Known for its dune-backed stretches of sand, bustling wharves, and cobblestoned streets, there’s plenty to like about Nantucket Island. Perched in the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Cod, it’s a top spot for summer vacations of all flavors. From getaways with the kids to romantic weekends, the island’s vacation rentals offer an ideal base for your adventures. Dive into this guide to find out more about the types of rentals on offer and the best places to stay.

Plan your stay in Nantucket rentals

A memorable adventure awaits in Nantucket. Let’s first look at the different styles of vacation homes on the island, as well as how to get to Nantucket and the most popular times to visit.

Find your perfect rental in Nantucket

Nantucket real estate rentals come in countless styles, so no matter if you’re looking for a cozy hideaway or a luxury rental with a pool, you’re bound to find the perfect place to stay. Nantucket cottage rentals are among the most popular options on the island, especially those homes that pepper the shoreline and place vacationers' steps from the sand. Elsewhere, you’ll find smart apartments with a medley of modern conveniences and sprawling Nantucket house rentals with all the trimmings. Countless pet-friendly rentals in Nantucket mean that pup can come too.

Best time to stay in Nantucket rentals

Memorial Day weekend marks the start of summer in Nantucket. It’s a season that runs right through to Labor Day, though it likely goes without saying that the best of the weather is seen in July and August. Holiday festivities also draw a crowd, especially so in the first weekend of December when the annual Christmas Stroll sees Main Street filled with decorated trees and costumed carolers. Late-night shopping and the arrival of Santa by boat add to the fun. Both spring and fall are considered shoulder seasons and can be great times to look for cheap Nantucket rentals.

Getting to Nantucket vacation rentals

Fly-in visitors can land directly on Nantucket thanks to year-round services from airports in the likes of Boston, Westchester, and neighboring Martha’s Vineyard. An often-used alternative is to arrive by ferry, with those travelers bringing a car to the island limited to the Steamship Authority ferry from Hyannis. The largest of Barnstable’s villages also offers passenger ferry services, though on-foot visitors are equally able to depart from Harwich Port, as well as from New Bedford and the Big Apple. Like rentals, ferry crossing tickets are snapped up early – so be sure to plan ahead.

Nantucket vacation home destinations

Nantucket is bursting with towns and villages that offer the perfect home base for your stay. Here’s just a handful of the top spots where Nantucket vacations prove unforgettable.

Downtown delights in Nantucket

To put it simply, Nantucket Town is where it’s at. You’ll find many of the island’s rental properties within a short walk of the downtown ferry terminal, not to mention on the doorstep of the cobblestoned Main Street filled with everything from bookstores and boutiques to antique stores and galleries. Families flit in and out from the beach in search of ice cream, while culture vultures can peek inside the town’s Whaling Museum. When you’re ready to explore further afield, guided tours, bike paths, and buses serve up a variety of ways to get off the beaten path.

Relaxed Surfside vacations

A slower pace awaits along Nantucket’s southern shores – not least in Surfside, a family-friendly spot where attractions include the Surfside Bike Path and ample sandy beaches. A snack shack and lifeguards are among the amenities on offer, though downtown is all but a quick shuttle ride away from Surfside rentals. Closer to home, you can stroll over to Cisco where a wide sand bar produces must-ride waves, the Cisco Brewers serves up music, tours, and tastings in its three rustic bars, and whales can be spotted offshore in spring and fall.

Secluded stays in Madaket

An idyllic Nantucket summer vacation awaits in Madaket. It’s a village that’s best-known for its spectacular sunsets, though it’s the sandy trails, miles of pristine coastline, and starry skies that lend Madaket a wild spirit. Vacation home rentals in Smith’s Point prove especially popular with families with very young kids – the grey-shingled rentals here sitting pretty near a calm, shallow bay filled with minnows and hermit crabs. It’s a get-away-from-it-all kind of place, though the amenities of town lie just six miles to the east.