Aquinnah Cliffs

#2 in Best Things To Do in Martha's Vineyard
Aquinnah Cliffs
DenisTangneyJr/Getty Images

Key Info

9 Aquinnah Circle

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Natural Wonders, Sightseeing, Free Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.5scorecard
  • 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  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 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 per town, including town of origin). Check the VTA's website for more information on rates and schedules. 

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#1 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.

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Courtesy of Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce
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