The Best Nantucket Island Beaches

Nantucket has miles of pristine, uncrowded beaches. You can choose to swim in the calm waters of the harbor, close to town, hang out in the gentle waves of the north coast, or venture out to the far reaches of the southern shore for great surf.


Brant Point

Steps from town, and across from Steamboat Wharf, this very small harbor-side beach is wonderful for young children because it has a grassed area for play plus a playground. The Public Landing is here also, where kayaks and local boats are launched daily... a fun activity to watch! From here, you can kayak across to the Coatue Nature Preserve.
  • Distance: Moderate walk from town or short bike ride.
  • Surf: No surf, strong current. Children should be supervised.
  • Facilities: No lifeguard; food and restrooms nearby at Jetties Beach.

Children's Beach

This beach overlooks the channel for boats going to and from the harbor. You will see plenty of boating activity from this vantage point, and we warn all swimmers to be alert for traffic. In the evening, fishermen cast from the rocks of Brant Point Lighthouse.
  • Distance: Short walk from town or short bike ride.
  • Surf: No surf.
  • Facilities: Lifeguard mid June-August, snack bar and restrooms.

Jetties Beach

This is the town beach with boardwalk, showers, toilet and a concession stand. It’s the perfect spot to watch the ferry arrive and boats sailing into the harbor and take long shoreline walks. There is a playground, along with public tennis courts. The 4th of July fireworks are set off from here!
  • Distance: Beach bus available, moderate walk from town or short bike ride.
  • Surf: Shallow water, no waves.
  • Facilities: Lifeguard, umbrella & chair rentals, restaurant and restrooms.



A beautiful out-of-the-way beach, Cisco is known as the best beach for surfing when the "surf is up". You can take a surfing lesson here from Nantucket Surfari (508-228-1235). If you do not have a board, body surfing is great here as well. We would not recommend this beach for small children as there can be strong undertows and riptides.
  • Distance: Four-mile bike ride from town (no bike path).
  • Surf: Heavy.
  • Facilities: Lifeguards, but no food or restrooms.


This is a wonderful expansive beach for families; great for picnics, cookouts (do not forget to get a charcoal-fire permit from the Fire Dept.), surf-casting and swimming. The surf is mild, the shells plentiful and the dunes beautiful. This beach has the largest dunes on the Island. Please do not climb or drive on the vegetation, as it causes erosion! Four-wheel drive vehicles are allowed only with a town beach sticker.
  • Distance: Three miles by bike from town (bike path available).
  • Surf: Mild.
  • Facilities: Lifeguards, restrooms, no food.


Madaket is the farthest west that you can go to enjoy our beaches. The bike path to get here is very scenic (5.5 miles from town), and if it is sunsets you are looking for … this is where to be! The beach is large, lovely and far from town.
  • Distance: NRTA bus from town or five miles by bike (bike path available).
  • Surf: Heavy (most powerful waves, riptides and undertows).
  • Facilities: Lifeguards (limited), food and restrooms.


This is a large beach close to our airport, in an out-of-the-way location.
  • Distance: Four or so miles from town, depending on your route.
  • Surf: Moderate to heavy.
  • Facilities: No lifeguard, food or restrooms.


This lovely beach borders the village of Siasconset (or informally Sconset). It is a large beach, seven miles from the Town of Nantucket. Prevailing winds can cause seaweed to be prevalent at times. Best bet for a nearby grown-up drink is at The Summer House – 508-257-4577.
  • Distance: Buses from town or seven-mile bike ride on bike path.
  • Surf: Moderate to heavy.
  • Facilities: Lifeguard, food in nearby Sconset town, restrooms in the town- not on the beach.


This beach is always a popular beach for families. It is easy to get to via the bike path. Make sure you supervise your children, as the surf can be heavy on some days.
  • Distance: Beach bus or three-mile bike ride on bike path.
  • Surf: Moderate to heavy.
  • Facilities: Lifeguard, snack bar and restrooms.

Please Note: Surf swimming is for the experienced swimmer only, and there are times when the surf is not safe. Beware of strong rip currents, which occur before and after storms and can carry a swimmer far away from the beach. To ensure a fun and safe day at the beach, only swim at beaches that have lifeguards and never swim alone.

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