Great Point Lighthouse, Nantucket, Massachusetts (Wikipedia)

Beach umbrella on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts (iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

Brant Point Lighthouse and Nantucket Harbor, Massachusetts (iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

Nantucket, Massachusetts (iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

Nantucket Harbor, Massachusetts (iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

Nantucket beach, Massachusetts (Hemera/Thinkstock)

Sunset On Nantucket Island, Massachusetts (iStockphoto/Thinkstock)


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What to do in Nantucket

The girls may be dressed in Lilly Pulitzer and the boys in seersucker suits, but Nantucket buttons down at the barrier beach (which, unlike at neighboring Martha’s Vineyard, is accessible to everyone). Seemingly far from the chic scene in “town,” 80 miles of windswept shore act as a sanctuary of sorts, despite the arrival of 400,000 visitors per year. Ospreys and egrets fly overhead, lighthouses tower and blink, and outsize umbrellas shade those picnic-perfect spots. An easy bike loop takes you from point to point (Madaket to the west; Siasconset, or “S’conset,” to the east), past a cranberry bog and low-lying moors. The restaurants and boutiques back in town cater to Nantucket’s urbanite East Coast clientele, albeit behind shingled facades that line centuries-old cobblestone streets and preserve a salty whiff of the island’s whaling-era past.

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