comScore
Chappaquiddick  picture in Martha's Vineyard
D Allen / Flickr

Details

  • Parks and Gardens, Neighborhood/Area Type
  • Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.0
Overall
US NEWS LOGO

Scorecard

  • Value
    5.0
  • Food Scene
    3.0
  • Atmosphere
    4.0

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

Chappaquiddick became infamous for all the wrong reasons. In July 1969, Senator Ted Kennedy was driving a young woman named Mary Jo Kopechne home from a party in Chappaquiddick when the vehicle went off the side of the Dike Bridge. Kopechne was killed, but Kennedy survived.

But there's so much more to this island than a politically tinged tragedy. Chappaquiddick is full of rugged beaches with unruly surf, 14 miles of over-sand vehicle and walking trails, as well as a 14-acre Japanese garden, Mytoi. The petite island's main draw is the Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge, the nesting area for a variety of New England shorebirds. Here you can take a naturalist-led, over-sand jeep tour provided by the Trustees of the Reservation. The reservation also offers Cape Poge Lighthouse, kayak and seaside exploration tours on a daily basis from Memorial Day through Columbus Day (mid-October). 

Recent visitors highly recommended taking a day, or at least a few hours, to explore the island. Whether you're on a bike or on foot, you'll find that "Chappy" (as it's referred to by locals) is a peaceful retreat from the crowds in Oak Bluffs, according to recent travelers. But this quiet seclusion comes with a notable downside: there are no stores or restaurants on the island, so you'll have to pack everything you need for the day before you step on the ferry.

The small island of Chappaquiddick is located about five minutes off the coast of Edgartown and is reachable via the Chappy Ferry. The ferry runs between Memorial Wharf in Edgartown and Chappaquiddick Point, which is a straight-line distance of just 527 feet. Round-trip fares for pedestrians cost $4; bikers pay $6 and passengers with vehicles owe $12. The schedule fluctuates depending on the season; check the Chappy Ferry's website for updated schedule times. The Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge is open year-round, 24 hours a day. From May 30 to Oct. 15, admission to the refuge costs $5 for adults. Entrance is always free for children 15 and younger, and for all visitors from May 29 to Oct. 14. 

Powered by Viator

Hotels Nearby

  • Thing to Do
  • Hotel
Vineyard Square Hotel & Suites

Vineyard Square Hotel & Suites ...

  • 2.2 Miles Away
  • 4.0-star Hotel Class
Kelley House

Kelley House ...

  • 2.2 Miles Away
  • 3.0-star Hotel Class
Harbor View Hotel

Harbor View Hotel ...

  • 2.1 Miles Away
  • 3.5-star Hotel Class
See all hotels in Martha's Vineyard »

More Best Things to Do in Martha's Vineyard

Beaches picture in Martha's Vineyard
Beaches, Recreation Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Aquinnah Cliffs picture in Martha's Vineyard
Natural Wonders, Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Oak Bluff Campground picture in Martha's Vineyard
Entertainment and Nightlife, Historic Homes/Mansions Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Chappaquiddick  picture in Martha's Vineyard
Parks and Gardens, Neighborhood/Area Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Edgartown Lighthouse picture in Martha's Vineyard
Museums, Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Island Alpaca picture in Martha's Vineyard
Zoos and Aquariums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Flying Horses Carousel picture in Martha's Vineyard
Entertainment and Nightlife, Sightseeing Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
|

#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 ... Read more » Courtesy of Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce

#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 ... Read more » DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

#3 Oak Bluff Campground These extravagantly decorated summer cottages offer a quaint peek into the island's past. The grounds were originally occupied by 19th-century Methodists, who would retreat here in the summer to ... Read more » Kenneth Wiedemann / Getty Images

#4 Chappaquiddick Chappaquiddick became infamous for all the wrong reasons. In July 1969, Senator Ted Kennedy was driving a young woman named Mary Jo Kopechne home from a party in Chappaquiddick when ... Read more » D Allen / Flickr

#5 Edgartown Lighthouse For its relatively small size (100 square miles), Martha's Vineyard has its fair share of lighthouses. But of the five dotting the northern side of the island, visitors and ... Read more » William Britten / Getty Images

#6 Island Alpaca Company of Martha's Vineyard One of the more unique attractions on Martha's Vineyard, Island Alpaca is a hit with recent visitors for its friendly animals and well-stocked gift shop. Spread across 19 acres ... Read more » mgstanton / Flickr

#7 Flying Horses Carousel, Oak Bluffs Built in 1876, the Flying Horses Carousel is the oldest operating platform carousel in the country. The hand-painted horses, housed in a big red barn, have been carefully preserved; most ... Read more » MV Preservation Society

Beaches picture in Martha's Vineyard
Aquinnah Cliffs picture in Martha's Vineyard
Oak Bluff Campground picture in Martha's Vineyard
Chappaquiddick  picture in Martha's Vineyard
Edgartown Lighthouse picture in Martha's Vineyard
Island Alpaca picture in Martha's Vineyard
Flying Horses Carousel picture in Martha's Vineyard
Beaches picture in Martha's Vineyard
Aquinnah Cliffs picture in Martha's Vineyard
Oak Bluff Campground picture in Martha's Vineyard
Chappaquiddick  picture in Martha's Vineyard
Edgartown Lighthouse picture in Martha's Vineyard
Island Alpaca picture in Martha's Vineyard
Flying Horses Carousel picture in 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. Courtesy of Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce

The Aquinnah Cliffs, a National Historic Landmark, are made up of green sands, white quartz, black organic soil and other colorful clays.  DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

These colorful cottages were modeled after the elaborate tents, crafted by 19th-century campers. Kenneth Wiedemann / Getty Images

Recent visitors highly recommended taking a day, or at least a few hours, to explore the island of Chappaquiddick, located just a five-minute ferry ride from Edgartown. D Allen / Flickr

Originally constructed for Crane Beach in Ipswich, Massachusetts, this 1800s-era lighthouse was relocated to the Vineyard in 1938. William Britten / Getty Images

Spread across 19 acres, Island Alpaca features a herd of 72 Huacaya alpacas and one llama. mgstanton / Flickr

The Flying Horses Carousel originally entertained children and families in New York's Coney Island before being transplanted to Oak Bluffs in 1884. MV Preservation Society

×

See full list of Best Things to Do in Martha's Vineyard »

Explore More of Martha's Vineyard

Find the Best Price

Enter your check in and check out dates to find the best price

PriceFinder powered by TripAdvisor Primary Logo