Cities Journal

An Island Refuge In Massachusetts

Most visitors to Nantucket, an island 30 miles south of Cape Cod, don’t go far from the quaint, cobblestoned streets of town or the beaches along its southern coast. However, you should make time for the island’s less-known north shore, where sand is home to nesting shorebirds, lazy seals, and the Great Point lighthouse.

This is the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge, Nantucket’s most unspoiled place. To get there, rent a boat and ferry over to Coatue, or drive north along the beach (for this you’ll need a permit) to Great Point. The refuge has numerous habitats for coastal plant and animal species, including heather and beach plum, a maritime oak forest and savannah of red cedar – the largest in New England – which offer shelter to deer.

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