Nantucket in the summer can be magical. It is truly an experience! BUT the warm summer months can also bring crowds, sunburns, and impatient locals and tourists alike.
Fall is the BEST time of year to experience Nantucket in my humble opinion. The locals can relax a bit after working crazy summer hours (they’ve gotten “their island” back as some say), the downtown cobblestone streets are scattered with orange and yellow leaves, and a tranquility settles over the island which becomes just another small town.
I’ve lived on Nantucket year-round for three years now, so I hope I can offer up a few valid reasons to visit Nantucket in the fall:
Avoid the crowds
‘Nough said. The summer population can swell to 5 times the year-round population. The fall has picked up over the years as a “shoulder season” to the summer but the crowds significantly decrease, especially after Columbus Day making your trip that much more of an escape from “it all”. Check out one of the amazing cafes downtown, grab your drink of choice to go, and just wander the quaint, quiet cobblestone streets of Nantucket.
Enjoy the Trails and Tranquility
Nantucket has beautiful trails all over the island. A particular favorite of mine in the fall is Squam Swamp which is usually quite marshy and buzzing with mosquitoes in the summer, and much more pleasant in the cooler months. The fall is the perfect time to get out and explore the abundance of trails without worrying (too much) about the dreaded poison ivy and ticks that summer brings (though it is always good to take precaution!).
Get to Know the Locals
I love living on Nantucket just for the reason of knowing my barista, pharmacist, and bank teller alone! In the summer months many locals (islanders/natives/washashores what have you) are furiously working away at the height of the tourist season behind the scenes. In the fall they are out enjoying their island in full swing! My favorite spot to hang in the fall is at Cisco Brewery of course. You might find yourself sharing a table or enjoying the fire pit next to a local.
Experience Offseason Events and Festivals
Cranberry Festival, Nantucket Fair, Harvest Fair, Spooky Stories at the Old Gaol, Moby Dick Marathon, the Halloween parade…just a few quaint events that are going on this time of year!
Empty Beaches and Solo Sunsets
I can’t talk about the beaches on Nantucket and not mention that National Geographic listed Nantucket Island as one of the top ten beaches in the world amongst Bora Bora, the Seychelles, and St. Barts. Come and see for yourself! The beaches are the next best spot for those tranquil walks, and the sunsets are just as glorious as they are in the summer. This time you might just get that famous Nantucket sunset all to yourself! What a treasure. So bundle up and sip on some tea/ champagne/hot chocolate as you watch the sun dip into the Atlantic without a soul in sight.
How about you? Have you experienced the fall in the summer and the fall? Which do you prefer?!