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Nantucket is a charming island 30 miles off Cape Cod. While it offers only 48 square miles to cover, the island is a family-friendly vacation spot with plenty of things for kids to do. Famous for its world-class beaches and history, you and your family will celebrate its maritime heritage.

Here are 7 fun things to do on Nantucket with kids.

1. Visit the Children’s Beach

Between Easton and Broad Streets is the Children’s beach, an ideal spot for families to enjoy a day with their kids. The beach has shallow, calm waters perfect for kids to swim. It has lots of areas for kids to play. In fact, it’s backed by lawned areas with play equipment.

The beach also has restrooms, showers, picnic tables, and a bandstand. Lifeguards are on duty in season between 9 AM to 5 PM. During summer, the Park and Recreation Commission often holds activities and events at the beach. Driving on the beach is not allowed. However, there is off-beach parking available. Children’s Beach is suitable for kids of all ages.

2. Visit the Whaling Museum

Nantucket is a historical sailing port where whaling was a popular activity. Run by the Nantucket Historical Association, this museum is home to a 46-long sperm whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling.

Located in the Downtown Historic District, the exhibits connect the 1847 Oil & Candle Factory and the 1971 Peter Foulger Museum. The museum has numerous artifacts and some tell the story of island life. You and your family will also discover the story of the sinking of the whaleship Essex, which served as an inspiration for Moby-Dick.

3. Walk along the Straight Wharf

Just adjacent to where the ferries operate is the Straight Wharf, a u-shaped dock. It houses some of the most beautiful yachts you’ve ever seen. While you cannot board them, it’s free to walk to the end of the pier as you check out.

Besides walking along the Straight Wharf, several bike paths extend all the way to Sconset from Madaket. Since Nantucket is bike-friendly, you can rent bikes for the whole family and get around. There are bike carriers that you can hook to the back of your bike for the little ones. This way, they won’t tire easily.

4. Take the Critter Cruise

Also, on Straight Wharf, you can board the Critter Cruise and travel offshore for an hour. The Critter Cruise is one of the coolest things, and tourists go out on the Monomoy. You can watch Captain Josh haul fish traps and lobster gear. The captain will give everyone a fishing pole to do some fishing.

Once the haul is up, all the fish goes into the touch tank, where everyone can marvel at your catch-up close. The cruise stays in the harbor, so you don’t have to worry about the weather or rough seas. Bait and fishing poles are usually provided. However, kids have always to be accompanied by a responsible adult.

5. Watch the Sunset at Brant Point Lighthouse

Established in 1746, the Brant Point Lighthouse started as a wooden tower, but it burned down in 1758. More than three wooden towers were built before they constructed a brick tower. They then automated the tower in 1965 and added it to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.

The 26-ft tall landmark is one of the best attractions for kids in Nantucket. Kids can spend hours collecting shells, skipping rocks, and even waving to the ferry boats as they pass by. As the sun sets, pull out your beach chair and relax as you watch the amazing view. Don’t forget to take with you your favorite drink. You’ll need to toast to that awesome moment.

Another perfect spot for late evening swimming and sunset watching is Madaket. You can bring a picnic or dine at Millie’s Market. They serve yummy Mexican food and fish tacos. While waiting for dinner, you can entertain the family with a few Shut the Box game boards. Next door, there is an ice cream stand where you can get dessert for the family.

6. Take Surfing Lessons

Take a surfing lesson with your family at the Nantucket Island Surf School. Established in 1999, the school has been teaching surfing at Cisco beach to people of all ages. They offer private and group lessons plus week-long mini-camps for kids and stand up paddleboarding lessons.

Equipment is available and includes wetsuits and boards. Simply show up in your bathing suit ready to have lots of fun. Don’t forget to put on sunscreen. The lessons last for an hour, but larger groups usually take two hours of instruction for the first lesson. All instructors in the surf school are certified in first aid and CPR.

7. Enjoy the Ice Cream Cruise

Speaking of ice cream, you and your family can enjoy the Ice Cream tour offered by Shearwater Excursions since 1999. This one-of-a-kind tour is where you and your family can enjoy stellar views of the seaside real estate and yachts.

During the cruise, the guides will share interesting tidbits about Nantucket. While sightseeing, everyone will get ice cream. You have the option of non-dairy and gluten-free ice cream options for families with special dietary needs.

Thank you for reading.


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