Nantucket Triathlon (Nantucket, Massachusetts)
Credit: Lisa Frey / Nantucket Event Media

One could make the argument that no place better embodies summer in New England than the tony island of Nantucket, which is something close to paradise from June through August. Nobadeer beach, Brant Point Light, The Chicken Box; the island off the coast of Cape Cod is chock-full of iconic summer sights and sounds despite being, well, small.

And Nantucket doesn't solely cater to the mellow beachgoers and 4th of July revelers. The island's annual triathlon weekend takes advantage of temperate, oceanic breezes while providing triathletes with a chance to compete amid postcard-perfect beauty. With a route that takes competitors through the main part of town, along the beach, and everywhere in-between, it's no wonder that, in just five years, the Nantucket Triathlon has emerged as one of the best sprint distance triathlons out there.

Following on the heals of the triathlon is the Olympic-distance Hero Triathlon, which raises funds for veterans' groups. Though the charitable race is debuting this year, planners expect to draw an elite crowd – the scenery should help – and spark a fierce competition.

More information: Race day is Saturday, July 20, and you must be a USA Triathlon member to compete. The ACK Tri is free to spectators, and for those with can-do attitudes, there are volunteer spots available.