There are activities for young and old: leisurely sightseeing and birding, strolling along one of many pristine beaches, or experiencing miles of bike and hiking trails, in kayaks or canoes.
Martha’s Vineyard constantly thrills visitors with an ever-changing landscape. From the majestic red clay Aquinnah Cliffs, to breathtakingly beautiful beaches, freshwater ponds and meadows; every day brings brilliant colors and vistas to explore.
The Vineyard gained its reputation as a leading tourist destination primarily because of its very pleasant summer weather — during many summers the temperature never breaks 90°F — and many beautiful beaches. In general, the summer season runs from June to the end of August.
Each of the six towns, Vineyard Haven, Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, West Tisbury, Chilmark, and Aquinnah, offer their own brand of hospitality. From simple to sophisticated, all are enchanting, and engaging. Activities include street fairs, fireworks, farmers markets, the Agri-culture Fair, golf tournaments, and festivals of art and music, and offer the promise of lifelong memories.
The five historic lighthouses are unique in personality and majesty. Edgartown, East Chop and Gay Head lighthouses are open to visitors. For more information, visit the Martha's Vineyard Museum website or call 508.627.4441.
Be sure to treat yourself to a ride on the Flying Horses Carousel in the heart of Oak Bluffs. It is the nation's oldest operating platform carousel and a National Historic Landmark. This treasured carousel has been enjoyed by Vineyarders and visitors for more than a century.
Historically, it was home to one of the earliest known deaf communities, and consequently a special dialect of sign language, Martha's Vineyard Sign Language, developed on the island. It is home to the colorful and historical Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah).
The beauty of this magical place touches all who visit. Discover the magic that keeps visitors coming back time and again.
The Steamship Authority to Martha's Vineyard is a quick 45 min ride and is the only ferry that will transport cars to the Vineyard.
The Towns of Martha’s Vineyard
Aquinnah, in the west, boasts the National Landmarks of the Gay Head clay cliffs and the historic red-brick lighthouse and is home to the Wampanoag Native American Tribe
Chilmark, a bucolic town of rolling farmlands, amazing vistas and the authentic fishing village of Menemsha offering not only the most perfect beach to enjoy sunset, but also some of the best fishing and freshest seafood you’ll ever find. Chilmark was known for 150 years as the “Town that Spoke By Hand” and is the birthplace of American Sign Language.
Edgartown, the eastern most point, was the Vineyard’s first town and is the largest, as it includes the island of Chappaquiddik as well as the beautiful South Beach in Katama. Edgartown, which boasts two historic lighthouses, was founded by whaling captains and retains that historic feel in its gardens and architecture.
Oak Bluffs is known as a very laid back and family friendly town with lots for the kids, including the historic Flying Horses carousel, wonderful green spaces, beaches with gentle surf for the kids and the iconic “Gingerbread Cottages”.
Excellent shops, fine restaurants, and a beautiful harbor are only a few of the attractions that make Vineyard Haven so special to tourists and residents alike. The town that incorporates Vineyard Haven is called Tisbury, after a parish in England near the birthplace of the Island’s first governor, Thomas Mayhew. English settlement of the area dates from the mid-1600s, when Mayhew purchased the settlement rights from the Crown. Owen Park, off Main Street (just beyond the shopping district), honors one of Vineyard Haven’s whaling captains. The town beach here is a fine place to watch the harbor. Ferries shuttle in and out, providing the Island’s year-round connection to the mainland.
It was the mill site that originally attracted settlers, because there was no stream in Edgartown strong enough to dam for a water wheel. The grist mill gave way in 1847 to the manufacture of satinet, a heavy fabric for whalemen’s jackets made from Island wool. The Congregational Church on State Road is always open to visitors. Solid and settled as it now looks, even this structure did not escape the Islanders’ penchant for moving buildings around. The original churchyard, where the first settlers of the town are buried, is about a quarter of a mile down the road. Near the church is the West Tisbury Town Hall. Several old houses here started out as inns, back when a trip from the down-Island ports to Aquinnah or Chilmark was a long haul over sandy roads. Daniel Webster stayed at the house next to the store building. Across the little pond from the old inn is the site of a house built by Miles Standish’s son in 1668.