Take me back to ACK

Nantucket boat traffic. A catamaran sailboat, the Nantucket ferry, and a large cabin boat all make their way to Nantucket Harbor on a sunny afternoon.

THEWant to live island time while staying in the United States? Head east and visit Nantucket, a small island off Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The island is 14 miles long and three and a half miles wide. It’s not easy to get to, but the overwhelming number of generations of summer vacationers speaks for itself. The charming family island is worth the time to travel.

Fly to Nantucket Memorial Airport (arguably the cutest airport) with a quick stopover in New York, New Jersey or Boston. Don’t forget to get yourself probably the hottest bumper sticker with the airport code that has the acronym ACK on it. Keep an eye out for a direct flight from ORD to ACK offered from time to time by United Airlines. As another option, you can take advantage of a fast passenger ferry ride from a number of different ports along the east coast.

Pedal around the island with one of the many rental bike options

A private entrance to the sea, Nantucket.

The island is home to several breathtaking and convenient cycle routes, making bicycle rental essential. Mingle with the locals and hire a Jeep Wrangler to help you navigate the island successfully. A highlight of your trip will include obtaining a beach permit, packing a cooler, deflating your tires, and heading out to Great Point for a sunset or lighthouse excursion. To enhance your experience, charter a Boston Whaler at Nantucket Boat Basin to explore the sea and see the local oyster farms.

Once the whaling capital of the world, Nantucket is now a designated National Historic Landmark, keeping the town and homes perfectly maintained. Cobblestone streets and unpainted cedar shingle buildings give Nantucket its irresistible charm. As for accommodation on the island, many visitors choose to rent one of the hundreds of accommodations offered by Airbnb or Vrbo. Other options include the Wauwinet Hotel, which is also home to one of the country’s most acclaimed restaurants, TOPPER’S. Famous for its oysters harvested just 300 meters away, TOPPER’S is a must-see wherever you choose to stay. For a stay closer to the city, The White Elephant, is a luxury resort located along the historic harbor. You can also escape to Sconset and stay in a private cottage at The Summer House.

Shopping at dusk, Nantucket

Nantucket Red Canoe on the Island

One of the island’s most romantic dining destinations, the Chanticleer, located in Sconset, is perfect for an intimate evening. For a bigger party, book one of their personal dining rooms for an unforgettable evening with family and friends. The show stop menu will let you reserve a second reservation. For a signature dinner, be sure to book The Pearl, located in town, weeks in advance, as it has been named “The Best Seafood Restaurant in All of New England” by New England Travel & Leisure . For a more casual night out, get Sayle’s Seafood and have your own home-made clambake dinner. Their clam chowder, steamed dishes, mussels, corn on the cob, steamed red potatoes, and buttered lobster forced my family to order Sayle’s two nights in a row!

Every summer night on vacation should be covered with ice. Visit the Juice Bar, located in the heart of downtown Nantucket, for irresistible homemade ice cream. Be prepared to wait in a line that circles the block!

Enter the picturesque town of Nantucket.

Sailing off Nantucket.

From tailor-made t-shirts and khakis to cashmere, Main Street is lined with plenty of retail and home stores to choose from. One of the fan favorites includes The Skinny Dip, a collective of creators who won’t leave you empty-handed. Enter Murray’s Toggery Shop to shop for basic pants known as the Nantucket Reds. Other things on the ACK’s agenda include a visit to one of the island’s 3 golf courses or many enchanting resort spas.

Make sure to stop by Something Natural for an Arnold Palmer and Claudette’s Sandwich Shop before heading to one of the 20 public beaches dotted around Nantucket. Popular beaches include Jetties, Nobadeer, Surfside, and Fisherman’s. Keep an eye out for seals basking in the sun! After a lazy day on the beach, head to Cisco Brewers to sip one of their famous craft beers or a cocktail from their on-site distillery. Remember to bring some extra cash as you will no doubt be stopping to buy trendy Cisco hardware. Continue the evening and head to The Gazebo overlooking the harbor for fantastic views and a legendary Gazebo Mudslide. If you’re in the mood for live music, be sure to check out the Chicken Box for a fun night out on the town.

Whether you’re looking to relax on a beach, sample fresh seafood, or indulge in some retail therapy, Nantucket is the perfect place to claim the title of the next vacation destination.

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