Planning a vacation can be stressful - especially in the summer. Your mind is swirling in a sea of sunscreen, barbecues, pool parties, and bug spray. As if that wasn’t enough stress, wanting to go somewhere fun and interesting on a budget can definitely pile on some anxiety. If you’re looking to escape the heat while not tossing your wallet into the wind, look no further than Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. Located just off the beautiful and historic Massachusetts coast, it’s the perfect destination for summer. It doesn’t get too hot and boasts tons of events that everyone in the whole family can enjoy. Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard is also a great option for couples, large or small groups of friends, and seniors. In this post, we will explore all options for events from July to the end of the summer.
Summer Events in NantucketIn June, both the Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard Chambers of Commerce kicked off their summer season with a book festival followed by a film festival. If you missed these events, don’t worry! You still have plenty of chances to enjoy this area starting in July. During the weekend of July 18-21, Nantucket will be hosting its annual Art & Artisan Show. Over 60 artists and artisans from all over the country gather here to display their most prized creations. Some of their products will include furniture, pottery, glass, folk art, antiques, and textiles. The most important part about this event, however, is that it functions as a fundraiser for early childhood education and care. Proceeds from this event will be donated to the Nantucket education system to help better the lives of local students.
Next up on the docket is the Nantucket Atheneum Dance Festival from July 22-27. This festival draws dancers and dance enthusiasts from all over the country due to the high caliber of performing artists that participate. Some of these performers hail from prestigious institutions like the New York City Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. The dance festival isn’t just for dancers, though. It features numerous film screenings, classes, and workshops all leading up to two performances.
After a short hiatus at the end of July, the chamber of commerce will keep the vibes of summer going with a Boston Pops concert on the Nantucket shore. On August 10th, the famous Jetties Beach will host this explosive concert by the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra. The concert will feature both classics and long-time favorites, and end in a breathtaking fireworks display. It isn’t quite the 4th of July but keeping the celebratory part of summer alive in August is possible in Nantucket.
The last event during the Nantucket summer season will take place during the week of August 10-18. This week is known nationally as Nantucket Race Week and draws yacht enthusiasts from all over the world. In addition to a slew of parties, galas and award ceremonies over these 9 days in August, the world-renowned Nantucket Regatta takes center stage for most of the Nantucket visitors. This annual boat race is a large part of the North American Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge Series. It is the oldest classic sailboat race on the East Coast, so it holds deep historical significance.
Summer Events in Martha’s VineyardMartha’s Vineyard is located about 40 miles west of Nantucket and is also hosting a slew of exciting events throughout the summer. Its July kick-off event is another famous boat race, the Vineyard Cup Regatta, from July 12-14. Thousands of sailboats drop anchor at Martha’s Vineyard for this exciting weekend of races.
The next event on Martha’s Vineyard is not until the first weekend of August, so you can do a bit of island hopping to fill those three weeks. The Book Festival takes place on August 3rd and 4th and is a haven for book lovers from all over the country. Big-name authors and editors gather during this weekend to share their literary works and gain inspiration for new ones.
On the evening of August 14th, Martha’s Vineyard becomes something like a magical movie scene for the Grand Illumination festival. Warm, twinkly lights spot the coast of Martha’s Vineyard to create a warm, dream-like atmosphere. Visitors are encouraged to pick up some Chinese and Japanese lanterns when they arrive. The lighting ceremony is followed by a performance by the local Vineyard Haven Band.
The very next day, the annual Martha’s Vineyard Livestock Show and Fair will begin. This event is a 157-year tradition and is famous for its old-fashioned, nostalgic activities. Some examples of these “old-timey” events are fiddle contests, skillet tosses, a horse pull, and a good old-fashioned woodsmen competition. Of course, what would a fair be without rides, a Ferris wheel, and food vendors? The Livestock Show and Fair is from August 15-18th.
Finally, Martha’s Vineyard will close out their summer season with their annual Vineyard Artisans Labor Day Festival. This event will be on August 30th and September 1st and is the largest art show on Martha’s Vineyard every year. More than 70 local artists and craft-makers gather and showcase their finest work. In addition to arts and crafts, there will be food trucks, live music, and meet and greets with artists. It’s the perfect place to put a cap on an amazing summer.
Summer planning does not have to be a pain. If you’re looking to escape the heat or try something new, the beautiful New England coast is the perfect destination. Whether you’re looking for fairs, boat races, or even a lights festival, you’re bound to find something for every member of your family. Both Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard are tourist hotspots during the summer due to its uniqueness and versatility. You really don’t need to look any further than Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard off the coast of beautiful and historic Massachusetts. This summer, join the locals for great food, music, and exciting events that are nothing short of memorable.