When you hear of Martha’s Vineyard, you often think of sandy beaches, grassy dunes and stunning houses- as you should! But with so many areas to explore and so many beaches, how do you decide? For starters, many beaches become local only during the peak season (Memorial weekend until Labor Day weekend), so ensure you go to public beaches only. After that, it will be about determining which beach you want to visit.
To help you out, we’ve compiled a complete list on everything to know about the beaches of Marthas Vineyard!
Table of Contents
Oak Bluffs Town Beach (Inkwell Beach)
Location: Oak Bluffs
Steps off the main street (Circuit Avenue) in Oak Bluffs is their town beach. If you’re staying in Oak Bluffs, this beach wins for convenience. Simply walk over from your hotel or the main strip of shops to enjoy. Street parking is free here as well for those coming from out of Oak Bluffs. While the beach offers views of Nantucket Sound and sandy shores, there are no lifeguards here. The Steamship Authority dock is here as well and slightly inhibits the great ocean views. Our recommendation is to enjoy your morning coffee or evening sunsets here, but head out to another location if you plan to spend the afternoon at a beach.
Joseph Sylvia Town Beach
South beach is also called Katama beach as it sits beside the Katama Farm. This beach is one of several beaches in the town Edgartown. Arguably, it’s the best beach on Martha’s Vineyard. South Beach is also rated as one of the top five cleanest beaches in New England. With all this said, it is clear to see why this is such a popular spot for young adults to hang out for the day. As this is such a popular beach to visit, the free parking will fill up quickly. With 3 miles of sand and surf to explore, we recommend getting here early and spending the day. The other option is to bike to the beach. From Edgartown it is about 6 miles round trip, making it a great option.
Lighthouse Beach is another beach in Edgartown. This beach is close to Main Street in Edgartown, making it walkable from the main area or a great stop on your way out of town. The area is popular to walk and see the lighthouse. It also offers great views of the Edgartown Harbor. While, this is a beach and there is definitely water and sand, we would not recommend spending the day here. We think this is a great spot to see and walk around, but save your beach afternoon for South Beach or East Beach (on Chappaquiddick Island).
Location: Chappaquiddick Island
East Beach is located on Chappaquiddick Island. Chappaquiddick is an Island just off of Edgartown, only accessible via a short ferry ride. There used to be a land connection, however due to storm erosion Chappaquiddick Island has been officially cut off of the main island since 2007. With this said, the island is worth the trek out! We recommend taking some bikes across on the ferry and exploring the grounds. Once you need a break, head over to East Beach. East Beach is one of the best beach spots on the island, and perhaps quieter due to the location. The beach is open to the public for a small fee ($5) and run by The Trustees of Reservations. Overall, between the calm waters and miles of hiking trails, you are sure to have some peace and quiet out here. You may also get some bird sightings in as well.
Long Point Beach
Aquinnah Public Beach (Moshup Beach)
Aquinnah Public Beach (also called Moshup Beach) is a public beach just a short trail away from the Aquinnah Cliffs lookout point. The trail is well laid out and takes about 10-15 minutes to walk. During summer months, the parking is $15 for the day. Once you get down to the beach, you can walk right towards the Gay Head Lighthouse. This will provide you views of the colorful, steep, cliffs that are similar to those on the Aquinnah lookout. This is the closest you will be able to get to the those cliffs as they are protected as a National Landmark. If you choose to walk this way, be mindful and considerate of the cliffs. They are fragile and should not be climbed.
If you turned left at the bottom of the trail from the parking lot, then you will walk towards sand and sandy dunes. This will eventually turn into Philbin Beach, which is residents only, so be mindful. Overall, this is a great beach to spend the day at and explore.
Owen Park Beach
This is another harbor beach just off of the Main Street in Vineyard Haven, making it very convenient. The beach itself has calm waves for swimming and a dock that you can jump off of. Along with the sandy shores, this is a great beach to visit if you’re close by in Vineyard Haven. If you are not close by or looking for a beach day, we recommend heading over to Jospeh Sylvia Town Beach or South Beach for the day.
It’s clear to see Martha’s Vineyard has a lot to offer with its beaches! We highly recommend checking out at least one during your trip, however there is so much more to see on the island. For a complete three-day itinerary, check out this post.