By Robin Slick, Published Friday
Is There a Best Time to Visit Nantucket?
It depends what you have in mind.
Almost everyone is quick to say the summer months, from Memorial to Labor Day are most ideal, when the weather is at its warmest, and when the island is in full bloom.
Chanticleer Restaurant, Sconset
In the summer you can enjoy longer days, swimming at the beach, boating, surfing, biking, and dining al fresco at the many restaurants that serve the finest and freshest cuisine. Since sunbathing weather is short-lived, the island becomes inundated with people, heavier traffic, and businesses taking advantage of the “peak season” by charging very high prices.
Depending on your budget, or maybe if you have only been to the ACK in the summertime, you may wish to consider a non-peak time to visit, when it’s a bit quieter and less crowded.
The shoulder seasons have much to offer, beginning in March and April when restaurants, shops and museums re-open in preparation for summer. Less people allow for getting around easier, but more importantly, restaurants are not as crowded, and more affordable rates are offered for vacation rentals, hotels, and bed & breakfasts. The springtime weather is warm enough to walk through Town, exploring the cobblestone streets and the many unique boutiques and art galleries. Not to be missed and held this year from April 24-26, is the Daffodil Festival known as the start to just about everything.
Personally, my favorite time to visit is the shoulder season months of September and October, a/k/a, the wedding season! Summer tourists are no longer around and kids are back at school. Need I say more?
Although the temperature is a bit too cool for sun worshiping on some days, most other outdoor activities remain viable along with many cultural attractions, restaurants and shops offering “End of Season” sales. The start of fall brings calmer, less chaotic days, a perfect time for a wedding. That's why these shoulder seasons ARE the preferred time to tie the knot! Check out our Fall Activities blog for more information about events this time of year.
Me & David, September 18, 2016
As the weather gets colder and winter approaches, it's time to pack your bags to head home ... not so fast. Yes, it's true the coldest weather is right around the corner (still warmer than the mainland), however, something magical begins to occur. With its festive decorations, Town turns itself into a picture perfect holiday postcard. From Thanksgiving through the New Year there are many popular events, beginning with the Tree Lighting Ceremony on Main Street, followed by The Festival of Wreaths & The Festival of Trees. Not to be missed is the iconic Stroll which is held the first weekend of December. Oddly enough, during this “off-season" many seasonal establishments stay open or re-open until after Christmas and the New Year.
2019 Tree Lighting Ceremony at the top of Main Street.
2019 Stroll antics at the Club Car with Peter McHugh, Chris Blunt & Steve Nickel
It’s inevitable, January and February. What I have found, this being my first winter here, is that having the island all to your self is a special gift. Instead of schlepping chairs, coolers and umbrellas to the beach, I throw on extra layers, a hat and gloves and head to the beach. Walking my dog at sunrise or sunset on what feels like my private beach, reading a book by the fire, teaching a yoga class and photographing the island, are just some of the things I enjoy in the dead of winter. Take a look at some ideas for a winter vacation on island that I recently wrote about.
Like with everything else in life, there are tradeoffs, but no matter when you choose to visit, I can promise the ACK will not disappoint. Maybe it’s time to try a new season and who knows, you may even come to love the off-seasons so much that someday you will become island residents. Just like us!
Go to Congdon & Coleman's 2020 Festivals and Events for more information.