With water all around, sun-and-sand lovers have their pick of public beaches on Nantucket—but the different shorelines offer very distinct experiences. Those staying in Nantucket Town usually head to the north shore, where popular Jetties Beach is just a quick bike or shuttle ride away; it has amenities like a casual open-air restaurant/bar, restrooms, windsurf gear, and sailboat rentals. Families with little kids opt for Children’s Beach (also right near town) for its calm, sheltered harborside waters and large playground/picnic area. Surf fanatics—and others who like their beaches wild, windy, and more sparsely populated—head for south-shore beaches like Surfside, Cisco, and Miacomet. (Cisco, which has the hairiest waves, is where Nantucket Island Surf School (www.nantucketsurfing.com) runs classes during the summer season.) East-coast beaches near Siasconset also tend to have big waves—and occasionally heavy seaweed deposits—but the sands are broad and there’s plenty of room to spread out or beachcomb. Madaket, on the far west coast, is one of the island’s most beautiful beaches—especially in the evenings, when locals and visitors gather to watch the spectacular sunsets.
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