A Travel Price Comparison for Massachusetts Cape Cod vs. Nantucket for Food, Couples, Resorts, and Beaches

Should you visit Cape Cod or Nantucket?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Cape Cod and Nantucket. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Cape Cod

Cape Cod is a relaxing, laid-back, and wealthy beach destination. With plenty of activities and sights, this is a small town worth visiting. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. Since it has a quaint atmosphere, you'll want to spend time soaking it all in. Other reasons to visit include shopping, food, and beaches.

Nantucket

Nantucket is a upscale, charming, and serene island. With plenty of activities and sights, this is a small town worth visiting. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and food.

Cape Cod and Nantucket: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Small town charm
  • Impressive beauty
  • Quaint atmosphere
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Scenic old town
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Small town charm
  • Impressive beauty


Is there more to do in Cape Cod or Nantucket?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Nantucket than Cape Cod, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Nantucket is better known for its museums, food, nightlife, resorts, historical sights, and hiking, while Cape Cod is more popular for its quaint atmosphere. Cape Cod is well known for its long scenic coastline, charming compact towns, and magnificent migrating whales. Nantucket is well known for its pristine beaches, upscale atmosphere, and history of whaling. Also, Nantucket is famous for Great Point Lighthouse.

How is Cape Cod different from Nantucket?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Nantucket and Cape Cod. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Cape Cod or Nantucket?

Cape Cod
Nantucket

Nantucket is a good destination for its historical sights. However, Cape Cod does not have museums and landmarks.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Nantucket. There are several museums around town that educate visitors on the island's whaling history and maritime past.

Cape Cod does not have museums and landmarks.


Is the Food Better in Cape Cod or Nantucket? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Cape Cod
Nantucket

Nantucket is an unbeatable place for its local flavors and cuisine. Also, Cape Cod is not as popular, but is still a nice beach destination for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Eat your way through Nantucket, as it has many local or world renowned restaurants to choose from. Upscale eateries where you can look out on the water make dining on this island a true experience. There are raw bars, seafood restaurants, and local cafes with elaborate salads and duck carnitas. Dishes usually use the highest quality fresh ingredients and chefs bring their "A game" with every customer.

With its innovative style combined with traditional elements, Cape Cod makes for a great culinary experience. The region is famous for its fresh seafood and popular dishes include the fried clams and broiled lobster. There are also many diners and brunch cafes where you can enjoy pancakes or eggs benedict.

Is Cape Cod or Nantucket Better for Nightlife?

Cape Cod
Nantucket

Nantucket is a good destination for its evening party scene. However, Cape Cod is not a good destination for nightlife.

If you're looking for night time activities Nantucket has a few options to choose from. You'll find a number of bars and a lively singles scene in town. There's also live music and a laid back but active atmosphere in the evening.

People don't go to Cape Cod for the nightlife. This area isn't really known for its nightlife, but the downtown of Hyannis has some activity at night.

Is Cape Cod or Nantucket Better for Resorts?

Cape Cod
Nantucket

Nantucket is great for its luxury resorts. Also, Cape Cod is not as popular, but is still a nice beach destination for its resorts.

There are plenty of resorts in Nantucket to choose from. Luxury resorts and upscale inns offer guests a relaxed setting with oceanfront views and family-friendly activities.

Cape Cod has a handful of resorts to choose from. Wequassett Resort and Golf Club, White Elephant Resorts, and Chatham Bars Inn are favorite resorts in the Cape Cod area.


Is Cape Cod or Nantucket Better for Beaches?

Cape Cod
Nantucket

Cape Cod and Nantucket both offer high quality beaches.

Many people visit Cape Cod for it's beautiful beaches. Beaches in the area include long stretches of soft sand as well as tidal pools where kids can play. Several of the best beaches around Cape Cod include Mayflower Beach, Marconi Beach, and Race Point Beach.

Nantucket is considered a top beach destination. You'll find the calmest water at the northern beaches, and cooler water with rougher surf to the south. Many of the beaches are accessible from town, but parking can be limited. There are both public and private beaches, each with beautiful settings and relaxing vibes.

Is Cape Cod or Nantucket Better for its Old Town?

Cape Cod
Nantucket

Nantucket is great for its historic old town charm. However, Cape Cod does not have a historic old town.

There are many historical things to see in the old town of Nantucket. The Historic District is filled with New England charm, cobblestone streets, and upscale boutiques. There are many great restaurants and a lot of historic character.

Cape Cod does not have a historic old town.

Is Cape Cod or Nantucket Better for Hiking?

Cape Cod
Nantucket

Nantucket is great for hiking. Also, Cape Cod is not as popular, but is still a nice beach destination for the nearby hiking options.

Many visitors go to Nantucket for the hiking trails. The island is easy to explore on foot, and its covered with hiking trails that follow the serene coastline or take you through forests, bogs, and marshland.

Cape Cod is a good destination for hiking. Hikes range from casual strolls to longer trails. Popular options include Bass Hole Boardwalk in Yarmouth and the 22 mile Cape Cod Rail Trail.


Is the Shopping Better in Cape Cod or Nantucket?

Cape Cod
Nantucket

If you're looking to go shopping, Cape Cod and Nantucket both offer plenty of high quality spots.

Many visitors explore the shopping areas in Cape Cod. Many of the area's towns have charming Main Streets where you can enjoy shopping and dining.

Nantucket is an extremely popular place for shoppers. The Historic District is filled with boutiques, art galleries, and upscale shops. It's the perfect place to spend an afternoon wandering around and shopping.

Is Cape Cod or Nantucket Better for Families?

Cape Cod
Nantucket

Both Cape Cod and Nantucket are high quality family-friendly destinations.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Cape Cod. The coastal towns have a number of kid-friendly activities. In the Upper Cape, Falmouth is one of the best towns for families. On Mid Cape, Dennis and Yarmouth are both kid-friendly. Dennis has a resorty vibe and Yarmouth has kid-friendly museums. On the Lower Cape, both Harwich and Orleans are family-friendly options.

Nantucket is a very family-friendly place to visit. There's a calm beach that's perfect for kids as well as quaint ice cream shops and plenty of New England charm. The town is also filled with hiking and biking trails.

Is Cape Cod or Nantucket Better for Couples?

Cape Cod
Nantucket

Nantucket is an unbeatable place for couples. Also, Cape Cod is not as popular, but is still a nice beach destination for romance.

Nantucket is fantastic couple's destination with fun and romantic activities. The New England charm, natural beauty, and relaxing coastal atmosphere make this a perfect romantic destination. There are also many romantic places to stay and great local restaurants.

Cape Cod is a very popular place to visit for couples. With its charming character and relaxing beach setting, honeymooners and couples will appreciate all that the area has to offer. There are peaceful settings and charming villages to explore. There are also award-winning restaurants and beautiful views.


Is Cape Cod or Nantucket Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Cape Cod
Nantucket

Nantucket is a good destination for times when you don't have a car. However, Cape Cod is not a good destination for its public transit.

While Nantucket offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. There are shuttle buses around the island that operate with greater frequency during the summer months.

Public transit is generally limited in Cape Cod. While there are buses and shuttles to help you get around, a car really is necessary to explore the area.

Is Cape Cod or Nantucket a more walkable city?

Cape Cod
Nantucket

Nantucket is great for its ease of walking around. Also, Cape Cod is not as popular, but is still a nice beach destination for its walkability.

Nantucket is a very walkable destination. The town is very walkable and parking can be challenging, so it's best to leave your car in the ferry parking lot.

Cape Cod is somewhat walkable. Many of the small towns in the area have compact and walkable areas, but the region is spread out so it's helpful to have a car to get from place to place.

For even more information, also check out Is Cape Cod Worth Visiting? and Is Nantucket Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Nantucket or Cape Cod?

How long in Cape Cod or Nantucket?

It's fun to spend time in either Cape Cod or Nantucket. Generally, people tend to spend more time in Cape Cod due to the larger number of activities and things to do. Usually, 5-7 days is a good amount of time for Cape Cod, and 2-4 days is enough time in Nantucket.

Families should spend more time in Nantucket than Cape Cod. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Nantucket, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Nantucket than Cape Cod. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Nantucket that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Nantucket than Cape Cod if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Nantucket.


  • How many days in Cape Cod or Nantucket? Ideal Length of Stay
    Cape Cod 5-7 
    Nantucket 2-4

One day in Cape Cod or Nantucket?

Even though Cape Cod is a small town, it has plenty of activities to choose from. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

The beautiful island of Nantucket offers food and shopping. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.


A weekend in Cape Cod or Nantucket?

Cape Cod is a small town where visitors enjoy the shopping and food. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. This beach destination offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Nantucket is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this island makes for a great vacation. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Nantucket, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Five days in Cape Cod or Nantucket?

Cape Cod is a small town with plenty to do. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. If you have five days, this beach destination makes for a great vacation. It's also a great beach destination, too. Five days should give you a good understanding of everything this beach destination has to offer.

Nantucket is a popular choice for travelers. It's no surprise that food is why people visit. Five days is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

A week in Cape Cod or Nantucket?

Cape Cod is a popular choice for travelers. One week here is typical. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Cape Cod, one week is sufficent for most. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Nantucket is a great place to explore. It's no surprise that food is why people visit. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This island offers something for everyone.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from New York City, The Best 2-Week Tours from New York City, The Best 2-Week Tours from Anchorage, and The Best 2-Week Tours from San Francisco.


Which place is cheaper, Nantucket or Cape Cod?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Cape Cod is $183, while the average daily cost in Nantucket is $350. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Cape Cod and Nantucket in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Cape Cod $92
    Nantucket $237
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Cape Cod $184
    Nantucket $474
Compare Hotels in Cape Cod and Nantucket

Looking for a hotel in Cape Cod or Nantucket? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Cape Cod


Hotels in Nantucket


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Nantucket Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Cape Cod $50
    Nantucket $47

Is it cheaper to fly into Cape Cod or Nantucket?

Prices for flights to both Nantucket and Cape Cod change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Cape Cod $60
    Nantucket $81

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Cape Cod $27
    Nantucket $34

Tours and Activities in Cape Cod

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Cape Cod.

  • National Seashore Tour with Guided Hike: $65
  • 3-Hour Private Sightseeing Outdoor Escape Game in Eastham: $39
  • Cape Cod Explorer Tour: $80
  • Cape Cod Self-Guided Driving Audio Tour: $17
  • Cape Cod Sunset Kayak Tour: $80
  • Kayak The Creek Nature Tour: $80
  • Mayflower Trolley Tour!: $38
  • Plymouth Puzzling Adventure: $35
  • Private Open-Air Pedicab Tour in Provincetown: $117
  • Private Province Town Pedicab Tour: $149
  • The Anne Hutchinson Tour of Provincetown: $30
  • Truro Cape Cod Lighthouse and Highland House Museum Tour: $65

Tours and Activities in Nantucket

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Nantucket.

  • Beyond the Cobblestones Self Guided Walking Tour of Nantucket: $7.50
  • Discover Nantucket Self-Guided Biking or Driving Tour: $13
  • Nantucket Coast to Coast Self-Guided Biking or Driving Tour: $13
  • Explore at Your Own Pace Self-Guided Audio Tour: $8.00

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Cape Cod $19
    Nantucket $35


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Cape Cod and Nantucket, we can see that Nantucket is more expensive. And not only is Cape Cod much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Cape Cod would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Cape Cod and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Nantucket would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Nantucket than you might in Cape Cod.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Cape Cod Expensive? and Is Nantucket Expensive?.



When is the best time to visit Cape Cod or Nantucket?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Cape Cod or Nantucket in the Summer?

Both Nantucket and Cape Cod are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Cape Cod for the beaches, the hiking, the small town charm, and the family-friendly experiences. Also, many visitors come to Nantucket in the summer for the beaches, the hiking, the small town charm, and the family-friendly experiences.

In the summer, Cape Cod is around the same temperature as Nantucket. Typically, the summer temperatures in Cape Cod in July average around 68°F (20°C), and Nantucket averages at about 68°F (20°C).

In July, Cape Cod usually receives around the same amount of rain as Nantucket. Cape Cod gets 3.8 inches (96 mm) of rain, while Nantucket receives 3.8 inches (96 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Cape Cod 68°F (20°C) 
    Nantucket 68°F (20°C)

Should I visit Cape Cod or Nantucket in the Autumn?

Both Nantucket and Cape Cod during the autumn are popular places to visit. Many visitors come to Cape Cod in the autumn for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, the small town atmosphere, and the natural beauty of the area. Furthermore, most visitors come to Nantucket for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, the small town atmosphere, and the natural beauty of the area during these months.

In October, Cape Cod is generally around the same temperature as Nantucket. Daily temperatures in Cape Cod average around 53°F (12°C), and Nantucket fluctuates around 53°F (12°C).

Nantucket gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Cape Cod. Cape Cod usually gets around the same amount of rain in October as Nantucket. Cape Cod gets 4.4 inches (111 mm) of rain, while Nantucket receives 4.4 inches (111 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Cape Cod 53°F (12°C) 
    Nantucket 53°F (12°C)

Should I visit Cape Cod or Nantucket in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Cape Cod and Nantucket. Most visitors come to Cape Cod for the shopping scene and the cuisine during these months. Furthermore, the winter months attract visitors to Nantucket because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

The weather in Nantucket can be very cold. Cape Cod can be very cold during winter. Cape Cod is around the same temperature as Nantucket in the winter. The daily temperature in Cape Cod averages around 31°F (-0°C) in January, and Nantucket fluctuates around 31°F (-0°C).

Nantucket receives a lot of rain in the winter. Cape Cod gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In January, Cape Cod usually receives around the same amount of rain as Nantucket. Cape Cod gets 4.2 inches (106 mm) of rain, while Nantucket receives 4.2 inches (106 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Cape Cod 31°F (-0°C) 
    Nantucket 31°F (-0°C)

Should I visit Cape Cod or Nantucket in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Cape Cod as well as Nantucket. The spring months attract visitors to Cape Cod because of the beaches, the small town charm, and the natural beauty. Additionally, the beaches, the small town charm, and the natural beauty are the main draw to Nantucket this time of year.

In the spring, Cape Cod is around the same temperature as Nantucket. Typically, the spring temperatures in Cape Cod in April average around 45°F (7°C), and Nantucket averages at about 45°F (7°C).

It's quite rainy in Nantucket. Cape Cod receives a lot of rain in the spring. Cape Cod usually gets around the same amount of rain in April as Nantucket. Cape Cod gets 4.1 inches (103 mm) of rain, while Nantucket receives 4.1 inches (103 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Cape Cod 45°F (7°C) 
    Nantucket 45°F (7°C)

Typical Weather for Nantucket and Cape Cod

Cape Cod Nantucket
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 31°F (-0°C) 4.2 inches (106 mm) 31°F (-0°C) 4.2 inches (106 mm)
Feb 32°F (-0°C) 4.6 inches (117 mm) 32°F (-0°C) 4.6 inches (117 mm)
Mar 38°F (3°C) 4 inches (102 mm) 38°F (3°C) 4 inches (102 mm)
Apr 45°F (7°C) 4.1 inches (103 mm) 45°F (7°C) 4.1 inches (103 mm)
May 53°F (12°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm) 53°F (12°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm)
Jun 62°F (17°C) 3.6 inches (91 mm) 62°F (17°C) 3.6 inches (91 mm)
Jul 68°F (20°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm) 68°F (20°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm)
Aug 68°F (20°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm) 68°F (20°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm)
Sep 62°F (17°C) 4.2 inches (106 mm) 62°F (17°C) 4.2 inches (106 mm)
Oct 53°F (12°C) 4.4 inches (111 mm) 53°F (12°C) 4.4 inches (111 mm)
Nov 46°F (8°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm) 46°F (8°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm)
Dec 36°F (2°C) 4.5 inches (115 mm) 36°F (2°C) 4.5 inches (115 mm)