Nahant is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 3,410 at the 2010 census, which makes it the smallest municipality by population in Essex County. With just 1.0 square mile (2.7 km2) of land area, it is the smallest municipality by area in the state. It is primarily a residential community. The town is situated on peninsula consisting of two near-islands (known as "Little Nahant" and "Nahant" respectively) connected to the mainland by a narrow sandy isthmus traversed by a single causeway known as "Nahant Road". Numerous tourist beaches line the shores, with the most popular being the so-called "Long Beach" and "Short Beach" along the eastern side of the causeway.
Native Americans called the area Nahant, meaning "the point" or "peninsula." The original Indian name of the place, Nahanten, signifies twins or two things united, referring to the two connected islands forming it. Located on a tied island jutting into Massachusetts Bay, it was first settled in 1630, in the second year of the Puritan coming. The servants of Isaac Johnson grazed his cattle on the land, and it was also often used by citizens of Lynn for grazing cattle, sheep and goats. Before 1800 there were only three homes on the island: those built by the Breeds and the Hoods, and the Johnson home built by Jeremiah Gray.