Check out our favorite island spots for cyclists and beach bums alike.
Off-season adventures bring an added thrill: lower prices and fewer people―even in ever-popular Nantucket. Try our lodging, dining, and sightseeing suggestions, and then tell us what you think on our message boards.
For alfresco dining on the harbor, we love the Brant Point Grill. Call 800/445-6574 or visit whiteelephanthotel.com. Topper's, at The Wauwinet, serves a fantastic three-course prix fixe dinner. For reservations, call 800/426-8718 or visit wauwinet.com. In Siasconset, The Chanticleer offers an eclectic menu of fresh seafood with French flair, and a generous wine list. Call 508/257-4499. For hearty portions and a lively scene, The Brotherhood of Thieves 1840s whaling bar and restaurant whips up a quahog clam chowder, delicious on chilly autumn nights. Call 508/228-2551 or brotherhoodofthieves.com.
The White Elephant, known as one of the most luxurious spots on the island, boasts harbor or garden views. Rates start at $260; call 800/445-6574 or visit whiteelephanthotel.com. The Veranda House puts a chic spin on the typical bed-and-breakfast with contemporary interiors and amazing water views. Rates start at $129; call 877/228-0695 or visit theverandahouse.com. For a more traditional bed-and-breakfast, visit Century House. Rates start at $155; call 508/228-0530 or visit centuryhouse.com.
Hit the seas for a whale-watching excursion―available through mid-October; call 508/228-7030 or visit explorenantucket.com. Tour the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge, home to gray and harbor seals, rare birds, and the historic Great Point Light; 508/228-5648 or visit thetrustees.org. Marvel at the 46-foot sperm whale skeleton and other maritime treasures at the Whaling Museum; 508/228-1894 or visit nha.org. To explore the island estuaries by kayak, call Sea Nantucket; 508/228-7499.
If you still want to bike: Starting with the fastest route, these four designated paths lead from town to shore.
•Dionis Beach: 3.4 miles northwest via Cliff Road. This trek offers more sightseeing than sweat. Your first stop: America’s second-oldest light station, Brant Point. Visitors find Jetties, Cliff, and Steps beaches sublime for crabbing and scalloping. Then on to Dionis Beach. Watch for vehicles―this path tends to merge with the road.
•Surfside Beach: 3.5 miles south via Surfside Road. Although this route runs parallel to the road, families appreciate the smooth path. Once on shore, look for seals and unique shells.
• Madaket Beach: 6.2 miles west via Madaket Road. Most of the trail weaves inland around sweeping landscapes, flowering shrubs, homes, and snaking estuaries. The beach is great for scalloping and crabbing.
• 'Sconset Beach: around 18 miles east round-trip via Polpis Road. The Nantucket Life-saving Museum, Sankaty Lighthouse, and cranberry bogs attract along the way.