- Type: Natural Wonders, Sightseeing
- Time to Spend: 1 to 2 hours
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The Aquinnah Cliffs -- formerly known as Gay Head -- is one of Martha's Vineyard's most-visited tourist spots, with bus and bike tours congesting the paved roads in the peak summer season. But the epic clay cliffs -- carved by glaciers millions of years ago -- are worth the trek. Visitors can explore the lower beach paths to see the cliffs up close and stretch out in their birthday suits at Moshup Beach. Or take the upper trails to the top of the cliffs to catch a glimpse of Gay Head Light and nearby Elizabeth Islands.
Watch your step however; the Aquinnah cliffs are part of the island's Wampanoag reservation and under special environmental protections to deter erosion. Keep your eyes peeled for signs detailing off-limit areas. And don't you even think about grabbing a hunk of the red clay as a souvenir. You should also exercise caution if you're planning a late afternoon visit. According to one TripAdvisor user, "It is prettiest as the sun sets over the water, but this is also when the skunks tend to come out."
You'll find the Aquinnah Cliffs off of State Road on the southwestern tip of the island, to the west of Gay Head Light. There's car parking available, but most visit Aquinnah by bike or bus. Martha's Vineyard Transit Authority's route no. 5 will take visitors into Aquinnah but fares vary by distance traveled ($1 per town, including town of origin). Check out the VTA's website for more information on rates and schedules.