We took the early morning slow ferry from Hyannis and absolutely loved it. The highlight of the trip was witnessing the beautiful sunrise. The slow ferry offered more space compared to the fast ferry, and it was also cheaper and cleaner.
I would advise against bringing kids and older people on this trip as there is a lot of walking involved. The downtown area has cobblestone streets, which can be hard on the knees.
We departed at 6.30 AM and returned at 6.15 PM, making it a long day. We managed to do a lot, but the evening was quite tiring, and Nantucket was getting busier. If I were to do it again, I might opt for a later ferry around 11 AM to noon and then take the last ferry back. Alternatively, taking the slow ferry and resting on board might also be a good idea. The fast ferry costs $60 for a round trip from Monday to Thursday, while it usually goes for $80 round trip over the weekend.
Be prepared for the high costs on Nantucket; expect to spend around $20 per person for breakfast (including tip), $40 for lunch with a drink, and $50 or more for dinner.
Nantucket shops and stores do not have restrooms, but public restrooms are available throughout the town.
Parking is free but allowed only for a short time. During our visit, we went to two beaches, Siasconset and Madaket, both of which had no entry fees. This seems to be the norm on Nantucket. The beaches were beautiful, with big waves, a bit of rough sand, and spectacular views. Please note that there are only portable restrooms available at these beaches.
You have several transportation options on the island. You can rent a bike for $45 from 9 AM to 5 PM, or you can purchase a local bus pass for $8 per day, with each trip costing $2 or $3, depending on the route you take. There are two major bus stops, and we found it convenient to use the bus to explore the island. Just remember to have exact change because the machine does not provide change; instead, it gives you credit to use on your next ride. For example, if you pay $20 for two passes, you'll receive $4 in credit for your next ride. However, we had day passes, so we didn't need to use the credit.
Please be aware that bus service may be seasonal, and it's recommended to check the latest routes and information on their website: https://nrtawave.com/routes/. You can also use the TransLoc app for updates.
We had a delightful breakfast at Island Kitchen, which is a little over a mile's walk from the ferry stop. It was a beautiful morning, so we didn't mind the walk, but there's also a bus from the downtown stop to Island Kitchen. We arrived early, enjoyed outdoor seating, and received excellent service. By the time we finished, there was a line of people waiting to get in. I highly recommend this place.
Our visit to Cisco Brews was on a Sunday, and they charged a $10 cover fee. We paid $8 for beer and $12 for wine. They had a few food trucks on the premises, and we tried Millie's Taco ($18) and some kebabs from another food truck. We took the bus and walked about half a mile to get to Cisco. They also offer a van drop-off and pick-up service from downtown, but we opted for the bus as Uber was taking too long and was expensive. The brewery was a lively, crowded place with a live band, several food trucks, and a fun atmosphere. If you enjoy a bustling and lively environment, it's a great place to visit, and the $10 cover fee is worth it.
After Cisco Brews, we took their van back to Downtown Nantucket and waited for our 6.15 PM Steamship fast ferry. This was the last ferry by that company on a Sunday, so it was quite busy. You can find more information about the ferry services at https://www.nantucketferries.com. I found the staff at Steamship to be very kind and helpful, and they explained all the available options. However, I personally decided not to use Hy-Line, another cruise company running fast ferries, as their staff appeared rude.
Website - www.NRTAwave.com
Island Bike Company http://www.islandbike.com
Young's Bicycle Shop https://youngsbicycleshop.com