Chappaquiddick

#4 in Best Things To Do in Martha's Vineyard
Chappaquiddick
D Allen/Flickr

Key Info

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Parks and Gardens, Free, Neighborhood/Area Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.0scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 3.0Food Scene
  • 4.0Atmosphere

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. 

See all Hotels in Martha's Vineyard »

More Best Things To Do in Martha's Vineyard

Beaches
Aquinnah Cliffs
Type
Time to Spend
1 of 6
#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.

Read more
Courtesy of Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce
See full list of Best Things To Do in Martha's Vineyard »

Explore More of Martha's Vineyard

Recommended

The 20 Best Michigan State Parks

Two peninsulas, four Great Lakes and innumerable natural highlights elevate Michigan's state parks.

Zach WatsonApril 18, 2019

50 Awesome Vacation Ideas for Every Type of Traveler

Consider these vacation ideas for your next getaway.

Holly JohnsonApril 11, 2019

The 13 Best National Parks in California

You won't regret adding one of these national parks to your California itinerary.

Rachel CenterApril 10, 2019

10 Beautiful Places to Visit in the South of France

Plan a getaway to these special destinations to soak up culture, cuisine and quaint atmospheres.

Gwen PratesiApril 8, 2019

Best Carry-on Luggage of 2019

U.S. News rated the best carry-on luggage, considering recommendations from experts and consumers.

Lyn MettlerApril 3, 2019

The 11 Best Utah National Parks and Monuments to Visit

From birding to bouldering to boating, Utah's national parks have it all.

Zach WatsonApril 2, 2019

The 30 Best Zoos in the U.S.

Get an up-close look at wild creatures in natural settings at America's top animal parks.

Kyle McCarthyMarch 28, 2019

15 Scenic Train Rides to Add to Your Bucket List

Climb aboard these locomotives for jaw-dropping views.

Christine SmithMarch 26, 2019

13 Top Places to Visit in Tuscany, Italy

Ditch the crowded streets of Rome or Milan and head to Italy's picturesque countryside.

Lyn MettlerMarch 25, 2019

10 Excellent Educational Vacations for Families

Make sure your next getaway is both enjoyable and informative.

Holly JohnsonMarch 14, 2019