Nantucket Vs Martha’s Vineyard: Which One Should You Visit? (2024)

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Want to know what it’s like to visit Nantucket vs Martha’s Vineyard? We’ve got you covered with everything you need to know!

We spent a week exploring Cape Cod as part of a larger road trip around the US.

At this point, we had just made our way up the East Coast from places like SavannahCharlestonWilliamsburgWashington DCPhiladelphiaNew York, and Newport.

From Cape Cod, we were continuing our road trip through Boston and then starting our trip back West through the PoconosOhio, and Branson.

Cape Cod National Seashore

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Nantucket Vs Martha’s Vineyard: Which One Should You Visit?

If you’re planning on taking a trip up to Cape Cod, you’re probably considering taking day trips out to places like Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.

But you might be wondering, “what’s the difference?”.

In this post we’ll be sharing our complete experience at both including what the ferries were like, the prices, what we did on each island, and dining options.

a historic home on Nantucket
a home in Nantucket


Nantucket, an island off the coast of Massachusetts, is known for its timeless charm and maritime history.

This destination is steeped in whaling lore, with cobbled streets, historic cottages, and picturesque lighthouses that transport visitors back in time.

You’ll find Nantucket to be a treasure trove of unique experiences, from its pristine beaches to its vibrant art scene and local boutiques.

The island’s natural beauty offers a plethora of outdoor adventures, such as biking along scenic trails or exploring the enchanting moors.

Whether indulging in seafood or attending one of Nantucket’s festivals, the island promises a blend of old-world charm and modern allure.

You can see our entire experience exploring Nantucket on our YouTube Channel.

Nantucket ferry dock

✅ Ferry To Nantucket

If you’re visiting just for the day, you’ll want to take the high speed ferry that is a one hour trip from Hyannis to Nantucket.

The traditional ferry is much more leisurely, taking about 2 hours and 15 minutes each way.

Regardless, you’ll want to arrive at least 30 minutes before departure time to check in and get on the ferry in time.

This ferry experience was way different than the Martha’s Vineyard ferry.

The Nantucket ferry was treated more like flying on a plane, and the seats were set up that way too.

We paid $177 for 2 round trip tickets, which is $44.25 per person each way.

✅ Sightseeing Around Nantucket

We arrived just after 10 am and took a stroll around town admiring the houses and churches for awhile before shops and restaurants started to open.

The architectural style of buildings and houses around Nantucket exudes a timeless elegance that reflects the island’s history and heritage.

The architecture seamlessly blends classic New England design elements with maritime influences.

architectural style in Nantucket

You’ll encounter charming cottages with sloping roofs, adorned with cedar shingles weathered to a soft gray hue, giving them a rustic and weathered appearance.

The iconic “widow’s walks” atop some homes add a touch of whimsy and serve as a nod to the island’s seafaring past.

Quaint cobblestone streets wind their way through the town, lined with historic clapboard houses boasting colorful doors and lush gardens.

architectural style of homes in Nantucket

Preservation efforts have been taken seriously, ensuring that Nantucket’s architectural integrity remains intact, and many structures have been lovingly maintained and restored.

homes around Nantucket

After 11 am most of the shops and restaurants began to open, so we did a little bit of souvenir and window shopping before stopping in for lunch.

During the week in mid to late April when we visited, most places weren’t open at all, so we had to walk around a little before we found a place to eat lunch.

Nantucket is highly seasonal, so be prepared if you’re visiting in the off season to not have many restaurants and shops open, especially on week days.

✅ Where to Get a Snack in Nantucket: Lemon Press

Lemon Press is known for their cold-pressed juices.

I tried their “clean green juice”.

This drink was made up of celery, kale, cucumber, romaine, and parsley.

It was very smooth, fresh, and refreshing.

I highly recommend it!

Lemon Press in Nantucket

✅ Where to Eat Lunch in Nantucket: Charlie Noble

Charlie Noble has a variety of menu items from classic New England dishes to modern fusion cuisine.

We shared a Clam Chowder as an appetizer.

Clam Chowder from Charlie Noble in Nantucket

We were also super excited to try their Lobster Quesadillas since it’s such a unique menu item.

lobster quesadillas from Charlie Noble in Nantucket

I highly recommend trying these!

Last but not least, as our actual entree we decided to try the chef’s daily special. On this day it was Glazed Halibut on Lo Mein!

It had a mix of flavors giving it an Asian Fusion flare.

Glazed Halibut on Lo Mein from Charlie Noble in Nantucket

Where To Stay In Nantucket: Centerboard

Centerboard is located just outside the center of town.

It’s usually one of the more affordable options in Nantucket, but maintains a 9+ star rating out of 10.

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✅ Return Ferry From Nantucket

The return ferry, when taking the high speed ferry is also an hour back to Hyannis.

What’s nice about the ferry is that you maintain phone service the entire time, so we were able to check emails and make our plans for the rest of the day while we were on the ferry.

shopping in Nantucket

Martha’s Vineyard

Martha’s Vineyard has long been a haven for artists, writers, and celebrities, drawn to its serene landscapes and picturesque charm.

You’ll find Martha’s Vineyard to be a treasure trove of unique experiences.

It has pristine sandy beaches, quaint New England villages adorned with historic cottages, and boutique shops.

It has lighthouses, whaling museums, and fishing communities offering a glimpse into the past.

Outdoor enthusiasts can explore scenic nature trails and kayaking along the pristine coastlines.

You can see our full Martha’s Vineyard experience in this video on our YouTube Channel.

Martha's Vineyard

✅ Ferry to Martha’s Vineyard

The ferry ride from Wood’s Hole to Martha’s Vineyard is 45 minutes or so each way.

It’s also only $20 roundtrip per person.

So it’s much cheaper than the high speed ferry to Nantucket and a little bit shorter of a ride.

It’s also much more lax than the Nantucket ferry.

The seats were set up more like an airport terminal or lounge than actual airplane seating like the Nantucket Ferry.

✅ Where to Eat Breakfast: Golden Bull

We arrived in Martha’s Vineyard around 9 am when we visited.

Not a whole lot was open yet, so breakfast was our first stop.

JP had coffee and an omelette and I had pancakes!

This place is actually a Brazilian Steakhouse, but for breakfast is just like a little cafe.

It was a nice quiet spot to start our day.

✅ Sightseeing In Martha’s Vineyard

After breakfast we made a loop around town until the shops started opening up.

Once we were able to shop, we picked up souvenirs like our Christmas ornaments we get each place we visit.

What sets Martha’s Vineyard apart from Nantucket is its slightly more varied architectural landscape.

While both islands share the signature New England charm, Martha’s Vineyard tends to offer a broader range of architectural influences.

It has elements of Victorian, Greek Revival, and Colonial styles woven in.

Martha's Vineyard architecture

Additionally, Martha’s Vineyard is known for its stunning “gingerbread cottages” in the Oak Bluffs area.

It’s a collection of whimsically decorated and colorful cottages with ornate trimmings that create a fairytale-like atmosphere.

Unlike Nantucket’s focus on preserving its distinct Nantucket style throughout the island, Martha’s Vineyard’s architecture showcases a delightful fusion of different influences, adding to its unique and eclectic character.

architecture around Martha's Vineyard

✅ Where To Stay In Martha’s Vineyard: Pequot Hotel

The Pequot Hotel is located in the Oak Bluffs area of Martha’s Vineyard.

It is just steps away from Inkwell Beach.

Breakfast, parking, and wifi are free at this hotel and it maintains a 9+ rating out of 10 consistently.

Pequot Hotel is also one of the more affordable hotels in the area.

?? Click Here To Book Your Pequot Hotel Stay Today!

✅ Return Ferry From Martha’s Vineyard

The return ferry was the same experience as the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard.

You arrive a little early to make sure you board on time, there’s open seating, and it only takes about 45 minutes.

The Main Difference Between Nantucket And Martha’s Vineyard

Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard are indeed different from each other, despite sharing some similarities as picturesque New England islands off the coast of Massachusetts.

Overall Atmosphere And Ambiance

One of the primary distinctions lies in their overall atmosphere and ambiance.

Nantucket exudes a quaint, historic charm with its cobblestone streets, well-preserved architecture, and a strong maritime heritage.

The island’s focus on preserving its Nantucket style and limited development contributes to its exclusive and luxurious feel.

On the other hand, Martha’s Vineyard offers a slightly more diverse architectural landscape and a broader range of experiences.

It has a mix of historic charm, vibrant arts scene, and a wider variety of dining and accommodation options.

Martha’s Vineyard’s ambiance is characterized by a blend of coastal elegance and laid-back charm.

It attracts artists, writers, and a diverse range of visitors.

Both islands boast pristine beaches, captivating landscapes, and a sense of tranquility.

Their individual nuances create unique experiences for travelers, making each destination worth exploring in its own right.

Frequently Asked Questions About Visiting Nantucket Vs Martha’s Vineyard

These are the most frequently asked questions we see when visitors are trying to decide between visiting Nantucket vs Martha’s Vineyard.

✔️ Is Nantucket Or Martha’s Vineyard Better?

Determining whether Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard is “better” depends on individual preferences and the type of experience one seeks.

Nantucket’s limited development and stringent preservation efforts contribute to a sense of timelessness and sophistication.

On the other hand, Martha’s Vineyard offers a more diverse range of experiences.

It has a vibrant arts scene, a mix of architectural styles, and a wider variety of dining and accommodation options.

Ultimately, both islands are captivating destinations with their unique charms, and the choice between Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard comes down to personal preferences.

✔️ Is Nantucket Or Martha’s Vineyard More Expensive?

You’ll find that both Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard are renowned for their exclusive and upscale appeal.

This makes them somewhat comparable in terms of expense.

However, when it comes to which is more expensive, Nantucket often takes the lead as one of the priciest destinations in the United States.

The island’s exclusivity and limited space have driven up property prices, hotel rates, and the cost of dining and shopping experiences.

Additionally, Nantucket’s stringent preservation efforts and limited development have contributed to maintaining its luxurious allure.

On the other hand, Martha’s Vineyard, while still considered upscale and exclusive, offers a slightly wider range of accommodation options and dining choices.

This can make it a relatively more affordable option in comparison to Nantucket.

Ultimately, both islands cater to travelers seeking a refined and sophisticated experience.

But Nantucket tends to be recognized for its higher price tags and exclusive reputation.

✔️ What Is Nantucket Known For?

Nantucket is known for its picturesque beaches, maritime history, and charming architecture.

The island’s famous for its well-preserved homes, historic lighthouses, and a strong connection to whaling.

It also offers a vibrant arts scene, upscale shopping, and excellent seafood cuisine, making it a sought-after destination for visitors seeking a quintessential New England experience.

✔️ What Is Martha’s Vineyard Known For?

Martha’s Vineyard, an island off Massachusetts’ coast, is known for its beautiful beaches, quaint towns, cultural offerings, and historical sites.

Visitors come for relaxation, outdoor activities, and a taste of its whaling past.

The island offers art, theater, and music experiences, appealing to art enthusiasts.

With its history and refined atmosphere, Martha’s Vineyard is a cherished destination for those seeking an elegant island retreat.

Conclusion – Nantucket Vs Martha’s Vineyard: Which One Should You Visit?

Ultimately, it’s up to your personal preferences and interests when deciding on visiting Nantucket vs Martha’s Vineyard.

They are definitely similar and honestly after visiting both, sometimes even I forget which one was which.

If the budget is your concern, then I’d choose Martha’s Vineyard.

If you want the cohesive look and feel that this area of the country is known for, then I’d choose Nantucket.