|Ferryboats to Nantucket Island, MA|
|You can get to Nantucket by passenger or car ferry from Hyannis MA, or passenger ferry from Harwich Port MA, both on Cape Cod, or from Martha's Vineyard island.|
Nantucket Island is 30 miles (48 km) south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts (map), a voyage of about 1 hour for a fast catamaran passenger ferry, 2 to 2-1/4 hours for a traditional passenger ferry, or 2-1/2 hours for a car ferry.
In summer, especially on weekends, it's a good idea to reserve your tickets in advance, especially for the high-speed ferries.
Whichever ferry you take, be at the dock at least 30 minutes before departure time to check luggage, load bikes, check tickets, and get in line to board and find the seat you want.
Remember also that ferry voyages depend on weather, mechanical equipment and other factors, and may be delayed or cancelled without notice. It's a good idea to look upon departure and arrival times as provisional rather than absolute.
The lowest fare is $37 per person round-trip for the slower traditional ferries (2-1/2 hours), $69 for the high-speed catamaran ferries (1 hour), though there are some special same-day round-trip fares on the high-speed ferries, Monday through Thursday only, for $50.
Children 5 to 12 pay half price, children 4 and under sail free.
Add $14 round-trip for each bicycle.
Parking Near the Docks
Allow $20 to $25 per calendar day for parking near the ferry docks. Thus, if you park on Monday and leave on Wednesday, you will pay $60 to $75 for three calendar days. It's a good idea to reserve your parking in advance, along with your tickets, especially on weekends and in July and August.
Thus the cheapest round-trip crossing to Nantucket for two adults with two bikes for one day, including parking, is about $86 on the traditional ferry, or $148 to $186 on the fast ferry.
The Steamship Authority operates the only car ferries to Nantucket: the 768-passenger, 52-vehicle m/v Eagle, and m/v Nantucket from Hyannis's Pleasant Street docks.
It's expensive and impractical to take your car to Nantucket for a short visit in summer. You must reserve a space on the ferry well in advance and pay a minimum of $400 round-trip (vehicles up to 17 feet/5.18 meters), or $450 for vehicles 17 to 20 feet, such as full-size SUVs (Chevy Suburban). Transportation on Nantucket can meet your needs. More...
Ferries from Hyannis
Hy-Line Cruises, Ocean Street Dock, Hyannis, MA (map; tel 508-778-0404, 508-228-3949, 800-492-8082) operates both the large traditional ferry m/v Great Point (2-1/4-hour voyage) and the smaller high-speed catamaran ferry m/v Grey Lady (1-hour voyage) daily between Hyannis and Nantucket's Straight Wharf. Fares are usually a few dollars higher than those of the Steamship Authority (see below). More...
Tip: reserve your parking in a Hy-Line lot when you reserve your tickets online. In high summer, especially on weekends, the Hy-Line lots fill to capacity, and when they do, nearby lots raise their prices 25% above Hy-Line rates.
The Steamship Authority runs the fast catamaran ferry m/v Iyanough from Hyannis's Pleasant Street Dock (map) to Nantucket five times daily from mid-May through mid-October (four times daily from mid-March to mid-May and mid-October to early January). The voyage takes one hour.
The least-expensive fares of all are on the slower car and passenger ferries m/v Eagle and m/v Nantucket (2-1/2 hours). More...
Ferries from Harwich Port
Freedom Cruise Line (tel 508-432-8999, 702 Main Street [MA Route 28], Harwich Port MA 02646; map) runs three trips to Nantucket daily between late June and early September from Saquatucket Harbor in Harwich Port on Cape Cod.
They voyage takes 80 minutes (compared to the 60-minute voyage of the Hy-Line m/v Grey Lady and Steamship Authority's m/v Iyanough). Fares are a few dollars higher than for the Iyanough, and a few dollars lower than for the Grey Lady, but Freedom Cruise Line offers free parking for day-trippers (overnight parking is $17 per night).
Ferries from Martha's Vineyard
Hy-Line operates an Inter-Island Ferry service twice daily in each direction between Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket islands from late-June to mid-September. The voyage takes 70 minutes. Buy tickets online, or at the Dockside Marina in Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard (tel 508-693-0112) and on Straight Wharf, Nantucket (tel 508-228-3949). More...
Nantucket Town has two ferry docks a five-minute walk apart in the town center (map):
Passenger ferries, both traditional and fast catamarans, operated by Hy-Line Cruises (Hyannis and Martha's Vineyard) and Freedom Cruise Line (from Harwich Port) arrive at Straight Wharf at the eastern end of Main Street.
—by Tom Brosnahan