Nantucket is renowned for its picturesque beaches. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, these stunning seascapes provide an escape for everyone to enjoy. It’s no wonder why Nantucket remains a beloved summer vacation spot.
To ensure the island’s fragile ecosystem remains healthy and strong, visitors are asked to take certain precautions when visiting the beaches. Alcohol, smoking, and glass containers are not allowed on public property. For your convenience, please use trash receptacles or take your trash with you. Additionally, please respect any barriers that are in place for dune reclamation.
This stunning coastal island is divided into three sections: North, South, and East. Families often head to the North, where the gentle waves of the Nantucket Sound provide warmer temperatures for a fun day. Surfers, however, will find bigger swells and cooler temperatures in the South, which faces the Atlantic Ocean.
Nantucket North Shore Beaches
Beaches on the island’s north side offer a more tranquil ocean suitable for young ones. However, Brant Point has a strong current one that needs to be aware of. Many of these beaches can be reached from town, with magnificent views of Nantucket Sound or the harbor.
Jetties is an expansive, flat beach with shallow water and plenty of sandbars to explore at low tide – making it the perfect place for families and children to enjoy looking for shells and sea glass. The surf is gentle, the water is warm, and lifeguards are on duty during the season. Plus, it’s easily accessible by bicycle and has a seasonal bus service that will drop you right off at the shore. Here you’ll find a large parking lot and a playground.
Public bathrooms, changing rooms, showers, and a seasonal restaurant exist. For mobility issues, a plastic mat runs down the center of the beach, making it easier to get around. Beach-accessible wheelchairs can be rented from the town, and windsurfing, sailboat, and kayak lessons and rentals are available. The off-season is the time when beach driving is allowed on Jetties Beach with a permit.
Nestled between Dionis and Jetties, four miles from town, lies Steps Beach. As you make your way down the lengthy staircase, be sure to take in the gorgeous sight of Great Point Light to the right. It’s a view that must be noticed! You’ll need to be prepared for the descent and ascent of the steep steps, but once you’re there, you’ll find a beautiful beach with safe, gentle waves washing ashore. There are no lifeguards or facilities here. Parking is also limited, and beach driving is not allowed.
Washing Pond Beach
Pond Beach can be found at 38 Washing Pond Road. It’s a great spot for children and their families, as the waves are gentle, the water shallow, and it heats up to a pleasant temperature in the summertime. Exploring the tide pools and collecting shells is a favorite activity of many who visit here. Getting to the beach involves trekking up and down a dune path; no lifeguards or facilities are available. There is parking, and driving on the beach is strictly prohibited.
Dionis Beach offers a safe place for swimming and a hard-packed sand beach with many shells. The crystal clear blue waters make it a great place for families and advanced swimmers alike. It’s also great for paddle-boarding on a tranquil day, and there’s a shallow sandbar during low tide.
Accessing the beach requires walking a narrow path over a soft-sand dune trail and then using a metal ramp at the end to get to the beach. There are bathrooms, changing rooms, and outdoor water spigots to wash away sand, plus a parking lot with vending machines for snacks and drinks, but if you want, bring something to eat. There are Lifeguards during the summertime.
Children’s beach is ideal for swimming, as the waters are tranquil and sheltered inside Nantucket Harbor. Flotation devices are not allowed in the guarded area. The beach is great for small children due to its park, playground, bandstand, presence of lifeguards in the summer months, restrooms, showers, and food service. The Park & Recreation Commission often hosts activities such as yoga and Sunday Night Concerts on the Bandstand. To get there, you can take the NRTA bus or by car. It has parking, which is considered off-beach parking. Note that driving on the beach is strictly prohibited.
Brant Point Beach
Brant Point, located at the mouth of Nantucket Harbor! You can get to this beach by foot or bike. There is no lifeguard on duty, and the current is strong, so only experienced swimmers should take a dip. Brant Point is more suited for admiring the harbor traffic and the stunning views of the second-oldest lighthouse in the US. It is also a popular spot for wedding photographers or even having a wedding ceremony, with permission from the Coast Guard. The option of off-beach parking is available. Driving at the beach is not allowed.
40th Pole Beach is for families and young children due to its warmer waters and calmer waves compared to the south shore, but there are no lifeguards at this beach. The shallow, clear water and the wide, flat shoreline with soft white sand and plentiful seashells make for a great summertime outing.
There are no amenities provided, only seasonal restrooms. No trash cans are on the beach, so make sure to bring all your waste with you when you go. Fishing is also a popular activity here, and off-beach parking is available. You can drive on the beach all year, except when it’s closed for shorebirds nesting.
Francis Street Beach
Francis Street Beach, very close to Main Street, is great for relaxation and harbor views. The waters here are tranquil and perfect for swimming. There is no lifeguard on duty. Kayak rentals are available, and there are restrooms nearby. Beach driving is prohibited. You can take your dog, but it must be on a leash while at the beach.
Nantucket south shore beaches
Perfect for those who want to take a dip or hit the waves, these beaches provide a thrilling experience. Whether you’re an enthusiastic swimmer or a daring surfer, the south shore offers a premier destination for aquatic adventures.
Western Avenue Beach
The Nantucket Land Bank looks after this beach, which is situated across from the Youth Hostel. There is a parking area for some vehicles, and Surfside Beach is within walking distance. At the start of the beach entry path, you can find a few benches. To reach the shoreline, you must tackle a set of gentle stairs and traverse a path over dunes; this is unsuitable for those with limited mobility. This beach is great for strong swimmers and surfers due to the powerful waves and currents along the south shore.
Madaket Beach, located at the far western end of the island, is famous for its breathtaking sunsets. The sand is soft, and the waves are big, but there are dangerous rip tides and undertows, so be sure to check the beach conditions before going; the surf can be heavy. There is no lifeguard on duty here, so take extra safety precautions. Keep in mind that the beach is without a restroom or food service, so plan ahead for those needs.
To access Madaket Beach, you can bike or take the NRTA shuttle seasonal bus. You can also park your car in the small dirt parking lot, though erosion has made that increasingly difficult recently.
This beach is a favorite among surfers and young. However, you should be careful of the undertow and rip tides. Cisco Beach is situated along the island’s south shore, a few miles from the town. Its white sandy beach and strong surf make it a hit with surfers and a great spot for fishing. The beach has a parking lot, but there are no restrooms.
A well-paved bike path leads straight to the parking lot, so you can easily visit while on a bike ride. Lifeguards are placed there seasonally, and beach driving is not allowed at Cisco Beach all year round.
Nobadeer provides a great spot to watch the planes fly overhead and is filled with plenty of surf. The wide beach makes it the perfect place for a picnic, some beach games, and plenty of other activities. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer, and there are occasional food trucks. Parking is limited. Beach driving is permitted from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Accessing the beach is difficult due to the steep incline, so it’s only recommended for experienced beach drivers.
Surfside is located near the airport. It’s a popular spot, usually teeming with people – no surprise, considering its wide, flat beach with rolling waves. Whether you’re looking for a day of volleyball, surfing, or boogie-boarding, Surfside is the perfect spot for all ages.
Surfside has restrooms, showers, a food concession, and plenty of outdoor seating. Plus, there’s an expansive parking lot, and The Wave bus runs in the summer months, making it easy to access from town. You can drive on the beach during winter, restricted to night-time only during summer.
Fisherman’s Beach is situated between Nobadeer and Surfside. This secluded spot boasts magnificent dunes, dune grass, and powerful waves that south Nantucket beachgoers adore. There is a small parking lot. If you don’t have a car, you can easily get there by bike or on foot. There are no lifeguards, bathrooms, or food services. The surf can be wild and strong, so be careful of the undertow. Also, beach driving is prohibited from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Heading down Miacomet Road, you’ll find a beach with strong surf that’s not so suitable for swimming. If you’re planning on making the most of the ocean’s waves and currents, keep in mind their power. Unfortunately, there aren’t any amenities here, so bring all the essentials for your trip. During the summer, lifeguards are available to help keep everyone safe. Getting to Miacomet is simple – take the bus, drive, or even walk. Just remember that driving on the beach is not allowed.
Stone’s Beaches offers the perfect combination of dunes, dune grass, and surf that visitors to the south side of Nantucket enjoy. There is a small parking lot, so biking or walking to the beach is suggested. Unfortunately, there are steps to climb down to access the beach, making it difficult for those with ambulatory issues. This beach has no lifeguards, bathrooms, and food service. Be prepared and watch for strong surf and undertows. Beach driving is prohibited. For those looking for an enjoyable beach experience, Stone’s Beaches is the perfect spot for picnics, wave jumping, and admiring the stunning soft white sand.
This beach is between Sconset and Tom Nevers Pond, approximately 7 miles from Nantucket town. It is nestled beside a sweeping dune system, making it an ideal spot for a summer picnic or a peaceful stroll with your pup in the off-season. The Atlantic-facing beach has deep waters, so swimming must only be done by experienced swimmers. The surf can be rather strong, and the currents swift.
There is no lifeguard on duty. Low Beach is a favorite among shell collectors, and fishing is also a popular activity. Parking is limited, and the lot is unpaved. Also, you can bring any food and beverages you may need. It’s accessible for beach driving all year except for the nesting season.
Madequecham is situated along the island’s southeastern shore, and the way to get there is a long and winding dirt road. Keep in mind that wide vehicles should not attempt this road. Madequecham Beach is the perfect spot for strong swimmers and surfers. It boasts miles of uninterrupted beach and stunning scenery, making it ideal for an afternoon of fishing, a sunset stroll with your pup, or a private picnic and play in the waves. Parking is limited. Note that there are no lifeguards on duty or restrooms available. Beach driving is also prohibited.
Tom Nevers Beach
Tom Nevers Beach is a hidden gem at the end of Tom Nevers Road and nestled at the base of low cliffs. Here, you can find a peaceful and secluded spot. Getting onto the beach can be a little tricky.
The beach features coarse sand and a strong surf that is ideal for surfcasting. With fewer people around, you can also enjoy playing beach games, having a cookout, and even making a fire pit in the evening. This beach is also known as “Pebble Beach” and doesn’t have any lifeguards or facilities. Only limited parking is available, and beach driving is not allowed.
Ladies Beach is situated south of Bartlett Farm in the Smooth Hummocks Coastal Preserve. This beach has some great conditions for body surfing and boogie boarding at low tide. If you’re a strong swimmer or surfer, the waves and currents along the south shore make it ideal for you. You’ll find a parking area and a footpath through the dunes to make beach access easier. Stick around for the picturesque sunset at the end of the day. Lifeguards are on duty from 9 am to 5 pm during the season, but there are no restrooms, and beach driving is not allowed.
Miacomet Pond is fresh water pon that can be accessed from Miacomet Road, Miacomet Avenue, and West Miacomet Road. At around 1.5 miles in length, it borders the beach and dunes of the Atlantic Ocean to the south. It is a perfect spot for young kids to explore. The beach has parking but no lifeguards or facilities. Be careful, though, as snapping turtles may be encountered.
Nantucket east shore beaches
Discover the beauty of inner harbor beaches – the perfect spot for a relaxing day that offers an unforgettable experience. Enjoy a day of relaxation, adventure, and exploration on the eastern shoreline.
At the end of Pocomo Road lies a stunning stretch of coastline. Accessible by car, this dirt road is flanked by luxurious and private homes. The waters here are calm and shallow, making them ideal for swimming, kayaking, and learning to windsurf. There are not many waves and wind; this is a great place for families with children to relax and explore. However, there are no lifeguards or facilities. Parking is limited, but Pocomo Beach is a great spot for beach days with fewer crowds.
Quidnet Beach is a tranquil and secluded spot located at the eastern end of Nantucket Island. You’ll find it at the end of Sesachacha Road, right near Sesachacha Pond. You’ll have to take a short walk over the dunes to access the beach. Also, it’s a great spot for swimming, fishing, and beach strolling. The sand here is incredibly soft and finely textured. This beach doesn’t have any facilities, food vendors, or lifeguards. Parking is also limited.
Sesachacha Pond is a beautiful eutrophic salt pond in Nantucket Island’s northeast, off Quidnet Road. These types of ponds are small, shallow, and nutrient-rich, which means they have a high species diversity and abundant aquatic vegetation. However, the water can often turn green with algae and the bottom can become mucky. It’s important to monitor and manage eutrophic ponds to prevent harm to the ecosystem.
It is a kettle pond with two deep basins of 15 to 18 feet on the northern and southern ends, with a total surface area of 266 acres. Twice a year, the pond is opened to the ocean. This brackish pond is an ideal spot for families – no waves, no seaweed; kayaking and sailing are permitted, but you must bring your own equipment. Note that there are no facilities for lifeguards or food service. The pond is a haven for many birds, including long-tailed ducks, eiders, scooters, golden eyes, buffleheads, and mergansers.
Siasconset Beach is a wide, popular beach at the easternmost tip of the island, ideal for those staying in ‘Sconset. It can be accessed by NRTA bus in season or bike and is one of the few island beaches that seniors can easily accessible due to its lack of steep inclines. The surf is often heavy and the currents strong, yet plenty of room is on the soft sand. Lifeguards are on duty in season, and restaurants and restrooms are within walking distance of ‘Sconset. Beach driving is prohibited, but there is off-beach parking available.
Codfish Park in ‘Sconset Village has Sconset Beach’s original playground – until erosion caused a need to move it inland. The Lockhart family generously gave the property, and the ‘Sconset community worked together to fund the renovation of the entire park. To reach the playground, walking is the easiest way; plus, there are bike racks on-site. This park is special because it has a wheelchair-accessible picnic table and rubberized pathways for convenient access. The parking is small.
Coatue, part of the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge, can only be reached by car or boat with an appropriate beach permit. The roads to the refuge are soft sand and can only be traveled on with four-wheel drive vehicles, and an Overland Vehicle Permit is required to enter. Some parts of the refuge are closed off to vehicles from May to August to protect rare and endangered bird species during nesting season.
The Wildlife Refuge is a unique and special area, boasting 395 acres of natural barrier beach. It is home to various rare plants and birds and contains some of the most beautiful beaches on the island.
Nantucket is home to an abundance of stunning beaches. Whether you’re looking to have a blast bodysurfing with your kids or want to find a more intimate, private beach to spend quality time with your significant other, you’re sure to find your perfect beach along this breathtaking shoreline. It’s a perfect mix of fun, adventure, and romance! No matter what you want for a beach vacation, you’ll find it on the stunning beaches of Nantucket.