Whaling Museum picture
Peter Vanderwarker/Nantucket Historical Association

Key Info

13 Broad Street

Details

Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
3.3

scorecard

  • 2.5Value
  • 3.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

Landlubbing vacationers might not see its appeal, but still, the Whaling Museum does well with history lovers and Herman Melville fans. Some of its more memorable displays include an 1849 Fresnel Lens from the old Sankaty Head Lighthouse and a 46-foot-long skeleton from a sperm whale that washed ashore in 1998. There's also an impressive collection of scrimshaw art: Whalers created these elaborately engraved (or carved) pieces out of spare whale bones and teeth to pass the time at sea.

While the museum's scenic rooftop deck is a big hit, it's the various educational programs that really win visitors over. Recent travelers highly recommend planning your visit to coincide with the Whale Hunt presentation, which details how Nantucket came to be known as the "whaling capital of the world. Also popular is a storytelling presentation on The Essex, the local whaling ship that inspired "Moby Dick."

The Whaling Museum sits in a former candle factory in Nantucket Town. Admission starts at $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and students, and $5 for kids ages 6 to 17. Children 5 and younger enter for free. Hours of operation vary by season, but the museum is typically open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Be sure to check the museum's information page on the Nantucket Historical Association's website before you go. 

See all Hotels in Nantucket »

More Best Things To Do in Nantucket

Surfside Beach1 of 5
Brant Point Light2 of 5
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Surfside Beach

Surfside Beach, located on the southern shore, is one of the most popular beaches on the island. It's definitely one of the most amenity-rich stretches of sand, too: Public rentals, showers, food kiosks and lifeguards are all here in the peak beach season. And although the waves may be too choppy for younger travelers, Surfside is great for catching a wave and participating in other gnarly watersports.

But popularity has a downside. Recent travelers recommend visiting in the off-season to avoid the crowds and parking challenges. 

Read more
shell belle/Flickr
See full list of Best Things To Do in Nantucket »

Explore More of Nantucket

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

The 50 Most Beautiful Places in the World

Let these gorgeous destinations inspire you to travel more.

Holly JohnsonJanuary 16, 2020

50 Amazing Honeymoon Ideas

From relaxing weekend getaways to epic adventures, these honeymoon trips will help couples create memories to last a lifetime.

Kyle McCarthyJanuary 8, 2020

The Cheapest Days to Fly: A Guide to the Best (and Worst) Times to Travel

Use these tips and tricks to get the best deal on your next flight.

Lyn MettlerDecember 23, 2019

30 Top Florida Weekend Getaways

Spend sun-filled days exploring Florida's beautiful beaches, cities, parks and small towns.

Gwen PratesiDecember 9, 2019

The Best Travel Backpacks for 2020

U.S. News rated the best travel backpacks using recommendations from experts and consumers.

Lyn MettlerNovember 25, 2019

30 Top Wellness Retreats

Rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit at one of these relaxation-focused properties.

Kyle McCarthyNovember 21, 2019

30 Fun All-Inclusive Family Vacations

Book one of these all-inclusive trips that cover food, accommodations and activities galore.

Holly JohnsonNovember 14, 2019

5 Ways Cruise Lines Are Becoming More Environmentally Friendly

Industry considers impact as it looks to the future.

Gwen PratesiNovember 12, 2019

11 Unique and Quirky Cruise Destinations

Venture off the beaten path for an authentic cruising experience.

Christine SmithNovember 12, 2019

The 2020 Best Cruise Lines for Families

Gather up the gang and head out to sea with one of these six kid-friendly cruise lines.

Nicola WoodNovember 12, 2019