The unspoiled charm of Martha’s Vineyard is probably best exemplified by its pristine beaches. Beaches vary from protected, shallow, clear-water stretches on the northern and eastern sides of the Island to expanses of rumbling surf along the south side of the Island. Some beaches are open to the public without restriction, while others are reserved for residents and summer visitors who are staying in the towns where the beaches are located. Visiting this time of year means you actually have access to many of the Island’s most adored — but often exclusive — beaches. Once mid-September rolls around, most of the restrictions are lifted and some of the most coveted patches of sand become accessible to everyone.
Here’s some of our favorite gems that we’re excited to get back to this fall.
Lambert’s Cove Beach
Lambert’s Cove Beach is conveniently located off of Lambert’s Cove Road in West Tisbury on the north shore of the Island and is only a 10-15 minute drive from the Steamship Authority in Vineyard Haven. There’s ample parking at the beach lot and resident permits are only required mid-June through Labor Day. From the parking lot expect about a 10-minute walk to the sand via a wooded path that is relatively flat. If you’re visiting without a car, the Vineyard Transit Authority bus system does make a stop at the beach from mid-May through late September. Upon arriving to the beach you’ll be awestruck by the stunning views across the Vineyard Sound, including the Elizabeth Islands to your north, Falmouth and Woods Hole to your northeast and Aquinnah to your west. Equally as impressive as the views at Lambert’s Cove Beach is the soft white sand, which is possibly the nicest and most luxurious of all Island beaches. The ocean is very clear and relatively warmer here than at many of the south shore beaches. The water is also significantly more calm, making it more ideal for swimmers than surfers or boogie boarders. Sunsets on Lambert’s Cove Beach can often rival those seen at Menemsha Beach, with the sun often going down over an obstructed view of water. It is not uncommon to visit Lambert’s Cove beach on a fall evening and find several groups of people out enjoying the night, possibly eating dinner on the sand or having a sing along or playing live music near the shore.
Lucy Vincent Beach
Lucy Vincent Beach is located off of South Road in Chilmark and is a Chilmark-resident or renter-only beach during the summer months from 10am to 5pm. Breathtaking rock formations line this beach’s coast, making for a dynamic and uniquely different landscape when compared to many of the Island’s other beaches, and it has been said that this coastline looks similar to beaches found in the northwest of the United States. A look out to sea offers expansive views of the Atlantic Ocean and Nantucket Sound. Lucy Vincent also offers soft, clean sand and active surf for those looking to catch a wave. It’s also known as a nude beach among some longtime residents so don’t be surprised if you see someone sunbathing in the buff. Visit in the early morning and you’ll find local photographers with their tripods trying to catch a beautiful beach sunrise. Click here for map, details on getting there and seasonal permit information.
Squibnocket or “Squibby” is another resident only beach along the south shore of Chilmark that reopens to the public in September. The coast here is a bit rockier than nearby Lucy Vincent but it’s known for its strong waves and great surf, making it a favorite spot among local surfers. Earlier this spring the beach reopened after a massive excavation bridge building project that altered the landscape here. A new 44-space parking lot was also added and is conveniently located near shore, offering a short walk to the water.
Another great private beach to rediscover in the fall is Philbin Beach, which is only accessible to Aquinnah residents in the summer. This time of year you can visit this surf heavy beach via Moshup Trail.
Wherever you choose to explore, you’ll find idyllic scenery and picturesque patches of paradise along our tranquil shores. Just remember all beaches reserve a Carry In, Carry Out policy – so be sure to take your trash with you.
For a full list of Island beaches click here.
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