The island of Nantucket is a top preferred second home and vacation spot for the high class. The picturesque island is a beloved place to visit for history enthusiasts, surfers, golfers, culinary buffs, anglers and is a classic summer wedding destination too.
But Nantucket is also an excellent choice if you are looking for a perfect summer vacation with your children. There are various attractions, restaurants, shops, beaches, and events that both you and your children will enjoy when spending time in Nantucket.
You can book a rental vacation residence of your choice, near the beaches or other sights you are planning to spend the most time at. At the same time, there is an elaborate network of bike paths and regular bus shuttles, cabs, and rental cars, which you can use to get from one spot to another on this small island.
Some of the beaches in Nantucket are perfect for families with small children. The Children’s Beach, for example, has warm and calm waters, playgrounds, grassy lawns, snack shacks, skate parks, and more fun amenities for kids and parents.
But apart from the gorgeous beaches on the island, there are numerous other places to visit and things to do to create some of the best memories with your children in Nantucket.
There are surf schools, sailing tours, theater and art workshops, children camps, fishing, whale spotting, yacht and plane watching, wildlife exploration, sports, and festivals for the children in the summer.
Here are the best ways to make the most of your family vacation on the island of Nantucket and to keep your children happy and engaged.
You don’t need to pack up all of your baby stuff and the beach gear for the children when you head off to Nantucket. Petite Travelers is a local rental service run by a mom which offers vacationers and visitors of the island a wide range of baby and kids gear and all essentials for a pleasant, safe, and fun vacation with the little ones.
You can find everything from car seats, strollers, toys, cribs, play yards to beach chairs and umbrellas there.
Murray Camp Nantucket
This is the oldest and best-known children’s private summer camp on the island. The team focuses on the safety, nurturing, and fun of the young campers. Some of the activities included in the 8-week long camp include swimming lessons, water sports, tennis instructions, ice skating, soccer matches, art classes, fishing trips, dancing lessons, and more.
The specific curriculum is developed by the camp’s Harvard-trained director, who is an educational psychologist, to match the age of the children. The camp accepts online bookings for children aged 4 to 14.
Yes, even in the hot summer, your children can enjoy some fun ice skating lessons, participate in hockey games or simply enjoy skating around the rink.
Nantucket Ice was founded by several local residents as a non-profit organization to promote healthy and fun access to the ice rink for the children on the island all year round.
Children of all ages will love petting and touching the locally collected hermit crabs, baby horseshoe crabs, clams, and other critters in the touch tank of the aquarium.
Also, at the Maria Mitchell Association Aquarium, your children can view other local fish and can experience a wild “Feeding Frenzy.” It is held every morning during the peak season when they can feed the crabs, fish, and even a lobster that is 80 years old.
The aquarium also offers summer programs which are week-long for kids aged from 4 to 15.
The Town Library
The Nantucket Atheneum is the town library set in a stately building and has a dedicated children’s wing and a fun climbing tree for kids. It is also the host of various events and activities during the summer, most of which are suitable even for the youngest children.
There are many cruises and sailing tours you can go on to when in Nantucket. But here are the best ones if you are going with your children:
The Ice Cream Cruise and Harbor Tour
This is probably the most preferred cruise for kids in Nantucket. It is a one-hour-long tour of the harbor where the children and parents can gawk at the luxurious yachts and explore the waterfront and sailing ships. While on the boat, everyone will receive delicious creamy ice cream or other frozen treats from the best ice cream stand in town. There are even gluten-free and non-dairy options available.
In the meantime, the captain will tell you some enthralling stories about the island, the whales, and everything you want to know about Nantucket.
You can get on the ice cream cruise from Straight Wharf.
If you go to Nantucket in high season, you can opt for the even more exciting pirate-themed cruise abroad, the Endeavor too!
You can also book a private fishing trip to enjoy some exciting catch and release fishing in the open sea with the children. The tour is about an hour and a half long and includes some basic instructions about fishing for beginners and infants, as well as actual fishing.
The trip departs from the Public Pier at Children’s Beach.
Photo by Rusty Watson on Unsplash
Whale Watching Tours
If your children are old enough to handle longer cruises and tours, then you should take them on one of these exciting whale watching tours. The whale watch is about 6 hours long, and the captain will take you in the open ocean to spot whales and other sea creatures.
If you are lucky enough, you will be able to spot the spouts of a Finback, Humpback, or Minke whale, or see some white-sided dolphins, basking sharks, and sea turtles as well as birds such as Jaegers, Shearwaters, and Petrels while you are on this unforgettable cruise.
A naturalist on board will answer your questions and explain more about the wildlife you are looking for or happen to spot.