Nantucket is an island on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. It is a popular tourist destination due to its beaches, outdoor activities, historical monuments, and excellent restaurants. If you are visiting this island for the first time, you will find many recreational activities and attractions to enjoy, and there is something for all ages and tastes. Here are the top 20 things to do in Nantucket for beginners to help you plan your vacation and make the most of your time here.
20. Visit The Old Gaol
The Old Gaol on Nantucket is one of the oldest prisons in the United States, having been built in 1806. To make the jail visitor-friendly, it has undergone significant preservation and reconstruction work, including the preservation of the oak beams with which it was originally built. Visitors to the jail can learn about the history of the jail and the justice system on Nantucket until it closed in 1933.
19. Play golf at the Miacomet Golf Club
If you are a golf enthusiast, you will be in luck visiting Nantucket as it is home to the Miacomet Golf Club. It is the only golf course on the island and is open to the public. The 18-hole golf course is open year-round and features lush, well-groomed greens and a driving range. Although there are some challenging sections to the course, it is generally considered accessible for all skill levels. There is also a fantastic on-site restaurant in the clubhouse overlooking the greens, with Executive Chef Steve D’Agonistino at the helm.
18. Take a boat trip
No island visit is complete without taking a boat trip to enjoy the surrounding waters, and there are plenty of options for sailing and day trips when visiting Nantucket. It is possible to rent boats or take boat trips in larger groups. Not only is it a great way to enjoy the water, it is also an opportunity to see Nantucket from a different perspective and observe wildlife in their natural habitat.
17. Enjoy a day at the Nantucket Aquarium
One of Nantucket’s top family attractions is the Nantucket Aquarium, which is located on Washington Street. The aquarium exhibits several aquatic species found in the island’s waters, including sharks, multiple species of fish, crustaceans, and seahorses. Although there are several exhibits and displays to enjoy, one of the most popular sections of the aquarium for younger children is the touch pool, which contains crabs, sea snails, clams, and small fish. While the smaller indoor tanks house smaller aquatic species, the large outdoor tank contains large fish, crabs, and sharks. It is also known as the Maria Mitchell Aquarium and is located on the coast. A day in this aquarium is fun and educational.
16. Explore the Greater Light Gardens
Gertrude and Hannah Monaghan were two sisters from Philadelphia who bought Greater Light in the 1930s. It was both their home and their art studio, and the Nantucket Historical Association now owns it. The house is open to visitors and the goal is to show the difference between Nantucket, when it was a thriving whaling town, and the changes that occurred during the art movement. The highlight of the visit is strolling through the gardens, which are designed to reflect the surrounding forests. The grounds feature London Plane and Birch trees, pools, flowers and original features from the garden that the Monaghan sisters built.
15. Look at the stars at the Loines Observatory
If you want to enjoy an activity at night, a great option is to visit the Loines Observatory to observe the stars. The observatory team educates visitors about constellations, and can see international space stations, eclipses, comets, meteor showers, and various phenomena that the naked eye cannot see from Earth. Throughout the summer, there are a series of lectures with some of the leading astronomers in the United States.
14. Visit the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge
For those who enjoy spending time outdoors and appreciate wildlife and nature, an amazing place to visit is the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge, which consists of a couple of peninsulas. There are 16 miles of roads and trails running through the refuge, and you’ll find a wide variety of wildlife along the way. Some of the animals you may see include shorebirds, seals, raptors, and deer. A visit to the refuge is also an opportunity to fully appreciate the beauty of the island’s coastal landscape, as you will see beaches of …