The Island of Martha’s Vineyard can only be reached by sea or by air; there are no land routes, bridges or tunnels connecting it to the mainland.

 

Book your travel and housing accomodations early! See more info on getting to the Vineyard from the Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce.

TRAVEL WITHOUT A CAR

  • If you are flying , you have several choices, including fly into Boston, take the Peter Pan Bus from Boston Airport to the Woods Hole Steamship Authority Ferry to the island.

  • You may also fly into Providence RI and take 20- minute shuttle to Quonset Point where you board the Vineyard Fast Ferry to the island.

  • Amtrak offers train service into Boston, from which you can take the bus to Woods Hole, or Amtrak to Kingston RI, with shuttle transfer to the Vineyard Fast Ferry.

  • There are flights directly to MVY.   You will in most cases have to take a small plane onto the island as the last leg.  There are summer flights on larger planes from Washington and New York.

  • Be aware that car rentals on the island can be expensive.

 

TRAVEL WITH A CAR

  • If you intend to bring a car, Steamship Authority Ferry (Woods Hole) reservations should be made very early.  Car ferry  reservations for upcoming year open around the middle of January. Ferry reservations for cars, especially during the month of August, can be extremely hard to book if not done early.

 

HOUSING

Martha’s Vineyard has six towns in 100 square miles, each with its own distinct character. You should first become familiar with each town in order to narrow your search for accommodations (learn more at http://mvol.com/).

  • Oak Bluffs

  • Tisbury (Vineyard Haven)

  • West Tisbury

  • Edgartown

  • Chilmark

  • Aquinnah (Gay Head)  

Oak Bluff is a town located on the island of Martha's Vineyard in Dukes County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 4,527 at the 2010 United States Census. It is one of the island's principal points of arrival for summer tourists, and is noted for its "gingerbread cottages" and other well-preserved mid- to late-nineteenth-century buildings.

House  rentals are the most common form of accommodations on Martha’s Vineyard.  There are many websites that offer information on houses for rent.  Most rentals in the summer are weeklong, usually beginning on Saturday or Sunday.

 

If you prefer to not do so much work on your own, there are numerous real estate companies on the island which can assist with house rentals.  Your housing choices are greater the earlier you begin this  process.  Once you  secure a house rental, you can then book your car ferry reservation if one is needed.

 

There are hotels, inns, and bed and breakfast inns on the island.  Many rentals in August are two to three- day minimum, and fill up fast.

Towns

Oak Bluffs
North of Edgartown are the two main ferry ports of Martha’s Vineyard, Oak Bluffs and Tisbury. Oak Bluffs, to the east, was once a district of Edgartown, but seceded and became a separate town in 1880. In its early years, Oak Bluffs blossomed as a center for summer religious retreats; one of its architectural treasures today is the Methodist Campground, an enclave of multicolored gingerbread cottages with the grand open-air Tabernacle (built in 1879) in its central park. Both Edgartown and Oak Bluffs have miles of public beaches. And because they are the island’s only “wet” towns – the only ones with alcohol for sale – both have lively nightlife scenes downtown.

Vineyard Haven
Tisbury is the only Island town with two common names – it’s also known almost interchangeably as Vineyard Haven. In popular usage, Tisbury seems to be the name used most for official labels, like the town government and the school, but it’s the Vineyard Haven Post Office and the Vineyard Haven Public Library. Don’t ask us why; we don’t know. Years ago, Tisbury was known by yet another historic name, Holmes Hole, the “hole” referring to the town’s excellent natural harbor. Indeed, during the days of coastal shipping before the creation of the Cape Cod Canal, Holmes Hole was one of the busiest shipping ports on the whole East Coast. Today, Vineyard Haven is still the island’s main port of entry – Oak Bluffs has a ferry terminal, too, but it closes every fall and winter. In addition to its scenic harbor, Vineyard Haven has a lively Main Street shopping district that stretches from the new Mansion House Hotel to the Bunch of Grapes, one of New England’s finest bookstores.

West Tisbury
Heading southwest from Vineyard Haven will take you to West Tisbury, another town that testifies to the stubbornly independent spirits of old New Englanders. As the name might suggest, West Tisbury used to be part of Tisbury, but it followed the lead of Oak Bluffs and split away from its parent town in 1892.

A visit to West Tisbury will quickly suggest why its residents felt estranged from the built-up village of Vineyard Haven a century ago. West Tisbury has retained much of its rural charm, and its smaller downtown center features the historic Alley’s General Store (motto: Dealers in Almost Everything). Across from Alley’s is another favorite spot, the Field Gallery, with its whimsical dancing lawn sculptures. West Tisbury is home to the Island’s historic Grange Hall, and to the grounds of the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society, home to the popular fair held every August.

Edgartown
Originally established in 1642 as Great Harbor, Edgartown occupies the southeastern corner of the island. It’s the oldest English settlement on Martha’s Vineyard and still the shire town, or county seat. Architecturally, Edgartown is famous for the white-painted captain’s houses and grand churches that speak to the great prosperity of the whaling era. The plains district south of the town center, near the popular expanse of South Beach, is known as Katama. (Hint: If you remember to pronounce it Kah-TAY-mah, you’ll sound just like a local.)

Chilmark
Further Up-Island from West Tisbury (that would be west, remember?) is the town of Chilmark, known the world around for its rolling hills and stone walls, nature preserves and dramatic coastlines. From the South Road you can look across pastures of grazing sheep to sandy southern beaches and the island of Noman’s Land, now a federal bird sanctuary closed to human visitors; the rockier north shore offers views of the Elizabeth Islands chain. Chilmark includes the picture-postcard fishing village of Menemsha, with its quaint shops, tasty seafood and the best views of the sunset anywhere on the Vineyard.

Aquinnah
Aquinnah, at the westernmost tip of Martha’s Vineyard, is best known to visitors as home of the brightly colored Gay Head Cliffs and, atop them, the historic Gay Head Lighthouse. The town encloses less than six square miles and has some 400 year-round residents; it is home to the lands of the commonwealth’s only federally recognized Native American tribe, the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah). According to Wampanoag legend, the ancestral giant Moshup created the colorful clay deposits in the Cliffs by smashing whales against them.