So much of Nantucket can be explored on your own, just getting to know the island on foot and enjoying every inch of it in your own time. But if you are looking to learn a bit more about the island, try something new, or see something you’d never been able to see on your own, there are countless tours all over the island to immerse yourself in a new, unique part of Nantucket’s culture and history.
From bike tours to the brewery to walking the historic downtown, here are a few of our favorite tours, each providing a glimpse into all the things that make Nantucket such an unforgettable destination.
If you’re anything like us, you value knowing all the details and learning everything there is to learn so you can feel like an expert. One of the best ways to jump in and acquaint yourself with Nantucket is to learn from the pros at the Nantucket Historical Association. Follow one of their pleasant, knowledgeable guides (who are masters of the history of the island) on one of their two tours.
Take the Downtown Walking Tour for a formal introduction to Nantucket. Learn about the rise and fall of the island’s whaling industry as well as the anecdotes and events that made Nantucket what it is today - a place where tradition meets modernity.
Already familiar with the downtown area? Step back in time and tour three of Nantucket’s most historic and beautiful homes and gardens. Wander through the gorgeous gardens and in and out of two centuries worth of architecture and history. On this tour, you can see a variety of impressive homes.
This includes a representation of the wealth that whaling brought in a Greek revival home, another beautifully restored home that belonged to a prominent family in Nantucket’s history, and Greater Light, which was a summer home and art studio created by two sisters that made Nantucket the cultural and arts hub that it is today.
We can’t get enough of Nantucket’s waters, and we think there’s no better way to explore them than up close and personal in a kayak. Take a kayak tour of the beautiful salt marshes and experience this one-of-a-kind ecosystem for yourself. Sea Nantucket Paddle Sports offers kayak rentals and guides to take you through the waterways so you can enjoy every minute. These marshes are tidal, so this tour has a very limited availability— from two hours before high tide until high tide. Reservations are required in advance.
Itching to take a kayak into more open waters? Take a tour to Coatue Wildlife Refuge, where 390 acres of barrier beaches are home to rare plants and birds. It’s a gorgeous landscape that is only otherwise accessible by 4-wheeled vehicles on sandy pathways, so you’ll be catching a rare glimpse of a more private part of the area.
Are you a photography buff, or even just an amateur who can’t imagine traveling without your beloved camera? The guides at Capture Nantucket have designed multiple private instructional photography tours so you can “capture” your favorite sights of the island forever, and maybe improve your skills a bit along the way. We can’t recommend it enough.
With six different tours available— one even designed for iPhone photographers— you’ll be able to find the perfect shot time and time again. Whether you are hoping to take images of the most historical points on the island, explore the architectural details of the cottages and the town, or enjoy the golden hour of sunrise, you’ll hone your skills and get the shots you want. Master the art of the tidal shot, find a unique point of view of one of Nantucket’s bluffs, or shoot a stunning view of the harbor on one of these tours designed for those who love photography. Your Instagram account will thank you.
It’s safe to say we love Cisco Brewery’s beers, so our tour list wouldn’t be complete without including a tour of Nantucket’s beloved brewery. Public tours of the brewery happen daily and they cover the methods and exact sciences of the brewery, vineyard, and distillery as well as what makes Cisco’s beverages just so irresistible.
The best part about these tours? The admission price for the tour includes two tastings each from the brewery, winery, and distillery. If that’s not enough, tasting flights are also available. Complimentary shuttles are available from town all day long, so you never have to worry about whether or not you’ve tasted too much; you only need to enjoy.
Also? While you’re there for your visit, we recommend checking out one of the various food trucks, playing a round of corn hole, or taking in the music from the live bands that regularly play on Cisco’s campus. Check the daily events schedule to find out what’s happening and schedule your tour to coincide with one of their other awesome events.
No tour is complete without a souvenir, right? If that’s your philosophy and if you love getting in the water, we love the clamming excursions offered by Shearwater Excursions. Wade into the water and dig all the clams your heart desires. The best part? Any clams you dig yourself, you get to keep! This is our favorite kind of tour for when we are hungry for fresh seafood and want to work up an appetite!
The tour includes a short boat ride to the clamming site, and includes all necessary equipment and permits, but you’ll want to bring your swimsuit and wear plenty of sunscreen, and search for your favorite clam chowder recipe for afterwards.
Not into clamming? Take an eco tour and learn how the island was formed with 5,000 years of wind, waves, and erosion, while seeing it up close, see nesting shorebirds and even take a dip in the ocean. Tours are also available where you can look for whales or seals, or bring the family on one of the kids fishing trips. There are so many options that you’ll keep going back for more adventures, just like we do!
Once you start to tour the island and get to know it for yourself, we know you’ll want to keep coming back, year after year, to create more Nantucket memories. Let us help you find the perfect rental or vacation home for you and your family. Contact us today so every summer can be a summer spent in Nantucket, touring the island and living the laid-back, island life.