Historically, Nantucket has been an escape for well-off Bostonians. But in recent years it’s begun to draw families from all over. Revered for its uniform of dove gray shingled cottages and blush-hued hydrangeas, the island has so far managed to maintain its charm despite its popularity.
You Snooze, You Lose.
Now is the time to book a stay for summer 2017; rentals go fast. Family-friendly hotels like the White Elephant and Wauwinet offer stunning views of the sea, but to experience the island like a local, rent a beach house. VRBO offers a huge selection of rentals; for a more personal touch try Rebecca Mailloux at J. Pepper Frazier.
Pedal Your Way Around.
Rent bicycles from Young’s Bike Shop and explore the island via myriad bike paths. Small children often ride tandem with parents, or are pulled along in a Burley two-seater or strapped into a baby seat. Try the scenic trek through Ram’s Pasture, known as one of Nantucket’s best dog walks.
There’s A Beach For Every Whim
Shell hunt at Dionis; surf at Nobadeer (call Nantucket Surfari for family lessons). Madaket is great for swim after ahi tacos at Millie’s. Kids can do yoga on Wednesday and Friday mornings at Children’s Beach. Save time for the Sconset bluff walk, which winds its way through the charming fisherman cottages and elaborate hydrangea-studded homes. In early summer, this whole pocket of town is covered in roses—the ultimate in family photo ops.
It’s All About The Flowers.
Learn to create stunning arrangements at Bartlett Farm during their weekly field picking.
Kaity from Fare Isle is a plant-based local chef who will come to your rental for cooking lessons with edible flowers. Her specialty is “Life Changing Bread” with cashew cheese, avocado smash, and freshly picked petals ($200 per hour plus the cost of food).
Go Ahead, Be A Townie.
Situated near Brant Point, Nantucket’s main town is a lovely spot to stroll. Highlights include Mitchell’s Book Corner, a fairy tale of a bookstore and the perfect place to hole up in the event of a sudden downpour; waffle cones from Juice Bar; straw hats (for kids and adults) from Peter Beaton; the Whaling Museum; and Gypsy—where mamas can splurge on a shearling vest from Rick Owens or a flowy maxi skirt from Dries Van Noten.
A Few Good Meals.
Pick up sammies from Provisions (their famous breakfast sandwich is kid-approved) or Something Natural (best smoked turkey ever). Lola Burger is fast and easy, serving up all types of meat plus outdoor seating. And, if you can manage to score a sitter (try Nannytucket) and a reservation at Nautilus, you’re in for one helluva date night. Order the explosive fried oyster nori wraps and the addictive blue crab fried rice. Beyond.