Nantucket, North Live Cam

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  • Maury People
  • Sotheby's International Realty
  • 37 Main Street - Nantucket
  • Massachusetts 02554 - United States
  • (508) 228-1881
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Top Ten Free Ways to Enjoy Nantucket

Let's face it. Nantucket has a well deserved reputation for being a rather expensive place to take a vacation. A comparison of prices for almost anything will reveal a good markup from the cost of things on the mainland. But sometimes you have to pay to get away from it all, and with the cachet of anything from Nantucket, has meant you better have some cash to enjoy it.

However part of Nantucket's attraction is its natural beauty and splendid beaches, all of which are free to enjoy. Keeping with this theme, the following are my top ten ways of enjoying Nantucket's shorelines for free:

Go Beach Combing - Nantucket's beaches offer a wide variety of venues for doing some beach combing, from the surf beaches of the south shore to the quieter north shore bordering Nantucket Sound. Check the high tide line for fishing lures, beautifully colored scallops shells, and strange sea life like stranded sea horses. Other finds might include edible seaweeds like dulse or Irish moss, or heavy, fossilized oyster shells which often wash up on the south shore.

Explore The Tidal Pools At The Jetties - While Nantucket's shorelines are predominantly sandy beaches, the rocky stretch of the Jetties at the harbor's entrance has the greatest diversity of marine life around the island. At low tide, the rocks are a great place to explore the tidal pools and see brightly colored sponges, seaweeds, and even northern coral. Look inside the crevices for crabs, conch, and the occasional lobster. If you have a mask and snorkel, you can observe the schools of fish including stray tropical species like spotfin butterfly, which are found along the rocks.

Catch The Wave And Go Bodysurfing - Nantucket's south shore beaches offer some of the best (and warmest) waters for body surfing in New England. Hot surf spots include Nobadeer, Cisco, and Madaket, with the best shaped waves on an east or northeast wind. The exhiliration of ducking into, and riding a powerful wave as it bounces you through the white water, is addictive. Just be aware of the depth of the water, and any strong undertows or rip tides. If you are with children or are not a strong swimmer, then stick to beaches with lifeguards.

Go Bird Watching - Like other small islands lying off continental land masses in the northern hemisphere, Nantucket tends to act as a natural trap for a wide variety of birds. Both land and seabirds are found around the island, and after storms many oceanic birds like kittiwakes and other strays can be seen off Low Beach in Sconset. Other good birdwatching spots include the marshes at Eel Point and the Shipyard Creeks, where shorebirds like great blue herons, snowy egrets, and oyster ctachers are common in the summer. Of course, a pair of bionoculars helps differentiate the species.

Walk On One Of The Conservation Foundation Properties - The island is fortunate that organizations like the Nantucket Conservation Foundation have protected large portions of land from future development. A casual stroll along the trails of the Conservation Foundation's properties, is a great way to see the island's flora and fauna, and appreciate it's natural beauty. The properties are marked with a signpost and some of the best places to walk to the shore include Ram Pasture and Eel Point. Please respect the land that the Foundation is preserving and leave only your footprints behind!

Walk The Trail Along Sconset Bluff - Perhaps one of the nicest walks along Nantucket's shorelines, begins above Codfish Park in the village of Sconset, and heads north to Sankaty Head lighthouse. This public trail passes by many of Sconset's old summer houses, offering expansive views from the bluff, to the rips off the east end of the island. Enjoy the views—with erosion, they change every year.

Watch The Sunset From Madaket - What better way to end a summer day on Nantucket, than to watch the sun slide into the sea from the west end of the island at Madaket. Looking out towards Tuckernuck, one can forget the hustle and bustle of town, and take pleasure in the beauty as the sky explodes into a many-colored display. Other good spots to watch the sunset include Dionis and Eel Point. And if you happen to have a fishing rod, sunset is a good time to try to catch a bluefish.

Check Out The Yachts In The Boat Basin - On any given summer day, you are liable to see some of the most amazing and expensive yachts on the entire East Coast docked at the Nantucket Boat Basin. A great time to take in the sights is in the evenings, by walking along the docks especially out to the end of the Straight Wharf, where some of the largest yachts tie up. Some of these boats have storied pasts, and occasionally you might catch sight of a famous person or movie star who sailed in on one of them.

Check Out The Stars At The Beach - If you’re not into people-watching, try stargazing. You will be amazed at the stars you are able to see from Nantucket's beaches. Because of it's distance from the mainland, and lack of light pollution, the view of the skies on a dark night from one of Nantucket's south shore beaches can be quite a sight. Bring a blanket or cushion for your head, and lay back and take it all in.

Take A Moon Lit Swim At Steps Beach - Over the years, the favorite place for taking a moonlight dip on Nnatucket has been Steps Beach. This north shore spot, with it's calm and relatively warm waters, the moon shining over Nantucket Sound, and the pinpricks of lights of Cape Cod in the distance, is perfect for a late night swim. Splash your hands in the water and watch the phosphorescent plankton sparkle like fireflies of the sea. Since it's dark, swimsuits are optional.

These are just a few ways to enjoy the many attractions the island's shorelines offer. With a little imagination one can surely figure out more ways to get around the high cost of life on Nantucket. Just goes to show you don't have to spend a lot of money to have fun.