Martha’s Vineyard gained national attention as the setting for the movie Jaws in the 1970s, but notable figures were spending their summers soaking up the sun on this picturesque island off the coast of Cape Cod long before the movie. Cozy inns, fine dining, and golden-sand beaches characterize this scenic coastal retreat.
Martha’s Vineyard ranks among Massachusetts’ best summer escapes. Day-trippers often arrive by ferry in Vineyard Haven, the island’s main port, before heading out to the Victorian boardwalk atmosphere of Oak Bluffs or former whaling center of Edgartown. A typical guided day trip from Providence, Rhode Island includes a visit to the Edgartown Harbor Lighthouse and the Aquinnah Cliffs, a seafood lunch, and plenty of free time for shopping, exploring the streets lined with gingerbread cottages, or strolling along the beach.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Martha’s Vineyard is a must-visit for those looking for a relaxed coastal escape, and its calm beaches are ideal for families with children.
- A Martha’s Vineyard island tour from Providence can last upwards of 11 hours.
- Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat, as well as whatever you’ll need for the beach.
- Much of the island is “dry” but some restaurants allow you to bring your own beer and wine.
How to Get There
You can reach Martha's Vineyard only by air or sea. A number of ferry operators transport visitors from New Bedford, Rhode Island and the Cape Cod mainland to Vineyard Haven; a select few airlines fly into Martha’s Vineyard Airport.
When to Get There
The best time to visit the Vineyard depends on the atmosphere you’re looking for. It’s lively in the summer, when pleasant weather makes for appealing beach days. During the off-season, things quiet down significantly, offering more breathing room to enjoy the island free of crowds. If you plan to stay for the weekend between Memorial Day and Labor Day, be sure to book months in advance.
Martha’s Vineyard Best Beaches
Those looking for the perfect Martha’s Vineyard beach have plenty of options to choose from. Surfers should head to Gay Head Public Beach beneath the Gay Head Cliffs, while the gentle, clear waters of Menemsha Public Beach on the north shore attract families. For one of the best beaches near Edgartown, opt for a day at East Beach.