Nantucket North Shore Beaches
May 31, 2023
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If you’re looking for a beach to take the kids to, the island’s north shore is perfect. The waves are much calmer here than elsewhere, with Brant Point being the only exception. You don’t have to travel far from town to reach these seashores, and you’ll get to enjoy the stunning views of Nantucket Sound or the harbor. From certain locations, you’ll even be able to catch a glimpse of Great Point.

Jetties Beach

Jetties Beach is one of the most beloved shores on the island, located just outside of town along the north shore. Its wide, flat expanse welcomes you to stroll, search for shells and sea glass, and observe the shallow water and sandbars that appear at low tide. Jetties is a popular destination for families and children due to its easy access and gentle surf, and lifeguards patrol the beach in the summer.

The beach is equipped with a large parking lot and a playground. The area offers a variety of amenities, like public restrooms, changing rooms, and showers. For those looking to grab a bite to eat, the Sandbar is there. With its open-air restaurant and bar, you can enjoy the cool breeze and sandy surroundings while sipping on a delicious martini. Take in the breathtaking views of Nantucket Sound and feel your worries slip away.

For those with limited mobility, the beach has a plastic mat running down the center, and beach-accessible wheelchairs can be reserved from the Town. Windsurfing, sailboat, kayak lessons, and rentals are also available.

Jetties Beach, located at 4 Bathing Beach Rd, can be accessed in various ways. If you prefer to travel there by bicycle, that is also an option. Additionally, during the summer, a bus service takes you right to the beach pick-up in front of the Whaling Museum. Jetties are open for beach driving during the offseason. Summertime at Jetties Beach is full of exciting events like the world-renowned Boston Pops show. If you plan a beach BBQ, grilling is allowed with a charcoal or propane grill.

Steps Beach

Steps Beach View

Steps Beach is a hidden gem between Dionis and Jetties and off Cliff Road, four miles away from town. Take in the stunning view of Great Point Light to the right before tackling the long set of stairs leading down. 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. No lifeguards or amenities are available here, so pack some snacks or drinks for your visit. Make sure you bring enough for your journey so that you can have an enjoyable time.

Parking is also limited, and beach driving is not allowed (it would be very tricky or impossible to drive to anyways). The water can come alive in the summer and fall months with bioluminescent creatures, a truly magical sight.

Usually this beach is not on people’s lists of must-see places. Its pristine shoreline and calming waves make it a great spot to relax and take in the beauty of nature. If you’re seeking a tranquil area to take pleasure in, Steps Beach is the ideal spot.

Washing Pond Beach

Washing Pond Beach

Sometimes referred to as “Water Tower Beach,” Washing 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. The beach ends at a retaining wall, and parking is provided for around 25 vehicles – with partial bike path accessibility from Cliff Road. Driving on the beach is strictly prohibited. If you’re looking for a peaceful day at the beach, this is definitely the place to be.

Dionis Beach

Dionis Beach Sunset

Dionis beach is a stunning Nantucket spot that’s a favorite for almost everyone. Sheltered by sand dunes, this beach along Nantucket Sound 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. It’s also great for paddle-boarding on a tranquil day, and there’s a shallow sandbar during low tide, but watch- Dionis is the perfect home for the lovely yet feisty lady crab.

You can reach Dionis Beach by car or bike or take the NRTA shuttle bus. Oversand driving is not allowed at Dionis Beach. 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 down to the beach.

There are bathrooms, changing rooms, and outdoor water fixtures to wash away sand, plus a parking lot with vending machines for snacks and drinks, but if you want, bring something to eat with you. Lifeguards are only on duty 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. during the summertime. It’s a popular spot for fishing, and Striped Bass is the primary type caught here. Enjoying a barbeque on Dionis Beach is possible with either charcoal or propane grills.

Children’s Beach

Children's Beach, Nantucket

If you have small children, Children’s Beach is the right place! Nestled in the city, this beach is perfect for swimming as the waters are calm and sheltered in Nantucket Harbor. Vessels are not allowed in the protected area. The beach is great for small children because of its park, playground, bandstand, lifeguards, toilets, showers, and food. Lifeguards are only on duty from 9 am to 5 pm in season.

If you are heading to the beach, there is a ramp available, but it is mainly for pedestrians and not wheelchairs; there is no direct access to the beach from here. A paved walkway with three benches gives a spectacular view of the beach. Just be aware that there is a slight incline at the start. To go there, you can take the NRTA – Jetties Route or choose an off-beach parking lot to get there. The beach does not have driving access, but parking lot is very conveniently closeby.

The playground has several components dedicated to physical activity. In the smaller structure, the focus is on sensory play. Many children’s beach activities include morning yoga on the bandstand, children’s yoga and mindfulness classes, and Nanpuppets. There are also some concerts and others thanks to the Park & Recreation Commission.

Brant Point Beach

Brant Point, located at the mouth of Nantucket Harbor! You can easily get to this beach by foot or bike, but please note that 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. Brant Point is one of the most photographed locations on the island. The option of off-beach parking is available; driving at the beach is not allowed. This beach is a great place to relax and take in the scenery, and you can wave goodbye to your friends and family and set off on the Steamship

40th Pole

40th Pole Beach Nantucket

This north-shore beach is ideal for families and young children due to its warmer waters and calmer waves compared to the south shore. Swimmers of all ages and skill levels can savor the gentle, shallow waters of the 40th Pole. Be aware, however, that there are no lifeguards here, so swimmers must stay alert. The shallow, clear water and the wide, flat shoreline with soft white sand and plentiful seashells make for a great summertime outing. However, Greenhead flies and mosquitos can be bothersome on windless days.

Seasonal restrooms are available at 40th Pole, but no other amenities are provided, so visitors should come prepared with everything they need. This beach fills up quickly on hot summer days and holidays. There are no trash receptacles on the beach, so all waste should be taken away when you leave. This beach is also a popular destination for fishing.  On the beach, charcoal or propane grills are allowed.

Beach Parking is available. If you’re looking to get to the 40th Pole beach, the best way is with a 4WD vehicle. Stay away from getting there in a low lying vehicle!  This is a great spot for beach driving all year round, except when it’s closed for nesting shorebirds.

Francis Street Beach

Francis Street Beach, only seven minutes from Main Street, is a great spot for relaxation and harbor views. The waters here are tranquil and perfect for swimming. However, there is no lifeguard on duty. Kayak rentals are available, and there are restrooms nearby. Beach driving is prohibited.

If you’re looking for a place to spend some quality time with your canine companion, this beach is the perfect spot. All dogs must be on a leash while at the beach. So, take a relaxing stroll on the shoreline with your furry friend. This small beach lets you take in the sights and sounds of the harbor with a leisurely stroll or take a brisk jog.

Shellfishing and Water Quality in Jetties Beach, 40th Pole, and Dionis Beach.

The Town of Nantucket Department of Health and Human Services and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health stay vigilant during summer to ensure Nantucket’s beaches stay safe. Every week, they collect samples of the seawater and send them to the laboratory for testing. Here they can monitor the water quality  to ensure it’s safe to swim. If the levels exceed the safe limit two weeks in a row, the beach is closed until it’s suitable to swim again.

The recreational scallop season is here between October 1 and March 31, and anyone with a Town of Nantucket recreational shellfish permit is welcome to join in on the fun. Permits can be acquired from the Public Safety Facility on 4 Fairgrounds Road. You can harvest quahogs and oysters all year round with a recreational shellfish permit. However, soft-shell and razor clam shellfishing is not allowed between June 15th and September 15th.

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