On Nantucket’s Atlantic side, the waters are usually cooler than those at the North Shore beaches. Swimming on the South Shore can be hazardous due to the strong waves, currents, and ever-changing sands. It’s essential to know how to recognize and escape rip tides, should you find yourself caught in one. Stay safe, and enjoy your time in the waves!
Western Avenue Beach
Right Across from what used to be the Youth Hostel lies this beach, which the Nantucket Land Bank manages. Parking space is only available for three cars, but it’s a short walk from Surfside Beach. If you’re looking for a place to sit, there are benches at the start of the beach path. To get to the shoreline, you’ll need to climb a long but gradual set of stairs, followed by a journey along the dunes; definitely not ideal for those with mobility issues.
The powerful currents and waves of the south shore make this beach a paradise for experienced swimmers and surfers. The lifeguard is off duty; Driving vehicles on the sand is forbidden. Have a safe and fun time, and stay mindful of the rules!
Madaket Beach is a breathtaking destination situated at the western end of the island. Its soft sand and stunning sunsets make it a popular spot. Unfortunately, it’s not the best place for swimming, as its large waves can create dangerous rip tides and undertows. If you do choose to surf here, check the beach’s conditions and be cautious. There’s no lifeguard on duty.
You won’t find any restrooms or food service at Madaket Beach. Choose to bike along the 5.5-mile paved bike path, take the seasonal NRTA shuttle bus, or walk through the cobblestones. You can also drive there, although the small dirt parking lot may be difficult to access due to erosion. Beach driving is allowed.
The people who come to Madaket Beach are often looking for an exciting experience or a peaceful place to take a leisurely stroll. It’s one of the quieter beaches, perfect for enjoying the beauty of nature in tranquil solitude.
Cisco Beach is a well-known destination for surfers and young adults. Situated along the south shore a few miles from town, this beach is known for its wide white sand and powerful waves, making it a favorite with surfers. But the intensity of the waves can depend on the weather. Be cautious of rip tides, currents, and potentially dangerous jellyfish.
There is a parking area with a steep slope down to the beach, but there is a seasonal aluminum ramp to make it easier to access. Note that there are no restrooms available. You may also come across some seasonal concession stands. A bike path leads right to the parking lot, making it a great spot to visit while biking. Lifeguards are on duty during parts of the year, and Beach driving is not allowed at the beach anytime.
Cisco Beach is also a great spot for fishing; there is Striped Bass. You can also barbecue at the beach, but use a charcoal or propane grill. There are no trash receptacles, so take all your trash with you when you leave.
This beach is a hit with the youth. Nobadeer is situated just south of the airport and provides a stunning view of the planes. The wide coastline is perfect for picnics, surfing, surfcasting, beach games, and picnics. Lifeguards are available during the summer months from 9 am to 5 pm and there is occasionally a food truck near the beach.
Off-beach parking is available, and parking is limited, but beach driving is permitted from 6 am to 10 pm Accessing the beach is difficult due to the steep incline, so it’s only recommended for experienced beach drivers. Also, the sand is soft, so be careful.
The Fourth of July was a memorable holiday for many who visited the renowned Nobadeer Beach on Nantucket. Thousands of people flocked to the south shore of the island, located near the Nantucket Memorial Airport, to soak up the sunshine and create lasting memories.
Surfside Beach on Nantucket is a popular spot situated near the airport on the south shore. The wide and flat beach is washed by gentle rolling surf over sandbars, although it can get more intense on windy days or during a storm surge. It’s the perfect place for beach games, such as volleyball, as well as surfing and boogie-boarding for the kids. Plus, both swimmers and sunbathers will find a welcome spot here. Convenience is also taken care of, with restrooms, showers, a food concession, and outdoor seating all available.
Surfside Beach boasts a large parking lot with accessible spaces for those with disabilities. To get to the shore, you’ll have to make a long trek through the soft and gently sloping sand. Accessing the beach from town is a breeze. You can access Surfside by car or bike; during the summer, The Wave bus provides convenient service from Washington Street in town, taking you directly to Surfside Beach.
On Surfside Beach, grilling is allowed using either charcoal or propane grills. Driving on the beach is allowed in the winter months but restricted to night-time hours only in the summer due to the heavy traffic of beachgoers. The sand in this area may be quite soft, so be sure to come prepared.
Fisherman’s Beach is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With Nobadeer to the left and Surfside to the right, it’s a much quieter spot. You can bask in the beauty of the dunes, dune grass, and the surf that south-side Nantucket beachgoers know and love. Although there is little parking available, you can always bike or walk there. Descending the steep steps, you make your way to the shoreline.
Note there are no lifeguards, bathrooms, or food service. Be careful when swimming, as the waves can get quite rough and there is always the risk of undertow. To protect the beach, driving is not allowed between 9 am and 5 pm or from 10 pm to 6 am.
At the end of Miacomet Road lies a beach with dangerous rip and surf currents, making it not recommended for swimming. However, if you’re someone who likes wave action, this spot is perfect for you! Just remember to bring all the necessary supplies, as there are no facilities or food services. Plus, lifeguards are only on duty from 9 am to 5 pm during the season.
Getting to Miacomet Beach is a breeze, as it is conveniently located close to the road. You can choose to travel there by bus, car, or on foot. Plus, off-beach parking is available. Just note that beach driving is not allowed. Miacomet Pond may be a better option for families with very young children.
Stone’s Beach is a paradise on the south side of Nantucket, with its lush dunes, dune grass, and the waves that beachgoers adore. If you’re looking to get there, it’s best to bike or walk since the parking lot is small. Note that there are steps that you must climb down in order to get to the beach, so it may not be ideal for people with mobility issues. Plus, there’s a Little Free Library for book lovers, a lookout spot with a bench for sightseers, and a fun surprise for everyone!
This beach is perfect for picnics, wave jumping, and soaking up the sand and surf! The sand here is soft and white, and the crowds are kept to a minimum due to the limited parking. It’s important to note that there are no lifeguards, bathrooms, or food service here, and the surf can be rough with an undertow to watch out for. Beach driving is also prohibited.
This beach is situated between Sconset and Tom Nevers Pond, and it is around 7 miles away from Nantucket town. If you’re a fan of privacy, this beach is the perfect spot for you. It is located near a huge dune system and not too far from the village of ‘Sconset. It is the ideal place for a picnic in summer or taking your dog for a quiet stroll on the beach during non-peak season. It is an excellent area for birdwatching, and you might even spot seals swimming in the surf.
As this beach faces the Atlantic, the water is much deeper, and the current is quite strong, so it is advised that experienced swimmers swim with a buddy. The surf is quite strong and the currents are fast-moving, and there is no lifeguard on duty. Also, be aware of biting insects like greenhead flies and mosquitos, especially on calm days.
Low Beach is a great spot for shell collectors and avid fishermen alike. Striped Bass and Bluefish are the main catches here. Parking is scarce and unpaved. It’s best to bring whatever food and drinks you may need. Beach driving is permitted year-round; however, nesting shorebirds and erosion may cause temporary closures. The sand is deep and soft, so 4-wheel drive vehicles are strongly advised.
Madequecham lies on the southeast shore of the island, reachable via a long, winding, road that is only suitable for smaller vehicles. Plus, be prepared to move aside for oncoming traffic. This beach is a paradise for swimmers and surfers enticed by the powerful waves and currents lapping the island’s south side. Miles of untouched shoreline make for a truly tranquil beach day.
If you are a wave rider, beachgoer, or simply want to capture a stunning Nantucket view, Madequecham is the place to be! Aside from the waves, it’s also an ideal spot for fishing, walking your pup at sunset, or having a romantic picnic. Be conscious that parking is scarce. Additionally, there are no lifeguards or restrooms, and the beach is not particularly convenient to reach. You are not allowed to drive on the beach.
Tom Nevers Beach
Tom Nevers Beach, tucked away at the end of Tom Nevers Road, is a hidden gem at the foot of low cliffs. This beach may be a beach that not many people have heard of or know about it. Plus, it is a little tricky to find; however, visitors can as a result enjoy a quiet and secluded day at the beach. Accessing the beach can be tricky, but it’s worth it!
Locals love Tom Nevers Beach because of its coarse sand and heavy waves – perfect for surfcasting. You can also play beach games, have a cookout, or start a fire pit. Plus, the fog adds to the mysterious atmosphere. This beach is also known as “Pebble Beach”, but keep in mind that there are no lifeguards or facilities, and parking is limited. Tom Nevers is ideal if you’re searching for a tranquil spot with great waves and loads of trails for biking. You won’t be disappointed with this quiet and peaceful beach.
Located south of Bartlett Farm, you’ll find Ladies Beach within the Smooth Hummocks Coastal Preserve. To get there, just turn right out of the farm and follow the unpaved road until it ends. The south shore’s waves and currents make it a great spot for body surfing and boogie boarding during low tide. The surf is usually mild with a sandbar, ideal for both strong swimmers and surfers alike.
There’s a parking area and footpath through the dunes for easy access, and the wide open space is perfect for gathering with your friends and family. Remember to stick around for a beautiful sunset to cap off the day! The lifeguards are only on duty from 9 am to 5 pm during the season, and no restrooms are available. Beach driving is prohibited.
Miacomet Pond is a freshwater pond. Reach the pond by Miacomet Road, Miacomet Avenue, and West Miacomet Road. The pond is about 1.5 miles long and is bordered by ocean beach and dunes to the south. It is a great spot for young children, but there are no lifeguards or facilities onsite. Parking is available.
Miacomet Pond is home to various types of wildlife, including fish, turtles, ducks, swans, and wading birds. The types of wildlife located here vary by season. Be aware of the snapping turtles that may be encountered while exploring. If you’re looking to fish, the State of Massachusetts doesn’t provide any information on fishing in any fresh, brackish, or saltwater ponds on Nantucket.
Shellfishing and Water Quality Low Beach Cisco Beach Surfside Beach
To ensure that Nantucket’s beaches remain safe throughout the summer, the Town of Nantucket Department of Health and Human Services conducts weekly seawater tests in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. These samples are sent to the bio lab for analysis, and the bacteria levels are checked to make sure it’s safe for swimming. If the levels go beyond the safety limits for two weeks in a row, the beach is closed off until it’s acceptable again.
The recreational scallop season is from October 1st to March 31st, and is accessible to any individual with a recreational shellfish permit from the Town of Nantucket. Permits can be obtained from the Public Safety Facility located at 4 Fairgrounds Road. Scallops must have a visible raised growth ring at least 10mm away from the hinge, or be larger than 63.5mm from the hinge to the shell. Gathering quahogs and oysters is an activity you can enjoy all year round with a recreational shellfish permit! But, if you’re into soft-shell and razor clam shellfishing, you won’t be able to partake between June 15th and September 15th.