The whole point of being on an island is to be in or near the water, right? Here’s our take on Martha’s Vineyard’s best beaches and boating experiences.
Lighthouse/Fuller St Beach. Just a 7-10 minute stroll from the Square, this is the closest beach. Stake a spot at Lighthouse beach and watch the boats cruise in and out of the harbor or go just a little further to Fuller St Beach for a quiet spot. Only a handful of parking spots exist in the area, so both of these beaches are usually pretty quiet. The exception is Independence Day when fireworks shoot up from a barge just offshore from the lighthouse. Arrive early for the best view of this great tradition.
South Beach.Memorialized in the opening scene of Jaws, this Atlantic Ocean beach is most popular with the “young and fun” in summer. Volleyball nets are hung, radios provide summer sounds and lifeguards watch as this celebrated beach fills to capacity. Be careful in the water at South Beach – the waves can get big and there are often undertows. Only enter if you are a strong swimmer and look out for the little ones.
Bend in the Road/State Beach.Our top pick for families! The calm waters play host to swimming lessons for many of the Island’s children. If you’re feeling adventurous, join the crowds jumping off of “Jaws Bridge.” A quieter pursuit is walking the water line on search of sea glass and Wampum. We’ve found some great pieces here!
Chappy – East Beach. If you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, consider a day or two driving on the East Beach shore. You need a Trustees of Reservations Overland Vehicle Permit (about $180), but it’s worth it if you stay at Vineyard Square Hotel for spell. Drive right onto the beach, unload the chairs and cooler and chill.
Mad Max. Take a 2-hour cruise around the harbor on this distinctive catamaran with the pirate face on the mast. Take along snacks and refreshments – there’s always a party atmosphere aboard a Mad Max vessel.
Magic Carpet. This breathtaking 56’ wooden yawl is ‘real sailing’. You’ll get splashed and need to hold on tight as the sail tips the boat and you fly gracefully through the waves. Sailing daily in season from Memorial Wharf, the Magic Carpet can also accommodate private groups of up to 18. Remember, “It’s only an Island when you look at it from the water.”
Skipper. For a fun fishing excursion, we adore the Skipper out of Oak Bluffs harbor. The Skipper crew loves families and boasts that every kid aboard will catch something – how much better can it get?
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