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Ask Nantucket: Is a Car Really Necessary When Visiting Nantucket Island?

May 25, 2017 0 comments
Bikes on Nantucket Island
answered by Cara Godlesky
Nantucket is a small island with blooming landscapes, beautiful nature all around, and a great system of bike paths. With this being said, this island in particular is easily navigable and enjoyable without the usage of a car.
Nantucket is only 14 miles (20 km) long and three to five miles (2-3 km) wide. Because the island is so small, a bike can take you just as far as a car can. The island also has many bike paths to all corners of the island: Madaket, Cisco, Siasconset, Surfside, Polpis, and more. Even if you are deciding to go someplace without a bike path, riding on the road is fairly safe due to our low vehicle speed limits.
With a bike, you do not have to worry about parking, getting your tires chalked (there are no parking meters here, so parking enforcement puts a chalk mark on tires to track time), and getting parking tickets. Navigating into town will be less of hassle, considering how Nantucket is home to narrow streets and odd one-ways, bumpy cobblestones, and difficult parking during the summer months.
The island is also very beautiful in June and the rest of the summer months. Roses and flowers are blooming and everything is green and lush. You might be able to experience the beauty of the island more intimately whiling biking rather than speeding by all the tucked away cottages and ocean views in a car.
Bikes on Nantucket IslandNantucket is also far enough out to sea that our weather is influenced by the Gulf Stream. The Gulf Streams makes our winters mild for the east coast and our summers stay about 10 degrees cooler than mainland America. According to the US Climate Data, our average high temperature is 69° in June, 75° in July, and 76° in August. We also are blessed to have a constant island breeze from the ocean. These temperatures are warm, but will not have you sweltering and sweating in the heat if you are biking. The breeze will cool you down but the sunshine feels warm on your skin.
If biking isn’t an option for you, there is also the Nantucket Regional Transit Authority, otherwise known as The Wave. The Wave is a public seasonal fixed route bus service that takes passengers from Madaket, Polpis, ‘Sconset, Surfside, and Jetties beaches, The Nantucket Airport, ferries, downtown, mid-island area, and other areas. Fares are reasonable (just a dollar or two for most routes), and short term and long term passes are also available. Children under the age of six ride for free.
There are also many options for car rentals if you decide that having a car is the best option for you. You can contact Windmill Auto Rental, Affordable Rentals, and Nantucket Island Rent-a-Car for car rentals. Jeep rentals are also available from Young’s Bicycle Shop.
If you are concerned about not getting to see points of interest without using a car, I highly suggest getting a bike. There are many options for bike rentals on the island. You could contact one of the following for rentals, or even purchase your own: Young’s Bicycle Shop, Nantucket Bike Shop, Cook’s Cycle Shop, Easy Riders, or Island Bike Shop.
Nantucket is small enough that you shouldn’t worry about missing anything without a car. Some attractions may take a little more time and energy to get to on a bike. But on island time, it is okay to slow down the pace. It allows you to have a more personal experience on Nantucket. Biking speaks to the inner child in us and gets us moving and enjoying the fresh, salty air. So skip the wheels, and grab a bike.