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Kayaking

If your ferry ride is the only time you spend on the water while visiting Martha’s Vineyard, you’re missing out. Practically every water sport you can think of—from the traditional to the new and exotic—is available on these shores. We’ve rounded up our favorite island water sports below, with tips on where to rent gear and get your feet wet.

 

Island Water Sports - sunset on the water

 

Island Water Sports Near Edgartown

For island water sports that take a bit of practice, like stand-up paddleboarding, the sheltered flat waters of Sengekontacket Pond and Majors Cove are a perfect place to play. Inland from the sparkling sands of Joseph Sylvia Beach (that’s State Beach to islanders), you can’t miss this area as you cross the Jaws Bridge halfway between Edgartown and Oak Bluffs. We recommend Island Spirit Kayak in Oak Bluffs for kayaks and paddleboards. They’re conveniently located right on an inlet between the beach and the pond, so you can choose to explore the coastline or take it easier inland.

 

Further up the road, on Oak Bluffs Harbor, Martha’s Vineyard Oceansports offers a full array of motorized island water sports at surprisingly reasonable rates. This is the spot to rent a jet ski or go parasailing. MV Oceansports is also one of very few shops in the northeastern US to offer flyboarding. If you haven’t heard of this sport, imagine wakeboarding 15 feet up in the air. It’s not as scary as it sounds and it’s surprisingly easy to get the hang of. Instructors Kevin and Gene became some of the first pros at this island water sport when it was invented in the early 2010s, so you’ll be in good hands if you give it a go.

 

Both of these island water sports shops are easily accessible by Vineyard Transit Authority bus during the warmer months.

 

Up-Island Water Sports

rowboats on the beach Martha's Vineyard
Photo: Doug Kerr via Flickr

If you want to hang ten on the west coast—of Martha’s Vineyard, that is—take a day trip up-island and visit either Aloha Paddle in Aquinnah or Book-a-Boat in Menemsha. Though it’s a bit further away from Edgartown, you’ll share these waters with fewer fellow paddlers and take in views you can’t find anywhere else.

 

Aloha is 100% stand-up paddleboarding, with lessons, tours, and rentals available daily. Their kids’ programs make planning a family outing easy. Already got some experience? Challenge yourself with a SUP yoga class or paddle out on the open water to see the famous Gay Head cliffs from a totally new point-of-view.

 

Want to try your luck with the rod and reel without hiring a Martha’s Vineyard fishing charter? Book-a-Boat has a full selection of sailboats, sunfish, and motorized fishing boats, with kayaks and paddleboards available as well. Like their hometown of Menemsha, Book-a-Boat is a little old-fashioned—they prefer to make reservations over the phone to ensure you get exactly what you’re looking for.

 

Island Water Sports in Vineyard Haven

In the middle of the island’s north shore, where the Steamship Authority ferries come and go like clockwork, Vineyard Haven’s Wind’s Up natural watersports shop doubles as a great place to pick up forgotten essentials: they stock high-quality bathing suits, sunglasses, hats, and other supplies along with their rental fleet of kayaks, canoes, SUPs, and surfboards. This is an easy place to pick up rentals on your way to Edgartown from the ferry—just tell your taxi driver to take the scenic route (Beach Road, which is well worth the extra few minutes for its ocean views) and stop on the way.

 

After you explore Martha’s Vineyard by water, you’ll need a cozy place to stay on land—all of us at Vineyard Square, in the heart of downtown Edgartown, would love to welcome you and help plan your adventures.

Plan a Visit to the Martha’s Vineyard Food and Wine Festival
Where to Get the Best Pizza on Martha’s Vineyard Near Edgartown
Explore Memorable Things to Do & See in West Tisbury
Spend a Day at the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest
See the Next Big Thing at a Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival
A Guide on How to Get to Martha’s Vineyard
A Look at the History of Our Edgartown Hotel
Celebrate the Season | A Guide to Christmas in Edgartown

long point wildlife refuge-resized-600

My family has been vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard for so long, it seems as if we’ve done all there is to do and seen all there is to see.  This summer we put that myth to rest.

For an island of only 87 square miles, the Vineyard is home to an amazing variety of landscapes, living spaces, and ecosystems.  At my wife’s suggestion, we went exploring via kayak one such area we had never set eyes on before: Long Point Wildlife Refuge.

Long Point is managed by The Trustees of Reservations. The Trustees manage dozens of spectacular properties all over Massachusetts.  Long Point is one of several on the Vineyard.  For a reasonable fee (especially for those who are members of the Trustees) we joined a kayak tour with several other people to explore this Undiscovered (to us) Country.

Our two hour voyage took place on Tisbury Great Pond, located on the south coast of the island.  Our group was led by a young man named Guillermo.  He was personable, knowledgeable, helpful, and more than patient with those of us who were kayak-challenged.

The only negative aspect of the trip turned out to be a benefit of sorts.  Our entire tour took place under the cloak of a fog that made anything more than fifty feet away look otherworldly and those over one hundred feet mere objects of our imagination.  It was a real impetus to stay as close as possible to Guillermo’s lead kayak.

Though we could not see the sights that were distant in that near dream world, we could see the birds and sea life that were nearby, and there was plenty of that.  We also learned a lot about the earliest native inhabitants of the area.  The blessing of the fog was that we were protected from a hot sun that we knew was somewhere beyond the misty shroud.  The exertion of paddling kept us plenty warm.

At one point we disembarked on the narrow beach that separates the pond from the ocean.  With the serene pond on one side and the turbulent waters of the Atlantic on the other, all lit by the ethereal glow of daylight in disguise, our intrepid band was energized and moved.

While the trip was a first for us, it will not be the last.  I want to go back to see what was beyond the fog!  We were also inspired to explore other unfamiliar Island locales. I doubt we will ever exhaust the possibilities of our vacation home.

Plan a Visit to the Martha’s Vineyard Food and Wine Festival
Where to Get the Best Pizza on Martha’s Vineyard Near Edgartown
Explore Memorable Things to Do & See in West Tisbury
Spend a Day at the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest
See the Next Big Thing at a Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival
A Guide on How to Get to Martha’s Vineyard
A Look at the History of Our Edgartown Hotel
Celebrate the Season | A Guide to Christmas in Edgartown