Martha's Vineyard Travel Guide

Hop aboard the Martha’s Vineyard ferry and be whisked off the coast of Massachusetts to an exclusive getaway. The beaches and bicycling entice many visitors to the shores of the Vineyard, while others are drawn by gourmet food, the arts, and opportunities for sailing. Martha’s Vineyard vacations are family friendly and offer a relaxed vibe that only a beachfront location can provide. Book your Martha’s Vineyard vacation rental and find out for yourself what all the hype is about!

What to Do in Martha's Vineyard

Martha's VineyardThe first thing to do in Martha’s Vineyard is to relax. The island is isolated from the mainland, and a ferry or flight is required to reach its peaceful shores. Water is the best way to reach the vineyard, and this method of transportation starts your vacation off with beautiful views approaching the island. Located just seven miles off the coast of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard is reached by many ferries (including long distance options to Rhode Island and Hyannis.)

Martha’s Vineyard restaurants are one of the island’s chief pleasures. The retreat environment of the island encourages visitors to relax over the course of a meal, to enjoy a glass of wine and good conversation. The quality of Martha’s Vineyard restaurants has made the island a popular place for destination weddings and other special events.

Martha’s Vineyard vacations are also an opportunity to get your family active. Would your kids be interested in learning how to sail? Book lessons for the whole family. Looking for an on-land adventurous activity the family can enjoy? Rent bicycles for an afternoon of exploring the island. Does someone in the family have a fascination with wildlife? Plan an afternoon picnic and bird-watching tour, and remember to bring the binoculars!

During an active vacation, it is still essential to relax. Sandy beaches and clay cliffs provide the perfect backdrop for a serene getaway. Grab a novel or magazine, or bring beach toys to keep the kids occupied in the surf.

From the moment you step off the Martha’s Vineyard Ferry, there is a feeling of being immersed in an artistic, creative community. The arts are on display in galleries, shops, and boutiques–with many opportunities for visitors to bring a little something home. Don’t leave the kids home for this one, they will find the photographs and paintings fascinating as well.

Martha’s Vineyard vacations haven’t changed over the years–the pleasures of food, environment, and company still dominate. A vacation rental fits perfectly with this motto. The pleasant summer weather rarely gets too warm, and the Vineyard is the ideal place to rent a large house and bring together family and friends.

If it happens to rain one day, there is more to do beyond the beaches as well. The Martha’s Vineyard Film Society shows international films year round. Another popular attraction is the Flying Horses Carousel (the oldest carousel in the United States) that will thrill your kids.

Martha's Vineyard SightseeingBefore you even step off the Martha’s Vineyard Ferry, you may be encouraged to make your trip an annual one. The glitz of other beaches is completely absent from the Vineyard, and privacy of the celebrity residents is always respected by locals. Don’t be surprised to see a famous face sitting at the next table at one of the top Martha’s Vineyard restaurants.

For the curious traveler, tours of Martha’s Vineyard are available. Bus or van can help you to explore the different sides of the island and visit the most popular cultural attractions. Some of the most popular historical sites include the Old Schoolhouse Museum, West Chop Lighthouse, and the Old Whaling Church.

Surprise your kids with a horseback riding tour at sunset or even a scuba excursion. Plan some father and son time with the tradition of fishing, or charter a boat for a private family tour. With golf, canoeing, and kayaking as options–it will be impossible for any family member to be bored during Martha’s Vineyard vacations.

Pack your walking shoes and hit the trails to work off your indulgent dinner from one of the delicious Martha’s Vineyard restaurants. Miles of unspoiled shoreline offer endless views. Some local favorites include standing atop the 150-foot cliffs at Aquinnah or picking fresh berries in the woods. From wildlife sanctuaries to forest preserves, opportunities for outdoor adventure are endless.

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What to See in Martha's Vineyard

While most visitors plan Martha’s Vineyard vacations for the beach, surf, outdoor activities, and dining–there are also attractions that are worth a look. Don’t miss out on the Seamen’s Bethel Museum, the William Street Historic district, and the Edgartown Lighthouse. Be sure to see the cliffs at Aquinnah, Cedar Creek Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, and Wasque Reservation (one of the Vineyard’s best fishing holes.)

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Where to Shop and Eat in Martha's Vineyard

Martha's Vineyard VacationWork up an appetite as you sail, surf, or scuba dive in Martha’s Vineyard. The end of the day offers one of the most difficult choices for travelers, where to have dinner? There are Martha’s Vineyard restaurants for every appetite and palate, with a strong feature of local seafood.

Fresh fish and lobster form the core of memories for Martha’s Vineyard vacations. The restaurants in Tisbury, West Tisbury and Chilmark are BYOB while those in Oak Bluffs, Edgartown, and Aquinnah will serve alcohol. Whether you choose casual dining or an upscale night out, the fresh ingredients of the Vineyard will awaken your senses!

Zephrus Restaurant is a local favorite, open year round, serving the daily catch and earning rave reviews from some of the country’s most prestigious publications. If you need a break from seafood, head for the BBQ restaurant Smoke’n Bones. Island food is at its finest at the Zagat rated Lure Grill, while The Beach Plum Restaurant has earned praise from Food and Wine Magazine.

While Martha’s Vineyard restaurants are a favorite of visitors–shopping is just as adored. Art, jewelry, antiques, and a variety of handmade goods all make shopping a special experience. From hand-woven rugs to unique pottery, the crafts on Martha’s Vineyard will make it difficult to go home empty handed.

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When to Visit Martha's Vineyard

The number of visitors aboard the Martha’s Vineyard ferry skyrockets in summer time, especially from June through Labor Day when children are out of school. The busiest weekends of the year include Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day. A small population lives on the island year round, and some of the best Martha’s Vineyard restaurants remain open all year. Mild summer temperatures lure back visitors to the Vineyard each year.

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What to Bring to Martha's Vineyard

Martha’s Vineyard vacations are laid-back and casual. Bring comfortable, informal clothes and plenty of sunscreen. Keep your kids entertained at the beach with toys, books, and boogie boards. Comfortable walking shoes will make biking and hiking a pleasure. Remember a dressy outfit or two to enjoy finer Martha’s Vineyard restaurants.

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Local Services in Martha's Vineyard

The Martha’s Vineyard Ferry brings visitors to Cape Cod, other local Massachusetts destinations, and even beyond to Rhode Island and New York. An airport has many charter flights. Some of the towns on the island are dry and don’t sell any alcohol (including restaurants). Visitors will be able to find a post office, bank, and grocery stores to suit their needs.

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What to Know About Martha's Vineyard

Martha’s Vineyard has earned a reputation as an exclusive escape where people are allowed to relax. This fact has made the Vineyard a popular getaway for celebrities and politicians, including even President Obama. Blend in with the locals by giving celebrities their privacy. Adopt the pace of the Vineyard during your vacation, and enjoy a slower, more relaxed attitude to life!

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Getting to Martha's Vineyard

Transportation to Martha’s Vineyard is varied and simple. While there is no bridge or tunnel connecting the island to the mainland, visitors still have a few options. Two airports are located on the island: Martha’s Vineyard Airport and Katama Airfield. The most popular way to reach the island is with the Martha’s Vineyard Ferry. While some ferries are seasonal, others operate all year. The Steamship Authority will bring your car aboard the ferry, but reservations in advance are a necessity. If you’re feeling like a splurge, hire a private boat charter to whisk you away to your Martha’s Vineyard vacation rental!

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Why Martha's Vineyard Vacation Rentals?

Martha’s Vineyard vacations demand the space that a vacation rental provides. Getaway with your family or friends, and enjoy stepping out from your balcony directly on to the beach. Prepare local seafood in your own kitchen, and keep costs down by planning your own clambake. There is no better place to have a home away from home than the beach–and Martha’s Vineyard is no exception. Watch the sunset and the stars come out from the deck of your own private vacation rental, and you’ll never book another hotel room again.

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