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Nantucket vs Martha's Vineyard

Runnemede, New...
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Nantucket vs Martha's Vineyard

We are visiting Cape Cod the week before Memorial Day and trying to decide if we should visit one island over the other or both. Any info/thoughts would be great. Are both islands very similar? Also what is the best way to get around on the islands, we don't plan on taking the car on the ferry.

Canada
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1. Re: Nantucket vs Martha's Vineyard

How long are you going to be on the Cape? Are you talking about day visits to the islands? I think that they are quite different from each other.

Baltimore, Maryland
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2. Re: Nantucket vs Martha's Vineyard

We get this question all the time.only problem is there is no objectively singular answer. We don't know what you are looking for. Actually there is an answer. It doesn't matter. Depending on where you stay, there are different abilities to access the islands which can make a difference.

Noepe
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3. Re: Nantucket vs Martha's Vineyard

I've lived on both islands. Here's my .02:

If you're looking for that one-hit uber-cute New England thing, then go for Nantucket. You can spend all day in town wandering up and down cobblestone streets, oggling fine old captain's houses along with loads of shopping, with lunch along the docks. The downside? It's over 2 1/2 hours on the slow boat or a lot more money to take the high speed ferry that gets you there in an hour (both out of Hyannis).

If you're looking for a more varied experience with a little more convenience, go for the Vineyard. The boats out of Woods Hole or Falmouth take about 45 minutes to Vineyard Haven or Oak Bluffs. Then there are tour buses or the VTA public buses that go all over. You can bus it to Edgartown (the closest thing to Nantucket on the Vineyard) or even head up-island to see the Gay Head cliffs.

Check out the schedules and see what works for you. As far as I can remember, the Nantucket boats are either the Steamship Authority or Hy-Line, and MV boats are run by the Steamship Authority, The Island Queen, and the Patriot. Oh, and I think the Hy-Line may run an MV boat out of Hyannis that time of year.

Enjoy!

Edited: 10:31 pm, February 19, 2014
Cape Cod...
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4. Re: Nantucket vs Martha's Vineyard

Great advice....I'll just add that the Freedom Cruise ferry out of Harwichport goes to Nantucket during the summer season. If you are staying on the lower or outer cape it is a convenient alternative to going into Hyannis.

Chicago, IL
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5. Re: Nantucket vs Martha's Vineyard

Nantucket is uber cute and uber expensive in every way not just limited to the cost of the ferry ride if that matters. On MV you have more to explore and you can use the island shuttle to get around for $1 a ride. You can consider getting a car or moped rental one day and ride out to Gay Head for a bit. Either island as well as the Cape itself are all good choices but imho MV is the best place to locate without a car. Why don't you start with accommodations and see if that helps you make the final choice?

Runnemede, New...
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6. Re: Nantucket vs Martha's Vineyard

Here is a little more information we are staying in West Dennis and will be there for a week so we are looking to do day trips. I really don't know much about either island and any similarities or differences. Thank you.

Canada
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7. Re: Nantucket vs Martha's Vineyard

It's really a personal choice. If you are on the Cape for a week and this is your first visit then you don't really need to go to either island. More than enough on the Cape to keep you busy. We have been going for the best part of forty years and still haven't been everywhere and seen everything.

Noepe
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8. Re: Nantucket vs Martha's Vineyard

oooooohh.... I'm not in agreement with the moped suggestion (this, of course, is coming from an islander). The roads heading up-island are narrow, winding, and busy during the season. At least one moped and it's former riders are scraped off the pavement seemingly every day. They're a menace to traffic and riders alike IMHO. I'd suggest sticking with the bus... you can take photos as you ride along, the weather doesn't effect you, and you're basically guaranteed to get where you're going.

Chicago, IL
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9. Re: Nantucket vs Martha's Vineyard

I agree about accidents with the mopeds but, with only one rider per bike, I think you can ride safely, at least we have in Berrmuda as well as on MVP but we rode around Edgartown, vineyard haven and oak bluffs only.

Edited: 6:20 pm, February 20, 2014
Boston, MA
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10. Re: Nantucket vs Martha's Vineyard

The Steamship Authority has been running a $50.00special the last few summers tor a round-trip on the fast ferry from Hyannis to Nantucket for day trips only, Mon - Thurs to Nantucket. It is only an hour over. As you are staying in West Dennis, this would be my suggestion. Nantucket is really charming but as has been mentioned, pretty pricey.

Other day trips to consider: visit one of the National Seashore beaches, one of the top beaches in the country is Coast Guard in Eastham. You can also visit Provincetown, great shops, galleries, restaurants, people-watching. Go sailing and/or rent kayaks; go on a whale watch.