Table of Contents

25 Top Nantucket Packing List Items for 2024 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring

Nantucket light house
Updated on

Nantucket will be a vacation to remember when you go to this small and beautiful island. With spectacular beaches and exceptional restaurants, the stunning scenery of Nantucket will blow you away. With Nantucket being a seasonal destination, the locals and tourists know how to make the most of the summer season.

Fill up the day by biking, boating, surfing, enjoying a jam-packed adventure – or relaxing with the peaceful and healing vibes of this island.. To help you prepare we have created a Nantucket packing list and what to wear in Nantucket section. You’ll also find information on what NOT to bring and epic answers to FAQs.

25 Top Nantucket Packing List Items for 2024 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring
See our product selection criteria and guidelines here.

What to Pack for Nantucket – 25 Essentials

  • 1. Beach Bag with Built-in Cooler

    A beach bag is an essential item on your Nantucket vacation. With a new beach to discover each day, a waterproof beach bag allows you to pack your supplies with ease to make your beach experience carefree and fun. This bag is lightweight and big enough to hold snacks, chilly drinks, sunscreen, and beach items for all-day fun.

    Beach Bag with Built-in Cooler

    View on ➜

  • 2. Water Shoes

    Water shoes are ideal for almost every water activity on Nantucket. The beaches sometimes have dramatic drop-offs from the changing tides and can have rocky bottoms. Bringing a pair of comfortable water shoes will protect your feet from rocky bottoms or create nice traction for water sports.

    Water Shoes

    View on ➜

  • 3. Waterproof Phone Pouch

    A waterproof phone pouch is absolutely needed when packing for Nantucket. Easily use your phone in any situation without worrying while out and about. Take it paddle boarding, boating, or to the beach without the fear of water damage. This case is easy to use and works perfectly for functionality while your phone is enclosed, and you can film beautiful underwater videos!

    waterproof phone pouch

    View on ➜

  • 4. Swimsuit Cover-Up

    A swimsuit cover-up is a great item to bring while vacationing in Nantucket. Wear it around town before going to the beach or wear it to run errands. Make sure it’s comfortable because if you don’t have a car, you most likely will be getting around by bike or foot. A lightweight, breathable cover-up will be great for those warm days.

    Swimsuit Cover-Up

    View on ➜

  • 5. Quick-Dry Travel Towel

    A microfiber towel is extremely useful to pack when going to Nantucket. Whether you’re at the beach, on the boat, or paddle boarding around the island – this towel will be used. These towels dry quickly, are easy to fit in bags, are soft on the skin, and are an excellent accessory for any water activity.

    Quick-Dry Travel Towel

    View on ➜

  • 6. Travel Insurance for Nantucket

    Travel Insurance is a wonderful idea to get when traveling to any vacation spot. Having travel insurance gives you a safety net in case of flight cancelation, lost luggage, or if you have an unexpected serious injury. It’s better to be safe than sorry (or risk paying out of pocket), so get travel insurance in case of an emergency. We receive customized plans on Faye Insurance. They offer unique add-ons like ‘cancel for any reason’ and extreme sports. Their easy-to-use mobile app makes claims or reimbursements a breeze!

    Travel Insurance for Nantucket

    Get a quote in less than 60 seconds with Faye ➜

  • 7. A Nice Outfit

    Nantucket is a very fashionable island so be sure to pack a nice outfit for special occasions or dinners. A lovely dress for women and slacks with a button-down for men are perfect. A dressy outfit is ideal for Nantucket restaurants as they boast renowned fish menus and excellent nighttime bars.

    A Nice Outfit

    View on ➜

  • 8. Walking Shoes

    Nantucket is a very chic and fashion-forward vacation destination, so bringing a nice pair of shoes with you is important. Wear them for evening dinners or wandering around the old town. Although the shoes should be nice, also make sure they are comfortable, as the streets are cobblestones and very uneven.

    Walking Shoes

    View on ➜

  • 9. Dry Bag

    With Nantucket being an Island, it’s no surprise that you might end up by the water for most of your vacation. Live the true Nantucket experience with your belongings being dry and safe while partaking in the water activities this destination has to offer. This dry bag is big enough to fit numerous pieces (phones, cash, medicine, books, etc.) for protection and safekeeping during outings.

    Dry Bag

    View on ➜

  • 10. Portable Lipstick-Sized Charger

    With Nantucket offering so many activities – a portable charger will be a lifesaver. Gone are the days of worrying about having dying phones and half-charged cameras. Enjoy Nantucket stress-free while your technology is charged on your day trips or long evenings wandering the beaches or enjoying the delicious restaurants.

    Lipstick-Sized Charger

    View on ➜

  • 11. Motion Sickness Patches

    If you’re prone to seasickness or nausea driving around windy coastal roads, pack some motion sickness prevention as a precaution. These patches really work and give me relief from boats that lack stabilizers. You also won’t fall asleep as with most similar products.

    Motion Sickness Patches

    View on ➜

  • 12. Packing Cubes

    Packing cubes are completely essential when going to Nantucket. They allow you to easily find select clothing items like swimsuits or toiletries in your bag in any situation with ease. Packing cubes can change any packing disaster into a dream with each cube being organized, sorted and having an exact location for each item.

    Packing Cubes

    View on ➜

  • 13. Daypack

    I highly suggest bringing a daypack to Nantucket, with the island offering numerous outdoor activities, it will definitely be used for jam-packed biking or beach days. This allows you to pack supplies like sunscreen, towels, snacks, and water to hold you over until you return to your accommodation.


    View on ➜

  • 14. TSA-Approved Luggage Locks

    Pickpocketing is a possibility no matter where you travel. We’ve had items stolen out of our checked luggage so now we always use luggage locks to secure our belongings. These are TSA-approved so security can easily scan your bag without having to cut off your locks with a giant pair of scissors! We bring 2 sets for suitcases, backpacks, lockers, etc.

    TSA-Approved Luggage Locks

    View on ➜

  • 15. Reusable Wine Bags (Leak-Proof)

    You’ll probably be drinking wine or beers on the beach and these packing cubes are great for anything delicate! They are leak-proof and we use them for travel to hold perfumes, liquor, olive oil, or any fragile items that we want to bring back.

    Reusable Wine Bags (Leak-Proof)

    View on ➜

  • 16. Neck Wallet

    Using a neck wallet upgrades your life while traveling. This little pouch safely hides your passport, credit cards, cash, phones, and any other important documents while you’re getting from place to place. We use it to conceal our items at the beach, buried deep in the beach bag. It’s nice to have a small cross-body that can fit in a dry bag too.

    neck wallet

    View on ➜

  • 17. Underwater Camera

    With the water being a huge part of Nantucket, an underwater camera is a great extra when packing for your vacation on this stunning island and is way cheaper than a GoPro. Take it with you swimming at the beaches, surfing lessons, or relaxing pool evenings.

    Underwater Camera

    View on ➜

  • 18. Filtered Water Bottle

    Luckily the tap water in Nantucket is perfectly safe to drink so bringing a water bottle is an excellent idea. Bring this water bottle with a built-in filter along with you on day trips to the beach, bike riding, or boating to stay hydrated. Keeping your trip to Nantucket environmentally friendly and resourceful.

    Filtered Water Bottle

    View on ➜

  • 19. Cooling Towel

    Nantucket has a delightful temperature but these cooling towels are a nice preventative measure for a hot afternoon in the sun. We use these for tropical and southern climates to beat the heat since they stay cool for up to an hour and are infinitely reusable. Simply add water, wring it out, and enjoy! The towel will stay 20-30 degrees colder than the outside temp, wrap it around your neck, arms, hairline, etc. for sweet relief!

    Cooling Towel

    View on ➜

  • 20. Pocket-Sized Travel Blanket

    The beaches in Nantucket are beautiful. So for that reason, a beach blanket is your best bet when relaxing and enjoying the scenery. Bring this along for a fun, high-intensity beach day or bring it for an afternoon picnic. Keep the sand away and relax while this blanket is designated for your own enjoyment.

    Pocket-Sized Travel Blanket

    View on ➜

  • 21. Hanging Toiletry Bag

    We never travel without a hanging toiletry bag. This optimizes your life by creating a built-in shelf no matter what bathroom situation you come across. Instead of throwing your shampoo and moisturizer all over the countertops in utter disarray, use this storage system to stay organized (and maintain your sanity!)

    Hanging Toiletry Bag

    View on ➜

  • 22. Sun Hat

    Any smart beachgoer will bring a sunhat for UV protection. It will make you more comfortable throughout the day by keeping the sun out of your eyes and off your face, ears, and neck. This one is wide-brimmed but foldable for packing, so it doesn’t become a disheveled mess! With UPF 50+, it will filter some of those ultraviolet rays for you.

    Sun Hat

    View on ➜

  • 23. Windproof Travel Umbrella

    A Travel Umbrella is a great item to bring with you to Nantucket. This area will have random showers, so it’s best to always be prepared. We love this umbrella because it’s lightweight and compact, making it easy to store in a backpack or purse for daytrips, nightly strolls, or a chance of rain.

    Windproof Travel Umbrella

    View on ➜

  • 24. Mosquito-Repellent Wristbands

    The risk of mosquitos is high in Nantucket, and it can keep people hiding indoors because they don’t want to get chewed up! These mosquito-repellent wristbands are ideal since they are wearable like a bracelet, which means you don’t have to worry about spraying toxic fumes all day. They are reusable and safe for children.

    mosquito repellent wristbands

    View on ➜

  • 25. Packable “Just in Case” Bag

    Nantucket is called “the little gray lady of the sea,” referring to its fog-covered mornings. With quirks and hidden gems, there are local goods that reflect its seaside charm. Since you’ll probably do a little shopping – use this “just in case” bag to fly home with all your new treats. It fits under your plane seat and counts as your personal item bag, woohoo!

    Packable “Just in Case” Bag

    View on ➜

What to Wear in Nantucket

Nantucket is a very chic, fashionable destination; however, you still want to be comfortable on your vacation. Dressy outfits for dinner and nighttime is best, while casual attire and swimwear is perfect for daytime activities. The main town in Nantucket is made up of all old cobblestones and pavements so be sure to bring shoes that are comfortable for walking on uneven surfaces. With some of the islands favorites brands consisting of Vineyard Vines, Black Dog and Lily Pulitzer anything fancy, fun and boat loving will do.

Nantucket is also a season destination, so although you most definitely can go during the winter months, it is not common as much of it closes down. The following items of what to wear in Nantucket is vastly for the months between May and September.

What Women Should Wear in Nantucket – (Click to expand)
Below is a sample women’s clothing list. (All items link to for your convenience).

Women in Nantucket tend to be summertime fresh style; they wear lots of whites or creams and in evenings dress it up with jewelry and fun wedges. During the day they wear casual boating attire, but it still looks effortless, pretty, and comfortable. The most important thing for a woman to wear in Nantucket is accessories, sunglasses, necklaces, or hats that can easily take a daytime look into something perfect for the evening.

What Men Should Wear in Nantucket – (Click to expand)
Below is a sample men’s clothing list. (All items link to for your convenience).

Men will want to be well dressed and somewhat preppy while in Nantucket. During the height of summer wearing shorts, a nice polo with either sneakers or flip flops are perfect for everyday activities or throw on swimming shorts for a casual beach day. Evenings in the mid of summer are still quite warm so chinos, a button-down or nice shorts with boat shoe pair for a lovely evening enjoy restaurants and nightlife.

Packing for the Seasons in Nantucket

SPRING in Nantucket – March, April, May

Going to Nantucket in the spring is sometimes a gamble with the weather and what shops will be open. The springtime can still be quite cold and rainy so rain jackets, warm layers, comfortable walking shoes are highly needed. With most of Nantucket opening for Memorial Day weekend, the earliest time to go would be the beginning of May to have a few warmer days. Temperatures average between 31°F to 60°F (-0.5°C to 16°C)

SUMMER in Nantucket – June, July, August

Summer in Nantucket is vibrant, fun, and bright. Summer weather is warm, occasionally humid but generally lovely, perfect weather. Keeping it chic, smart, and stylish is all that Nantucket is about, and remember those accessories. Dresses, pants, button-downs, bathing suits, wedges, and boating shoes will have you fitting in and feeling like a star. Temperatures average between 56°F to 75°F (13°C to 24°C)

FALL in Nantucket – September, October, and November

Fall in Nantucket still boasts beautiful weather but once it hits October the temperature starts to drop. For cooler days and evenings, I would still wear trendy clothes, like fitted pants, blouses boating shoes, and light jackets to keep warm. Temperatures average between 40°F to 70°F (4°C to 21°C)

WINTER in Nantucket – December, January, February

Wintertime is very cold, grey and windy, this is what would be considered the offseason. Most of the shops and restaurants close and it’s very slow. However, if you decide this is the time you would like to visit wearing heavy jackets, warm layers and boots are best. I wouldn’t suggest coming in winter months, as it is a seasonal island. Temperatures average between 25°F to 44°F (-4°C to 7°C)

Dressing Appropriately for the Activity – (Click to expand)
Dinner – Evenings in Nantucket are beautiful, with the restaurants and bar being very lovely. This is the time to dress very well and use your best clothes in the closet, such as nice dresses, wedges, boat shoes, pretty purse, and jewelry. Men should be chinos, button-downs, loafers, and belts. If possible, try and wear the classic “Nantucket Reds”.

Biking – Since Nantucket is very small, most people coming for a vacation will not bring a car and will bike everywhere. You can either be a serious biker exploring the islands or have it be your mode of transportation. For this a sundress with exercise shorts or bathing suits under neither is perfect or shorts, polo shirts, comfortable shoes, and backpack are essential.

Beach – The beaches in Nantucket are breathtaking so be sure to go to one of the many when planning your trip. Swimsuits, cover-ups, flipflops, sunglasses, and sun hats are pretty self-explanatory but definitely bring a beach bag too. Fill the beach bag with a beach blanket, sunscreen, towels, snacks, drinks, and anything to make the beach day more enjoyable and relaxing.

Shopping – The main town will have you feeling like you stepped back in time with the cobblestone streets and old buildings. It boasts lovely shops, exquisite art galleries, and quirky gift shops. Stylish but casual clothing is best, allowing you to dress down a bit with shorts, t-shirts and sandals or flipflops. This is the time to buy some souvenirs or Nantucket inspired clothes to remember your vacation.

What NOT to Bring to Nantucket

  • 1.Books

    With the main transportation being walking, biking or taxis you definitely want to keep the packing as light as possible. Bringing books will weigh down your bag and take up valuable space from more essential items. If you want to read, think about downloading a reading app on your phone or purchase a kindle or other e-book device.

  • 2.Bath Towel

    Most accommodations will provide a bath towel when staying on Nantucket, so no need to bring one. It is a better idea to bring a microfiber towel to use on the beach, boats, or outdoor activities. They are also smaller, more compact, and quick-drying making it an excellent equivalent to a bath towel.

  • 3.Gear you won’t use

    Unless an avid biker or water sportsman, I wouldn’t bring any items with you to Nantucket. There are numerous rental shops in the town or on beaches for daily rentals for a reasonable price. However, if you do choose to bring your own gear please pack a padlock to lock everything up and make sure your accommodation has space to hold it.

  • 4.High Heels

    With the old streets being very uneven and built with cobblestones high heels are probably the worst thing to ever wear. You will easily fall over and could hurt yourself if you do choose to wear something with a heel, think about wedges or little booties.

  • 5.A Car

    Nantucket truly is tiny so there is no need to bring your car with you. The only people with cars on the island are locals and people who spend the whole season there, not to mention it can be costly on the ferry. Renting bikes is a fun form of transportation, taxis are an option or scooters, enjoy the quaintness of the island and leave the car at home.

  • 6.Don’t pack too much

    Packing versatile options is what will get you through your trip to Nantucket. Bring options that can be worn during the day then dresses it up for evenings. An easy way to do this is by bringing accessories or a couple of different pairs of shoes to switch it up. You will probably have to carry your own suitcase so make it easier on yourself and pack light.

What NOT to Wear in Nantucket – (Click to expand)
Grungy clothes: Since Nantucket is a nice destination, I would hold off on wearing anything to Grundy or messy. You don’t have to wear expensive clothes at all, just make sure you look well put together. As long as you feel like you are comfortable and feel good, then anything you wear is fine.

Uncomfortable shoes: I cannot stress this enough, wearing comfortable shoes is the most important thing. Everything you will be doing will entail some form of activity and with this being an old town comfort on the streets is vital. Once out of town the streets and sidewalks are paved, but you could be walking for a few miles or biking so be sure to pack reliable shoes.

FAQs about Nantucket

  • 1. What is the weather like in Nantucket?

    In the summer Nantucket is beautiful, it can be a little humid but there is always some form of a breeze to cool it down. However, there are random showers and rainy days so definitely be prepared and bring a rain jacket. From October to April it can be quite cold and frigid, so to be safe going to Nantucket in the offseason is not the best idea weather-wise.

  • 2. When is the busy season in Nantucket?

    The busy season is from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Since they only have the main season it is always busy and relatively the same price point. Always look after Labor Day in September to visit, it can be a bit quieter and cheaper but still have the nice weather.

  • 3. When is the best time to visit Nantucket?

    To enjoy all that Nantucket has to offer, such as boating, beaches, bilking and relaxing the only time to come is the summer. The season is so short this little gem packs a whole lot into 4 months and you do not want to miss it. Not to mention the restaurants, bars, and shops are must-sees.

  • 4. How do I get around Nantucket?

    Most hotels, home rentals or other forms of accommodation are either in town or a short distance from the main port in town when you arrive. You can easily catch a taxi, rent a car or scooter, easily walk or bike. Everything is nearby, so you never have to worry about going too far for anything and most of the local’s bike.

  • 5. What are the beaches like in Nantucket?

    The beaches are sandy and wonderful for swimming or relaxing. Easily watch people paddleboard or surf along the sandbanks and enjoy strolls over dunes. It is very rare but sharks to come to Nantucket, so always be on the lookout and be careful. The scenery is spectacular, and you can always walk 10 minutes down from the entrance to have your own private area.

  • 6. How do I get to Nantucket?

    There is a very small airport in Nantucket (ACK), that charter small planes that normally come from Boston, New York or Providence but can sometimes be pricey. There is a ferry from a few destinations on mainland Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut. The ferry is about an hour and a half, a pretty boat ride, and is a very easy option. Leave your car on the other side for a small fee and take your bags with you to Nantucket. Check out for times, schedules and locations.

  • 7. What is there to do in Nantucket?

    Apart from the beaches and delicious restaurants, a trip to Nantucket is nothing without going to the famous Cisco Brewery, the Chicken Box, the whaling museums, or chartering a boat. The brewery is outside serving delicious beers and cocktails along with great food trucks and host numerous live bands. It is also a perfect place for families and young children. The chicken box is a Nantucket favorite with live music, dancing, and drinks for a great after-dinner activity. It may be small but there is more than enough to keep you occupied.

  • 8. How to save money in Nantucket?

    Unfortunately, Nantucket is pretty pricey, but there are few ways to keep it cheaper. Instead of eating out for every meal make sandwiches beforehand and take them to the beach instead of getting takeout. Bring cash with you and stick to a budget, a lot of the town is cash only so it will come in handy. It’s hard not to spend money in Nantucket but if you are frugal it can be done.