Exploring Paradise: Things to Do on Martha’s Vineyard

Paradise awaits on Martha’s Vineyard, a captivating island off the coast of Massachusetts, offering an array of enchanting activities to explore. 

From historic charm to natural wonders, this haven beckons travellers with its unique blend of cultural richness and scenic beauty. 

This guide will immerse you in the diverse experiences that make Martha’s Vineyard a destination like no other.

As we unveil the treasures of this island paradise, you’ll discover the best things to do, ensuring your visit is filled with memorable moments. 

Whether you’re drawn to the historic streets of Edgartown, the vibrant energy of Oak Bluffs, or the serene beauty of Aquinnah Cliffs, Martha’s Vineyard promises a tapestry of delights. 

Join us on a journey through family-friendly attractions, outdoor adventures, and culinary indulgences that define the essence of this coastal gem.

An Overview of Martha’s Vineyard

Martha’s Vineyard is an island located off the southern coast of Massachusetts. Martha’s Vineyard has become a popular destination for tourists and vacationers because of its picturesque landscapes, rich history, and affluent summer population. 

Here is an overview of the key aspects of Martha’s Vineyard:



Martha’s Vineyard is part of Dukes County and consists of six towns: Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Tisbury, West Tisbury, Chilmark, and Aquinnah.

The island covers an area of about 100 square miles and is characterized by rolling hills, sandy beaches, and diverse ecosystems.


Martha’s Vineyard has a long and storied history, with Native American Wampanoag tribes being the island’s first inhabitants.

European settlers arrived in the 17th century, and the island played a role in the whaling industry and agriculture.

Today, many historic sites, including lighthouses, colonial houses, and former sea captain’s homes, can be found on the island.


The island’s economy is largely driven by tourism, with visitors attracted to its scenic beauty, cultural events, and recreational activities. Fishing, agriculture, and the arts also contribute to the local economy.

Tourist Attractions

  • Beaches: Martha’s Vineyard boasts several pristine beaches, including South Beach, Katama Beach, and Menemsha Beach.
  • Aquinnah Cliffs: Also known as Gay Head Cliffs, these colorful clay cliffs in Aquinnah are a popular natural landmark.
  • Edgartown: A historic town with cobblestone streets, 18th-century homes, and a charming harbor.
  • Oak Bluffs: Famous for its vibrant gingerbread cottages and the Flying Horses Carousel, one of the oldest operating carousels in the United States.

Cultural and Social Scene

Martha’s Vineyard has been a favourite vacation spot for many well-known individuals, including celebrities and political figures. The island hosts cultural events, film festivals, and art exhibitions throughout the year.


Accessible by ferry or small aircraft, Martha’s Vineyard does not have a bridge connecting it to the mainland. The island has a network of buses, taxis, and rental cars for transportation.

Conservation Efforts

Efforts are made to preserve the island’s natural beauty, and several areas are protected for conservation purposes. Martha’s Vineyard has a strong commitment to environmental sustainability and conservation.

Martha’s Vineyard is not only a summer retreat but also a place rich in natural beauty, history, and a unique cultural atmosphere. The island’s blend of quaint charm, recreational opportunities, and cultural offerings makes it a distinctive and beloved destination.

10 Things to Do on Martha’s Vineyard

Nestled off the coast of Massachusetts, Martha’s Vineyard beckons with its captivating blend of scenic beauty, historic charm, and a wealth of recreational activities. 

From the tranquility of its beaches to the vibrancy of local markets, the island offers a diverse array of experiences. Let’s explore the top 10 things to do on Martha’s Vineyard, each contributing to the island’s unique allure.

1. Aquinnah Cliffs

Aquinnah Cliffs

Marvel at the breathtaking beauty of the Aquinnah Cliffs, located on the western tip of Martha’s Vineyard. 

These vibrant clay cliffs, also known as Gay Head Cliffs, showcase stunning hues of red, orange, and brown, offering a picturesque backdrop for nature enthusiasts and photographers. 

Visitors can explore the nearby Aquinnah Cultural Center to gain insights into the Native American history of the Wampanoag tribe, who have called this area home for centuries.

2. Oak Bluffs Campground

Oak Bluffs Campground

Immerse yourself in the unique charm of Oak Bluffs Campground, known for its colorful Victorian cottages adorned with intricate gingerbread trim. 

Stroll through the narrow lanes, each named after a different Methodist campground, and witness the quaint architecture that defines this historic site. 

The Tabernacle, a central gathering place, hosts events and concerts throughout the summer, creating a lively atmosphere. Don’t miss the iconic Flying Horses Carousel, the nation’s oldest platform carousel, nestled within the campground.

3. Chappaquiddick


Embark on a short ferry ride to Chappaquiddick, a tranquil island separated from Martha’s Vineyard by the narrow Edgartown Harbor. 

Explore pristine beaches, nature trails, and the Mytoi Japanese Garden, a serene retreat with peaceful ponds and vibrant flora. 

History buffs can visit the Dike Bridge, infamous for the 1969 incident involving Senator Ted Kennedy. Chappaquiddick offers a secluded escape for those seeking a quieter side of Martha’s Vineyard.

4. Edgartown Lighthouse

Edgartown Lighthouse

Admire the classic New England charm of the Edgartown Lighthouse, perched at the entrance of Edgartown Harbor.

The iconic red-brick lighthouse, dating back to 1828, provides a picturesque setting for a leisurely stroll along Lighthouse Beach. 

Climb to the top for panoramic views of the harbour and the surrounding coastline, or delve into maritime history at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum nearby.

5. Island Alpaca Company of Martha’s Vineyard

Island Alpaca Company of Martha's Vineyard

Experience the unique charm of Island Alpaca Company, a working alpaca farm nestled in the heart of Martha’s Vineyard.

Visitors can interact with these gentle creatures, learn about alpaca husbandry, and shop for luxurious alpaca wool products. 

The farm’s picturesque setting adds to the enchanting experience, making it a delightful stop for families and animal lovers alike.

6. Flying Horses Carousel, Oak Bluffs

Flying Horses Carousel, Oak Bluffs

Step back in time at the Flying Horses Carousel in Oak Bluffs, the oldest platform carousel in the United States. 

Delight in the nostalgic charm as you ride one of the hand-carved horses or try to grab the brass ring for a special prize.

The carousel, surrounded by the vibrant Victorian architecture of Oak Bluffs, offers a whimsical experience for visitors of all ages.

7. Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary

Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary

Escape into nature at Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, a 350-acre haven for wildlife and outdoor enthusiasts. Traverse scenic trails through diverse habitats, including woodlands, meadows, and salt marshes. 

The sanctuary is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with over 100 species identified, and features educational programs for a deeper understanding of the island’s ecosystems. 

Explore Sengekontacket Pond by kayak or canoe, immersing yourself in the natural beauty of Martha’s Vineyard.

8. Vincent House Museum

Vincent House Museum

Step into history at the Vincent House Museum in Edgartown, a meticulously preserved 19th-century residence offering a glimpse into the island’s past. 

Marvel at period furnishings, maritime artifacts, and exhibits detailing the island’s whaling heritage. 

The museum’s knowledgeable staff provides engaging insights into the life of whaling captains and their families, making it a must-visit for history enthusiasts.

9. “Jaws” Bridge

"Jaws" Bridge

Visit the iconic “Jaws” Bridge in Edgartown, made famous by the classic 1975 film directed by Steven Spielberg. 

Relive scenes from the blockbuster movie and enjoy the scenic views of the harbour. The bridge has become a popular spot for visitors seeking to recreate the suspenseful moments captured on film. 

For fans of “Jaws,” this location adds a thrilling cinematic dimension to their Martha’s Vineyard experience.

10. Farm Neck Golf Club

Farm Neck Golf Club

Tee off at the Farm Neck Golf Club, a picturesque 18-hole course offering stunning views of Vineyard Sound and Sengekontacket Pond. 

This championship course is situated between woodlands and water and provides a challenging yet scenic golfing experience. 

The club’s well-maintained fairways and greens attract both seasoned golfers and casual enthusiasts. After a round, savor a meal at the Farm Neck Café, combining culinary delights with the beauty of Martha’s Vineyard.

Martha’s Vineyard unfolds as a multifaceted destination, inviting visitors to savour its coastal beauty, engage in outdoor adventures, and explore its cultural treasures. 

Whether you’re a beach lover, outdoor enthusiast, or a cultural connoisseur, Martha’s Vineyard offers diverse activities to create a memorable island getaway.

What Is the Best Time to Visit Martha’s Vineyard?

The best time to visit Martha’s Vineyard depends on your preferences and the type of experience you seek.

However, many visitors find that the late spring to early fall months offer the most favorable conditions for a delightful stay on the island.

Summer (June to August)

The most popular time to visit Martha’s Vineyard is during the summer months. This is when the island experiences its warmest weather, with temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to mid-70s Fahrenheit (18-24°C). 

The beaches are in full swing, and various outdoor events and festivals take place, making it an ideal time for those who enjoy water activities, festivals, and a vibrant social scene.

Late Spring (May to June) and Early Fall (September to October)

Late spring and early fall offer milder temperatures and fewer crowds than the peak summer season.

During these months, the weather is still pleasant, with temperatures ranging from the mid-50s to mid-60s Fahrenheit (13-20°C). 

This is an excellent time for those who prefer a more relaxed atmosphere, scenic walks, and exploring the island without the hustle and bustle.

Fall Foliage (Late September to October)

Fall brings a spectacular display of foliage to Martha’s Vineyard. The island’s landscapes transform with vibrant hues of red, orange, and yellow, creating a stunning backdrop. 

The cooler temperatures, ranging from the mid-40s to mid-60s Fahrenheit (7-20°C), make it an ideal time for nature enthusiasts and photographers.

Avoiding Crowds (April and Late October)

For those seeking a quieter experience, April and late October are less crowded. 

While the weather may be a bit cooler, ranging from the mid-40s to mid-50s Fahrenheit (7-13°C), it allows for a more intimate exploration of the island’s charms, including its historic sites and scenic landscapes, without the summer influx of tourists.

The best time to visit Martha’s Vineyard largely depends on your preferences for weather, crowd levels, and the type of activities you enjoy. 

Whether you opt for the bustling summer scene, the mild seasons of spring and fall, or the tranquility of late fall or early spring, Martha’s Vineyard has something to offer year-round.


Are there cultural events and festivals on Martha’s Vineyard?

Absolutely! Martha’s Vineyard hosts various cultural events and festivals, such as the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival and the Vineyard Artisans Festival. 

Enjoy live performances at the Vineyard Playhouse or explore local art galleries and museums for a taste of the island’s vibrant arts scene.

What family-friendly activities are available on Martha’s Vineyard?

Families can delight in the Flying Horses Carousel in Oak Bluffs, visit the Farm Institute to interact with farm animals and explore family-friendly beaches like State Beach. 

Enjoy a relaxing day at the Martha’s Vineyard Children’s Museum or embark on a family bike ride around the island.

How can I explore Martha’s Vineyard’s culinary scene?

Indulge in Martha’s Vineyard’s diverse culinary offerings. Sample fresh seafood at Menemsha’s seafood shacks, savour farm-to-table cuisine at local restaurants and explore the farmer’s markets for artisanal treats. 

Don’t miss the chance to enjoy a classic New England lobster boil or savor homemade ice cream at the island’s creameries.

Wrapping Up

Martha’s Vineyard offers a captivating blend of natural beauty, rich history, and diverse activities for visitors. 

From exploring historic towns and beaches to indulging in cultural events, outdoor adventures, and family-friendly attractions, the island provides a memorable experience year-round. 

Whether you seek the vibrant energy of summer, the tranquillity of off-peak seasons, or the breathtaking fall foliage, Martha’s Vineyard caters to various preferences. 

Immerse yourself in the island’s charm, savor local cuisine, and create lasting memories amidst the picturesque landscapes.

Photo of author

Naim Benmayor

I am a passionate and knowledgeable tour guide at Boston Private Guide, dedicated to providing you with an unforgettable experience in the historic city of Boston. With years of expertise, I bring the rich history, culture, and hidden gems of this vibrant city to life. Whether you're interested in exploring the Freedom Trail, indulging in the culinary delights of the North End, or discovering the lesser-known stories of Boston's past, I am here to tailor a personalized tour just for you. Join me on a journey through Boston's streets, where every cobblestone has a tale to tell, and let's create lasting memories together. LinkedIn

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