We know what you’re thinking. If Presidents of the United States have vacationed here, it can’t possibly be done on the cheap. Leave that logic on the mainland! All it takes to visit Martha’s Vineyard on a budget is a bit of planning and a pinch of compromise.
Fair Ferry Fares
A round-trip ride on the Steamship Authority ferry is less than $20 for adults, though it gets pricey when a car is involved. Travelers may think they need a vehicle to get the best Martha’s Vineyard experience, but we’ll cover a better way to save on getting around the island. Leave the car behind and take the ferry for cheap!
Cheap Travel on the Island
Pass on the expensive car rentals. Our trusty Vineyard Transit buses visit every town on the island. While one-way fares are $1.25 per town, passengers can save and ride around to their hearts content with a one- or three-day pass. It’s a great budget-friendly way to see the 100-square-mile island of Martha’s Vineyard on a budget.
An alternative way to get around the island is to pedal it! Vineyard Square Hotel guests have access to complimentary bikes, or we can point you to good local bike shops. Cycle your way to Oak Bluffs to see the famous Jaws bridge, or stick closer to town and point your bike in the direction of South Beach. If you choose this classic mode of transport, we’ve mapped out the best routes to take in our Martha’s Vineyard biking guide.
Save During the Shoulder Season
You don’t have to visit in the dead of winter (although that’s an option) to save on a Martha’s Vineyard vacation. Plan a trip during the shoulder season for the perfect compromise. It’s not quite peak, not quite off-season, and just right for travelers looking to save without sacrificing seasonal experiences. In fact, the months before and after summer are a favorite time to visit for many of us. Room rates dip between September and May, so you can enjoy a Cozy Room instead of packing a tent to camp in.
How to Dine on a Dime
You don’t have to survive on PB&J from the grocery store, although a picnic lunch on the beach is a budget-friendly (and may we say, romantic) option. We do have some notable places for cheap eats on Martha’s Vineyard. If you stay at a hotel with complimentary breakfast, that’s one meal taken care of! Otherwise, a trip to Back Door Donuts in Oak Bluffs is worth an apple fritter. For affordable lunch or dinner, Sharky’s Mexican Cantina in Edgartown and Oak Bluffs boasts “50 items under $10” options.
What to See, What to Do
There are many free or inexpensive ways to entertain yourself when visiting Martha’s Vineyard on a budget. For starters, we’re surrounded by beautiful beaches to sink your toes into. We also recommend marveling at the Aquinnah Cliffs or taking a spin on the Oldest Carousel in the World for just $2.50 a ride. Vineyard Square guests can even take their bikes on the ferry for plenty to see and explore (like a 14-acre zen garden) on the next-door island of Chappaquiddick.
Ditch the car for a ride on the bus, plan picnic lunches on the beach, and take in the best of the island without overwhelming your credit card. Planning a trip to Martha’s Vineyard on a budget isn’t as hard on the wallet as it seems.