There are two ways to get to the island of Nantucket: by air or by ferry.
*Flyers take note: fog happens. Occasionally, early morning and evening flights to and from Nantucket are delayed or canceled due to fog; some travelers may opt for the ferry over flying for this reason. If you have a tight airline connection or cannot miss a flight home, we recommend you consider the ferry.*
Once you’re on the island, cabs are a great way to get around and are probably more cost effective than renting a car. Nantucket is small enough that a car is not necessary, but some may like the added flexibility of having their own wheels – and if golf, exploring beaches, and other activities outside of town are your thing, then a car may be a good idea.
Nantucket (airport code = ACK) is serviced by two primary airlines: Cape Air and Jet Blue. While Cape Air offers the most direct flight options from Boston and Providence, you should check their site for other seasonal direct flights – including options out of Westchester County. For those guests coming from New York, Jet Blue offers two direct flights a day from JFK.
The easiest option for booking flights will be to use Kayak from your departure city. Occasionally, United will offer flights operated by smaller regional carriers, and Kayak is the best way to ensure you can evaluate all available options. Kayak will also get you the best available price for the various connections through Massachusetts or New York.
There are two ferry operators who service Nantucket: Hy-Line Cruises and Steamship Authority. Both companies depart from the same port in Hyannis, Massachusetts and offer high-speed and regular ferry services. The high-speed ferries take approximately 1 hour, while the regular ferries take approximately 2 hours. By visiting the website of each ferry operator, you can book a ticket on the ferry of your choice. Taking the ferry is a great way to experience Nantucket with great views of downtown, Brant Point lighthouse, and the harbor as you make your approach to Straight Wharf.
Ferries depart from Hyannis, which is approximately 75 miles from Boston (1.5 – 2-hour drive) and 270 miles from New York City (5 – 6-hour drive). Many travelers hire a van company to drive them from the Boston airport to Hyannis to catch the ferry. Try Milestone Transportation: 617-388-4240 (~$99 for two passengers).
If you want to bring a car onto the island, the Steamship Authority’s regular ferry service transports cars, but the embarkation fees can be high. Renting a car on the island will likely be cheaper than transporting your own vehicle.
See the map below for the actual port locations for Hy-Line Cruises and Steamship Authority, as they arrive at and depart from slightly different locations on Nantucket.