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Why You Should Visit Nantucket Year-Round


Nantucket Activities

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Visit NantucketMost Nantucket visitors think summer is not just the best, but the only time to trek out to the island. Summertime living is easy and there are endless activities. However, each season here is unique and offers a wealth of different experiences that you won’t find in July and August. It seems like people are catching on. In recent years we’ve seen more shoulder season visitors than ever, many of whom book vacation rentals with Fisher! Here are our favorite reasons to visit Nantucket year-round. 

Spring on Nantucket


The Daffodil Festival (April 27-29) is our kick-off event of the spring. Restaurants, inns, and other businesses open for the season (and some just for the weekend) just as daffodils begin to bring color to our long frozen soil. Watch as antique (and highly decorated) cars parade up Main Street then make their way down Milestone Road for a celebratory tailgate picnic in ’Sconset. There is also a children’s parade of bikes, scooters, and wagons, along with a festive hat contest! Just remember the weather can still be chilly and rain is always a possibility, so don’t forget a (yellow!) umbrella and warm coat for chilly Spring days when you visit Nantucket in the spring.

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Daffodil Festival

Mid-May brings flocks of foodies to visit Nantucket for the Nantucket Wine & Food Festival, a whirlwind of tastings, dinners, and music. Last year’s Harbor Gala at the White Elephant featured wares from over 80 wine makers and chefs. You can also take a stroll through the Culinary Tent, where you can browse local and international vendors and enjoy cooking demonstrations. Book your spot for the Festival’s wine and champagne tastings early, as they do sell out! 

Memorial Weekend on Nantucket also marks our Figawi Race Weekend. Over 200 boats race from Hyannis to Nantucket on Saturday morning, and the crossing is commemorated by a rowdy party for competitors under a massive white tent in the evening.

Fisher Tip: On Sunday, stop by the boat basin docks to support the Nantucket High School sailing team as they compete against nearby schools for the Figawi Jr. Trophy.

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Wine & Food Festival

The fun doesn’t stop there. The Nantucket Book Festival features a week of readings, workshops, writing competitions, and book signings by visiting authors. This is closely followed by the Nantucket Film Festival. You can enjoy film screenings of both popular and independent films, as well as virtual reality demonstrations. 

Restaurant Week is another hot topic in June. Indulge in 3 to 5 course meals at some of the islands finest eateries for under $55, before they start getting booked to capacity. You won’t want to miss these amazing deals and special seasonal menus. Spring Restaurant week is a great time to visit Nantucket if you have not enjoyed this special event in the past.

Fisher Tip: there are many Fisher rentals available in June. Contact Fisher to speak with an Agent and see what properties are available to rent in June.

For avid golfers, the Sam Sylvia Pro-Am Tournament in mid-June offers a fantastic opportunity to play for a cause. Participants enjoy an evening kick-off cocktail party at the Sankaty Head Golf Club, followed by competition and awards the next day. All proceeds support the Nantucket Boys & Girls Club.

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Restaurant Week


Fall on Nantucket


Some of island’s most intellectually rich events occur away from the hustle and bustle of our high season. In a TED Talk-esqe way, The Nantucket Project provides three days of exclusive programming, discussion, and receptions for ticket holders. Meanwhile, the Egan Institute’s Maritime Festival seeks to educate all community members on the island’s seafaring past. Enjoy free children’s crafts, learn about the art of Nantucket Lightship Basket weaving, and take a tour of the Coast Guard Station.

The last week in September is also home to our biannual Restaurant Week. If you missed it (or loved it!) last spring, stop by your favorite restaurants this fall for fresh dishes at reasonable prices.

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The Nantucket Project

For islanders, October is a time to get outside and enjoy the last of our sunshine and temperate weather. So head out to the Milestone bog for our Cranberry Festival, where you can watch berries being harvested and even purchase some of your own. You won’t want to miss the delicious baked goods and chowder served from the festival tent. If you’re feeling especially motivated, try your luck at our half marathon the next day! The 11 mile route brings you through some of Nantucket’s lesser known (and beautiful) back roads.

Mid-October marks the Nantucket Grown Food Festival. Enjoy libations from the island’s local chefs and growers, or take a more hands on approach and learn more about foraging, oyster farming, or fish-filleting. A few weeks later, head over to Main Street on the 31st and watch as hundreds of Nantucketers in costume parade through our downtown. Many businesses reopen (and decorate lavishly) just to offer candy to visitors on this spooky night.

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Cranberry Festival – Photo by Laurie Richards

The holiday season really takes off in late November, beginning with the annual Cold Turkey Plunge. For a $30 donation, you can hop in the chilly harbor off of Children’s Beach with a hoard of other Nantucketers. All proceeds go the the Nantucket Atheneum and their free library programming. In the days following, you can enjoy the Festival of Wreaths at the Nantucket Whaling Museum. If you spot a wreath you like, you can bid on it in their silent auction and take it home to adorn your door. 

On this island, the day after Thanksgiving means it’s time to ring in Christmas. The Town Crier counts down to the ceremonial tree lighting, and soon over 100 trees illuminate our downtown. Carolers and a performance by the Nantucket High School acapella group, the Accidentals & Naturals, musically celebrate the beginning of holidays.

Nantucket Christmas Stroll
Tree Lighting


Winter on Nantucket


December is home to our fabled Christmas Stroll weekend. Besides visiting in July and August, Stroll is the second most popular time to visit Nantucket. Main Street is closed to street traffic and comes alive with visitors and locals dressed in their holiday best. Pursue our downtown shops and enjoy hot chocolate and cider, then head on over to the food tent to enjoy mobile creations from some of the island’s favorite restaurants and bakeries. Don’t miss Santa and Mrs. Claus as they arrive on a Coast Guard cutter and parade up the cobblestones in their sleigh. Line up at the Jared Coffin House for the chance to tell Santa what you would like for Christmas.

Next, head on over to the Whaling Museum for the Festival of Trees. Instead of wreaths adorning their walls, you will see traditional and incredibly creative trees decorated by local businesses, non-profits, and school groups. This beautiful display can be enjoyed all month long.

On Christmas Eve, you’ll find the whole town at the base of the Pacific National Bank for our Red Ticket Drawing. Residents have been collecting tickets by making purchases at participating businesses for months, and we now await our chance for the $1,000 or $5,000 prize. If you’d like to skip the crowds, check out the excitement from our live Main Street cam!

Nantucket Christmas Stroll
Christmas Stroll

Each year, One Book One Island chooses a book and gives a copy to anyone in the community who wishes to partake. This is followed by a week of free events in early March, all inspired by the book. In 2018, Colum McCann’s TransAtlantic was embodied by a night of Irish music and dance, an afternoon tea, and days of film and discussion.

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One Book, One Island


Lisa Genthner

Born and raised on Nantucket, Lisa is incredibly excited to be back on the island as she prepares for her senior year at Dartmouth College. She feels most at home on the water and has an immense appreciation for the beauty and entertainment it provides. During the school year you may catch her taking a break from her economics studies to sail New Hampshire’s lakes. When she’s not assisting with marketing at Fisher, you can find her working on a new ceramic piece or catching the sunset on the south shore this summer!