely one of the most Instagrammable ones in Nantucket.
As its name suggests, the beach is located at the bottom of a steep set of steps on the island’s north shore.
But it is the view from the cliffs at the top of the stairs which is absolutely worth viewing and photographing. You can admire the stunning panoramic view of the Nantucket Sound, Great Point Light, and the Harbor and the stately waterfront properties set among the dunes.
The beach itself is less crowded than others, even during the peak of the summer season.
Please note that there are no facilities or lifeguards there, so bring along snacks and drinks.
Jetties is a top-preferred beach due to its close proximity to downtown Nantucket, as well as its calm, safe, warm, and shallow waters.
The north coast beach has all the amenities you will need to spend a leisurely day without leaving it. You can enjoy swimming, relaxing, and the view of the boats and yachts approaching or leaving the harbor and Nantucket Sound.
Jetties has a tennis court, a skate park, multiple volleyball nets, a playground, and restrooms. There are seasonal lifeguards, a pavilion, and a restaurant, and you can rent a beach chair and umbrella on-site. So, it is an excellent option for all kinds of beachgoers, including families with children, seniors, youngsters, and others.
Even if you need something which is not readily available on the beach, don’t worry, because it is at a 10-minute walking distance from the shops in town.
Cisco Beach is among the favorite southern shore beaches of Nantucket for surfers, watersports lovers, and youngsters.
One of the two surf schools on the island, the Nantucket Island School, is located at the beach. There you can sign up for some private or group lessons there or rent a board and gear and enjoy the rip currents and waves of the Atlantic Ocean.
During the summer season, there are lifeguards on this wide and beautiful beach. But there are no food trucks or restaurants on-site, so it is a good idea to pack some snacks and drinks before heading there.
This is another beach considered a surfer’s paradise and home to the other surf school in Nantucket – the ACK Surf School.
You can take lessons, or rent a wetsuit and surfing and other water sports gear from the school.
Nobadeer is a preferred spot for fans of beach sports, SUP, and for kite flying.
The south shore beach is near the Nantucket Memorial Airport. This means that apart from the mesmerizing ocean views, you can watch the planes arriving and leaving the island as you relax on the soft sand.
There are lifeguards all summer long, as well as food trucks nearby, so you will have everything you need to spend a long and leisurely day at Nobadeer Beach.
Surfside is yet another south shore beach that ranks among the top-rated and most loved beaches by the local and visiting surfers, boogie boarders, and adventurers. It is a flat, wide beach with sandbars and rolling surf with moderate waves.
There is a rental for surfboards and other water sport gear on the beach.
Surfside Beach is home to the famous Shack Snack Bar, and there is a nearby Taco Truck, so you can enjoy eating some local seafood delicacies and other snacks while spending time on this beach.
Siasconset (Sconset) Beach
This expansive beach on the eastern shore of Nantucket has soft white sand and grassy dunes. It is one of the best beaches on the island for a pre-dawn or morning walk, or jog, where you can welcome the sunrise.
The beach is at the end of the postcard-like Sconset Bluff Walk. It is next to the quaint village of Siasconset, which the local people lovingly call Sconset.
We recommend that you take the walking trail through the village to admire all of the charming 18th-century cottages with weathered gray cedar shingle sidings. Many of them are covered with crawling pink and red roses and surrounded by picture-perfect gardens behind the white picket fences.
While there are no amenities on the beach itself, the village of Siasconset is nearby, so you can grab some snacks and drinks from the market.
This beach also leads to the iconic red and white striped Sankaty Head Light, which is one of the most Instagrammable sites in Nantucket.
Plus, if you are lucky, you can spot some seals enjoying the sun or playing in the water near the beach.
This beach is on the westernmost end of Nantucket and is best known for its spectacular sunset views. This makes it one of the top choices for wedding and romantic photos and for Insta-worthy photo ops.
The beach is wide and has soft sand but no amenities, so it is a good idea to bring a picnic if you are planning to spend the day at Madaket Beach and wait for the sunset there.
Since it is more remote than most other beaches, it is less crowded and has fewer buildings nearby to ruin the panoramic view of the ocean and the untouched flora and fauna surrounding it.
Since the currents and the surf on the beach can be pretty rough, it is a preferred spot for experienced surfers but not the best place to go swimming if you are not confident in your swimming skills.
Miacomet is located between Surfside and Cisco but is not as packed as them. It is the perfect place to go and relax there, away from the loud crowds.
The beach is long and wide, and there is a freshwater pond that goes by the same name on its other side, where you can enjoy some serenity, calm waters, and a quiet and peaceful time.
There are neither lifeguards nor other amenities, so pack some drinks and snacks before heading to Miacomet Beach.