Martha’s Vineyard has so much to do that you might end up finishing your trip with some activities that you didn’t have a chance to get done. With so many different options for visitors to the island, we’re going to run down the essential activities to do on Martha’s Vineyard whether you’re making the trip in summer, fall, winter, or spring. Better yet, if you time things out just right you can do all of these in one day!
Visit the Gay Head Cliffs
Perhaps the single most important destination for your trip to Martha’s Vineyard, no visit to the island is complete without seeing the Gay Head Cliffs! The cliffs themselves have been a tourist attraction since the 1800s and are an enchanting blend of multi-colored clay. Wampanoag legend says that the benevolent giant Moshup would throw whales against the cliffs and cook them over his fire to provide the Wampanoag people with food, with the whales' blood staining the cliffs red and Moshup’s fire coloring them black. Visitors are treated to a truly breathtaking view of the cliffs as well as the beach and surrounding ocean beneath them. Make sure to go when it's clear skies for the best picture opportunity!
Find Your Favorite Island Beach
Martha's Vineyard is known for its excellent selection of beaches, so you'll need to find your favorite one before you finish your trip. Ultimately, with so many different beaches on the island, your favorite beach is going to depend on what else you’re doing on your vacation. If you’re visiting Martha’s Vineyard in the summer with your family you could fall in love with the Owen Park or Oak Bluffs Town beaches with their close proximity to downtown shopping and dining destinations. If you’re looking to come prepared with food, an umbrella and spend a long time at the beach then Edgartown’s lengthy South Beach might be the place for you. On the other hand, if you’re here in the offseason and aren’t thinking about swimming you might enjoy the more picturesque Lamberts Cove and Great Rock beaches. Regardless of what you’re looking for in a beach, don’t leave the island without picking a favorite.
See the Sunset at Menemsha Beach
Have you ever met anyone who doesn’t love a nice sunset? Well, the sunset view at Menemsha Beach is nothing short of legendary. While sunsets anywhere on the island are quite nice, watching the sun slowly descend below the ocean skyline in Menemsha is the perfect way to close out a day on Martha’s Vineyard. The beach around sunset draws a decent crowd and you’ll regularly hear applause when the sun finally sets. Even more so than the Gay Head Cliffs, make sure you’re here on a day with clear skies - it can be pretty disappointing watching the sun slip behind a cloud instead of the ocean skyline.
Drive or Bike Beach Road Connecting Oak Bluffs and Edgartown
Another uniquely Martha’s Vineyard style experience, getting up close and personal with this stretch of the island will be unforgettable whether you’re here solo, with your significant other, friends, or family. Beach Road goes on for a while on the island, but the part connecting Edgartown and Oak Bluffs is a thin stretch of road completely surrounded by water on each side. You’ll be treated to one of the best views on the island and even pass by the iconic Jaws Bridge. Also, this entire stretch of Beach Road has a dedicated bike path but be warned that you’re looking at an over two-mile bike ride one way, so you may want to take the cruise in your car if you aren’t up for a longer bike ride!
Make the Trip up Circuit Ave Oak Bluffs and See the Gingerbread Houses
Circuit Ave is right in the heart of Oak Bluffs and feels like the “main street” of the entire island, making it an absolute must-see for visitors to Martha’s Vineyard. Circuit Ave has the highest concentration of dining and shopping options on the island ranging from coffee spots like Mocha Motts, the Flying Horses Carousel, plenty of nightlife destinations and you can see it all in just a short stroll. Whatever you’re looking for on Martha’s Vineyard, Circuit Ave is sure to have it. After you’ve explored Circuit Ave a bit, a short detour will take you on a walking tour of the island’s “gingerbread” houses. These brightly colored cottages are all clustered together with an architectural style and colors reminiscent of an old fairy-tale village. While the hundreds of cottages all look similar, there are many unique design and color choices across them as you take a closer look at this signature island destination. Like all of our other activity recommendations, make sure you have space on your phone because you’ll definitely end up with a lot of selfies by the gingerbread houses.
These ideas are all perfect if you’re visiting the island and you’re either short on time or ideas of what to do during your trip. If you’re looking for a place to stay on your upcoming trip to Martha’s Vineyard check out our many rental properties available today. We can’t wait to see you on the island this season!