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living in nantucket

Living on Nantucket ⚓ | What Living on Nantucket Year Round Is Like + Tips for Moving!

Last Updated on: 25th October 2023, 10:29 pm

If you’re contemplating a move to Nantucket, Massachusetts, you’re about to embark on a journey to an island paradise known for its stunning beaches, rich history, and unique charm. Nantucket derives its name from the Wampanoag language, with various interpretations suggesting “far away island” or “sandy, sterile soil.” European settlement began in the mid-17th century when Thomas Mayhew secured the island, forming treaties with the indigenous Wampanoag people. 

Nantucket was known for its whaling industry, with the “nine original purchasers” leading the settlement. Nantucket’s name was officially changed from Sherburne in 1795, and it played a significant role in the whaling industry. However, the industry declined, and the Great Fire of 1846 and the American Civil War further impacted the island. 

Nantucket’s isolation led to the preservation of many pre-Civil War buildings. In the mid-20th century, developers restored and revitalized the island, making it a dream destination destination. But, what makes Nantucket so special? There’s too much to list! Some of what makes Nantucket famous is the fact that it’s a stunning island with a 110 mile coastline that is free and open to the public. This idyllic island, situated off the coast of Massachusetts, offers not only beautiful landscapes but also a vibrant community and a deep sense of heritage. Nantucket is a dream destination, so it’s no wonder why so many people are moving to Nantucket!

Where Is Nantucket, Massachusetts?

Nantucket is a picturesque island located 30 miles south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Nantucket is about 14 miles long from east to west and approximately 3.5 miles wide from north to south. Nantucket covers a land area of approximately 48.6 square miles. This enchanting island is part of Nantucket County and is surrounded by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Nantucket’s isolation, natural beauty, and small-town ambiance make it a truly unique place to call home. 

Many visit Nantucket by ferry, which is about a one hour ride. There are two different ferry companies, Hy-Line and Steamship. There are multiple ports that the ferries take off from: Hyannis, New Bedford, Harwich, and Martha’s Vineyard. However, the Harwich Port and Martha’s Vineyard ports are seasonal, closing after summer ends. You can view the different Nantucket ferry schedules here. On the ferry to nantucket, prices range from $20-$100 for adults for a roundtrip ticket.

Nantucket MA Population and Demographics

Nantucket, despite its relatively small size, has a diverse and vibrant population. The year-round community is known for its sense of unity and hospitality, creating a welcoming environment. While the island’s population fluctuates throughout the year due to seasonal residents and tourists, the year-round Nantucket population is 14,255 according to the 2020 Census. Though small, this is still a hefty increase of people moving to Nantucket from the 11,000 people living in Nantucket in 2018. However, when it becomes summertime, the Island blows up with visitors! Many people come to enjoy the beautiful weather the summer offers. The summertime population of Nantucket is 80,000. 

Here’s an overview of Nantucket’s demographics:

  • Population density: Varies seasonally
  • Median age: 40 years
  • Sex ratio: 54.81% males, 45.19% females
  • Median household income: $108,167
  • Educational attainment: 95.1% high school graduate or higher, 50.3% Bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Foreign-born population: 15.3%
  • Veteran population: 574

Living on Nantucket offers a unique quality of life. The island’s isolated location and close-knit community contribute to a strong sense of security and a peaceful atmosphere. Nantucket is known for its commitment to preservation, environmental conservation, and an exceptional quality of life. The island’s crime rate is typically lower than the national average, enhancing the overall sense of safety. The violent crime rate in Nantucket is 157 per 100,000 residents, which is 60% safer than the United States. The property crime rate in Nantucket is 1,829 per 100,000 people, which 6% lower than the United States. This is thanks to the Nantucket Police Department, which employs 41 full time police officers.

Nantucket MA Cost of Living

It is not cheap to live on Nantucket. Nantucket’s cost of living can be higher than the national average due to its island status and seasonal influx of residents and tourists. While some costs may be elevated, the island offers a unique lifestyle that many residents find worth the investment. Living on Nantucket often requires careful budgeting. The cost of living on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, exceeds the state average by 52% and surpasses the national average by a significant margin of 129%. 

The vast majority of the high cost of living on Nantucket is due to housing. Housing is 318% more expensive than the national average. The Nantucket real estate market can be volatile. The average sale price of a home in Nantucket is $2.92 million, ringing in at an average $1,480 per square foot. Looking at current homes for sale in Nantucket can help you see whether or not you can afford it.

Unfortunately, renting isn’t that much better. The average rent in Nantucket is $4,004 per month for an apartment, according to RentCafe. The average size of an apartment in Nantucket is 1,212 square feet.

The Best Neighborhoods on Nantucket

Nantucket offers a range of neighborhoods that cater to different lifestyles and preferences. Here are some of the best neighborhoods in Nantucket to consider:


The heart of Nantucket is the historic downtown area, known simply as “Town.” It’s where you’ll find charming cobblestone streets, boutiques, art galleries, and a variety of dining options. Living in Town means you’re at the center of island life.


Located on the western end of the island, Madaket is known for its picturesque beaches, stunning sunsets, and a more laid-back atmosphere. It’s perfect for those who prefer a quieter life.


Siasconset, commonly called “Sconset,” is a quaint village on the eastern end of Nantucket. With its rose-covered cottages and a lovely beach, Sconset offers a classic Nantucket experience.

Nantucket Weather & Climate

Nantucket enjoys a pleasant coastal climate, with comfortable summers and relatively mild winters. The island is characterized by its proximity to the ocean, which moderates temperature extremes. Summers typically feature average high temperatures in the 70s and 80s°F, making it ideal for beach outings, outdoor activities, and al fresco dining.

Winters on Nantucket are milder than much of New England, with average high temperatures in the 40s and 50s°F. Precipitation is relatively evenly distributed throughout the year, with occasional snowfall during the winter months. Average rainfall in Nantucket is 41 inches annually. You will still need your snowboots, Nantucket sees an average of 23” of snow each year, but it’s the lowest amount of snowfall for the entire Massachusetts state. 

The best time to visit Nantucket depends on what you want to do. Summertime is the best for weather and things to do, but you’ll also be fighting a lot of crowds. If you do visit in the summer, try to visit during May or June, as July and August are the busiest months on Nantucket.

Things to Do in Nantucket MA

Nantucket offers an abundance of activities and attractions that allow residents to enjoy the island’s natural beauty and rich culture. It also allows for some convenient shopping at the Old South Wharf and the Nantucket Shopping Mall.

Surfside Beach


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Surfside Beach in Nantucket, Massachusetts, is a serene coastal haven known for its pristine shoreline and picturesque views. This charming beach offers a tranquil escape for visitors seeking relaxation and natural beauty. With its soft sandy shores and inviting waters, Surfside Beach is an ideal spot for swimming, sunbathing, and leisurely strolls along the coast

Nantucket, MA 02554

Whaling Museum

Delve into Nantucket’s rich maritime history by visiting the Whaling Museum. The museum showcases artifacts, exhibits, and the island’s connection to the whaling industry. It also has a full whale skeleton on display, as well as a candle making exhibit. This is one of the best places on Nantucket for kids!

13 Broad St, Nantucket, MA 02554, (508) 228-1894

Brant Point Lighthouse


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Brant Point Lighthouse is an iconic beacon in Nantucket, Massachusetts, steeped in maritime history. This picturesque lighthouse, standing at the entrance to Nantucket Harbor, is not only a vital navigational aid but also a beloved symbol of the island’s rich seafaring heritage. The classic red-and-white structure against the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean and the island’s stunning coastline makes Brant Point Lighthouse one of the top things to do on Nantucket for tourists!

Easton St, Nantucket, MA 02554

Additional Attractions On Nantucket

If you’re still looking for fun things to do on Nantucket, there is an entire site dedicated to the many Nantucket events, so be sure to check out the Nantucket Events Calendar. The Nantucket Parks and Recreation Department helps manage many of the beaches, sidepaths, and parks.

Nantucket MA Restaurants

Nantucket boasts a thriving dining scene that caters to a variety of tastes. From fresh seafood to farm-to-table cuisine, the island’s restaurants offer a diverse culinary experience. Here are some of the best restaurants on Nantucket:

The Nautilus

The Nautilus offers an array of fresh, locally sourced dishes, particularly focusing on seafood delights that cater to even the most discerning palates. This restaurant combines a welcoming atmosphere with a diverse menu, making it a favorite among locals and visitors seeking a taste of Nantucket’s coastal culinary delights. Whether you’re savoring oysters, indulging in the catch of the day, or exploring their inventive cocktails, The Nautilus is one of the best restaurants on Nantucket for date night.

12 Cambridge St, Nantucket, MA 02554, (508) 228-0301

Straight Wharf Restaurant

Straight Wharf Restaurant provides a menu that showcases the best of New England cuisine, particularly focusing on seafood and locally sourced produce. Its welcoming atmosphere and picturesque views of the harbor make it a sought-after choice for those looking to savor Nantucket’s maritime heritage while relishing exquisite dishes and impeccable service.

6 Harbor Square, Nantucket, MA 02554, (508) 228-4499

Cru Nantucket

Situated in a beautifully restored boathouse overlooking the harbor, Cru offers a unique blend of elegance and seaside charm. This restaurant boasts an impressive selection of oysters and other fresh catches, expertly prepared and presented with a touch of modern flair. With a carefully curated wine list and craft cocktails, Cru ensures a well-rounded dining experience 

1 Straight Wharf, Nantucket, MA 02554, (508) 228-9278

Jobs on Nantucket MA

According to Payscale, the average hourly pay is $28.26. While the island’s economy is heavily driven by tourism and hospitality, Nantucket also supports a thriving community of artists, entrepreneurs, and professionals. The most common industries on Nantucket are tourism, retail, and real estate. The demand for seasonal employees is significant, particularly in the summer months, providing opportunities for both part-time and full-time work.

Major employers in Nantucket include:

For those in need of employment, check out Nantucket jobs on Indeed and the Nantucket Job Board.

Schools on Nantucket MA

Nantucket offers a range of educational opportunities, including public and private schools. The Nantucket Public Schools district serves the island’s year-round residents, with options for elementary, middle, and high school education. The Nantucket New School and other private institutions provide additional educational choices.

For more learning opportunities, check out the public library, the Nantucket Atheneum.

Nantucket MA Statistics & Information

  • County: Nantucket
  • Area: 105 square miles
  • Nantucket zip code: 02554
  • Area code: 508 and 774
  • Elevation: 30 ft.
  • Time zone: Eastern Standard Time (UTC-5)
  • Closest airport: Nantucket Memorial Airport, located on the island

Are you ready to embrace the island lifestyle on Nantucket? Call our Nantucket movers at 508-790-9188 for a free quote from Vanguard, your trusted movers on the island.


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