There are five public playgrounds on Nantucket. I will rank them in order of my preference.
Children’s Beach – off Harbor View Way
Jetties Beach – 4 Bathing Beach Road
Sconset – Cod Fish Park
Tom Nevers – End of Tom Nevers Road
Winter Park – Essex Road
Children’s Beach and Jetties are the most popular. Both have access to concessions, public restroom facilities and the beach. If you have really small kids, both Jetties and Children’s Beach have more age appropriate play structure that is rated for kids 2-5, but my 18 month old likes it just fine. There are also swings at both beaches, baby swings and big kid swings. Another perk is that both beaches are Lifeguarded. Though watch the changing of the tides at Jetties, the undercurrents can be quite strong. The safest for swimming is probably Children’s beach, there is virtually no movement in the water.
After Children’s and Jetties I think Tom Nevers is the next best. There is a great view of the ocean and it is never as crowded as town. You will find Tom Nevers Playground if you follow Tom Nevers Road all the way to the end. The equipment is suitable for all ages and don’t forget to take your complementary Nantucket Cribs beach toys, because the substrate on the playground is sand.
Finally, there is a playground on Essex Road called Winter Park. I don’t really frequent either. They do have two areas – one for smaller kids, and one for big kids. Though inevitably, the little kids want to be with the big kids and the play structure can be quite dangerous for the little guys. Essex/Winter Park playground is my least favorite. Though it is well maintained and the wood-chips are always plentiful, the field surrounding it doesn’t drain properly and it is a breeding ground for mosquitoes – so much so that you can see the larvae swimming around in the puddles. There is also no toilet, so it never makes our list – since my kids need to pee every five seconds.