Nantucket beaches are easily some of the nicest beaches in New England. Many of the beaches are easily accessible to the public and our community and the many people that visit the island do a nice job keeping them clean and pristine. Some beaches are ideal for surfers and boogie boards like Nobadeer, Surfside and Cisco Beach. While others are more protected and better for families with young children. There are beaches that are great for surf casting fishermen, wind surfers, kayak paddlers and even some remote beaches for 4-wheel drive enthusiasts and bird watchers. The best thing about Nantucket beaches is that they never seem to be overcrowded like many of the beaches around the Boston area. The beach that gets the most traffic is Jetties Beach because it is close to town and great for families with young children.
Eastern Shore Beaches
The Eastern Shore Beaches are some of the most beautiful beaches on the island. With the exception of Sconset [a lovely place to sit and eat breakfast and enjoy the morning solitude], the Eastern Shore is home to the most remote and private beaches on the island. Four wheel drive access is necessary to reach Great Point and does require a permit but offers pristine beaches with no crowds. Coatue faces Nantucket Sound which spans from Great Point to the Nantucket Harbor entrance. Lots of young adults enjoy water sports from this area due to the close proximity of the harbor.
‘Sconset is a beautiful beach worth dipping your toes into but be careful the surf can be heavy and rough with very strong undertows. This beach does have lifeguards and is the perfect beach for an ocean-side picnic lunch. The sand is very fine and soft to the touch but can get very hot so don’t forget your flip-flops. There are no restrooms at this beach but the picturesque ‘Sconset Village is just a short walk away and there is a public restroom. ‘Sconset Village is also a great place to grab a bite to eat. The Summer House on Ocean Avenue is a collection of inns and cottages that visitors can rent; with a great view of the Atlantic Ocean.
You can reach ‘Sconset Beach via the 7-mile bike path, by car, or by the island shuttle bus service.
Lifeguard: Yes Restrooms: No
Visitors can get a great view of Sankaty Head Lighthouse from this remote and private beach. It is a very peaceful place where you can unwind from a stressful day. You can swim in the ocean which is just a short walk over the dunes or take a dip in Sesachacha Pond (pronounced “SACK-a-juh”). The pond is great for kayaking, fishing, and sunfish sailing. Parking is limited and there are no lifeguards or facilities but the water is calm and the swimming is nice. The sand is soft and fine so dig your feet in and stay awhile!
Lifeguard: No Restrooms: No
Great Point Beach
This is not a journey for the weak of heart, but if you have a properly permitted four-wheel drive vehicle you can access one of Nantucket’s most beautiful beaches and enjoy a quiet afternoon with your friends at Great Point. Great Point beach is part of the Coatue Wildlife Refuge. Access requires properly permitted four-wheel drive vehicles, available from some island rental companies. This is a favorite surfcasting beach.
Lifeguard: No Restrooms: No
Coatue is the narrow ribbon of land across the northern shore of Nantucket that creates the harbor. If you choose to visit, please be mindful of the important role it plays in sheltering the harbor and providing a home for wildlife. This is a popular place to visit by boat or kayak. Make sure to have the proper equipment; don’t forget your sunscreen and a well-charged cell phone.
Lifeguard: No Restrooms: No
Pocomo Point Beach
Located approximately half way from the harbor to head of the harbor, Pocomo Point offers warm calm waters. There is little parking, but is an excellent spot to kayak or windsurf’. It is a great beach for small children but there are no lifeguards or restrooms.
Lifeguard: No Restrooms: No
North Shore Beaches
The North Shore beaches face Nantucket Sound. It is a protected body of water that offers warmer temperatures and calmer conditions most of the time. These beaches are popular with summer tourists as they are close to town and are great for families with young children. Children’s Beach and the Jetties Beach can get a little crowded but these beaches have public facilities.
Located at the site of the Brant Point Lighthouse, this small spot of pleasant sand is better suited for boat watching than water sports. A short walk from town ensures that this is a lively spot most days. You will see some of the most beautiful and expensive yachts the east coast has to offer sail past. Enjoy the view, but if you choose to enter the water be mindful of the nearby boat channel, strong current and the steep drop-off.
Details: Google Map Water: Strong tidal current; sharp drop-off and lots of boat traffic Lifeguard: No Restrooms: None Facilities: None
Steps from town and across from Steamboat Wharf, this is an excellent beach for families with very young children. Its in-harbor location assures that it is Nantucket’s most wave-free beach this side of your bathtub.
The water is calm, there is a playground and seasonal snack bar on site. There is a large grassy park that is perfect for a game of Frisbee, tag, or turning cartwheels. Occasional concerts are held on the adjacent bandstand. Lifeguards are present from mid-June through August. The Nantucket Park and Recreation Department offer seasonal activities.
Details: Google Map Water: Calm, Nantucket Harbor Lifeguard: Yes Restrooms: Yes | Cold Showers Facilities: Park, Playground, Bandstand, Takeout Food, Picnic Tables, Limited Parking (but located in Town).
Ride out of town three miles on the Madaket bike path to Eel Point Road and you will find Dionis Beach Road. This beach is on the Sound, which makes it perfect for swimming, picnicking and activities with small children. It is less crowded then the Jetties Beach and long enough to allow everyone their own private space. The dunes provide shelter from the wind. There are lifeguards, showers and restrooms but limited parking. Here you can enjoy great views of Nantucket Sound.
Details: Google Map Water: Warm, Nantucket Sound Lifeguard: Yes Restrooms: Yes | Showers Facilities: Limited Parking
Eel Point/North Point
You’ll need four-wheel drive transportation for this beach and a sense of adventure. Eel Point Beach is on the western end of the North Shore. It is subject to tidal flooding, so make sure you check the tides so you don’t get stranded out there at high tide. This beach has a lot of sea grass, which is it great for eels, not so great for swimmers. However, if you love finding sea-shells on the beach this may be the finest sea-shelling beach on the island. Eel Point is also a good spot to catch the sunset. This is a remote beach, there are no facilities so you are on your own.
Details: Water: Lots of Seagrass Lifeguard: No Restrooms: No Facilities: None
Francis Street Beach
This small beach at the end of Francis Street offer calm harbor waters and pleasant harbor views. It is a five-minute walk from Main Street. There are no lifeguards, but there are restrooms and a jungle gym for young children. Kayak rentals are available, but there is no parking.
Details: Google Map Water: Calm Harbor Waters Lifeguard: No Restrooms: No Facilities: Toddler Climbing Toy; Kayak Rentals
Just west of the harbor entrance, this is THE in-town beach with boardwalk, showers, toilets, and a restaurant. You can choose between the calmer waters on the harborside, or the usually calm waters of Nantucket Sound. You can rent beach chairs and umbrellas. There are volleyball nets, and a playground for kids. Shallow water. No waves. Relax and watch the boats sail into the harbor. This is a short bike ride, or shuttle ride from town. Nantucket Park and Recreation Department offers swimming lessons morning in July and August. Non-beach related activities include tennis courts and a skate park. Windsurfing, kayak and sailboat lessons and rentals available.
Details: Google Map Water: Warm Nantucket Sound; extended northerlies will bring in a fine crop of seaweed. Lifeguard: Yes Restrooms: Yes, with Changing Rooms and Showers Facilities: Restaurant and Takeout Food, Playground, Skate Park, Tennis Courts and Parking
You must brave a long stairway while descending down to Steps Beach but the views of Nantucket Sound are breathtaking and you will want to snap a few pictures along the way. The beach offers a gentle surf, warm water, and is sheltered from Southwesterly winds. It is less crowded then other beaches closer to town. There are no lifeguards or restrooms. This is the perfect beach to have some summer fun but remember to save some energy for the climb back up the stairs.
Details: Lifeguard: No Restrooms: No Facilities: None
South Shore Beaches
The Southern Shore of Nantucket overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. The waves can be awe-inspiring but very dangerous but most summer days bring reasonable surf and refreshing water temperatures.
If you go further west than Madaket, you will need a towel. It’s a six mile ride from town either by bike or shuttle. Like all Island beaches, this one is at the end of the road. Be warned, some of the most powerful wave energy on the East Coast pounds this beach and can create serious undertow and rip tides. Even experienced surf swimmers often decide to sit it out. But it’s a great place to hang out and there is no better place to watch the sunset. The Beach is huge, with plenty of room for all comers. Lifeguards are stationed at some places of the beach. The western-most tip is only accessible by permitted four-wheel drive vehicles. Did we mention the sunsets?
Details: Google Map Water: subject to strong surf and rip currents Lifeguards: Yes Restrooms: Portable Toilet Facilities: None
This is one of the best surfing beaches on the island. It also offers the softest sand on Nantucket. Go down Hummock Pond Road all the way to the end. Lifeguards are stationed on part of the beach. Be careful of the strong undertows and rip-tides.
Details: Google Map Sand: Soft Water: Heavy Surf, Dangerous Rip-tides Lifeguard: Yes Restrooms: No Facilities: None
Located at the end of Miacomet Road or South Shore Drive, this beach has very heavy surf and very strong currents. It is a long beach with a lifeguard in one area. There are no restrooms. Miacomet Pond is the only fresh water pond on the island suitable for swimming. A popular spot for young children but watch out for snapping turtles in the pond.
Details: Google Map Sand: Soft Water: Heavy Surf and Rip-tides Lifeguard: Yes Restrooms: No Facilities: None
Surfside Beach is located three miles south of town on Surfside Road. The beach is a popular spot for young adults but is also known as a family beach. Even though there are lifeguards on duty, we would not recommend this beach to families with young children because of the heavy surf and dangerous rip tides due to shifting sand bars. The parking lot holds about 50 cars and the beach is often crowded during the summer season. If you want to spend the day at this beach you may want to ride down the bike path or hop the shuttle bus. The beach is wide with plenty of room for beach activities and it does have a snack bar. Surside is a popular surfcasting beach in the evening.
Details: Google Map Sand: Soft Water: Heavy Surf with Dangerous Rip-tides Lifeguard: Yes Restrooms: Yes Facilities: Snack Bar, Showers, Changing Rooms, Diaper Changing Station
Located near the airport. Limited parking; difficult to access beach. Plenty of surf, wide beach is good for picnics, beach games, and surfcasting. No lifeguard; no facilities. This is a popular beach where locals like to surf. Not recommended for families with young children.
Details: Google Map Sand: Soft to Medium Coarse Water: Strong Surf and Rip-tides Lifeguard: Yes Restrooms: No Facilities: None
Tom Nevers Beach
Located at the end of Tom Nevers Road, this beach has very coarse sand. The surf can be heavy and there are no lifeguards or restrooms available. A great beach for quiet enjoyment, surf and fishing.
Details: Sand: Coarse Water: Heavy Surf Lifeguard: No Restrooms: No Facilities: None