Nantucket has 82 miles of some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Although Nantucket is a small island, conditions do change from beach to beach. Below we have described some of the more popular beaches so you can make the right decision about where to spend your time in the sun!
The beaches on the south side have great surf and are great for boogey boarding, skim boarding and surfing. You need to be careful at these beaches because usually there is a strong rip current. Make sure you read the signs that are posted and let the people you are with know you are going swimming. If you start being pulled out, don't fight it. Let it take you out and once it stops, swim horizontally along the shore until you find a place where it is easy to swim in.
The beaches along Nantucket Sound and in Nantucket Harbor on the northern side have calmer conditions. These beaches are best for families with smaller children or if you are with people who do not want to swim in the waves.
The beaches are well patrolled by the police on Four Wheelers during July and August. They are very helpful and knowledgable, so feel free to speak with them if you have any questions. Keep in mind that most of these descriptions are of typical conditions. Always check a dependable weather source for up to date information. Even in the busy summer months, there are beaches with few people on them. It gives you the perfect opportunity to just get away from it all.
A scenic beach where Brant Point Lighthouse is located. It is the best place to watch the ferries coming and going. Be cautious of the channel, as there is a strong current and there is a sharp drop off if you go in. There is limited parking and no facilities or lifeguards.
Wonderful for families with small children. Very calm water just steps from town. Playground, park, picnic tables, restrooms with showers, and a seasonal takeout restaurant. Lifeguard on duty until the end of August. Parking is limited and no floatation devices are allowed.
One of the most popular beaches on Nantucket. Calm, shallow water. There are lifeguards, a playground, equipment rentals (beach chairs, umbrellas, kayaks), as well as volleyball nets. Handicapped accessible. Facilities include showers and changing area. The Jetties Restaurant is located here and has outdoor seating, food including raw bar, and a full bar.
Long stairs lead down to this calm water beach. This is a great option close to town. There are no lifeguards or restrooms and parking is on the street.
Calm water beach that is great for families. Long, wide stretch of beach with sandbars. There are lifeguards and restrooms. Turn right at the rock engraved with "Dionis" to get here off Eel Point Road.
This beach is great for taking your 4WD vehicle on (a permit is necessary from the Police Department at 4 Fairgrounds Road). The water is calm and warm during the summer. It is great for families or if you just want to park and hang out on the beach all day. No restrooms or lifeguards.
This beach is in Madaket, the most western area of the island. It is accessible by the NRTA bus and also by bike path. The surf can be heavy here at times, but the sunsets are spectacular. There are lifeguards and restrooms, and just a few steps away is Madaket Millie's where you can have lunch sitting outside, or you can take it to go. There is also a small general store in case you forget anything!
This is the "surfing beach" on island. Located at the end of the Hummock Pond Bike Path, you can bike here as well as drive. There are strong riptides and undertows for the most part . Lifeguards watch part of the beach and there are restrooms. There are surfing lessons available here, and Bartlett Farm and the Cisco Brewery are right around the corner!
Fresh water or the ocean? It's your choice! Miacomet Pond is great for younger children who may not like the waves or the salt water yet. However, just over the dunes is the ocean. There is a strong undertow, but the waves are great for boogie boarding. There is a lifeguard on the oceanside. Most of the time there are porta-potties in the parking lot.
Surfside is one of the most popular beaches on the island. It is easy to get to by bike or the NRTA, and it is close enough to town that it's only a few minutes away. There tends to be higher surf and a strong undertow, and there are lifeguards. You can surfcast after 5pm. There is a snack bar with fabulous burgers, changing rooms with showers, and it is handicapped accessible with wheelchairs for the beach available for rent.
This beach is somewhat off the beaten track. There can be plenty of surf and a strong undertow. There is parking on the street.
This beach is very popular with the college crowd. There is usually plenty of surf and a strong undertow. There are no facilities, but sometimes a food truck will be in the parking area. There tends to be a lot of airplane noise since the runway is very close to the beach. Limited parking is available on the street, but most visitors will drive their 4WD vehicle onto the beach (with a permit from the Town building).
This beach tends to be quieter in terms of crowds. Plenty of surf and there is a strong undertow.
Not very crowded. Great for surfcasting or swimming, but keep in mind there is a strong undertow and heavy surf.
Located on the eastern shore of Nantucket is a village called Siasconset. The beach is located in Codfish Park which is about 200 yards away from the village center. There is a NRTA stop here, or you could also take a bike ride from town on either the Milestone or Polpis Bike Paths. The center has several restaurants and a market where you can grab lunch. The water tends to be deep and the current is strong. There is limited parking and lifeguards in July and August.
Enjoy this relaxing and quiet spot while catching a great view of Sankaty Lighthouse. You can swim in the ocean or in Sesachacha Pond, which is right over the dunes. Parking is limited and there are no lifeguards or facilities.
Great Point is known for fishing and of course, Great Point Lighthouse. There are many miles of trails to explore the most remote beaches on island. To get onto the beach, you will need a 4WD vehicle and a permit from the guard shack right before The Wauwinet, from the Trustees of the Reservation. There are no lifeguards, and restrooms are available at the lighthouse between Memorial and Columbus Day. Dogs are allowed off season, but must remain leashed.
This calm water beach is great for small children. It is also a popular place to windsurf or kayak. Parking is limited.