Martha’s Vineyard is the perfect getaway for families, couples, and solo vacationers. If it's your first time thinking about a trip here, you’re probably asking questions like “How do I get to Martha’s Vineyard?” and “What are the best ways to get around on Martha’s Vineyard?” Look no further, because we have the answers you're looking for when it comes to getting to Martha’s Vineyard and getting around the island.
How to Get to Martha’s Vineyard
If you’re interested in flying to Martha’s Vineyard there are a couple options. The main year round carrier is Cape Air which offers round trip flights from locations such as New York and Boston. Additionally, some of the major carriers offer seasonal flights from more locations across the US - but flying isn’t the main way travelers get to Martha’s Vineyard. For the vast majority of travelers, using the ferry is the best way to get to the island.
The ferries are run by the Steamship Authority. There are year round trips between Woods Hole on Cape Cod and Vineyard Haven, and a stop in Oak Bluffs is added during the summer months when more people make the trip to Martha’s Vineyard. If you’re not bringing a car to Martha’s Vineyard you can purchase tickets on location and board one of the ferries. However, if you want to bring your car, which is highly recommended to get the most out of your trip to Martha’s Vineyard, you will need to book in advance. The schedule can get quite crowded so, if you’re planning a trip during the summer months the earlier you can book a ferry reservation the better! The Steamship Authority offers full details of their schedules, travel routes, and of course pricing on their website.
The Steamship Authority ferries are the most popular travel option, but during the summer more ferry options open up that provide routes between Martha’s Vineyard and New York City, New Bedford, Hyannis, Falmouth, and Northern New Jersey. For a more detailed breakdown on additional ferry schedules check out the website for Vineyard Ferries.
Getting Around on Martha’s Vineyard
So you’re all set on how to get to Martha’s Vineyard, but now you need to know what are the best ways to get around Martha’s Vineyard. Travelers to the island have a couple of options available, so let's jump in.
First, a little bit on the layout of Martha’s Vineyard: While The Island is on the small side, covering just about 100 square miles, it is very much not a location where you can experience the entire island by walking around. The gorgeous towns of Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven, and Edgartown each have a dedicated downtown area with a distinct look and feel while West Tisbury, Chilmark, and Aquinnah have a more quiet and rural feel even compared to the other towns on the island. No trip to Martha’s Vineyard is complete without stopping by multiple towns.
By far the best way to get around Martha’s Vineyard is to bring your car with you on the ferry. Traveling to and from the many towns and sightseeing destinations is at its best when you are in total control of your schedule. Driving on Martha’s Vineyard will take a bit of getting used to if you’re coming from a larger city though, don’t expect multi-lane highways or even traffic lights to guide you. Martha’s Vineyard’s low key and low-tech vibe extends all the way to its use of stop signs and only a single rotary on-island. If you want to make sure you have your car on Martha’s Vineyard, you’ll need to travel by ferry and make sure to schedule your reservation with the Steamship Authority far in advance to guarantee a space.
Even though we recommend bringing your car with you to Martha’s Vineyard, if that isn’t an option the island offers a couple of good alternatives. Once you’re on-island you can rent a motor scooter for yourself or even give yourself a nice workout by renting a bike. Martha’s Vineyard has over 44 miles of bike paths and bike-friendly roads in many different parts of the island. Biking down Beach Road that connects Edgartown and Oak Bluffs is truly a sight to behold on a sunny day! There are multiple car rental agencies on island where you can rent any type of a car for a day or for as long as you stay.
If bikes and scooters both don’t sound great, then the Vineyard Transport Authority (VTA)’s bus system will be the way to go. You can purchase tickets in a variety of packages from day and multi-day passes to a flat fee for individual trips on the spot. Getting a day or multi-day pass is the best option since otherwise you’ll need exact change for individual trips, and juggling cash and change isn’t the most relaxing vacation activity! The VTA operates year round, but routes and services are much less frequent outside of the summer months. There are also plenty of Uber drivers and taxi services that can bring you to any place on the island. If you are coming over for a very short stay then we recommend leaving your car in one of the parking lots in Woods Hole or Falmouth and just taxiing around and leave your driving cares off island!
Those are our tips on how to get to Martha’s Vineyard and how to get around the island once you’re here. If you’re looking for a place to stay on Martha’s Vineyard be sure to check out our many vacation rentals or contact us directly and we can help you find the best place to relax on the island and give you further details about any questions you might have!