It’s no secret that Nantucket is home to some of the best beaches in Massachusetts. This Island boasts over 80 miles of coastline divided into 4 sections; North Shore, South Shore, East Shore, and West Shore. If you’re traveling with kids, the best beaches would be on the North Shore.
These beaches have calmer waters, ideal for swimming and building sandcastles. For those looking for a more adventurous experience, the best bet would be the South, East, and West Shore, where you can find world-class surfing and fishing spots.
And in this guide, I will be exploring the 12 Best Beaches in Nantucket that you can visit. So pack your bags, sunscreen, and swim trunks, and let’s dive right in!
1. Jetties Beach (North Shore)
Any tourist visiting Nantucket will no doubt have Jetties Beach on their list of places to visit. This beach is located in the heart of downtown Nantucket, about a 10-minute walk from downtown.
This beach is a great spot for swimming, as the waters are calm and there is a lifeguard on duty. In addition, the beach has a playground, volleyball nets, tennis court, Skate Park, and a few picnic tables, making it a great spot for families. If you get hungry, there are a few restaurants located nearby, including the highly-rated Straight Wharf Restaurant.
Jetties Beach is also a popular spot for boat-watching, as there are often boats coming and going from the nearby harbor. You can even book a sailing trip with your kids from one of the many companies located nearby.
The only downside to this beach is that it can get quite crowded, especially on weekends and during the summer. However, this is to be expected, as it is one of the most popular beaches in Nantucket.
2. Madaket Beach (West Shore)
Do you prefer beaches that are a little less crowded? Then head to Madaket Beach on the Island’s west end. It’s about a 15-minute drive from town (or 30 minutes by bike) and definitely worth the trip.
This is one of the best beaches in Nantucket for surfing and is also great for boogie boarding and fishing. The water is a bit colder than at other beaches due to currents coming from the opposite side of the Island, but that doesn’t stop surfers from hitting the waves.
The sound of crashing waves is music to the ears, and the sunset views are some of the best on Nantucket. The best part about Madaket, however, is its lack of crowds. Even on the busiest days, you’ll be able to find a spot to yourself. So if you’re looking for a little peace and quiet, this is the beach for you.
There are no lifeguards, bathrooms, or restaurants at Madaket, so come prepared with food and beverages. And if you can, stick around for a bonfire (bring your own wood) and make s’mores while you stargaze.
3. Step Beach (North Shore)
Located along Lincoln Avenue, Step Beach is another of the most beautiful beaches on Nantucket North shores. And as the name suggests, this beach is best accessed by descending a set of wooden stairs to the beach. The pay-off? A lovely little beach with soft sand, perfect for swimming and families with small children.
Although there are no facilities or lifeguards at this beach, the stunning views of Great Point and Nantucket Sound make it well worth the trek. The best part about this particular beach is that it sees far fewer crowds than some other Nantucket beaches, making it ideal for those looking for a little more peace and quiet.
If you visit Step Beach during the summer, catch the nighttime show put on by the bioluminescent plankton that often inhabits the waters here. It’s best seen on a dark night with very little moonlight, but even on a cloudy night, you might be able to spot them.
All in all, Step Beach is a beautiful, secluded beach that’s perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying incredible views. Come early in the day to snag a spot on the sand, and bring your own food and drink, as there are no concessions here.
4. Surfside Beach (South Shore)
Named for its location on the south side of the Island, this beach is a favorite with both locals and visitors. It’s a great spot for swimming, boogie boarding, and surfing (hence the name), and the views of the Island’s moors are simply beautiful.
This beach is a bit more low-key than others on this list, which is part of its charm. The waves here can be pretty strong, so it’s best to take caution if you’re swimming with small children.
The best part about Surfside Beach? It’s right next to the Surfside Beach Club, which has a lovely restaurant overlooking the water. So, after a long day of playing in the sand and surfing, you can enjoy a nice meal and a cold drink without even having to leave the beach.
In addition, this beach has lots of amenities, including lifeguards, restrooms, showers, a playground, beach chairs, and umbrella rentals. The only downside is that it can get pretty crowded on summer weekends.
5. Nobadeer Beach (South Shore)
Another one of the best beaches in Nantucket is Nobadeer Beach. This beach is located on the south side of the Island and is a great spot for surfing, boogie boarding, and bodyboarding. The waves can get pretty big here, so it’s not the best spot for young children.
The ACK Surf School is located here, so it’s a great spot for beginners to learn how to surf. You can also rent surfboards, boogie boards, and bodyboards from the ACK Surf Shop if you don’t have your own. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer months, and there are also restrooms and showers located nearby.
College students flock to this beach as it’s a popular spot for sunbathing and socializing. Most of the surfers are also college students. So, if you’re looking for a beach with a young and vibrant atmosphere, this is a great option.
If you’re not a fan of waves, there is a lot of space to relax, play volleyball, build sandcastles, throw a frisbee, or play soccer. There is also a food truck that sells snacks and drinks, so you don’t have to leave the beach if you get hungry.
While Nobadeer Beach may not be the best beach for swimming, it’s still a great spot to enjoy the sun and the sand. And if you’re looking for a place to watch the sunset, this beach is one of the best on the Island.
6. Miacomet Beach (South Shore)
Miacomet Beach is located on the south side of Nantucket and is about a 20-minute drive from downtown. This beach is best for those looking for more of a scene as it is adjacent to Surfside Beach (which has a lively beach bar).
This beach boasts a long stretch of golden sand, and with its southern location, this beach is one of the best spots on the Island to catch some waves. This is a favorite spot for surfers, boogie boarders, and even stand-up paddleboarders. The waves here can get pretty big, so swimming is not advised.
However, if you want to swim, there is a smaller, calmer pond on the other side of the beach that’s perfect for a leisurely dip. Families with small children often gravitate to this section of Miacomet Beach. There are no amenities on this beach, so come prepared with everything you need for the day. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer months.
One thing I love about this beach is that it never gets crowded, even on the busiest days. And, there’s plenty of space to find your own little spot to relax. This makes it one of the best Nantucket beaches for those looking to escape the crowds.
7. Siasconset Beach (East Shore)
Siasconset Beach, also known as ‘Sconset Beach,’ is a beautiful beach located on the east end of Nantucket Island. This beach is about a 6-mile drive from downtown Nantucket, but it is well worth the drive.
This beach is known for its crashing waves and stunning views. This makes it a great spot for surfing, boogie boarding, and body surfing. And if you are new to surfing, there are plenty of surf schools in the area that can give you lessons.
In addition to being a great spot for water activities, Siasconset Beach is also a great place to relax on the sand. This beach has plenty of room for beach blankets and umbrellas, and there are also a few beach umbrellas available for rent. Walking along the beach is also a popular activity, as there are some stunning views of the coastline.
The only downside to this beach is that there are no amenities, so you will need to bring everything you need. However, the nearby village of Sconset does have a few restaurants and shops, so you can always head there if you need anything.
All in all, Siasconset Beach is a beautiful spot that is definitely worth a visit. Allocate a full day to visit this beach, as there is plenty to do, and you won’t want to leave once you get there.
8. Children Beach (North Shore)
Are you looking for a beach that’s just for kids? Children’s beach is a great spot for little ones, as it has a very shallow entry and is well protected from the waves. This makes it a perfect spot for little ones to paddle and splash around.
This beach is found on the north side and is one of the best beaches in Nantucket for families. The crystal clear water and soft white sand make it a beautiful spot, and the fact that it’s protected from the waves makes it a great place for little ones to play. The shallow entry also means that it’s a great spot for beginner swimmers.
There are lifeguards on duty during the summer months, and the beach is also equipped with restrooms, showers, and a snack bar.
The best part? This beach has a playground equipped with swings, slides, and other fun things for kids to play on. In addition, there is a grassy area that features a stage where free concerts, yoga, music classes, and other family-friendly activities are held throughout the summer.
So, if you’re looking for a beach in Nantucket that the whole family can enjoy, Children’s Beach is a great option. Just be sure to arrive early, as this popular spot can get crowded during the peak summer months.
9. Cisco Beach (South Shore)
Cisco Beach is a beautiful stretch of sand located on the south side of Nantucket. This beach is known for its strong waves, making it a popular spot for surfing, boogie boarding, and body surfing. In fact, the waves here are so strong that they’re often used in surf competitions. So, if you’re looking for a beach with great waves to surf or body board, Cisco Beach is a great option.
In addition to being a great spot for surfing, Cisco Beach is also a beautiful place to relax and take in the scenery. The views here are simply stunning, and it’s a great place to watch the sunset.
Seasonal lifeguards are on duty during the summer, so you can feel safe playing in the waves. And although there are no amenities at this beach, there is a restaurant and bar located nearby.
What I loved about this beach was that it felt like a hidden gem. I definitely felt like I had the place to myself when I visited, and it was a great spot to relax and take in the natural beauty of Nantucket.
Overall, Cisco Beach is a great spot for those looking for a beach with strong waves and beautiful scenery. Just be sure to take caution if you’re not a strong swimmer, as the rip currents here can be very strong.
10. Francis Street Beach (North Shore)
A visit to Nantucket is not complete without at least one soak in the famous surf off Francis Street Beach. This popular north shore beach is loved by families for its gentle waves, shallow water, and sandy bottom.
During the day, you’ll find beach-goers of all ages enjoying the water and the sand. Youngsters will love to build sandcastles, while the more adventurous can try kayaking. Restrooms and showers are available, as well as beach chair and umbrella rentals. You can also find a few food trucks parked near the beach, so you can grab a bite without having to leave the sand.
What makes Francis one of the best beaches to visit in Nantucket is its convenient location. It’s just a short walk from the main street in town, so it’s easy to grab a bite to eat or pick up any supplies you might need. Plus, the on-site jungle gym and playground make it a great spot for families with young children.
Parking can be tricky here, so it’s best to arrive early or take advantage of the public transportation options.
11. Brant Point Beach (North Shore)
Brant Point Beach is best known as the place to see and be seen. This small, beautiful beach is famous for its views of the harbor and its proximity to the best shopping and dining in Nantucket.
This beach is popular for boat-watching and people-watching, and its central location means it’s always busy. Swimming here can be tricky due to the strong current caused by the large ferries that come in and out of the harbor, but it’s perfect for wading, sunbathing, and relaxing. Also, note that there are no lifeguards on duty, even during the busiest summer months. So, if you plan on getting in the water, be sure to swim with a friend and use caution.
After a long day at the beach, you can take a tour of the iconic Brant Point Lighthouse. This lighthouse was built in 1746 and is one of the oldest lighthouses in the United States. Today, it’s a popular spot for photography, and visitors can climb to the top of the tower for stunning views of Nantucket Sound.
And being one of the best beaches in Nantucket, this beach is the perfect place to watch a beautiful sunset. So, if you’re looking for a romantic spot to watch the sun dip below the horizon, this is the place to be.
12. Dionis Beach (North Shore)
No trip to Nantucket is complete without a visit to Dionis Beach. This gorgeous beach, located three miles from town, boasts some of the best views of Nantucket. Dionis is truly a nature lover’s paradise, with its long stretches of undeveloped shoreline, natural dunes, and seagrasses.
The calm and shallow water makes it perfect for swimming, while the soft sand is ideal for relaxing. This makes it a hot spot for families with small children. You can also launch a kayak or paddleboard, as there are no waves. Lifeguards are on duty during summer, making it a safe place to swim and play.
And what makes this one of the best Nantucket beaches is its accessibility to people of all abilities. Even the restrooms are wheelchair accessible, which is not always the case with other beaches in Nantucket. But remember to bring your beach supplies and enjoy a full day, as there are no concession stands here.
If you’re looking for a bit more excitement, you can find a number of great walking trails nearby. Or take a short drive to the nearby town of Madaket, where you’ll find a few restaurants and bars.
Nantucket is a beach lover’s paradise, and there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly spot or a place to kayak and paddleboard, you’re sure to find the perfect beach for your needs. There are several great beaches in Nantucket to choose from, but these are definitely the best of the best. I have personally enjoyed all of the beaches mentioned above, and I can attest to their beauty and uniqueness.