Traveling to Martha’s Vineyard can sometimes seem daunting due to the extra steps you need to take to arrive at the popular summer destination. But we’re here to tell you that it can be as easy as 1,2,3 if you know what to expect!
Although we have a full blog on how to get to the island, whether it’s by plane or boat, we wanted to give you 10 tips for planning the ideal Martha’s Vineyard family vacation. These travel tips are tried and tested from recommendations of hundreds of travelers that have visited the island over the years, along with insider travel tips from local islanders themselves.
Travel Tip #1: Decide what season you’ll be visiting.
Martha’s Vineyard is a popular summer destination - typically visited by the hundreds of thousands between June and September, but every season provides a special set of environments that are thoroughly enjoyable on island. For young couples with babies, a great time to visit is in the spring and fall, while the crowds aren't as thick. It’s easier to get around island sidewalks with strollers when the crowds are minimal. For families with kids older than 4, the height of summer is prime, with farm camps, beach outings, and so much more! For adult travelers, nothing is better than a fall getaway to Martha’s Vineyard.
Travel Tip #2: Plan how you’ll arrive.
You can easily fly into Boston Logan Airport and catch a Cape Air flight onto the island, but do keep in mind these flights are on smaller aircrafts, so if your family is large, just remember that you might be on separate flights. Other families prefer landing in Boston and either driving or taking a Peter Pan Bus to Woods Hole, where they catch the Steamship Authority Ferry to the island. Either way, look at schedules, timings, and book any tickets you can in advance. Peter Pan Bus has a great app to purchase tickets via mobile!
Travel Tip #3: Lighten your load, rent baby equipment on island.
Instead of trying to bring every possible piece of baby equipment you might need, larger items like strollers, high chairs, cribs, and more can be rented on island for easy of travel.
Travel Tip #4: Book accommodations with separate sleeping areas.
Especially if you’re traveling with younger children, having a separate area like a small living room in your suite, will make it so much easier to put them to bed at their usual times. Better yet, suggest adjoining rooms where you can check on them easily.
Travel Tip #5: Before arriving, call hotel to confirm your reservation and request anything you might need (baby cribs, cots, extra towels).
A quick, two-minute confirmation call saves a lot of headaches before your arrival. Let them know if you’re planning to check in late night or double check they’ve put you in a room with the correct amount of beds. That quick call helps everything go smoothly the moment you arrive.
Travel Tip #6: Decide whether you’ll be using public transportation or renting a car.
The island is incredibly easy to get around if you choose not to rent a car. You can take a local cab company, ride a bike down the streamlined bicycle paths between the towns or even walk in the downtown areas. In all reality, if you’re arriving on island with children over the age of 10, not renting a car is ideal and helps you avoid having to find parking spots during peak season. If you’re traveling with young babies that need strollers, car seats, and a few diaper bags, a car makes more sense and you can rent one from any of these agencies.
Travel Tip #7: If visiting from October - May, call ahead.
Due to our seasonality, some island businesses change schedules once the fall begins, so just make sure to call ahead to make sure your top picks are open. Some restaurants tend to be closed Monday-Tuesday during the off-season, so plan your trip knowing this. But remember that the island is open year-round. With 17,000 people living here 12 months a year, there are always open businesses.
Travel Tip #8: Pack light.
This is a travel tip for any location you’re visiting. Traveling with just a carry-on is infinitely easier than traveling with checked luggage. Plus, the less you pack, the more space you’ll have for beach plum jelly, MV Sea Salt, Mudrick’s Fudge, and any other locally made product we know you’ll fall in love with! But if you do have a lot of luggage and want to store it, you've got options.
Travel Tip #9: Research tours and exhibits you’d like to visit.
Martha’s Vineyard is home to a variety of tours and local exhibits all year long - make sure to include some during your trip. Whether you’re looking to walk the haunted streets of Edgartown with a ghost expert or a foodie in search of the next delicious bite, the island has it all!
Travel Tip #10: Slow down.
“You’re on island time” might be a cliche, but it’s an honest one. Once the ferry docks or the plane lands, relax - you’ve just arrived at one of the most relaxing New England communities. Make sure to book yourself a massage, take daily walks on the beach, and read a good book!
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