· Jetties Beach. FREE. This is the beachiest beach of the beaches at which we beached. We love it because there's a parking lot (free parking), a cafe right next to the parking lot, and the view faces right out to where the Hy-Line catamaran ferry passes after leaving Nantucket Town. Accessible by a loong walk from town, a short bike ride, or a very short car ride.
· Great Point. FREE. We learned something very important: the beaches on Nantucket cannot be privately owned, just the paths to them can. So once you're on the beach, you're golden. The best beach we saw was the one that stretches from up near The Wauwinet Inn to the parkland of Great Point. Accessible by a very long bike ride or a 25-minute car ride.
· 'Sconset Beach. FREE. Walk around a tiny town full of rose-covered, multi-million dollar cottages then plop on the beach near picturesque bluffs? Hello, perfection. Hit the Siasconset market beforehand for water and snacks, but bypass the aisles of caviar, truffle oil and fleur de sel.
· Mitchell's Book Corner. Mitchell's is right on Main Street, a neighbor of Murray's Toggery (which you'll probably visit at some point). Go upstairs at Mitchell's to discover the Nantucket Room, a space with tufted leather chairs, old globes and bookshelves stocked floor-to-ceiling with the history of Nantucket, whaling, shipwrecks, Moby Dick and other nautical concerns.
· Nantucket Gourmet. This place has everything. Like, everything for cooking and baking and kitchen storage, but all in a space that's easy to browse (read: it's not like a big box Bed, Bath & Beyond). The front half of the locally owned and operated store is devoted to things that would make perfect party/wedding/hostess gifts while the rear is a sandwich, soup and salad counter. In a town that's short on to-go food, it's pretty much a local secret.
· Nantucket Bookworks. Yes, we've put two bookstores into a list of three shops, but that's because we enjoy just hanging out places, and with a shortage of chill cafes, Nantucket's main option is cozy bookshops. The childrens section and stationary selection are particularly excellent, but again keep a look-out for their shelves on books squarely focused at the island's place in nautical history.
· Sankaty Point Light. FREE. Bring your camera. Well, hopefully you have your camera on you at all times on Nantucket, but this would be the place for family photos, Hipstamatic selfies and Instagram overload. The lighthouse is from the late 1800s, stands tall with its bold red striping and sits atop a wild, windy bluff. The other side is all manicured golf course. Drive her from Nantucket town, or catch a bus to 'Sconset and walk or bike north to the lighthouse.
· First Congregational Church Tower Tour. $5. Walk to 62 Centre Street in town and then give your legs a good stretch for a climb to the top. From the steeple, there's a 360-degree view of the island, but it's best of the harbor and boat basin. Monday-Saturday 10am-4pm.
· Whaling Museum. $17. It's not cheap, but it is a must visit. Like, for real. It's a million times better than watching a History Channel documentary on whaling, and there's tons of gruesome details that make the basis of the history (cannibalism! mutiny! shipwrecks! scurvy! fortunes lost!). Be sure to sit for the retelling of the story of the Essex, the ship that inspired Melville to write Moby Dick. Bonus: your admission is good the whole day, so maybe go in the morning and do half of it, then go out for lunch, come back and finish up.
In the Nantucket Room at Mitchell's Book Corner