Fly, sail or drive to Cape Cod's popular island destination
Nantucket is a popular summer holiday spot, although the small Massachusetts island can be worth a visit all year. When traveling from New York, there are several possible ways to make the trip. Consider time, budget and comfort when selecting the best route, whether it's ferry, plane or car. Here's what you need to know about traveling to Nantucket.
Hop a ferry boat
Seastreak ferries operate daily between the end of May and the first week of September (exact dates may vary based on the year) between New York City and Nantucket. When visiting in the summer months, book a ticket to leave from the East 35th Street Ferry Terminal in New York. The ferry stops in Martha's Vineyard before concluding its journey on Nantucket, and it's approximately six hours from NYC to your final destination. Ferries run daily and leave NYC at 4 p.m., usually arriving in Nantucket at 10:15 p.m.
It's not cheap: One-way fares are $175 for adults ($210 on holidays) and round-trip fares are $260 ($330 on holidays). Pets are not allowed, and each passenger may bring up to two small or medium pieces of luggage.
Weather can be a factor when traveling by ferry, so Seastreak can't guarantee that every journey will take six hours. Weather, tides or sea conditions can affect the trip, and ferries can be canceled if circumstances make it unsafe to travel. If a cancellation happens, the ferry company contacts passengers and helps arrange other plans. Seastreak does not operate during the winter.
Board a plane
Several airlines operate flights between New York and Nantucket Memorial Airport. A good option is Cape Air, which flies out of Westchester County Airport in White Plains, NY. The airline offers seasonal flights between June and September, and weekend-only flights from September to December. Cape Air gives passengers the option to include a limousine service with pick-up at 35th Street and 8th Avenue in NYC when booking. One-way flights average $399 during the summer months. Flight time is approximately one hour.
JetBlue, Delta and American Airlines also fly between New York and Nantucket, so check for deals on fares, and be sure to book in advance when traveling during peak holiday times. Travelers with more budget to spare should consider booking a flight with Tradewind Aviation, a charter service operating around the East Coast. Pay for a single seat on a private plane leaving from Westchester County Airport and relax in style. Frequently, travelers can score deals by purchasing "ticket books." A full-rate flight to Nantucket is $795 while a trip ticket book with 10 to 19 tickets is $705 per ticket (20 to 40 tickets is discounted further to $665 per ticket, and a purchase of 40 or more tickets is $620 per ticket).
Hit the Road
The drive from New York to Nantucket can be long and traffic-filled, especially on the weekend or during holidays. The drive is six hours without traffic, but can be as long as eight or nine hours during busier times. It's best to drive to Hyannis, MA, Cape Cod's main port, and park there before boarding a passenger ferry to the island. Steamship Authority offers a high-speed, passenger-only ferry that delivers travelers to Nantucket within a hour, or you can elect to bring your car on a traditional ferry, which takes two and a half hours. Advanced vehicle reservations are required and can be made online. Ferry service is offered daily, all year, making it the best way to reach Nantucket during the winter.
Adult one-way ferry tickets are $36.50 for high-speed passenger ferries, and $18.50 for traditional ferries. Cars start at $140 per one-way journey and cost varies based on the length of the vehicle.
Be sure to check the weather and road conditions when driving to Nantucket, and try to leave New York City during off-times so that rush hour traffic won't impact the journey. Be prepared for a long drive and bring along snacks, water and a good playlist.