If you’re looking for a great day trip from Cape Cod, look no further than Martha’s Vineyard.
This beautiful island is located just off the coast of Massachusetts and offers something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in hiking, biking, swimming, or simply relaxing on the beach, Martha’s Vineyard has it all.
In this guide, we will give you a rundown of what to do, see, and eat when you visit this wonderful place.
Basic information about Martha’s Vineyard
Martha’s Vineyard is a small island located just 7 miles off of the Cape, which makes it an ideal day trip or place to visit for the weekend. The island is about 30 miles long and has a population of around 15,000 people and booms with tourism during the summertime.
Despite its small size, Martha’s Vineyard offers something for everyone. From beaches and hiking trails to restaurants and bars, there’s something for everyone on this beautiful island.
The Vineyard is a world apart, where you can explore six island towns: Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven, Aquinnah, Chilmark, and West Tisbury – each with its own unique ambiance.
How to get to the Vineyard
Visting the Vineyard is easy, thanks to multiple quick options depending on your starting destination.
Take the Ferry
Boats to the Island sail from Hyannis, Woods Hole, New Bedford, Nantucket (all in MA) and seasonally from Quonset, Rhode Island.
Hy-line Cruises offers year-round high-speed ferry service from Hyannis to Oak Bluffs.
The Steamship Authority accommodates cars and accepts online reservations.
Cape Air also offers year-round plane service to Martha’s Vineyard Airport from Hyannis, Boston, Hyannis, and Nantucket, as well as Providence and New Bedford.
Visiting Martha’s vineyard without a car
Depending on where and how long you plan to stay, you may or may not wish to bring a car.
Many visitors choose to forego Island parking and leave their cars on the other side. With so much to see and do on the Island, you can easily get around by public transit, bikes, mopeds, rental cars, and on foot.
The Vineyard Transit Authority (VTA) bus system conveniently connects the towns of Oak Bluffs, Edgartown, and Vineyard Haven with the more rural “up-Island” towns of Aquinnah, Chilmark, and West Tisbury.
Things to do on Martha’s Vineyard
There is no shortage of things to do on Martha’s Vineyard. Some of our favorite activities include:
Hiking and biking: There are dozens of hiking and biking trails on Martha’s Vineyard, so you’re sure to find one that suits your needs. The island is also home to the Martha’s Vineyard Bike Trail, which is a scenic 12-mile trail that runs along the coast.
Swimming: There are many beaches on Martha’s Vineyard, so you’re sure to find one that you like. Some of our favorites include South Beach, East Beach, and state beach.
Relaxing: If you’re looking to relax, Martha’s Vineyard is the perfect place. There are many beach clubs and spas on the island, so you can sit back and enjoy the view. Or stroll through the streets and window shop before grabbing lunch at a quaint restaurant or cafe.
Where to Go on Martha’s Vineyard
The Cedar Tree Neck Nature Preserve in West Tisbury, offers unspoiled woods, a freshwater pond and brooks, and marked trails ideal for bird watching and walking.
The Gay Head Cliffs
The Gay Head Cliffs are a must-see for any nature lover. These beautiful cliffs offer stunning views of the ocean and are a great place to relax and take in the natural beauty of the island.
Take in the Picturesque New England Charm
The seaport village of Edgartown, the Island’s first colonial settlement, has been one of the world’s great yachting centers for the past hundred years. Famous for the stately white Greek Revival houses, built by whaling captains, many well preserved houses in Edgartown predate the whaling era. It is one of New England’s most elegant communities.
Aquinnah (formerly known as Gay Head), known for spectacular clay cliffs, is a large peninsula on the Island’s southwestern end.
The Martha’s Vineyard Lighthouse
The Martha’s Vineyard Lighthouse is a must-see for any visitor to the island. The lighthouse is located on the south side of the island and offers stunning views of the coastline.
The Martha’s Vineyard Museum
The Martha’s Vineyard Museum is a great place to learn about the island’s history. The museum is home to a variety of exhibits, including a replica of an old-time whaling ship.
Flying Horses Carousel
The Flying Horses Carousel is a must-see for any child (or child at heart). This carousel, which is located in Oak Bluffs, is one of the oldest and most famous carousels in the country.]
Other Special Events on Martha’s Vineyard
Tisbury Street Fair
Not to be missed, is the Tisbury Street Fair, a teeming party event along Main Street in Vineyard Haven. On July 8th The Town of Tisbury celebrates its birthday with this spectacular annual street fair.
One of the most popular summer spectacles on the island is Illumination Night, a Vineyard favorite, celebrated annually in August. Chinese paper lanterns are ornately hung outside the brightly painted Gingerbread Cottages of Oak Bluffs, making for a truly special scene in town.
Another gala festivity is the annual August Fireworks display held in Oak Bluffs, with live music by the historic Vineyard Haven Band in picturesque Ocean Park.
Be sure to visit the colorful Flying Horses Carousel while there on Oak Bluffs Avenue!
Where to eat on Martha’s Vineyard
There are many great restaurants on Martha’s Vineyard, but here are a few of our favorites:
The Beach Club
The Beach Club is one of the most popular restaurants on the island. This beachfront restaurant offers stunning views and delicious seafood.
The Black Dog Tavern
The Black Dog Tavern is a must-visit for any fan of the iconic black Labrador retriever. This restaurant is known for its delicious food and friendly atmosphere.
Cafe Moxie is a great place to get coffee and pastries. This cafe is located in the heart of downtown Oak Bluffs and is a great place to relax and take in the local atmosphere.
Best Shopping on the Vineyard
The Vineyard is home to many great shops, but here are a few of our favorites:
The Black Dog General Store
The Black Dog General Store is a must-visit while there for its New England vibe.This store offers a variety of iconic Black Dog merchandise, as well as other items such as clothing, jewelry, and home decor.
Grab lunch at the Tavern as well as mentioned above!
The Vineyard Vines Flagship Store
The Vineyard Vines Flagship Store is the perfect place to find preppy clothing and accessories. This store is located in Edgartown and offers a wide selection of Vineyard Vines apparel.
Madeline’s is a great place to find unique gifts and souvenirs. This store is located in Vineyard Haven and offers a wide variety of items, including local art, jewelry, and pottery.
Where to stay on Martha’s Vineyard
Get a peek from the past with the boutique hotel Summercamp, located in Oak Bluffs right on the harbor. They play on the history of MV being used as a summer camp destination for the Methodist church, and give plenty of opportunities for fun while stay in stylish modern accomodations.
The Inn at Five Corners
The Inn at Five Corners is a great place to stay for its convenient location. This inn is located in the heart of Edgartown and is within walking distance of many shops and restaurants.
The Mansion House
The Mansion House is a great place to stay for its historic charm. This inn is located in Vineyard Haven and offers stunning views of the harbor.
The Wesley Hotel
The Wesley Hotel is a great place to stay for its modern amenities. This hotel is located in Oak Bluffs and offers a fitness center, an outdoor pool, and free WiFi.
There are so many great places to visit that it can be hard to fit them all in during one trip.
We hope this guide has given you a good overview of what to do, see, and eat on Martha’s Vineyard. We know you’re going to love this beautiful island!