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Cape Cod vs Nantucket 🐚 Where Should You Live, Cape Cod or Nantucket

Cape Cod vs Nantucket 🐚 | Where Should You Live, Cape Cod or Nantucket?

Last Updated on: 12th June 2023, 11:49 am

The beach is within reach! Thousands of people are moving to Cape Cod and Nantucket, enjoying the world-class beaches and family-friendly attractions in both locations. Yet thousands of others are struggling with the Cape Cod vs Nantucket debate. Don’t rush your decision on where to move to. There are pros and cons of living in Cape Cod and Nantucket, and you should have all the information you need to make up your mind. Here’s how you can contrast Cape Cod with Nantucket and select the right place to live.

Pros and Cons of Living on Cape Cod vs. Nantucket

Cape Cod and Nantucket are best known for being summer destinations. If you’re interested in living in either location year-round, you must consider the strengths and weaknesses of living in Nantucket vs Cape Cod.

Living in Cape Cod pros

Cape Cod has nearly 560 miles of coastline, creating dozens of Cape Cod beaches you can visit throughout the year. Beaches facing toward the Atlantic Ocean have more waves, creating great opportunities for surfing, swimming, and boating. Beaches facing toward Cape Cod Bay are more tranquil and less crowded.

You can find other things to do on Cape Cod, namely outdoor activities. The Cape Cod National Seashore has 11 walking trails, three bike trails, hunting zones, and ponds for fishing and boating. The Cape Cod Rail Trail runs through six towns in Cape Cod, covering 25 miles. If you prefer to go indoors, you can visit art galleries, theaters, concert venues, and museums throughout the area.

Towns on Cape Cod have their own attractions, aesthetics, and homes for sale. Hyannis is the commercial center of the area, while Provincetown is a hub for the LGBTQ community. Each town gives you ample opportunities to meet new people, purchase Cape Cod homes for sale, and find family-friendly things to do in Cape Cod.

Living in Cape Cod cons

Is Cape Cod expensive? The Cape Cod cost of living is extremely high. The median sales price of Cape Cod homes for sale is $675,000, and the price has risen by 6.8% since April 2022.

The population of Cape Cod drops significantly in the winter. Many businesses and attractions shut down until May. Grocery stores and essential businesses remain open, but the lack of wintertime things to do in Cape Cod can make Cape Cod living feel boring or slow. Conversely, the population boom in the summer can create overcrowding, making it hard to access public services.

The Cape Cod economy is heavily reliant on tourism, and many people living on Cape Cod year round are retired. You may find it very difficult to find Cape Cod jobs or get a loan to start a business.

Living in Nantucket pros

Is Nantucket worth visiting? Nantucket Massachusetts is a bustling summer colony and tourist destination. Nantucket Island has many beaches you can visit; the northern beaches have gentle surf that you can swim in, while the southern beaches have heavy surf and strong currents. You can also go for walks along coastal bluffs, tour lighthouses, and go fishing in Nantucket Harbor.

The Town of Nantucket has vibrant visual and performing arts scenes, with many artists having galleries in town. The architecture of homes and buildings is reminiscent of a 19th-century seaport town, creating a calming and quaint atmosphere. Artists work with public officials to organize various festivals throughout the year, leading to an active social calendar.

Only 7.2% of residents in Nantucket live below the poverty line. The median household income is $107,868, making Nantucket one of the most prosperous communities in Massachusetts.

Living in Nantucket cons

The biggest employer on Nantucket Island is the town government, which employs 670 people year-round, nearly four times more than the second-highest employer. The lack of economic diversity on Nantucket can make it hard for you to find a job, especially if you’re not serving tourists.

Nantucket, Massachusetts has a year-round population density of 308.6 people per square mile, three times higher than the national average. The high density can create traffic congestion and make it hard to visit beaches and other attractions, even when you’re living on Nantucket year round.

Driving on Nantucket is not ideal; the island has no traffic lights, and many roads are unpaved or made with uneven cobblestones. You can fly to Nantucket using Nantucket Memorial Airport, but the airport only has three runways and limited service.


Now that you know some of the positives and negatives of living in Cape Cod and Nantucket, you can make comparisons between the two locations. Here is Cape Cod as compared with Nantucket.

Population and demographics

The Cape Cod population is 232,457 year-round residents, while the Nantucket population is 14,421. Cape Cod is extremely popular amongst retirees and older professionals, with 31.8% of the population being 65 years and older. Nantucket, MA is more popular with families and younger people, with 20.6% of the population being under 18.

Both areas are predominantly white, but Nantucket demographics are more diverse. 11.8% of Nantucket residents identify as Black or African American compared to 3.7% of Cape Cod residents. Nantucket also has more Hispanic and Latino people, with 15.5% of residents identifying as either identity, compared to 3.6% of Cape Cod residents. If diversity is important to you, move to Nantucket.

Cost of living in Cape Cod vs. Nantucket

Both areas have high costs of living. Both Nantucket and Cape Cod are in the Boston metro area, which has an overall cost of living index of 153.2; common items in Boston cost 53.2% more than the national average.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, a family of four would need to earn $116,948 a year to live comfortably in Cape Cod. A family of four on Nantucket would need to earn $120,431 a year. Housing is far more expensive on Nantucket than Cape Cod; Nantucket homes for sale have a median sales price of $2 million. Most people will find Cape Cod a more affordable place to live than Nantucket, though you will still need a lot of money to live comfortably.

Crime rates

Most towns on Cape Cod report their crime rates to the FBI. Some towns report extremely low rates; Brewster has a total crime rate of 607 offenses per 100,000 people, 55.4% lower than the state of Massachusetts.

Other towns report high rates. Provincetown has a total crime rate of 2,240 offenses per 100,000 people, 64.5% higher than the state’s rate. Its violent crime rate is 714 offenses per 100,000 residents, 130.9% higher than Massachusetts’s rate.

Nantucket has a total crime rate of 1,985 offenses per 100,000 people, 45.7% higher than the state. Its violent crime rate is 157 offenses per 100,000 residents, 49.2% lower than the state. Nantucket reported no murders in 2020. But its property crime rate is 1,829 per 100,000 people, 73.7% higher than Massachusetts’s rate. Overall, Cape Cod is safer than Nantucket, but you should select a town and compare its statistics to Nantucket’s.

Things to do

Both Cape Cod and Nantucket have reputations for beautiful beaches and family-friendly points of interest. Nantucket’s smaller size means it has fewer attractions than Cape Cod. Yet some people may prefer Nantucket attractions over Cape Cod attractions. Nantucket has a number of public lighthouses that are open for tours and photography, making the island a leading place to live for history buffs and artists.

Climate and weather

Cape Cod weather and Nantucket weather are similar. Both places experience nearly identical average temperatures in the summer and winter, precipitation rates, and cloud covers. January is the coldest month in both areas, with an average temperature of 32-33 degrees, and July and August are the warmest months, with average temperatures of 69-70 degrees.

However, Nantucket is more humid than Cape Cod. Nantucket experiences 35.7 experiences humid days, while Cape Cod experiences 26.5 muggy or oppressive days. This may make Cape Cod more comfortable for people sensitive to the weather.

Traffic and public transportation

Cape Cod traffic congestion can get intense around the Sagamore Bridge, which connects Cape Cod to mainland Massachusetts. US Route 6 runs through Cape Cod and can get congested, though it’s convenient for driving between towns. The Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority runs buses amongst Cape Cod towns, and you can get to Boston using the Plymouth and Brockton Street Railway or flights from a few small airports.

As mentioned previously, Nantucket can be difficult to drive, and residents experience significant congestion. You can order several ferries to and from Nantucket, accessing Boston, New York City, and other locations in New England. Cape Cod is easier to access and get around.

Jobs and the economy

Nantucket is a wealthier community than Cape Cod; Cape Cod has a median household income of $76,863, more than $30,000 lower than Nantucket. Workers on Nantucket earn more than workers in Cape Cod; Nantucket men have a median salary of $56,425, and women have a salary of $41,573, while men on Cape Cod earn $50,713 and women earn $36,498.

The largest job sectors on Cape Cod are health care and social assistance, construction, and retail trade. Nantucket’s largest sectors are construction, health care, and administrative services. Cape Cod may be better for healthcare workers, but other professionals will prefer living on Nantucket.

Cape Cod to Nantucket distances

How far is Nantucket from Cape Cod? It is 30 miles from the center of Cape Cod to Nantucket. You must take a boat or ferry from Cape Cod to Nantucket. Ferry rides can take more than two hours, but most ferries have entertainment centers and Wi-Fi access.

Cape Cod vs. Nantucket: Where are you moving?

Moving to Cape Cod vs Nantucket can be tricky. Think about the assets and liabilities of Cape Cod and Nantucket carefully. Cape Cod is excellent for retirees, people looking for attractions, and frequent travelers. Nantucket is great for families, young professionals, and people looking for a quaint community they can settle into.

Regardless of whether you’re moving to Cape Cod or Nantucket, you can use a reliable Cape Cod moving company. Vanguard Moving has served Cape Cod and Nantucket residents for nearly 20 years. Get a free moving estimate by calling 508-790-9188.


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