Nantucket Travel Guide: Where to Eat, Drink, and What to Do

Thursday, July 14, 2016


Last week on the blog I shared some details and photographs from my latest trip to Nantucket for the Fourth of July. This past trip was my fourth time venturing to the island to visit my friend Katherine as she works on the island for most of the year. So many people commented about the beauty of the island and expressed interest in wanting to visit Nantucket themselves one day. I thought it would be useful to put together a little guide of my favorite places from my past visits so if you visit you will know exactly where to eat, drink, and what to do while spending your time on ACK (which is the nickname for Nantucket and the airport call sign!).


ONE // Millie's - Millie's is probably my favorite restaurant on the island. The original Madaket location serves amazing Mexican style food and great drinks. I suggest trying the Altar Rock appetizer which will give you a sampling of salsa, guacamole, and queso. We also usually order the Ahi Tuna appetizer which is simply delicious and so fresh. For dinner I usually get either tacos or a quesadilla (the Starbuck Road is my favorite). To drink, try the blueberry lemonade it's so yummy and has a kick ;)

Millie's also operates a small market with ice cream and to-go sandwiches that you can bring to the beach in Madaket, a dockside location with a smaller menu which is perfect for late-night eats after a night out in town, and a food truck which is often parked at Cisco Brewery and has delicious street corn, tacos, and lobster rolls. No matter what a visit to Nantucket is not complete without a stop at Millie's. For an added bonus, if you time your meal right you can catch the best sunset on the island in Madaket at the original location!

TWO // Something Natural - This little sandwich place is conveniently located just outside of downtown and close to Steps Beach. It gets really crowded at lunch time, so try and call your order in ahead of time to avoid waiting! They offer a variety of sandwiches, including a lobster salad which is very popular. My favorite thing here? The Portuguese bread which they make fresh on site and is so good. Something to note, the sandwiches are HUGE so I only order a half sandwich, if I'm feeling a little hungrier I'll get one of their homemade chocolate chip cookies to go with my sandwich. They have a lot of picnic tables on site if you want to eat there, or you can take your sandwiches to go and ride to nearby Steps Beach and enjoy your meal.

THREE // Claudette's - This little sandwich place in Siasconset (or 'Sconset to locals) is another favorite place to grab a quick lunch and beach sandwiches. My friends and I love the veggie sandwich which comes on a delicious multi-grain bread with tons of fresh veggies and their "special sauce". They also offer breakfast sandwiches and have a few tables on their patio to sit at and enjoy your meal.

FOUR // Straight Wharf - Probably one of the best and freshest meals I've ever enjoyed. This upscale restaurant is right on the water in the harbor. They are a farm to table restaurant (yes there is a farm on Nantucket, Bartlett's Farm) offering delicious seafood dishes. This picture is from my snapchat, so I apologize for the quality, but how delicious and HUGE do those scallops look?
This restaurant is on the pricier side, but it is worth every penny. They also serve a sparkling rose by the glass which is the best I've ever had. I suggest coming hungry and be prepared to have one of the best meals of your life! Bonus, we spotted Woody Allen having dinner with his family here!

FIVE // The Lobster Trap - If you're traveling to ACK you need to have lobster for at least one (or every) meal. Although lobster is never "cheap" per se, one of the more affordable options for a whole steamed lobster is the Lobster Trap. This place is right in the heart of town and offers a large menu of seafood offering, specializing in lobster boil. They also have a covered patio open late nights if you want to get your drink on after dinner.

SIX // Sayle's Seafood - Sayle's is another option for a more affordable lobster boil. They offer a variety of to-go fresh seafood options. My friends and I usually order a 1.25 or 1.5 pound lobster boil to go and take our dinner either to the picnic tables at Children's Beach or back to Katherine's cottage to enjoy. The lobster boil includes clam chowder, corn, potatoes, and a whole steamed lobster. They have other options available including clams, shrimp, etc.

SEVEN // The Juice Bar - The best ice cream on the island! Although the name might not sound like it, The Juice Bar has delicious homemade ice cream and the best homemade waffle cones. The Green Monster (mint chocolate chip) is a popular option, but I prefer the chocolate chip cookie dough in a waffle cone. They also serve a variety of milkshakes, juices, and sundaes. Everything is good so you can't go wrong! Just note that they are cash only.


EIGHT // Black Eyed Susan's - This cash only establishment is perfect for brunch, just be prepared to wait a little bit! It's well worth it though, the signature toast is amazing, as are the scrambles. I also like the pancakes, side of black eyed peas, and the homemade corned beef hash. Pretty much anything is delicious!

NINE // Provisions - Located right on the harbor this is a perfect place to grab some sandwiches or salads to bring out on a boat for lunch. They have a really turkey sandwich which I highly recommend if you go here.

TEN // Oath - Oath is also located on the harbor and convenient for grabbing food to take on the boat. They serve whole and half pizzas with a variety of flavors. The pizza dough is pre-fried and then they will place your toppings on the fried dough when you order. Once all your toppings are on the pie they will run the pizza through the toaster to make everything warm and melty. I recommend getting a pie that is half Muffled Trushroom and half Bella, trust me on this it's so so so good!

ELEVEN // Handlebar Cafe - This cute little coffee shop offers delicious iced coffees right in the heart of town. Also, the morning buns are so so yummy! I recommend picking up an iced coffee and morning bun and then walk around town to shop!

TWELVE // Brant Point Grill - Located within the White Elephant Hotel this delicious restaurant has great happy hour specials. Stop by on Friday afternoons for buck-a-shuck oysters and delicious cocktails, including a really good sangria, and live music! They also have a really good New England clam chowder and lobster roll! The restaurant has tables right on the water and under cover with heaters, so no matter what the weather is like this is a good place to stop by!


In addition to the restaurants above, which offer some yummy drinks, the island also boasts some great places for going out, having some drinks, and letting loose with your friends. Here are some of our favorite spots to enjoy an adult beverage:

ONE // Cisco Brewery - The brewery is a great spot to spend a sunny afternoon. During the summer you can ofter find a variety of food trucks parked on the lot, live music, and people with their adorable dogs in tow! They have a brewery, winery, and distillery and you can grab drinks from any of the three to enjoy at the tables around the property. I recommend the D'Ack and Stormy drink from Triple Eight Distillery on the property or the Sankaty Light Lager beer! They also offer free tours of the brewing operation and tasting flights. This is also a great place to get a Nantucket souvenir for the beer lover in your life (Alex now has both a tank top and t-shirt from the brewery). If the food trucks are not on site, don't worry, head over to nearby Barlett's Farm and grab some food to-go and bring it over the brewery. 

TWO // The Chicken Box - THE place for drinks and dancing on the island. If you want a fun night out, The Chicken Box is the place to go! Try and arrive before 10:30 as the line outside can be long. We also love going on Monday Nights when they have dueling DJ's and the best music for dancing. The drinks can be a little pricey, but it's a great night out with friends.

THREE // Rose and Crown - Rose and Crown is located right in downtown ACK. They have a dance floor for dancing, large bar, and fun music. They usually don't charge a cover and have karaoke on Sunday nights, and the people get really into it! This place is great for another fun night out of dancing with friends.

FOUR // The Gazebo at Harbor Square - This little gazebo offers a full bar and great specialty drinks. It's usually crowded but if you can grab a seat at the bar it's a good place to get a couple of cocktails. Try the Black Seal Pina Colada for a regular pina colada topped with Gosling's Dark Rum.

FIVE // Slip 14 - Located right on the harbor this small bar offers the regular bar offerings, music, and outdoor dancing. A nice place if you need a change of pace from the crowds at the Chicken Box or Rose and Crown. 


The best part of being in a beach town is taking it slow and relaxing. Nantucket offers all public beaches with easy access which makes it the perfect place to spend some time when you're in need of a change of pace. I suggest renting a bike and riding around the island one day. The island is built for bikes and has a ton of bike trails. You can ride up to one of the many beaches, lock your bike, and relax by the ocean. Another fun thing, is you can drink on the beaches if you're over 21 and don't bring glass containers.

My favorite beaches include: 

- Nobadeer Beach - this is the party beach and you can drive a vehicle with an over-sand permit on

- Cisco Beach - This peaceful beach has plenty of parking and looks out into the endless ocean. It's a beautiful place to spend an afternoon

- Steps Beach - convenient distance from town, you walk down some steep steps to get down to the beach. The beach is located on the sound side of the island so there tends to be more sandbars which are fun to swim up to. 

Another good beach option is Surfside Beach, it has lifeguards, public restrooms, plenty of parking, and a beach shack which sells snacks!

The island also has great shopping, especially if you like preppy and colorful clothing! Try Murray's Toggle Shop to get anything in the famous Nantucket Red color, Blue Beetle for cute clothes and accessories, Annie and the Tee's for fun Nantucket apparel like spirit jerseys. There are also J.McLoughlin, Ralph Lauren, Lilly Pulitzer, Jack Wills, and other preppy staples all located downtown. 

Other fun activities on the island include heading out to 'Sconset to see the rose covered cottages, Sankaty Lighthouse, and grab snacks at the Sconset Market. Spend an afternoon at the brewery, see a movie at Dreamland Theater, check out the Whaling Museum, or even go Whale Watching! You can also buy a ticket on boat tour or rent a sea kayak or stand-up paddle board. My biggest piece of advice is relax and get outside, the island is seriously beautiful and the best part of being there is getting to soak up all of the natural beauty. 

Have you ever been to Nantucket, if so what would you add to this list? If you haven't been what would you most like to try on the island? 

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