A lot of planning goes into a successful family trip, but it always pays off. Right off the bat, it’s essential to choose a suitable destination. Fortunately, just 30 miles off the coast of Cape Cod lies Nantucket, one of the best family beach destinations in the country.
New England regulars — as well as visitors from all over the world — say the island is one of those destinations that tugs at your heartstrings and keeps calling you back, as evidenced by the fact that it remained on travelers’ minds even during lockdown months.
Nantucket suits every type of visitor — regardless of your vacation needs or age; whether solo or with a significant other; or even with the whole family in tow — it’s as great for a weekend getaway as it is for a longer stay. The island welcomes all families, but before you go, there are a few things to consider. Without further ado, here are a few essential tips for planning a family trip to Nantucket, Mass.
Step 1: Who’s coming?
Travelling may have changed after the pandemic, but one thing’s for sure: when planning a vacation, the destination is usually the first thing you think of. However, the earliest stages of planning a family trip actually involve deciding who exactly will tag along.
Consider the ages and preferences of those involved and decide if this is going to be an immediate family or an extended family adventure. If the latter, take into account the multi-generational appeal of the location. For instance, a day at the beach with just your four-year-old looks a bit different than one with your teenager or with the grandparents in tow. Luckily, Nantucket has something for everyone!
Step 2: Will everyone be entertained?
Family trips mean making sure there’s something for everyone to do. If your family loves the outdoors, Nantucket is definitely the right destination. Here, there are plenty of opportunities to take your family off the beaten track and show them the true beauty of the island. You can plan walks, hikes or biking trips along the beach; go fishing; and enjoy the greenery and colorful flowers. Of course, you can always just bask in the sun on the 82 miles that make up some of the most pristine beaches in the world. There’s even a Children’s Beach!
While you’re there, take a stroll down the cobblestoned downtown; stop by the Whaling Museum; visit art galleries, lighthouse grounds and other structures built before the Civil War; and just breathe in the island’s history.
After you’ve visited the charming boutiques and shopped for antiques or fun trinkets for the kids, treat your loved ones to Nantucket Bay Scallops. Then, for guaranteed family fun, take a family cruise that comes with free ice cream; book whale- and seal-watching excursions; and visit Cisco — the well-known brewery and distillery that has everything you could ever want from seaside entertainment all in one: live music, great local beer, food trucks and an all-around fun atmosphere.
Step 3: Where will everyone stay?
This is the part where you realize just how popular Nantucket is. After all, the population here grows about five times larger during the summer.
The island offers many accommodation options, but booking in advance is crucial — especially if you plan on visiting during high season in the summer months. First, check whether the accommodation is family-friendly and if its location is within walking distance of points of interest, which will make it easier to get around if you have a larger group. While you’re at it, make a note to check for family deals, no matter whether you’re looking at inns, hotels, bed and breakfasts, cottages, or vacation rentals by owner options.
Step 4: How will you get there?
If your trip involves your extended family, securing accommodations for everybody comes before finding the best travel options. That’s because it’s essential to make sure that you can find an accommodation that suit all of you as soon as possible.
However, when it comes to transportation, you can split up according to a certain number of people, immediate family or other preferences — especially in large family groups. Sure, you can always go by air, but Nantucket has a reputation for having flights canceled due to heavy fog. Plus, getting to the island the “right way” is as standard as it’s traditional: Catch a ferry.
The most popular ferry rides start in Hyannis on Cape Cod, and offer many great opportunities for photos and memories that will last a lifetime. As you pull up into harbor, watch for Brant Point Lighthouse. Then, once you’re on Nantucket, take the shuttle to your accommodation or rent a car if you didn’t bring your own on the ferry.
This Massachusetts gem continued to remain popular online despite the pandemic. One of the reasons why is because it caters to all types of vacation-seekers. Whether you’re planning to visit with the kids or get grandma, grandpa and all the aunties to join, a Nantucket vacation leaves you with something priceless — a wish to return over and over again.