Martha's Vineyard

Great Rock by Joanne Sardini

I already covered most of the Edgartown area beaches in an earlier post, so now to venture a little further afield…
I mentioned in my last post how fun State Beach is – lots of kids, lots of fun, great swimming. If you continue on Beach road to Oak Bluffs you will come across Inkwell Beach, just minutes from the downtown area. You will see lots of people swimming ‘laps’ between the 2 breakwaters every morning and it’s a great spot if you don’t have a car as it is easily accessible on the VTA bus route 13.

Between Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs, next to the drawbridge, is Eastville Beach. A small parking lot can take about 30 cars so it’s always pretty quiet and I love to sit and watch the ferries and other boats coming in and out of Vineyard Haven harbor – sometimes you can be lucky enough to see one of the Black Dog Tall Ships, the Shenandoah or the Alabama, in full sail – spectacular! You can take a ride on one of these beautiful ships, or just sit back and admire.

Head ‘Up-Island’ to the more rural areas of Martha’s Vineyard and public beaches are a little scarcer. Many of the beaches in this area are private or restricted access, so be careful not to wander where you may not be welcome. With that said, there are a few gems that cannot be left out…One of my favorite hidden gems is Great Rock Bight. Not the easiest beach to find, it is about 3.8 miles along North Road from the intersection with State Road. Parking is very limited so be prepared to get there early. The property is managed by the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank and has a lovely walking trail which winds through scenic woodlands to the beach. Be aware that the stairs to the beach are very steep – it can be a tough climb back, so pack light! When you get to the beach you can’t miss the Great Rock about 20 feet off shore. Relax on the sandy stretch near the stairs, or wander along the rocky stretch to your left and discover rock ponds and hidden coves.

Another ‘Up-Island’ gem is Moshup Trail – featured on the Travel Channel as America’s best walking beach – this is another Land Bank property. Less than half a mile from the public parking and bus stop at Aquinnah, this stretch of Atlantic beach sits in the shadow of the Aquinnah Cliffs and Gay Head lighthouse. It takes a little effort to get to this out of the way location, but it is definitely worth it! Just don’t climb on the cliffs, they are a Nationally Protected Landmark and it is a Federal offence to climb on them or take a piece home. Enjoy the surf, the sand and have a roll in the clay mud – it is said to have restorative powers.

There are lots of other great spots – which one is your favorite?


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