If you are wondering how to get to Nantucket from Boston, you’ve got options! Whether you want to take a bus and a ferry or drive (and leave your car or take it with you), there are many different ways to travel from Boston to Nantucket. We’ve detailed them all for you below.
Nantucket Island is truly one of the country’s most incredible places to visit. It’s full of New England charm, is a playground for the rich and famous, and is breathtakingly beautiful. But it’s essential to know a few things before heading there this coming Memorial Day or Labor Day weekend, especially when just getting there!
7 Ways To Get To Nantucket From Boston
Nantucket is not New York City or any city for that matter. It only feels that way in the peak of summer! Driving by visitors is essentially discouraged on this small island, but getting around when visiting is relatively easy.
You can undoubtedly take a car and have it transported across via the car ferry, but this is an expensive option and typically only done by people who live on Nantucket or are visiting for an extended period of time.
There are car rental options too, but these can be extremely expensive.
Bikes, local public transportation, and taxis are popular with visitors, so it is suggested that visitors explore these better options.
Flights from Boston to Nantucket
Cape Air and JetBlue offer direct flights to and from Boston and Nantucket. This is the most reliable air route to get to Nantucket Island. In addition, Cape Air provides year-round flights, while JetBlue typically is only a seasonal service.
Non-stop flights also fly into Nantucket Memorial Airport (ACK) from New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Charlotte, and Washington DC through various airlines, including Jet Blue, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and other regional airlines.
We recommend checking flights on Skyscanner to find the best prices.
Driving from Boston to Nantucket
What many New Englanders love to do during the summer is to visit Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket. Driving from Boston to one of the various Cape towns is almost a rite of passage, as is dealing with the infamous traffic.
Heading South out of Boston on the Pilgrims Highway can be slow going at the height of the summer. And then you hit the dreaded Sagamore Bridge traffic!
The Sagamore Bridge (and Bourne Bridge) are the Cape’s gateways. On a busy summer’s day, it can feel like half the country is sitting in traffic to go over them.
As mentioned, putting a car on the car ferry is an expensive endeavor when visiting Nantucket. Therefore, booking your car’s spot ahead of time is strongly recommended, as places fill up extremely quickly.
The Steamship Authority, which operates out of Hyannis, uses a wait list system for car owners wanting to take their car with them on Nantucket for days and times that are booked up, which is often!
A general rule of thumb for driving to the Cape and islands is to avoid Friday afternoons in the summer, especially before a holiday weekend.
During off-peak, travel times from Boston to Nantucket are 90 minutes to two hours by car, then another hour on the high-speed ferry from Hyannis.
There are plenty of great ferry options to get to Nantucket, especially with the Steamship Authority. You don’t have to be on Cape Cod to get there either. You can get to Nantucket via traditional or high-speed ferry services from Hyannis Hy-Line Cruises and Steamship Authority), Harwich port (Freedom Cruise Line), Martha’s Vineyard (Hy-line Ferry), New Bedford (Seastreak High-Speed Ferry), New York City, and New Jersey (also Seastreak High-Speed Ferry).
Car Ferry from Hyannis to Nantucket
If you are looking to take your car with you to Nantucket, then the Steamship Authority’s traditional ferry line service has you covered and is the only way. There is, of course, no bridge to Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard!
This service takes much longer than the more popular high-speed passenger service, so if you choose to avoid riding with your car, you may want to do some shopping and have lunch while you wait for your vehicle to arrive at Nantucket Harbor.
From dock-to-dock, this service takes around two and a half hours, and for most cars, the round-trip price will set you back at $354. If your vehicle is over 17′ in length, you’ll pay $394 round trip. If you want to ride with your car, the round-trip ticket for an adult is only $41, and kids aged 5-12 years old cost $20.
High-Speed Passenger Ferry from Hyannis to Nantucket
This high-speed ferry is the most popular option for people wanting to get from the mainland to Nantucket. Typically, the travel time from dock-to-dock on this service is only one hour, so getting on an early ride is the best way to get a good day trip under your belt.
You can grab a drink, coffee, and other snacks on the ferry, too, including a warmed-up piece of New England Corn Bread which is a great way to start any day!
This year-round service typically has 5-6 scheduled between the two docks but adds more during the summer.
Hy-Line Cruises and Steamship Authority from Hyannis have round-trip prices for adults starting at $81 and $54 for children aged 5-12. Children 5 and under ride free! Bring a bicycle along on the ride for $14, and you’ll have your transport on Nantucket sorted too!
High-Speed Passenger Ferry from New Bedford to Nantucket
The Seastreak service to Nantucket leaves from New Bedford, MA, as a seasonal service. This high-speed ferry will get you from the mainland into Nantucket Harbor in 2 hours on most days. There are typically extra services on Fridays and weekends during peak season. Otherwise, there is only a morning and evening service – so don’t be late for this ferry!
Tickets start at $99 round trip for adults and $55 for children aged 3-12. Nantucket Island residents and military can pay a little less for the service, as can passengers taking same-day round trips.
Train from Boston to Nantucket
The train is an excellent option for visiting Nantucket from Boston. While only a seasonal offering (Memorial Day to Labor Day), the CapeFLYER, which the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority operates, offers an excellent weekend passenger service from Boston to Hyannis.
The train departs from South Station in Boston and ends in Hyannis harbor near the ferry dock! It also stops in Braintree, Brockton, Middleborough/Lakeville, Wareham Village, and Buzzards Bay.
Round-trip prices for adults start at $40 from South Station to the end of the line in Hyannis.
Bus from Boston to Nantucket
Finally, catching a bus from Boston to get onto the Cape and then Nantucket is likely your most reliable and affordable option. Busses run multiple times per day during the peak season, and numerous companies exist.
What’s great about the bus option is that you can get one directly from Logan Airport to as far as the Hyannis Transportation Center.
Plymouth & Brockton and Peter Pan are the two most popular bus companies that will get you out of the smelly parking lot and breathe fresh Cape Cod air in around 2 hours of travel time. Purchasing your tickets beforehand from each of the company’s websites or at a kiosk near baggage claim at Logan Airport is recommended.
The coaches are well-appointed, clean, and comfy. So relax and have a nap before the ferry ride to Nantucket!
Adult tickets (return) start at $29, and kids pay $24.