Looking to spend a day on the beautiful island of Nantucket but not sure how to plan it? Look no further; we have you covered. Our team recently took a trip to the island and discovered the best ways to spend your day. Don't forget! If you book ferry service with Freedom Ferry as a Down the Cape guest you will receive $6 off all round trip tickets!
Depending on how long you want to make your visit, the Freedom Ferry has an 8:00 am and 11:30 am ferry to Nantucket that leaves from Saquatucket Harbor in Harwich Port. To prepare for the eighty minute trip, be sure to bring sunscreen, a sweatshirt, and some cash. The mini snack bar onboard provides waters, snacks, local beer, wine, canned cocktails, and an outlet to charge your phone.
You will know you've arrived when you see the Brant Point Lighthouse appear on the horizon. This view is one of the most photographed on the island. Be sure to have your phone or camera ready as it's something you won't want to miss. When you disembark the boat, you will be greeted by the iconic cobblestone streets, restaurants, and shops. Be sure to take advantage of the public bathrooms before venturing into town.
The best way to see the island is by bike. Nantucket Bike Shop is a short walk from the dock. Their staff are friendly, incredibly helpful, and knowledgeable about the area. They offer maps and will give you simple directions to navigate your way around the island. We recommend opting for a bike with a basket to carry whatever goodies you may find along the way.
The Bike Trail to Bartlett's Farm
If you're feeling hungry, we suggest making the three mile trip to Bartlett's Farm. This destination is an experience in itself and has something to offer everyone. Peddling along this trail will make you feel like a kid again. The downtown scenery, open fields, and ocean views are breathtaking.
Once you arrive at Bartlett's Farm you will be blown away by how big the land is and how many different products and experiences they offer. Bartlett's farm is not just a quick stop for sandwiches before the beach. It is so much more. A family owned business, Bartlett's provides locals and tourists with a farm to table experience like no other. You can read more about our amazing experience on our blog HERE.
Bike to Beach
After you finish up at Bartlett's farm, head to one of Nantucket's beautiful beaches. As we said before, the best way to travel on the island is by bike. Each beach on the island offers something different. Some are closer to town and easy to access, while others are a little off the beaten path. We opted for Beach #12 which is pretty close to the farm. Check out the beach options below to find the one that works best for you!
Other Beach Options
This is an easy walk from downtown and ideal if you are traveling with small children. Children's Beach has a playground, lifeguard, restrooms, showers, and food service.
Jetties Beach is a family friendly beach and is also the closest beach to town. There are lifeguards, restrooms, changing rooms, and restaurant service. It is known for its warm and calm waters. We suggest checking out the windsurfing, kayaking, and sailboat lessons and rentals.
Steps Beach is one of the most popular beaches on Nantucket. Located off Cliff Road, there is very little car parking, but plenty of space to rest your bike. Be prepared- there are many steep steps to be climbed in order to access the beach. Once your toes touch the sand, the views of Nantucket sound will be well worth it. There are no lifeguards on duty here, however the surf is generally gentle and there are sandbars at low tide.
We can't think of a better way to end your visit to the island without stopping at Cisco Brewery. Named as one of the top travel destinations by Time Magazine, The Huffington Post, and more, this is definitely the place to be. A quick bike ride inland from downtown, Cisco offers more than just your average brewery. With local pop up shops on property, live music, and seafood options to eat, you will be glad to check Cisco off your Nantucket bucket list.
Catch the ferry back
Freedom Ferry offers a 4:10 and 7:30 rides back to Harwich. Be sure to give yourself enough time to return your bikes and brave the lines at The Juice Bar before you board. We recommend their Green Monster in a homemade waffle cone or some of their new dairy free options.
Once you're on the ferry, sit back and enjoy your ride. As you post photos of your adventure from the day, don't forget to tag us! @downthecapetravelguide