Recent advances in nanotechnology have offered new hope for cancer detection, prevention, and treatment. While the enhanced permeability and retention effect has served as a key rationale for using nanoparticles to treat solid tumors, it does not enable uniform delivery of these particles to all regions of tumors in sufficient quantities. This heterogeneous distribution of therapeutics is a result of physiological barriers presented by the abnormal tumor vasculature and interstitial matrix. These barriers are likely to be responsible for the modest survival benefit offered by many FDA-approved nanotherapeutics and must be overcome for the promise of nanomedicine in patients to be realized. Here, we review these barriers to the delivery of cancer therapeutics and summarize strategies that have been developed to overcome these barriers. Finally, we discuss design considerations for optimizing the delivery of nanoparticles to tumors.