To be a kid on Martha’s Vineyard during the summer months is truly a dream come true. With miles of beaches to frolic on and dozens of ice cream shops to satisfy the their sweet tooths there’s no place they’d rather be. Headed to Martha’s Vineyard this season and curious what to do with the little ones? Here’s a helpful list of attractions to help keep them active and entertained.
Flying Horses Carousel
A ride on the Flying Horses Carousel is a rite of passage for every kid (and adult!). Bring the kids to the nation’s oldest operating carousel, now in its 143rd season, so they can try their luck with grabbing the coveted brass ring in hopes of winning an extra ride free of charge. Kids can also enjoy a variety of other smaller rides and arcade games while they wait to ride atop their favorite horse.
Oak Bluffs Game Room (Ryan Family Amusements)
Ryan Amusements Martha’s Vineyard Game Room on Circuit Avenue features over 75 video games and arcade games sure to bring out the kid in all of us. While the kids try their luck at skeeball you can browse the display case of prizes with nostalgic items from whoopie cushions to ring pops.
The Barn Bowl & Bistro
Further up Circuit Avenue is the Island’s only bowling alley, open year round, and offering a full bar and restaurant that’s a dining destination all on its own. Kids can enjoy bumper bowling and you’ll appreciate the air conditioned escape from the summer heat.
Pirate Adventures Martha's Vineyard
For the kids that love adventure, pirate booty and a chance to shoot water cannons at rogue pirates, Pirate Adventures offers a fully immersive experience. You and the kids can set sail on a pirate's treasure hunt along the shores of Oak Bluffs on a custom built pirate ship. The family friendly adventures invites the kids to dress up, assemble a treasure map, and retrieve a sunken treasure from the ocean floor. We promise you’ll have just as much fun as they will.
Island Alpaca Farm Fun
For animal lovers of all ages, Island Alpaca in Oak Bluffs is a must-visit. The original purchase of eight alpacas in 2004 has grown to a herd of over 50 colorful, friendly alpaca that graze at the farm today. Kids are invited to watch the animals, interact with them and assist with feedings. Their soft fleece makes for super soft, cozy clothes and adorable trinkets available in their expansive gift shop.
Island Cove Adventures
The Island's only mini-golf course, Island Cove Adventures is a super fun place to take the littles. The course features some of the coolest themed holes you'll ever play on. Plus, the snack bar offers delicious and freshly grilled burgers and sandwiches — and it's a little insider tip that Island Cove makes the best ice cream cookie sandwich. You pick the flavor, and they make them to order! YUM
Camps, camps, and more camps
Dozens of Martha’s Vineyard businesses and organizations offer summer camps and programs throughout the season that are sure to stimulate, educate, and inspire your little one. Aspiring farmer? The Farm Institute has a camp for that. Young artist? Featherstone has a camp for that. Free spirited adventure seeker? The YMCA has a camp for that too. Check out our full list of camps on Martha’s Vineyard and find the perfect place to nurture your child’s interests all summer long.
Farming on Martha’s Vineyard is a family affair, most farms owned by local island families for years. Because of the terroir and climate, island farms focus on a few specific regional produce items, but work well together to supplement each other. While one if growing the best tomatoes you’ll ever taste, the other is harvesting the sweetest strawberries you’ll ever experience. Believe it or not, there are about 40 farms on island, some year round and others purely seasonal, supplying not only retail customers, but restaurants and chefs throughout the island. Check out this interactive map put together by the Martha’s VIneyard Times of All Our Farms in One Place, thanks to Slow Food MV, Living Local MV, and Island Grown Initiative. Below, we are listing five of the forty farms we think are staples to island life and we suggest visiting them and supporting local farmers!
Morning Glory Farm
Morning Glory Farm, started in 1975 by James and Deborah Athearn, grows about 65 acres of vegetables and small fruits on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. These acres are spread out all over the island, but their farmstand is located on Edgartown-West Tisbury Road. When we referenced the sweetest strawberries you’ll ever taste, this is the place. Come June, they will start harvesting the berries and you must get their early if you’re looking to score a pint, because they go fast! Make sure to also check out their Strawberry Festival during the same month - a delightful way to spend the day eating strawberries and tasting delicious strawberry focused recipes by their bakers and chefs.
The FARM Institute
The FARM Institute is located on the historic Katama Farm, a farm that dates back to the early 1900s. It is home to a breeding herd of 23 cows, Belted Galloway and American British Whiteparks; 25 breeding ewes, mostly Cotswolds; over 300 laying hens including Barred Rocks, Rhode Island Reds, and Araucana among others; and every year they also raise around 50 Heritage Breed Turkeys. Produce, eggs, and meat available at farm store. They also host classes, summer camps, and more during the summer, so make sure to check them out if you’re traveling with kids.
Island Alpaca Company of Martha's Vineyard began in 2004 with the purchase of 19 acres of land and an antique post-and-beam barn. The alpaca's are a delight to visit on the farm, and guests are encouraged to meet the alpacas. The farmstand offers handmade goods, many of which is made from the alpaca wool. We especially love their soft blankets!
The Grey Barn
A certified organic farm, The Grey Barn produces and harvests cows, pigs, sheeps, chickens, ducks, vegetables, and fruit. But what they are really known for is their award-winning cheeses that come from the gorgeous milk that their dairy cows produce. Recently awarded one of the 25 Most Important Cheeses in America by Bon Appetit Magazine, their Bluebird cheese is one of the best, period. You can purchase it, along with any of their other cheeses, at their farmstand.
Mermaid Farm & Dairy
You might know Mermaid Farm & Dairy for their refreshing mango lassis, which make the trip up island well worth it. But their self-serve farmstand is packed with other things such as meat, seasonal vegetables, raw milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, and yarn, and is open from dawn to dusk year-round. You can also find them at the West Tisbury Farmers Market, every Saturday, summer and winter.
Get more great info on Martha's Vineyard farms here!
It’s no secret that the arts scene on Martha’s Vineyard is thriving. From fine art galleries to various local artisan shops and markets, Martha’s Vineyard is home to hundreds of artists creating all sorts of interesting and eclectic work. An art lover on Martha’s Vineyard doesn’t have to go far to find world class art, unique finds and friendly artists willing to share the story of their craft.
Here’s our picks for making the most of our artistic community.
Visit the Vineyard Artisans Festival
Since 1995 the Vineyard Artisans Festival has worked to bring together fine art and fine crafts while promoting Island artists and artisans. Representing over 120 artists, the Artisans Festival provides the perfect one stop shopping experience to explore the creative and inspiring work of the talented people that call Martha’s Vineyard home. From jewelry, to pottery, paintings to metalsmithing, mixed media and photography, the Artisans Festival has it all. The Artisans Festival returns to the Grange Hall in West Tisbury on Memorial Day weekend, and takes places regularly on Sundays and Thursdays throughout the summer.
Experience Featherstone Center for The Arts
“Featherstone” as the locals call it, is a community arts center that keeps the pulse of the Island’s art scene beating all year long. Situated on six acres of stunning meadows in Oak Bluffs, Featherstone offers ongoing education and enrichment programs for art lovers of all ages. Catch a show or reception at one of the campus’ main galleries or expand your skill set with a class or workshop in pottery, photography, drawing, ceramics, music and more. In season catch a live outdoor concert during their Musical Monday series, or their Thursday night Jazz events. Featherstone’s "Flea and Fine Arts Market" also features Vineyard artists displaying their jewelry, art, clothing and crafts on Tuesdays throughout the summer.
Browse dozens of local art galleries
You could spend a full week trying to visit all of Martha’s Vineyard’s diverse and exquisite art collections, and it would be a good use of your time. In the summer months many play host to artist receptions, talks and ongoing exhibits and programs. For the most bang for your buck head to the Oak Bluffs Arts District, a short and colorful stretch of businesses and homes along Dukes County avenue including the renowned fine art photography of Alison Shaw, the Periwinkle Gallery featuring the work of longtime Island painter Judith Drew Schubert, and the Martha’s Vineyard Center for the Visual Arts, an artist that presents work by 12 local artists who have received grants from the organization. Equally as art friendly is downtown Vineyard Haven’s Main Street, packed with galleries including the Louisa Gould Gallery, the Simon Gallery and the Night Heron Gallery, an artist owned and operated cooperative gallery. Up-Island West Tisbury is home to the famous Granary Gallery at the red barn, which has been a favorite destination on Martha’s Vineyard since 1954. Celebrated as the oldest and largest gallery on the Island, find the famed art of painters, photographers, sculptors, craftsman, and jewelers. Nearby is the Granary’s sister space, the Field Gallery, which offers a whimsical, photo worthy outdoor sculpture garden.
Return for Fall for the Arts
Each fall, Martha’s Vineyard, along with Cape Cod and Nantucket, dedicates the entire month of October to a celebration of the arts. Fall for the Arts strives to initiate and sustain conversations among artists, patrons, and the public. The initiative encourages visitors to enjoy the as-yet under-appreciated autumn “shoulder season,” when temperatures cool slightly, and the largest crowds disperse, making for a more tranquil Vineyard experience. Galleries and studios stay open for the festival, and signature events unique to the Island take place every weekend.
Want more? Check out our Arts & Culture page.
Martha’s Vineyard is an obvious destination for a family vacation, couples retreat, or a girls getaway, and a weekend with the guys is no exception. The Island is the perfect place for a casual stay, offering all sorts of activities that cater to guys that just want to unwind, relax, and forget about the stresses of life “on the other side.”
Here’s our top three suggestions for planning an unforgettable guys getaway on Martha’s Vineyard.
Golf, golf, and golf some more.
Martha’s Vineyard is home to some of the most impressive greens on the East Coast. President Obama famously golfs Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs as often as possible during his vacations here, along with President Clinton too. Farm Neck’s eighteen holes are situated on over 265 acres, including woodlands, open meadows, salt marshes, and stunning overlooks atop the water's edge. Farm Neck has continually earned a 4 ½ out of 5 star rating in Golf Digest's “Best Places to Play,” and is considered by many to be one of the most coveted golfing experiences in the Northeast, not to mention the Farm Neck Cafe is a destination in itself for foodies of all kinds.
Mink Meadows in Vineyard Haven is another golf lover’s paradise, located in West Chop, the northernmost peninsula of the town of Tisbury. Designed and constructed in 1936, “The Mink”, as it has often known, is a semi-private facility featuring rolling terrain with ocean views and a challenging course that can be played as a nine or eighteen-hole experience. Mink Meadows offers a membership but welcomes non-members, who can make tee times up to two days in advance. The course is open year round, weather permitting, and off-season memberships can be easily obtained at a discounted rate.
The Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown is probably the Island’s most elite walking course situated on 235 preserved acres. The course opened in the summer of 2002 and a new front nine debuted in 2013, with a completely redesigned back nine following in 2015. GOLF Magazine named Vineyard Golf Club the “Best New Private Course” of 2015. The Vineyard Golf Club dining room also enjoys a reputation as one of the best restaurants on Martha’s Vineyard.
If your group is looking for a more casual course try the Royal & Ancient Chappaquiddick Links on Chappaquiddick Island, or “Chappy” for short. The course is considered a hidden gem, offering a quirky nine-hole green in one of the most wooded, secluded parts of the Island. For an extra Island experience be sure to take the green keeper’s shuttle from the Chappy Ferry to the course.
Hop aboard a fishing charter or local boat excursion.
On Martha’s Vineyard fishing is not just a hobby it’s a way of life, and Island waters offer some of the best fishing in New England. Our beautiful, bountiful waters are home to striped bass, bluefish, bonito, false albacore (“albies” for short), scup, sea bass, and fluke. Venture further offshore and you’ll find yellowfin and bluefin tuna, sharks (mako, blue, and thresher), swordfish, marlin, and mahi mahi. For those guys that want to throw a line in the water consider chartering a fishing boat and learning from the local pros. For those that score something big and delicious for dinner, consider hiring one of the Island’s private chefs to cook it up for you.
If you’re looking to get extra competitive be sure to visit during the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Tournament. The 73rd “Derby” takes place September 9 to October 13.
Tour our local breweries.
video by David Welch for Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce | Visit MV
Let’s be honest, generally speaking most guys getaways likely involve beer at some point. Martha’s Vineyard is home to two outstanding local breweries, Offshore Ale in Oak Bluffs and Bad Martha’s in Edgartown.
Offshore Ale Company is the only brew-pub on-Island, serving award winning small batch craft beer year round since 1997. The brewery offers several varieties from crisp and malty to bold and hoppy, amidst a casual “boathouse-style atmosphere.” Housed in the iconic City Ale and Oyster building (the business’ original name that still decorates the front of the building today), Offshore Ale is located at the corner of Kennebec and Healy avenues in Oak BLuffs. The brew pub has become well-known among locals and visitors alike, a popular gathering place that also offers wood-fired pizza, local seafood, live music and peanut shells littering the floor. Reservations are recommended for brewery tours and happen regularly throughout the week.
Bad Martha’s Farmers Brewery and Tasting Room is located on Main Street in Edgartown amongst the beautiful flowers and greenery of Donaroma's Nursery. Bad Martha’s boasts a 7-barrel brewing system that creates fresh beer daily. Cheese plates, charcuterie, crudité and other snacks are available while you sip, as well as outdoor games, live music and distinctive merchandise. Stop by for a free sample, or a flight paddle from May through October.
The Island is also home to Washashore Beer, a Vineyard born beer organically brewed in Maine. Look for their colorful taps and cans at Island bars and restaurants, including such creative titles as Boy Meets Girl, Boy Meets Boy and Girl Meets Girl.
Ready to book your trip? Check out our helpful directory of Island lodging options.
Martha’s Vineyard, an island off the coast of Massachusetts that has become the prefered summer destination to hundreds of families for decades. For those of you visiting us for the first time, you might be a little confused as to how to get to the island and eventually, how to get around said island while on vacation. We’re here to tackle all your questions, concerns, and overall comments - so here are our top ten travel tips to getting to (and around) Martha’s Vineyard!
1. There are only TWO ways to get to Martha’s Vineyard: you can fly into the MVY Airport or take one of the many ferries from the mainland. Check out Vineyard Ferries for details on all the ferries you can take to Martha’s Vineyard. If you’re flying, carrier options include Cape Air, JetBlue, Delta, and American Airlines - more details on getting to MV by plane.
2. If you want to bring your car on island, you must take the ferry. No, there are no bridges connecting the island to the mainland. Driving from the mainland to the island and back is a dream for islanders, but still not a reality.
3. If you still want to fly in and need a car, there are many car rental businesses on island ready to rent you a car, SUV, Jeep, or van. Car renting is common for visitors spending a few weeks on island at a time!
4. Ask your hotel if they provide parking for your car. Depending on the town and the time you are on island, parking in town might be difficult, as the main streets do get very crowded during prime times.
5. Don’t want to bring a car? Rent a moped! When renting a moped, ask as many questions as possible. It’s a big responsibility as you will be on the rode with automobiles, so safety first. Always wear helmets, close toed shoes, and respect the rules of the road at all times. When riding at night, make sure to wear extra lights and bright clothing.
6. Don’t want to rent a moped? Rent a bicycle! There are so many locally owned bicycle shops on island and you can’t go wrong with any of them! Renting a bike will cost you between $20-45 a day - check out bike rental rates and ride safely! The island has some fantastic bike paths between towns, so it’s the perfect way to explore.
7. Don’t want to rent a bicycle? Buy a Vineyard Transit Authority Bus Pass! Buying a bus pass is a great way to get around the island comfortably. The daily bus pass cost is $8 (2018 rate) and gets you to every town. Here’s a great informational article from the VTA on how to explore the entire island in one day.
8. Don’t want to ride the bus? Walk/run! There are great walking trails and running paths in every town, and it’s a great way to burn all those calories from eating daily ice cream cones and lobster rolls.
9. Take a tour of the island! Whether you're here for the day or for the season, don't miss anything Martha's Vineyard has to offer and take a tour. From tour buses and vans, walking tours, food tours, lighthouse tours, and on-the-water tours, there's a tour for all guests.
10. Don’t want to do any of the above? Call a local taxi company! Locally owned taxi companies are a great way to support island economy and they are very helpful. Call a cab to go from the airport to your hotel and during the ride ask your driver for information on what to do on island! Here is a listing of taxi cabs on Martha’s Vineyard. Uber and Lyft during peak season are on island, but not as much as you’re used to in your hometown.
It's my job to love this place, and it's no work at all.