Martha's Vineyard – Travel guide at Wikivoyage (2024)

Martha's Vineyard[dead link] is an island 8 miles off the Cape Cod peninsula in Massachusetts. Once a whaling center, it has become a vacation hotspot and a favorite summertime haven of many celebrities. Due to this, it has picked up the nickname "Hollywood East". It is the third largest on the eastern seaboard. It is believed to have been the inspiration of Amity Island, from the movie Jaws.



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Map of Martha's Vineyard

Martha's Vineyard is made up of six towns, each with a selection of restaurants and accommodations.

  • 1 Aquinnah — formerly known as Gay Head
  • 2 Chilmark — including the fishing village of Menemsha
  • 3 Edgartown — which includes Chappaquiddick Island
  • 4 Oak Bluffs — often mistakenly referred to as Oaks Bluff
  • 5 Tisbury — including the main village of Vineyard Haven in the town center
  • 6 West Tisbury — the longstanding agricultural area of the island



Residents have come to say "up island" to mean western areas of the island -- Aquinnah, Chilmark and West Tisbury. Edgartown, Oak Bluffs and Tisbury are "down island." These terms refer not to north or south, but to longitude. (From the island's whaling past....)

Celebrities have been coming to Martha's Vineyard for decades. Locals have gotten used to them and scarcely seem to notice any more. It's considered impolite to stare.

South-facing beaches have the most surf. Uncle Seth's Pond on Lambert's Cove Road is the only freshwater beach and has only very limited parking.

Get in


Vineyard Haven, also called Tisbury, is the main port of entry for the Steamship Authority Ferries.

  • Steamship Authority Ferries, 65 South St, +1 508 477-8600. Hyannis. From Woods Hole (Falmouth) and Vineyard Haven (year round) or Oak Bluffs (mid-May to mid-Oct). The only line that carries autos. Make reservations well in advance if you're taking your car.
  • Martha's Vineyard Fast Ferry, 1347 Roger Williams Way, +1 401 295-4040, Quonset Point, North Kingstown, Rhode Island. Between North Kingstown (at Quonset Point), Rhode Island and Oak Bluffs.
  • Island Queen, +1 508 548-4800. Falmouth harbor from Oak Bluffs.
  • [formerly dead link] New England Fast Ferry, 49 State Pier, New Bedford, MA, +1-866-683-3779. To/from New Bedford, Massachusetts. One hour.
  • Hy-line Cruises, 49 State Pier, New Bedford, MA, +1 508-778-2600. From Hyannis and Oak Bluffs.

By plane


  • 1 Martha's Vineyard Airport (MVY IATA), Airport Rd (off West Tisbury Rd), +1 508-693-7022.
    • Cape Air, +1-800-352-0714. Regional airline serving Hyannis, Provincetown, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket with service also to the off cape cities of Boston, Providence (seasonal), and New Bedford.
    • American Airlines, Service from Washington (DCA).
    • JetBlue, +1-800-JETBLUE (5382583) offers seasonal service from JFK and BOS on its 100-seat Embraer E190 Jet aircraft.

Get around


By bus


  • Martha's Vineyard Transit Authority, +1 508 693-9440, fax: +1 508-693-9953, 11 A Street, Airport Business Park, Edgartown. Buses run all over the island. $1 each way per town you go through or buy passes. 1 day $10, 3 day $15, 7 day $25, 31 day $40.



  • Adamcab, +1 508-627-4462, +1-800-281-4462.
  • All Island Taxi, +1 508-693-2929, +1-800-693-TAXI (8294).
  • Atlantic Cab, +1 508-693-7110, +1-877-477-8294.
  • Bluefish Taxi, +1 508-627-7373.
  • Jon's Taxi, +1 508-627-4677, +1 508-627-5298.
  • Mario's Taxi, +1 508-693-8399, +1-877-627-6972, +1 508-645-2377.
  • Martha's Vineyard Taxi Company, +1 508-693-8660, +1-877-454-5900.
  • Stagecoach Taxi, +1 508-693-9632, +1-800-299-5411.
  • Tisbury Taxi, +1 508-693-7660, +1-800-597-2362.
  • Your Taxi, +1 508-693-0003, +1-800-396-0003.
  • Admiral Taxi, +1-508-693-2020.

By bicycle or moped


Most of the vineyard's roads are accompanied by a bike path. Bike and moped rentals are available in several towns.

By car


  • A-A Island Auto Rental, +1-800-627-6333, +1 508-696-5300, Locations in Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, and Edgartown

By ferry


  • Menemsha Bike Ferry: +1 508-645-5154: a small ferry carries bicycles and pedestrians from North Road on the northeastern side of Menemsha Harbor to West Basin Road on the southwestern side of the harbor.
  • The Chappy Ferry: +1 508-627-9427: carries pedestrians, cyclists, and up to three cars between Edgartown and Chappaquiddick.



The Gay Head cliffs at Aquinnah are a "must see". Moshup Beach below the cliffs was also named as at top ten "walking beach" by the Travel Channel in 2003, beating out beaches in Hermosa Beach, California, and Maui. Menemsha is one of the few places on the east coast where you can see the sunset over the water.

The Martha's Vineyard Museum in Edgartown has excellent exhibits including the Thomas Cooke house, the Francis Foster Museum, the Captain Francis Pease House and Carriage Shed with coverage of whaling and Wampanoag history as well.



There are five lighthouses around the island: Cape Poge Lighthouse at the northern tip of Chappaquiddick near Edgartown, Edgartown Lighthouse in the town, Gay Head Lighthouse at thecwest end of the island near Aquinnah, East Chop Lighthouse in Oak Bluffs, and West Chop Lighthouse in Vineyard Haven (Tisbury).



The Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce[dead link] lists 19 beaches. They include:

  • South Beach, in the Katama section of Edgartown, is a large public beach with good surf. Free parking, a few miles bike ride from downtown Edgartown, or via the MV bus system.
  • State Beach, between Oak Bluffs and Edgartown, on Oak Bluffs Edgartown Rd, is a large public beach with practically no waves. A good beach for young children. Free parking available along Oak Bluffs Edgartown Rd.
  • Aquinnah Beach (Moshup Beach), at the far western end of the island, is a public beach with pay parking available. A small walk is required from the pay lots to the beach. This beach is known for the picturesque clay cliffs that rise up from the edge of the beach. Nudity has at times been common and tolerated on the northern end of the beach.
  • Lucy Vincent Beach, off South Rd in Chilmark (listed as Lucy Vincent Rd on some maps, it is a dirt road just before the big bend at Windy Gates Rd), is a private beach for town residents[dead link] during the summer. Nudity is allowed in the area that is more than 1,500 feet from the entrance. It is open to the public during the off-season, October 1 through May 31. A great beach.



  • Charter fishing
  • Horseback riding in West Tisbury.
  • Art galleries: The island also offers several first class art galleries for the art lovers making a visit. Several of the best are:
    • Island Art Gallery +1 508 693-3948 (Tisbury/Vineyard Haven)
    • All Things Millie Briggs: +1 508 693-9232 (Tisbury/Vineyard Haven)
    • Chilmark Gallery: +1 508 645-2587 (Chilmark)
    • Edgartown Scrimshaw Gallery: +1 508 627-9439 (Edgartown)
  • Golf: For those who like to add a challenge to their walks, the island offers several public golf courses.
    • Farm Neck Golf Course: +1 508 693-3057 (Oak Bluffs)
    • Island Cove Mini Golf: +1 508 693-2611 (Tisbury/Vineyard Haven)
    • Mink Meadows Golf Course: +1 508 693-0600 (Tisbury/Vineyard Haven)
  • Bicycling. As small as people think the Vineyard is, it covers 100 square miles and offers a great cycling opportunity to visitors. Most of the islands roads are accompanied by a bike path. With most of the island being relatively flat, this is a great opportunity for cyclists of all ages and levels to see the island in a different way and help reduce traffic congestion while doing so. The terrain up island tends to be a bit more hilly and windy. During tourist season the roads do get congested and care should be taken to keep an eye on street traffic and on pedestrians. Also, be sure to obey all traffic laws as they also apply to cyclists and be aware that all cyclists under 16 must wear a helmet.
  • Hiking: Several local groups have helped preserve many acres of land on the island, including miles of shoreline, for public use. This makes the Vineyard a great place to see on foot. Whether hiking the cliffs of Aquinnah or walking down to one of the great fishing spots available there is a hike to suit all visitors to the island.
    • Waskosim's Rock Reservation, Chilmark. Stand atop one of the highest peaks on the Island, travel alongside a pretty brook and trek across foothills and valleys on this 184-acre preserve.
    • Cedar Creek Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, West Tisbury. Miles of trails lead you over hills, alongside brooks and bogs and to a wonderful rocky beach on Vineyard Sound overlooking the Elizabeth Islands.
    • Aquinnah Cliffs and Beach. A spectacular view awaits at the top of these 150-foot cliffs, while miles of shoreline below invite walkers.
    • Public programs available all month long at the Massachusetts’ Audubon Center at Felix Neck.
  • Martha's Vineyard Sharks Baseball, Vineyard Baseball Park.

Annual activities


All towns


  • Annual Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby (Sep 15 - Oct 15)



  • Aquinnah Music Festival



  • Chilmark Road Race (August)


  • 4th of July parade and fireworks
  • 12 Meter Boat Race at the Edgartown Yacht Club (featuring many winning America's Cup boats)
  • Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby (early Fall)

Oak Bluffs


West Tisbury




The island supports a full range of restaurants from casual to fine dining.



There are two towns on the Island that permit the selling of alcohol: Edgartown and Oak Bluffs. A third town, Vineyard Haven, permits the serving of beer and wine (but no hard liquor) at restaurants, and only with meals. The remaining three towns -- West Tisbury, Chilmark and Aquinnah -- have a "BYO" policy at most restaurants, enabling diners to bring their own alcoholic beverages.



The island's only campground is in Tisbury.

The island of Martha's Vineyard features a surprising number of options for lodging. Victorian inns, sizable resorts, and private cottages are all available, residing mostly in Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven (Tisbury).



  • The island's newspaper since 1847 has been The Vineyard Gazette, 34 South Summer St., Edgartown.
  • A less stylized, more newsy island newspaper is the 'Martha's Vineyard Times.
  • Martha's Vineyard is home to one of the oldest "freeform" independent radio stations and early adopters of internet radio, WMVY at 88.7 FM and at
  • Martha's Vineyard has a unique low-power FM community radio station, WVVY at 93.7 FM. Its signal can also be heard clearly in Woods Hole and parts of Falmouth on the cape. Highly varied, eclectic music and news/affairs programming 7/24.

Stay safe


  • There is very little crime anywhere on Martha's Vineyard.
  • Beware of poison ivy, a low-growing vine (which may climb) with three shiny leaves. It can cause skin inflammation at any time.
  • Ticks can be a problem and may carry Lyme Disease. Also, ticks in Aquinnah, particularly at Moshup Beach, may carry Tularemia. Martha's Vineyard is the only place in the continental US where Tularemia has been known to be carried and transmitted by tick bite.
  • When you are at the beach, swimmers should be aware of jellyfish that float north in the summer. Jellyfish are common at the State Beach, on the Edgartown-Oak Bluffs connector.

Go next


  • Cape Cod
  • Boston
This region travel guide to Martha's Vineyard is a usable article. It gives a good overview of the region, its sights, and how to get in, as well as links to the main destinations, whose articles are similarly well developed. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.
Martha's Vineyard – Travel guide at Wikivoyage (2024)


How much time do you need to explore Martha's Vineyard? ›

Visiting Martha's Vineyard in just two days is ample time to dip your toes into what our island has to offer. If you're craving an even longer stay after your departure, though, don't be shy — Vineyard Square will happily assist you with planning a full island itinerary.

How walkable is Martha's Vineyard? ›

All three of the main port towns (Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, and Edgartown) are easily walkable. And since both Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs have ferries that service the towns May - October (Vineyard Haven, year round), your own two feet might just be all the transportation you need for your visit!

How long does it take to drive from one end of Martha's Vineyard to the other? ›

For reference it's about a forty five minute drive from one end of Martha's Vineyard to the other. There are six distinct towns on the island and each of them is worth visiting.

Is it worth it to go to Martha's Vineyard? ›

If you're considering a trip to Martha's Vineyard, you may be wondering if it's worth the effort. The answer is a resounding yes! This charming island off the coast of Massachusetts is a popular summer vacation destination for good reason. First of all, Martha's Vineyard is absolutely beautiful.

What are best months to go to Martha's Vineyard? ›

The best time to visit Martha's Vineyard, according to many New Englanders at least, is around either May or September.

Is Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard better? ›

Martha's Vineyard is the larger of the two islands and is also far busier. Its population swells to over 200,000 in summer, so you could run into some crowds. Nantucket is smaller and doesn't get as busy. If you're looking to relax and hit up a secluded trail or beach, it's worth considering.

How long is the ferry ride to Martha's Vineyard? ›

Travel between Woods Hole and Martha's Vineyard

If you are traveling to Martha's Vineyard, the trip takes only 45 minutes from Woods Hole.

Do you need a car at Martha's Vineyard? ›

If you're only planning a few days or a week, leave your car on the mainland. A sightseeing tour is a great way to see most of the Island, and the VTA bus can easily get you around.

How long is the Martha's Vineyard bus tour? ›

Island Bus Tours

Our full Island bus tour travels through all six Martha's Vineyard towns and takes approximately two and a half hours, including a stop at the majestic Aquinnah cliffs. No reservations needed.

Is Marthas Vineyard expensive? ›

Martha's Vineyard is the most expensive summer destination in New England based on the cost of lodging, according to a survey conducted by The survey compared 30 popular destinations in New England based on the rate for the cheapest double room during the month of August.

Is Cape Cod or Martha's Vineyard better to visit? ›

Cape Cod is suited more for families looking for activities that fit all ages; Martha's Vineyard makes the best spot for a peaceful and serene vacation. Both offer beautiful views and entertaining activities to spend your vacation in the best possible way. This guide compares Cape Cod vs.

What is the big deal with Martha's Vineyard? ›

It is known for being a popular, affluent summer colony, and includes the smaller peninsula Chappaquiddick Island. It is the 58th largest island in the U.S., with a land area of about 96 square miles (250 km2), and the third-largest on the East Coast, after Long Island and Mount Desert Island.

How long is the Martha's Vineyard ferry ride? ›

​The Steamship Authority operates ALL day, EVERY day from Woods Hole on Cape Cod. The trip between Woods Hole and Martha's Vineyard takes 45 minutes, and bicycles and pets are welcome. The ferry has refreshments, restrooms and WIFI.

Do you need a car to explore Martha's Vineyard? ›

If you're only planning a few days or a week, leave your car on the mainland. A sightseeing tour is a great way to see most of the Island, and the VTA bus can easily get you around.

What is so special about Martha's Vineyard? ›

Martha's Vineyard is renowned for its stunning scenery – with rolling hills, wildflower fields, and miles of pristine coastline. It also has some of the best seafood restaurants in New England and numerous activities and attractions that cater to all types of interests.

How many miles around is Martha's Vineyard? ›

Martha's Vineyard
Nickname: The Vineyard, The Rock
Major islandsMartha's Vineyard, Chappaquiddick
Area96 sq mi (250 km2)
Length20.5 mi (33 km)
Coastline200 km (124 mi)
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