10 Nantucket in Winter Things to Do + Where to Stay ❄️2024

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Of course, everyone knows Nantucket is a fantastic warm weather destination, but did you know Nantucket in winter has its own special charm? With much smaller crowds to navigate and more quiet island life vibes, you’ll love exploring the scenic sights of winter on Nantucket on your own time.

Nantucket in the winter is a little quieter, a little calmer, and a lovely off-season vacation destination! There are less “touristy” things to do in the colder weather months, but there is still plenty of fun to be had in a Nantucket winter.

In fact, Vogue has even said that December is secretly the best time to visit Nantucket! Let’s see why.

Is Nantucket Cold in Winter?

Visiting Nantucket in December, January, February and March means you will likely experience wet and cold weather.

Temperatures tend to average between 25 and 40 throughout the winter months, so the recommendation is always to layer. Better to be over prepared for a cold, wet day on the island than under!

How to Get to Nantucket in the Winter

So, how do you get to Nantucket in the winter?

Year round, the only two ways to get to the island of Nantucket are by air or by sea.

While several lines do close for the season, you’ll find there are ferries and commercial flights to Nantucket available year round.

Check out these options for winter travel to Nantucket:

Things to Do on Nantucket in Winter

1. Learn at the Nantucket Whaling Museum

Nantucket Whaling Museum in winter time
Editorial credit: Joaquin Ossorio Castillo / Shutterstock.com; Nantucket Whaling Museum is a classic Nantucket activity any time of year.

One of the most popular places to go in Nantucket in winter or elsewhere throughout the year is the Nantucket Whaling Museum.

A wonderful place to go to learn more about the island’s impressive whaling past, you’ll find something of interest for most everyone, making this one of the best family things to do in Nantucket in the chilly season.

Consult the seasonal hours below before you go:

2023/2024 Nantucket Whaling Museum Hours

Through December 31, 2023: Monday – Saturday, 10 am – 4 pm

January: Closed

February 14 – May 25, 2024: Monday – Saturday, 10 am – 4 pm

2. Visit the Nantucket Culinary Center & Cafe

Whether you just want to warm up at the cafe with one of their delightful warm beverage blends like the Cardamom Cinnamon Latte or you’d like to sign up for one of their popular cooking classes, a visit to Nantucket Culinary Center is always a must in a Nantucket winter.

A wide variety of different cooking classes are offered throughout the winter, with many holiday themed, and there are even kids’ cooking classes where they can learn how to make the perfect baked mac n cheese or a scrumptious skillet brownie.

Under the tutelage of Nantucket Culinary Center’s Chef, you’re sure to pick up some great new skills and sample some delicious treats!

Corner Table Cafe Info

Open Daily, 7 am – 5 pm

Closed December 22, 2023 – January 5, 2024

3. Browse Nantucket Bookstores

When it comes to winter activities, snuggling up with a great book is a classic!

Mitchell’s Book Corner and Nantucket Bookworks are independent bookstores (and sister stores!) that are open year round on Nantucket. Picking up a book to relax with means that you now have a lovely souvenir of your winter Nantucket trip.

Nantucket Bookstore Locations:

  • Mitchell’s Book Corner, 54 Main Street
  • Nantucket Bookworks, 25 Broad Street

4. Enjoy Ice Skating in Nantucket

Available year round, Nantucket Ice is the indoor ice skating rink that offers general admission skating, so if you’re looking to get out and glide across the ice for a while, this is the place to do it!

Public skate hours vary, so be sure to check in with the calendar before planning your Nantucket ice skating outing!

There is also food onsite at Siam To Go. When it’s time to come off the ice and thaw a bit, you can easily warm up with hearty dishes from this lovely Thai restaurant!

5. Experience a Nantucket Sunset Walk on the Beach

A woman enjoys a winter Nantucket beach
A lovely walk along a beach in winter on Nantucket.

While the heavy throngs of tourists are back on the mainland, you’ll find Nantucket’s beaches in the winter offer even more serenity and calm.

Winter beach walks, Nantucket style, are also one of the most romantic activities for those in search of a lovely couples activity.

A beach walk is a lovely winter activity to clear the head and soothe the soul, whether you catch the Nantucket sunrises and sunsets or not!

6. Attend Christmas Stroll in Nantucket

One of the most well-known Nantucket Christmas traditions, the Christmas Stroll is the cornerstone Christmas event on the island.

Christmas Stroll weekend takes place the first full weekend of December, featuring a variety of wholesome Christmas activities like caroling, live entertainment, enjoying holiday treats, and meeting with Santa, who often arrives by boat.

Dozens of decorated Christmas trees line beautiful downtown Nantucket, making it easy to get into the spirit of the holiday. Get some Christmas shopping done while you’re there!

7. Catch a Show at Nantucket Dreamland

Nantucket Dreamland Film, Theatre, and Cultural Center is the place to go during a Nantucket winter for movies, live performances, and community events.

You’ll find film screenings, comedy shows, musical performances, live theatre and more at this intimate theater in Nantucket. In winter 2024/2024, there’s a Winter House DJ series you can find information for here!

8. See Nantucket’s Cobblestone Streets Covered in Snow

Nantucket snow isn’t as frequent as the rest of Massachusetts, but when the winter storms come and the flurries fly, it’s lovely!

If you thought historic Nantucket’s cobblestone streets were picturesque in summer, wait until you see them with a light dusting of snow.

Plus, the lack of the summer tourist crowds will give you a great opportunity to grab some spectacular shots of this popular area of Nantucket that usually has so much traffic, both foot and non.

9. Take a Winter Hike to the Lighthouses

A lighthouse with a wreath on it is a cool thing to do in winter in Nantucket
Winter in Nantucket is absolutely beautiful.

Of course, the Nantucket lighthouses are lovely to see any time of year, but there’s something special about seeing these grandiose structures perched on the edge of the coast on a crisp winter’s day.

If you plan your Nantucket winter trip for December, you’ll be able to see the beautiful Brandt Point Light all dressed up in its gorgeous holiday wreath! That’s a winter Nantucket sight to see.

You can also sign up to go on guided winter hikes with the Nantucket Walkabout crew! These are informative winter hikes offer a chance to learn more about the history of this beautiful island and enjoy some of the winter wildlife Nantucket is home to, like the seals at Great Point in the winter.

10. Celebrate Christmas on Nantucket Island

A Christmas tree is lit and floats on water in a dory at Christmas inNantucket
Christmas in Nantucket is such a magical time of year!

Nantucket at Christmas time is such a festive, sparkling affair. If you’re lucky enough to be planning a Christmas visit to Nantucket, you’ll find annual traditions like the Nantucket Whaling Museum’s Festival of Trees and the iconic dory moored off the shore, proudly displaying a lit Christmas tree!

Things to do in Nantucket at Christmas:

  • See the Official Christmas Tree Lighting 11/24/2023
  • Attend Christmas Stroll Weekend 12/01 – 12/03/2023
  • Take the kids to ice skate with Santa 12/03/2023
  • Partake in the Nantucket Festival of Trees 12/01 – 12/30/2023
  • See Brandt Point Light with its holiday decorations
  • Go Christmas shopping in downtown Nantucket

Nantucket Restaurants Open in Winter

Always double check in advance, but here’s a short and current list (as of this writing) of restaurants open in the winter in Nantucket:

For a complete list of Nantucket winter restaurants compiled by the Chamber of Commerce, click here.

Where to Stay: Nantucket in Winter

Many hotels close their doors on Nantucket throughout winter’s duration. Let’s check out Nantucket hotels open in the winter:

Nantucket Hotel and Resort

One of the most prestigious of the hotels open year round on Nantucket, Nantucket Hotel and Resort has gone all in on making winter in Nantucket as comfy, cozy, and fantastic as can be with generous amenities and complimentary resort activities.

Accommodations spectacular, with delicious onsite dining and cozy front porch firepits. There’s also an incredible sauna and yoga and fitness classes for the adults, plus Kid’s Club activities for the younger guests.

Nantucket Hotel and Resort has been voted the #1 Luxury Hotel in the Country on TripAdvisor. It’s the little touches that really deliver when it comes to hospitality, like picking guests up upon arrival to Nantucket and offering complimentary rides to Cisco Brewers, Nantucket’s popular brewery/distillery/winery, year round.

Click Here to Check Prices & Book!

Other year round hotels on Nantucket:

Final Thoughts: Nantucket Winter Trip

If you’re looking for a calm and restful winter retreat, consider a visit to Nantucket! Many places do close in winter on Nantucket, especially for January through March.

However, Nantucket stays about 10 degrees warmer than the mainland and typically sees less snow. It’s certainly far less busy, but there’s still plenty to find to do in Nantucket during winter time.

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