Every June, we pack the kids into the car and head to the Cape, where we hop on the ferry over to Nantucket. It's a family tradition we hope to keep up for many years to come. Although it is further than Martha's Vineyard, we choose Nantucket because of the wealth of things to do on the island with young children. Here are some of our favorite spots (including a few secret gems), plus insider tips for getting the most out of your visit. See you "on island!"
4 Bathing Beach Road, Nantucket MA 02554
Visiting this beach is a must! It's my favorite location for kids on island. It features a super convenient, stroller-friendly walkway down to the water, a playground in the sand, and (most importantly) a fully equipped restaurant/bar with bathrooms, changing tables, and even a toy store. The best part is that you can sit outside, dine, and enjoy adult beverages while your kids play in the sand next to you. Opens mid-June.
15 Harbor View Way, Nantucket, MA 02554
With no waves and shallow water, Children's Beach is a no-brainer for families with little kids. It's a short walk from town and features a playground, bandstand (look for kids' yoga classes and shows), and a lifeguard on watch. There's a food and toy store next door at the Children's cafe (amazing egg sandwiches!). You might be tempted to spend every day at Children's Beach because it's so easy, but make sure to check out some of the bigger beaches – they are just too beautiful to miss.
Eel Point Road, Nantucket, MA 02554
I loved taking the kids to this off-the-beaten-path beach. We were the only ones for miles. We built sand castles in the perfect sand, flew a kite, and even found a message in a bottle. There are bathrooms available before heading down a long, structured path to the beach.
18 Sparks Avenue, Nantucket, MA 02554
Do yourself a favor and eat at The Downyflake. This family-owned diner is perfect for the kids. Grab a toy or a book from the box on the way in, and be sure to try the light, airy, and warm donuts. Serving breakfast and lunch.
Millies in Madaket
326 Madaket Road, Nantucket, MA 02554
Millie's is a great family-friendly restaurant with excellent Mexican food and solid kid options to boot. I recommend sitting outside and saving room for ice cream next door at the general store. If you're up for it, try to stay until the sun goes down for an unforgettable sunset experience. While you're in Madaket, type "6 Massachusetts Ave" into your GPS. You'll find a secret location for the kids to wade in ankle-deep water and hunt for crabs, conch shells and other sea creatures. Bring a net!
5 Bartlett Farm Road, Nantucket, MA 02554
We were in Nantucket for 6 days and we went to this brewery 6 out of 6 of 'em. Aside from the obvious appeal for adults (homemade beer, vodka, and wine – yes, please), there's a mini outdoor stage that my children love to dance in front of when bands are playing in the afternoons. The brewery even provides ride-on toys for the kids, and it's dog-friendly, too. Bring cash for the food trucks.
Bartlett's Farm Market
33 Bartlett Farm Road, Nantucket, MA, 02554
Nantucket's oldest and largest family-owned farm features some of the best produce you can get. It's down the street from the brewery and features an awesome swing set for the kids to play on outside. Take a peek at the beautiful cows grazing next door, or take a tour of the cut flower fields and pick your own custom bunch. The market also features a pretty extensive toy section, too.
The Nantucket Athenaeum
1 India Street, Nantucket, MA 02554
The island's unique and beautiful library boasts a lovely children's section complete with a reading room, DVD rentals, and a big, fluffy animal chair. Check out the Children's Program Calendar for weekly events like a fun music class and toddler story times. Get there early; the spots fill up quickly.
Slip 1017 Straight Wharf, Nantucket, MA 02554
Don't miss the boat! Climb aboard the Monomoy for a Nantucket adventure in the harbor. See what the naturalist pulls up from the bottom of the ocean, and touch, feel, and fish for crabs off the side of the boat. There's a bathroom on board and a small covered portion for when little ones need a break from the sun. The tour lasts a perfectly timed hour. Tell Captain Josh we said hi!
50 Cliff Road, Nantucket, MA 02554
It's the perfect lunch spot on island with kids. Let the kids play in the big red boat that's perched on the lawn after eating piled-high sandwiches on homemade bread, and award-winning cookies (seriously, don't skip the cookies).
One more bonus tip: Rent all of your baby equipment at Petite Travelers of Nantucket – bring NOTHING. Becky has it all and delivers/picks it up. We also bought nets there for crabbing.