Martha's Vineyard Beaches#1 in Best Things To Do in Martha's Vineyard
Price & Hours
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.
If you're on Chappaquiddick, consider making a stop at East Beach on the Wasque Reservation. It's a bit of a trek to the eastern shore of Chappaquiddick from where the Chappy Ferry drops you off, so not many travelers make the trip. Because of its location, this stretch of sand is relatively empty, making it a great spot to observe the birds that call this area home.
Certain beaches on the island are better suited for kids than others: Lobsterville Beach and Joseph Sylvia State Beach are two that boast warm, gentle waters ideal for new swimmers.
And if you're looking for a spot to catch a spectacular sunset, you should head straight to Menemsha Beach, according to recent visitors. Sitting pretty in Chilmark, Menemsha is popular for evening picnics: grab a blanket and a bottle of wine and watch pink and purple hues light up the sky.
Most beaches offer changing rooms and on-duty lifeguards from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the peak summer season. Some also charge for parking. Check with the Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce for more information.
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#2 Aquinnah Cliffs
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.
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