Aquinnah Cliffs

#2 in Best Things To Do in Martha's Vineyard
Aquinnah Cliffs picture1 of 3
Aquinnah Cliffs2 of 3
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Key Info

9 Aquinnah Circle

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Natural Wonders, Sightseeing, Free Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.5

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 3.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere
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, which were 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 along the sands 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 even think about grabbing a hunk of the red clay as a souvenir. 
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 parking available (for $15 in the summer), but the lot fills up fast. Most visit Aquinnah by bike or bus. Martha's Vineyard Transit Authority's Route No. 5 takes visitors into Aquinnah, but fares vary by distance traveled ($1.25 per town, including town of origin). Check the VTA's 

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, which were 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 along the sands 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 even think about grabbing a hunk of the red clay as a souvenir. 

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 parking available (for $15 in the summer), but the lot fills up fast. Most visit Aquinnah by bike or bus. Martha's Vineyard Transit Authority's Route No. 5 takes visitors into Aquinnah, but fares vary by distance traveled ($1.25 per town, including town of origin). Check the VTA's website for more information on rates and schedules. 

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#1 Martha's Vineyard Beaches

You'll have your pick of beaches on Martha's Vineyard. From the protected, shallow surf on the northern and eastern coasts of the island to the big waves crashing on the south side, the Vineyard's various shorelines offer a little something for everyone.

But of all the places to stake a spot in the sand, recent visitors said South Beach (also known as Katama Beach) is one of the best. Situated in Edgartown, South Beach stretches for 3 miles and offers a rumbling surf and rolling dunes. You'll find ample parking here, but most travelers were happy to bike from Edgartown on a path that leads straight to the sand.

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Courtesy of Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce
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