Note: I originally published this blog post in 2018. I have since gone in and updated the guide to make it current with all of my recommendations. Sconset is a magical little slice of Nantucket that holds so much beauty. Enjoy!
Over the years, I’ve shared quite a bit about Nantucket including lots of dreamy photos of the picturesque village affectionally known as Sconset, short for Siasconset. Today, I’m going to share a travel guide to Sconset on Nantucket because, although it is a small little neighborhood town, there is a surprising amount to do in Sconset. Sconset captures New England at its best with its shingled houses and famed Sankaty Head Lighthouse. I’d venture to bet that many of the gorgeous photos you see of Nantucket are in fact snapped in Sconset.
The quaint and picturesque Sconset, a true treasure on the island of Nantucket, is so special for its rich history, rose-covered cottages, warm sense of community, lovely Sconset beach, and the salty ocean breeze that dances through the area. From the moment you hop off your bicycle and arrive in Sconset, you’ll understand why it has stolen the hearts of so many. I know you’ll love my recommendations so save this post for a time when you’re planning a trip to the New England island. Sconset is a true treasure with undeniable charm.
The items making up our outfits are all a few years old – dated links below + find similar current items at the bottom of this post
A Travel Guide to Sconset on Nantucket
Time to dive into everything you need to know for a visit to this dreamy coastal haven.
Where to Shop in Sconset:
Sconset has two great local stops to pop by while out on a stroll (there’s also a small storefront next to Claudette’s that always seems to rotate through businesses so there can be a third lovely shop too depending on the summer). Sconset Bookstore Wines takes the cake of the shops. Yes, you read that right, the wine shop. It’s quite possibly the most charming liquor store you’ve ever stepped foot in with a wonderful curation. You can shop for, of course, wine and spirits along with fresh Nantucket memorabilia, cozy knit sweaters, chic barware, straw bags, beach blankets, and lots more. It is right in the heart of town so you can’t miss it. They have everything you could ever need for a beach picnic. All you need to do is pop in next-door to either the Sconset Market or to Claudettes for sandwiches.
On the edge of town, you’ll find the bespoke stationery store, Parchment Fine Papers. Inside, you can customize your own paper and shop for an assortment of greeting cards, stationery, gifting necessities, wrapping paper, notepads, pens, and other chic office items. Everything is lovely.
Where to Eat in Sconset:
In this post, I introduced the charming restaurant The Chanticleer. The restaurant has such a Nantucket romance to it. I cherish meals enjoyed at The Chanticleer. It is perfect for either a lunch or a dinner out when celebrating an occasion or when you just feel like getting a little dressed up. The garden in front will make your heart sing! Note: be sure to make dinner reservations for The Chanticleer before your trip.
Other than The Chanticleer, If you’re hungry, you have a few great options. For starters, be sure to also pop into Sconset Market for an ice cream cone or for one of their famous blueberry muffins in the morning. The blueberry muffins are made fresh daily and are available until they sell out each day.
While The Chanticleer is for a bit of a fancier affair, I also love the über casual restaurant Claudette’s for breakfast and lunch. You order at the counter and then dine outside on picnic tables while watching all the comings and goings of Sconset. It’s the spot in town for simple yet delicious breakfast and lunch sandwiches.
Sconset Cafe is another Sconset mainstay for dine-in and take-out dinner. It is a quaint, intimate neighborhood restaurant serving yummy food from land and see in a relaxing setting. It excitedly opened this summer with a member of the family who owns the restaurant returning to the island to run the beloved restaurant.
For a beachside meal or beverage, head to Summer House Beach Bistro. You can’t beat eating their lobster Caesar salad and sipping a glass of rosé while having your toes in the sand! The Summer House Restaurant is a must for dinner. It is quintessential Nantucket with its casual elegance and cheery mood thanks to the nightly music played on the grand piano. Note: The Summer House has been closed in different capacities in recent summers. It was set to reopen June of this summer (2023) but failed inspections (yikes!) so be sure to check on if it is actually open before planning a meal here.
For more Nantucket restaurant recommendations outside of Sconset, be sure to visit my Nantucket Travel Guide. It includes everything from the casual food trucks at Cisco Brewers to the beachside heaven that is Galley Beach to the cool nautically designed Greydon House.
What to Do in Sconset:
Biking and walking around
If you’re looking for an activity to do in Sconset, then I have a few suggestions I highly recommend. My favorite way to enjoy time in Sconset is simply biking and walking around. It is the most picturesque historic neighborhood to explore on foot or on a bicycle. The really unique activity that Sconset offers is the the Sconset Bluff Walk, which is a must in my opinion. The Sconset Bluff Walk is a public footpath that starts in town at Front Street and takes you almost all the way up to Sankaty Head. You quite literally walk through local’s lawns with views of homes on one side and views of the Atlantic ocean on the other side. It’s the best way to see the gorgeous and salty shingled homes, the stunning pink climbing roses, the spectacular blue hydrangeas, and sweeping ocean views.
A visit to Sankaty Head on foot or bike (you can, of course, drive to the lighthouse too) is absolutely worth it. One of my grandmothers loved lighthouses and took me as a child to see a few lighthouses in the southeast. So, I’ve always had an affinity for lighthouses. Be sure to bring a camera when visiting Sankaty Head.
Beach and playground
Other must-dos in Sconset are spending a day beaching on beautiful Sconset beach. It is incredibly easy to access the beach right below the main town area of Sconset village. If you have children in tow, then pay a visit to the playground at Codfish Park, conveniently located right next to the beach. My boys love playing in the ship structure on the playground + it’s a great spot to meet up for island playdates.
Golfers will have a blast playing a round on the local 9-hole course at Sconset Golf Course. When we’ve rented houses in Sconset in the past, Edwin and his buddies have loved their afternoons playing golf here, claiming it has a great relaxed yet old-school vibe to it.
Best Time To Visit Sconset, Nantucket
The best time to visit Nantucket would be the island’s high season which is from Memorial Day through Columbus Day. The weather is the most reliably summer weather in July and August. Late May and June are more temperamental – I’ve been on island then and had gorgeous summer weather as well as cold, wet weather. September might be the dreamiest month to spend time on Nantucket. I’ve visited the island a few times in September over the years and you can feel the magic in the air. It is less crowded than the peak of the summer yet everything is still open. Locals are out and the days are a mix of hot summer days and crisp autumn days. Simply put, it is glorious! Sconset isn’t reliably winterized like the downtown of Nantucket is so it is definitely best to visit Sconset during the summer.