Jetties Beach

Jetties Beach

Current Driving Status: Open to over-sand vehicle traffic

(closed May 1st – September 15th unless otherwise posted. Shorebird nesting and other factors may necessitate earlier restrictions)

Emergency Beach Access Number: 39

Current Beach Conditions:  

beach signs

Rules & Regulations 

  • Fishing is permitted with a state license, which can be purchased here
  • Dogs are allowed, providing they are leashed and licensed. Dogs and owners are not allowed in any dune vegetation, marsh grass, protected wildlife and other fenced areas at any time.
  • Bonfires, campfires, and fireworks are not permitted.
  • No kites (of any kind) or drones within 200 meters of any fenced shorebird habitat.
  • Alcohol is not permitted on public property.
  • Glass is not permitted on public beaches.
  • Smoking is not permitted on public property.
  • Please do not dig holes deeper than the waist. Fill in any holes before you leave the beach.
  • Beachgoers must stay at least 150 feet away from any marine mammal.

Basic Information

Jetties beach is one of the most popular beaches on the island, conveniently located on the north shore just outside of town. Jetties is named for the large rock jetties that have been guiding ships into Nantucket harbor since their completion in 1911. It is a wide, flat beach with shallow water and generous sand bars at low tide. Jetties is well used by families and children as it is one the most accessible beaches on Nantucket and does not require a long hike up and down a dune! There is a large parking lot, a restaurant, shops, restrooms and changing rooms nearby, as well as a playground. There are numerous events that happen at Jetties Beach during the summer, including the nationally-recognized Boston Pops event, the local 4th of July fireworks, and other large gatherings. Federally-protected shorebirds utilize this busy beach for nesting and breeding during the spring and summer months, so please respect any symbolic fencing and signage in place, and do not enter any fenced areas. Look out for signs stating “Restricted Area” that delineate shorebird habitat. 

Directions and Access Information

Located at 4 Bathing Beach Rd, Jetties Beach can be accessed a number of ways. Heading from the heart of town, drive up Easy St (below Main St) and take a left onto Broad St. Take a right shortly after onto South Beach St and follow it until you reach the four-way stop sign. Continue straight onto North Beach St. The most direct route is to take a right from there onto Bathing Beach Rd, however Jetties can also be accessed by following nearby Hulbert Ave until it also leads you to Bathing Beach Rd. The parking lot is located at the end of Bathing Beach Rd. Jetties is also easily accessed by bicycle and there is a seasonal bus service that drops you off right at the beach (pick-up in front of the Whaling Museum). There are four handicap-accessible parking spaces in the parking lot. 

Jetties Beach map

Beach Driving Information

Jetties is open for beach driving in the off-season. There are two access points – one directly from the Jetties Beach parking lot, and the other is located down a small trackway across from Charles St, off Hulbert Ave. Although the strip of accessible beach is short, it is still recommended to reduce tire pressure to between 12 and 15 PSI and engage the “4 HIGH” setting in order to avoid getting stuck. Only 4-wheel drive vehicles should attempt to drive on the sand, which is very soft. A beach driving permit, which can be obtained from the Town of Nantucket Police Department by clicking here, is required in order to drive onto Jetties Beach. There is a strict speed limit of 20mph when driving on the beach, which is reduced to 5mph when you are anywhere within 100 yards of a pedestrian. Shorebirds enjoy this beach as much as the public does, and Jetties remains viable habitat for nesting birds. Please stay within existing established vehicle tracks; driving through dune vegetation or creating new trails is not permitted. You may stop and park anywhere along the beach, however make sure to pull off the main trackway so that traffic can get by. 

Swimming and Recreation

Jetties beach offers some of the most ideal swimming conditions on Nantucket. Warmer water with gentle or non-existent waves, little to no current, and expansive sand bars that become temporary islands during low tide make this beach perfect for families, senior citizens, or people who just want to relax and float atop the ocean. Sand bars are great for kids to run along and play, make sand castles, and swim in the shallow channel between the sandbar and the shore. There are lifeguards on duty at Jetties beach during the summer months and there is a large seasonal boardwalk extending roughly 380 feet from the parking lot to the beach that makes the beach accessible for people who may have difficulty walking in soft sand. There is a restaurant, café, restrooms, shops, and changing room on site and a public tennis court nearby. Jetties is also great for shell and sea-glass collectors. Striped Bass are the usual target species for fishing at Jetties beach and can be caught both on the Nantucket Sound side and the Nantucket Harbor side of the Jetties throughout the season. Grilling on the beach is allowed, preferably with a charcoal or propane grill (please do not leave charcoal briquettes on the beach). Small, enclosed cooking fires located away from any flammable material or dune vegetation are allowed without a permit – please click here for further regulations on fires. Keep this beautiful beach clean – please carry all trash you produce with you off the beach and dispose of it in the proper provided receptacles.

Shellfishing and Water Quality

To ensure the safety of Nantucket’s beaches during the busy summer season, the Town of Nantucket Department of Health and Human Services conducts weekly sea water testing. Done in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the samples are collected weekly for analysis at the Barnstable County biolab, and coliform bacteria levels monitored to ensure safe swimming conditions. Should levels exceed safe margins for two consecutive weeks, the beach will be closed to swimming and monitored until it’s safe to return. 

The recreational scallop season runs from October 1 – March 31 and is open to all who carry a recreational shellfish permit from the Town of Nantucket. Permits are $35 for residents and $125 for non-residents, and are available at the Public Safety Facility at 4 Fairgrounds Road. Scallops taken must have a legal raised growth ring a minimum of 10mm from the hinge or are larger than 2.5 inches (63.5 mm) from hinge to shell. Quahogs and oysters can be harvested year-round under a recreational shellfish permit. Soft-shell and razor clam shellfishing is prohibited from June 15th – September 15th. A comprehensive list of Town of Nantucket Shellfishing Policy and Regulations, including daily harvest limits and shellfish sizes, can be found here. Shellfish area classification maps for Nantucket Sound and Nantucket Harbor sides of Jetties Beach are located here and here. For questions about any shellfishing closures, please contact the Department of Marine Fisheries directly. 

Wildlife 

Despite all of the people, music, and noise, wildlife still find a way to utilize Jetties Beach. In the winter months, Snowy Owls have occasionally been glimpsed at Jetties Beach. Throughout the year the Northern Harrier, also known as “Marsh hawk”, “Hen harrier”, or even as “Grey ghost” can be spotted cruising low over the dune in search of rodents or birds to prey upon. Sea ducks such as Common Eiders, Bufflehead, and Hooded Mergansers float just offshore. Spring and summer bring nesting Piping Plovers – the expansive, flat beach provides excellent habitat for Plovers to raise their young. The small Atlantic Slipper Shells and pebbles littering the beach offer good camouflage for tiny Plover chicks, and the gentle waves make for good foraging. Other birds also utilize the shoreline and crows and Herring Gulls are staples of Jetties Beach.  

Important Phone Numbers & Web Addresses

Nantucket Police & Fire Department (emergency) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 911

Nantucket Police Department (non emergency) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(508) 228–1212

Nantucket Fire Department (non emergency) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(508) 228–2324

Beach Hotline/ Marine Dept . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(508) 228–7261

Natural Resources Department . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(508) 228–7230

Coast Guard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(508) 228–0388

Environmental Police . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(800) 632–8075

Marine Mammal Stranding Team (via Police) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(508) 228–1212