What to Pack for Nantucket Summer

Traveling to New England in the summer can surprise you with a mixed bag of weather. Traveling to Nantucket in the summer is no different, especially since you are on a tiny island 30 miles out to sea that is known as “The Grey Lady”. You can have days that are hot, overcast & foggy days, rainy days, cooler days…just because it says June and July on the calendar doesn’t mean always mean it’s hot, hot, hot!

Also, Nantucket is pretty casual. I know social media can make you think otherwise, but it’s classic New England summer style. During the day, you will see most people in tennis gear, swim cover-ups, shorts and polos. Maybe a very casual day dress. The classic New England uniform, the striped shirt and white jean is also pretty standard. At night, summer dresses, sweatshirts, button downs–it really just depends where the evening takes you. You’ll see families eating pizza on the lawn still in their swim cover-ups and sweatshirts, you’ll see the dinner set in easy breezy summer dresses and laid back chinos, collared shirts, and loafers. It really is more relaxed, just as summer should be.

After spending quite a few summers here, I wanted to share with you what I pack. I actually try to travel pretty light since we ferry over and usually stroll our suitcases to our hotel or vacation rental. If you are bringing your car or renting wheels, you could pack a lot more, but I don’t think it’s even necessary.

Here are my tips on what to pack for your summer stay on Nantucket…

What I Pack

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My tips

T O P S & S W E A T E R S | Since temps can change and fluctuate in a day, I like to pack a couple of tees (1 short and 1 long), a couple of tanks, a sweater, a cardigan, and sweatshirt. Also, I like to pack a couple of Ralph Lauren button downs. They are versatile and I use them as swim cover-ups or paired with white jeans. For tees, I love a classic Brenton stripe Saint James and this one from J. Crew is great too. This classic flag sweater is a new favorite and I’m a big fan of these Vineyard Vines Dreamcloth quarter zip sweatshirts.

B O T T O M S | I pack a couple of pairs of jeans, usually one white and one denim. Sometimes I’ll throw in a linen pant like this navy pant I’m bringing this year. Other than that, 2-3 pairs of shorts I can wear over my swimsuit or with tops. I usually pack a khaki short, a cut-off short, and a comfy pull-on short like this striped short. Don’t forget to pick up a pair of Nantucket reds from Murray’s.

D R E S S E S & C O V E R – U P S | Since we usually do 2-3 nicer dinners I pack a couple of summer dresses. I love this classic tank dress I just picked up at J. Crew and this red and white striped dress from Tuckernuck is so cute. For cover-ups, lately I’ve just been wearing a pair of shorts with an oversized Oxford, but I love this white linen cover-up if you want more coverage.

F O O T W E A R | This one is an important one to note. Since there are a lot of cobblestone streets in town, uneven terrain, and big curbs you will want the proper footwear. You don’t want to spend your vacation with a twisted ankle or worse. I stick to flats most days. I love my Tretorn sneakers. They are insanely comfortable and that has been my staple for years. Also, I pack a pair of boat shoes. My latest find that I recommend are these Sebago leather boat shoes, they are so comfortable and all leather inside and out. For sandals, I pack a pair of Jack Rogers because they look good dressed up at night or this leather slide is my go-to. The only heels I bring are my wedge espadrilles. Usually, I pack one or two pairs.

B A G S & L U G G A G E | I usually pack a larger tote to carry on the ferry. This Nantucket tote is an instant classic, and I also love this white strap palm tote. My go-to beach bag is this straw ribbon tote for travel because it lays super flat and folds up. It hardly takes up any room in your suitcase, but is large and holds a lot when you use it. A crossbody bag is great because you will be walking so much. Absolutely smitten with this raffia crossbody bag. For evening bags, I like clutches that are easy to pack. If you want to really have a Nantucket vibe you can get yourself a Nantucket basket bag.

Everything I pack fits easily into a standard checked luggage suitcase. One thing I am bringing this year is this raffia and leather hat case. I bring a few sun hats and this case is so great to stow them in while traveling. I love my Peter Beaton sun hats and this fits the wide brim ones easily. Another find I am loving is this cosmetic case that has a protected holder for your make-up brushes. So smart!

I hope this helps you prepare for your trip to the island. Also, don’t overpack because you will want to shop during your time here. There are so many good shops. A few of my favorites include Milly & Grace, Nantucket Looms, Alice Walk, Murray’s Toggery Shop (a must!), Centre Point, Erica Wilson, Hill House, Ralph Lauren, and Vineyard Vines with exclusive Nantucket gear.

xx Kristy

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