What is Martha’s Vineyard?
Martha’s Vineyard is a small island located right off the coast from Cape Cod, MA. The island has six towns and has a total land area of 100 square miles. The Vineyard is an extremely popular destination for vacations as it is well known for its beautiful beaches, lighthouses, shops, restaurants, and more. I live around 10 minutes away from the Island Queen Ferry during the summer, so I have been to the Vineyard many times and it continues to be one of my favorite places that I have visited!
How to get there
Because the Vineyard is an island, the only way to get to the island is by boat or by plane. Now this may sound extremely isolating, but the island is full of activity and you don’t even notice. There are several ferries that takeyou to the Vineyard that depart from various locations (listed below)
- The Island Queen: Departs from Falmouth Harbor (MA) and arrives at Oaks Bluff, Martha’s Vineyard
- The Steamship Authority: Departs from several locations including Woods Hole, Hyannis, and Nantucket (MA). These will bring you to Oak Bluffs or Vineyard Haven.
- Hy-Line Cruises: Departs from Hyannis and Nantucket (MA) and arrives at the Vineyard
- Martha’s Vineyard Fast Ferry: Departs from Quonset Point Terminal (RI) and arrives in the Vineyard
- And more! Click here to see more.
If you plan to fly over these airlines will help you safely arrive at the Vineyard’s airport located in West Tisbury:
- Cape Air
- Tradewind Aviation
- Jet Blue
- Delta Airlines
After you arrive in the Vineyard, your opportunities are endless! The Vineyard is a tourist attraction for many outsiders because there is so much to do. Through my several visits I have been fortunate enough to experience some of the best activities within the Vineyard, but there is so much more to do that I have not got to yet!
The Vineyard’s beaches are one of my favorite parts about going to the Vineyard. I have only been to two, but they are both absolutely stunning.
norton point/south beach
Norton Point Beach and South Beach are conjoined, but Norton Point is open for cars while South beach is open to walk-ons. If you only want to swim for a little while, I would recommend going to South Beach because accessing the beach is extremely easy. If you want to spend several hours on the beach, then Norton Point is your best bet. Deflate the tires on your car, pack up a lunch, and spend the day on the beach. The beach has barely any rocks and is a great place for waves.
Lighthouse Beach came highly recommended to me and is known for its calmness and beautiful surroundings. There are little to no waves and there is a lighthouse (hence the name) that provides a stunning view you climb to the top. There is vegetation surrounding the lighthouse and a beautiful trail that leads through the beach.
Because the Vineyard is a tourist attraction during the summer, there are a wide variety of shops to chose from. Here are a few shopping centers in the Vineyard:
CIrcuit avenue in oak bluffs
The Island Queen’s dock is at this location so I have visited Circuit Avenue numerous times. The Avenue has numerous stores that include restauaraunts, dessert shops, clothing stores, jewelry stores, martha’s vineyard trinkets, and more. The Avenue has a store for everyone and is filled with options.
Similar to Oak Bluff’s shopping avenue, Edgartown center has the same types of shops and is known for its food.
Martha’s Vineyard is completely surrounded by water and there are a variety of ponds throughout the island as well. With all of this water, the Vineyard has PLENTY of exciting, water activities for all ages.
Regular Kayaking & Kayak Surfing
Kayaking is a great water sport that I happen to be really bad at. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it! I went in Katama Bay and there was a slight current but our group was able to kayak for several miles. Now when I go to the vineyard I stay with a very adventurous family who introduced me to kayak surfing. If you are like me I had absolutley no idea what this was. Kayak Surfing “is the sport, technique, and equipment, used in surfing ocean waves with kayaks.” Now the Vineyard does have some waves so it is very doable, but it is not as extreme as it sounds. When I went I was in a two-person kayak and I let my partner lead the way. The goal is to make it out far enough to ride the waves back into shore on the kayak. Kayak surfing is definitely not for younger kids as it can be dangerous if the kayak flips over (I’ve had firsthand experience with that), but if you are adventurous and always looking to try new things, I highly reccomend trying.
During my stay on the vineyard I was able to go sailing for the first time in Edgartown Great Pond/Katama Bay. Of course I did have the help of more experienced saillor, but there are many ponds throughout the island that can host similar activities. Although I was not very good at it, sailing was very relaxing and I would definitely try it again in the future. I sailed on an oday daysailer whuch held around three people, but Sailing Martha’s Vineyard offers a variety of sailing services and rentals for those who do not own a boat.
Paddle-boarding is one of the best workouts during the summer time. Not only does it test your balance (I’ve had my fair share of whipeouts), but it also tests your strength especially if you are going against the current. I went in Katama Bay where there was a strong current so you really had to work those muscles! Winds Up is Martha’s Vineyards hub for water sports and offers a variety of rentals.
The Aquinnah Clay Cliffs is one of my absolute favorite spots on the Vineyard. There is a stunning view of the water, vegetation, and beautiful clay cliffs. You definitley do not want to leave your camera at home for this trip. Parking can be a little difficult on nice, summer days, but there is a parking lot that costs $15/day or there is free parking at the cliffs, but it is only for 30 minutes. There are several small shops and restauraunts at this location so making a day of it is not a bad idea!
Katama Bay is a great place to participate in any water sports. I have kayaked and paddleboarded in the bay myself, but I have also seen others windsurfing and kiteboarding.
Jaws Bridge is one of the most popular destinations when traveling to the vineyard. The bridge is famous for its use in the iconic Jaws movie, and the bridge is now used to jump off of for fun. I have jumped off a variety of times and it is definitely a must visit as it holds both historical significance and it serves as a fun activity.
The wharf’s “colorful history dates back to the mid-19th century, when the primitive dock served as a stopping-off point for seabound whalers.” The dock is located in Edgartown and provides a great view of the harbor.
Chappaquiddick Island, also known as Chappy, is an island that is a part of Edgartown. You must take a 2 minute ferry to get there (Chappy Ferry) which usually becomes pretty backed up in the summertime. There are no stores on the island and it is renowned for it’s beaches feeling private and the beautiful nature.
Getting around the island is very simple because of the extensive bus routes, taxis, biking paths, and more.
The Vineyard’s Transit Authority is the well-known bus company that dominates transportation throughout the Vineyard. I have been on the buses myself dozens of times and getting point A to point B is quite easy. In my experience there have been a few cases of poor customer service, but the bus company has never failed to get me to where I need to be. Something I have learned (the hard way unfortunatley) is to always check your belongings before you leave the bus company. I lost my phone on the bus and only twenty minutes after getting off the bus, tracking it was close to impossible as someone had taken it. The buses are very safe and are commonly used throughout the island and have relatively inexpensive tickets.
Another great way to get around the island is by biking! On a nice day biking is one of the best ways to enjoy the outdoors and get in some good exercise at the same time. During my stay in the Vinyeard we took the Menemsha bike ferry to Aquinnah and then biked to the Gay Head Lighthouse which has absolutley fantastic views. We biked around 12 miles in total and it was a great way to get around the island.
Once getting off of any ferry you will see a variety of taxis and cab services awaiting your arrival. There are so many services on the Vineyard and it only takes a simple call for them to pick you up. Read more about the car services here.
There. Are. So. Many. Options. For. Food. See below some of my favorite restaurants as well as ones that have been highly recomended to me.
Fishbones Bar and Grill
Located in Oak Bluffs, Fishbones Bar and Grill has an extensive menu that includes an array of drinks, salads, chowder, sandwiches, tacos, burgers, and desserts. The grile is set on a harbor which provides a beautiful view of the sunset over the water.
The Red Cat Kitchen
The Red Cat Kitchen located in Oak Bluffs is a small, yet comfortable restaurant with a very tasteful menu. The best part about the restauarunt is it’s great music (ranging from the Rolling Stones to Bob Marley) and the artwork that lines the walls. There is always a peice of artwork you can look at while enjoying delicious food.
Lucky Hanks is a restaurant and cafe that serves breakfast (8:30am-2:30pm), lunch (11:30-2:30pm), and dinner (5pm-8pm). There is a huge menu of all different foods depending on the meal (click here to view).
The Right Fork Diner
This diner was one of the coolest places that I have eaten. The airpark tends to be very crowded with a wait, but while waiting one can view the small airplanes taking off. There is the option to ride biplanes that take off directly next to the diner and you can choose to do stunts in the air, or simply have a ride over the island.
The LookOut Tavern
The Lookout Tavern in Oak Bluffs “looks out” to the ocean and is always packed full of people–so expect a slight wait time. The menu is double sided and packed with options of sandwiches, salads, tacos, chowder, burgers, paninis, and sushi. There is a lot to choose from so you may have to make a tough decision.
Blissed out is a smoothie & juice bar located in Vineyard Haven that has tons of organic options. There are smoothies that combine all different fruits and veggies that have great reviews. The bar also serves pre-made wraps and healthy snacks. Because a lot of the products are organic the prices are more expensive but many visitors claim it to be worth it.
Book your ferry for the summer!
The Vineyard is one of my favorite places to visit during the summer due to the countless activites and beautiful lookouts that it maintains. As mentioned previously there are plenty of ways to get to the stunning island, so why not take a week to relax in paradise? I hope that this blog convinced you to visit (you’ll thank me later!). Comment below any places I missed or if you agree with my favorite spots. As always, thank you for reading my blog and feel free to share it !
Also I want to give an honorable mention to my bff Caroline who always hosts me to the Vineyard and brings me to all of these amazing places–Thank you Carol & Happy 18th Birthday! ❤