Area Overview 

Nantucket Village, the most concentrated part of the island, is situated around the harbor. Most businesses and accommodations are here, so if there is no town named in an address for any of the following listings, assume it is in Nantucket Village. We'll tell you if a business or accommodation is found in any of the outlying villages, which are less populated and more seasonal. The village of Madaket, to the west, consists of residences and a few businesses. The residential village of Cisco is on the island's southern shore. The village of Siasconset, more commonly referred to as Sconset, is a bustling summertime resort on the eastern end of the island known for its excellent restaurants and rose-covered cottages with sweet names such as Little House and Auld Ange Syne, the oldest cottage on the island. Look for the images of spouting whales cut into the privet hedges. The old schoolhouse, now a fire station, was used until 1957.

If you're an artist, bring your sketchpad. Nantucket's air is full of moisture, and it is warmer in winter and cooler in summer than the rest of the area, which results in beautiful flowers and gardens. You'll want to take lots of photographs or at least pick up one of several good pictorial books on Nantucket.

Wildlife you may see on Nantucket include deer, pheasants, rabbits, and squirrels. Forty years ago, squirrels were nonexistent on the island because they, like the deer, had been hunted out. They recently reappeared, and it is believed they arrived as stowaways on logging trucks. Today the island is host to several grassland-nesting bird species, including short-eared owls and northern harriers that are scarce on the mainland but thrive here because there are fewer natural predators. Nantucket is a popular spot for birders, and it's easy to see why: Some 354 bird species have been recorded here. The island abounds with wild blueberries, blackberries, beach plum, and elderberries. The 260-acre Milestone Cranberry Bog is one of the largest in the United States. The highest point of land is Folger Hill, which at 109 feet, is a foot higher than Altar Rock.

It's true that much of Nantucket shuts down in the off-season, but even in the quiet months, it's a beautiful place. Nantucketers, however, may be less than eager to share that. "Don't tell anyone how great it is in the off-season," said one resident. "We like it quiet then."

Getting Here

Nantucket may be an offshore island, but it's not hard to get here. You may reach it by regularly scheduled air service, aircraft charters, private aircraft, ferry, or private boat. Many visitors love to fly in because the aerial views are spectacular and the speedy flights give you added time to enjoy the island. Bear in mind, however, that it costs roughly two-thirds more to fly to Nantucket than to take the ferry. If you're flying in, you'll arrive at Nantucket Memorial Airport.

By Air

Nantucket Memorial Airport
30 Macy Ln., Nantucket • (508) 325-5300

Off Old South Road, Nantucket Memorial Airport is the second most active commercial airport in Massachusetts. Shuttle service is available from Logan Airport in Boston, Hyannis, Martha's Vineyard, and New Bedford, all in Massachusetts, as well as from Green Airport in Providence, Rhode Island, La Guardia in New York City, and Newark International Airport in New Jersey. The facility is open year-round.

Surprisingly, for a small island, the airport terminal is quite accommodating with an information desk, a restaurant, ATM machine, gift shop, and car rental agencies. Taxi service is available, but if you call ahead to make arrangements, most of the resorts offer a shuttle service. The Nantucket Regional Transit Authority shuttle service runs from June 1 to September 30 and goes from one end of the island to the other.

Nantucket Memorial Airport accommodates anything from twin-engine Cessnas to 19-seat Beechwoods and jets. For private planes, the airport offers servicing and repair facilities; fuel is available 24 hours a day.

The following charter and commercial airlines are at Nantucket Memorial Airport.

Cape Air
• (508) 771-6944, (800) 352-0714 •

Cape Air offers hourly flights, with year-round shuttle service between Hyannis and Nantucket, and regular service from New Bedford, Boston, and Martha's Vineyard. In the peak season the company offers more than seven flights daily from Boston. Flights from Hyannis leave every hour on the half-hour; these are approximately 15-minute flights that cost $74 round trip. Flights from Boston leave at hour intervals at fifteen minutes past the hour. These approximately 50-minute flights cost $237 (for a round trip). Round-trip fare from New Bedford is $229; this flight takes approximately 25 minutes. Charter service is also available.

Nantucket Airlines
• (508) 228-6234, (800) 635-8787 •

Nantucket Airlines, affiliated with Cape Air, flies between Nantucket and Hyannis. Flights leave from Hyannis on the half-hour and Nantucket on the hour every day. The 12 to 15 minute flights cost $74 round trip.

Ocean Wings Air Charter
• (800) 253-5039 •

Since 1990, Ocean Wings has been the only Nantucket-based air-charter service. It offers 24-hour year-round service to any New England, U.S., or Canadian destination. This company has a private hangar and offers flight instruction. Ocean Wings also has winter service based in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.

USAir Express
• (800) 428-4322

This carrier provides five daily flights in season to Boston, with connecting flights to La Guardia and also to Martha's Vineyard. A flight from New York's La Guardia Airport to Nantucket will range from $158 to $716, depending upon arrangements; from Boston's Logan Airport it costs between $158 and $342.

By Sea


If you'd prefer to spend a few hours enjoying a ride on Nantucket Sound—sunshine, sea breezes, and perhaps a glass of wine on the upper deck of a passenger ferry—you can take advantage of regular ferry service throughout the year from Hyannis. The standard ferry ride takes about two and a quarter hours. The Grey Lady II, Hy-Line's speedy catamaran (named for the island's longtime nickname, a reference to the fog that surrounds Nantucket at times), makes the trip from Hyannis in an hour.

Ferryboats departing from Hyannis provide daily transportation to Nantucket year-round. (Note: Falmouth's ferry service only goes to Martha's Vineyard, not Nantucket.)

Freedom Cruise Lines 
Saquatucket Harbor, Mass. Rt. 28, Harwichport • (508) 432-8999

Sailing from Saqua-tucket Harbor in Harwich-port, this line is a real boon to Lower Cape-based residents and visitors. It provides seasonal (mid-May through mid-October) passenger-only service to Nantucket and offers private charters too. Travel time is 90 minutes. The 66-foot boat has a bar and snack bar. The round-trip cost is $39 for adults and $34 for children 12 and younger.

Ocean Street Dock, Hyannis• (508) 778-2600Straight Wharf, Nantucket • (508) 228-3949 •

Hy-Line offers seasonal (May through October) passenger-only ferry service between Nantucket and Hyannis from May to October. Reservations are not required, and the trip takes about two hours. The cost is $12 one way and $24 round trip for adults, and $6 one way, $12 round trip, for children ages 5 to 12 (children 4 and younger ride free). First-class tickets cost $21 each way. The number of daily departures ranges from six in season to one in late spring and fall. Hy-Line also offers seasonal ferry service between Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.

Hy-Line also operates a luxurious high-speed catamaran that makes trips to Nantucket all year round. The Grey Lady II, launched in November 1997 as a successor to the original Grey Lady that began the service in 1995, seats 70 and makes six round trips daily to Nantucket. Travel time is now less than one hour. One-way for adults is $31 ($55 round trip), and tickets for children 12 and younger are $25 ($40 round trip). Children younger than 1 ride for free. Reservations are strongly advised for the Grey Lady II because of its limited seating capacity; call (508) 778-0404. You can bring your bicycle on any of Hy-Line's boats for an additional charge of $5 one way or $10 round trip.