8 Beautiful Nantucket Beaches You’ll Want to Visit

Nantucket beaches are plentiful, making it difficult to know which are the best. Here’s a guide to eight of the most stunning and popular beaches on the island.

A path leading to a Nantucket Beach

Nantucket beaches are among the most majestic you’ll find on the East Coast.

But it’s not just their physical beauty that makes them special – with their white sand, willowy bluffs, and lapping blue water. There are so many public beaches on Nantucket, and the island is so small, that it’s rare to find crowds.

Each Nantucket beach has its own distinct character. Some have wide open spaces for miles on end, while others have a more secure setting perfect for families.

Before heading out for some beach time, check this list to determine which Nantucket beach best suits you.

The best Nantucket beaches

The following provides an overview of eight Nantucket beaches, loosely listed by popularity.

Surfside Beach

Located on the south shore, Surfside Beach is known for its expansive shoreline and large waves, making it a favorite among surfers. The beach offers ample space for sunbathing and beachcombing, and it’s a great spot for those seeking a more active coastal experience.

Madaket Beach at sunset - among the best Nantucket beaches

Madaket Beach

Situated on the western end of the island, Madaket Beach is famous for its stunning sunsets over the water. The beach is vast and less crowded, providing a peaceful retreat. Madaket is a popular spot for nature lovers and those looking to enjoy the beauty of Nantucket’s west coast.

Sconset Beach

Located on the eastern end of Nantucket, Sconset Beach is known for its charming village atmosphere and scenic bluffs. The beach features picturesque dunes and historic cottages, offering a tranquil setting for beachgoers. It’s a great spot for a leisurely stroll along the shoreline, or stroll along the Sconset Bluff Walk for fantastic views.

Dionis Beach

Nestled on the north shore, Dionis Beach is a serene and less crowded option for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Nantucket Town. The beach is surrounded by dunes and offers a peaceful environment for relaxation and contemplation.

A sandy beach on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts

Jetties Beach

Jetties Beach is located on the northern side of Nantucket, near Nantucket Harbor. This popular beach is known for its calm waters, making it ideal for families with children. The beach offers picturesque views of boats entering and leaving the harbor, and its proximity to town makes it convenient for visitors looking to combine beach time with shopping or dining in Nantucket Town.

Children’s Beach

Situated in Nantucket Harbor, Children’s Beach is a family-friendly destination with calm, shallow waters. It’s conveniently located near the Children’s Beach Playground and adjacent to the Nantucket Boat Basin, making it a great spot for parents to relax while their children play. The beach also hosts events and activities for kids, adding to its appeal for families visiting the island.

Nobadeer Beach

Found on the southern side of the island, Nobadeer Beach is known for its wide sandy shores and strong waves, attracting surfers and beachgoers. The expansive dunes and relative seclusion contribute to its natural charm. While the surf conditions may not be suitable for all swimmers, the beach offers a more serene atmosphere compared to some of the busier spots on the island.

Cisco Beach

Located on the south shore, Cisco Beach is renowned for its picturesque scenery, consistent waves, and wide sandy shores. This beach is a popular destination for surfers and sunbathers alike. Visitors can enjoy the scenic beauty and may even spot seals in the water.

Driving on Nantucket beaches

People on the beach and a vehicle driving on one of Nantucket Beaches

Driving on Nantucket Beaches is allowed but only in very specific areas and only with a permit.

Permits for four-wheel drive cars that are associated with an off-island address cost between $100-$150 a season. Rental vehicles are $200.

Vehicles are allowed to access beaches ONLY in designated driving areas. There is clear signage indicating permitted access points. Vehicles are not allowed to drive over dunes, tidal flats, beach grass, marshes or designated bird nesting areas.

Driving on the beach is only permitted from 6 AM to 10 PM. Vehicle access points are near 40th Pole, South Shore Beach, Nobadeer Beach, and Low Beach, among others. Check this map for specifics.

Access to Great Point and Coatue Wildlife Refuges requires a special permit that can be obtained at the Wauwinet Gate House.

Are all Nantucket beaches public?

A gate that says private leading to a beach on Nantucket

There are so many public beach access points on Nantucket that it can feel like all of the island’s beaches are public!

But many Nantucket Beaches are private. That said, pedestrians are still allowed to walk across most private beaches’ sand and swim in their water.

Public access points around the island are plentiful so there shouldn’t be a need to walk down a private staircase, for example, to access the beach. It’s also best to set up towels and chairs on a public section of the beach, not only out of respect but also for safety.

(As a GetYourGuide affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.)

A photo of Kerry Flatley leaning against a wall

About Kerry Flatley

Kerry Flatley has lived in New England for the past 26 years. She has roots in Maine & Massachusetts, family in New Hampshire, and grew up close to the Connecticut border. She loves all that this region has to offer – the ocean, mountains, islands, history, villages, and cities. When she’s not writing about New England, she’s relaxing at home in the Boston suburbs with her two teenage daughters and husband.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *