CORONAVIRUS update from The Trustees. Learn More

Day Trip to Martha's Vineyard

A day trip to Martha’s Vineyard might seem daunting, but it’s worth the effort. Spend a day enjoying the Vineyard’s magnificent sandy beaches, pristine hiking trails, and scenic island vistas that work for everyone.

There’s nothing like the sound of crashing waves or the breeze off the ocean to give you a sense of calm and solace. And the diversity of landscapes at our seven properties, from beaches to bluffs and even a Japanese garden, means there’s truly something for everyone to enjoy. With several ferries per day to transport you during the summer months, it’s easier to get here than you might think.

From Woods Hole take the 45-minute ferry to Oak Bluffs, which offers onboard car service through the Steamship Authority. Easily drive off the ferry with all your beach supplies to the first stop, Norton Point Beach. For a scenic route be sure to take Beach Road across the famous “Jaws Bridge.

Norton Point Beach is a 2.5-mile long barrier beach strip of sand and dunes that is accessible on foot, or with a high-clearance vehicle and an Oversand Vehicle Permit, depending on nesting shorebird protective measures, tides, winds, and erosion. Norton Point Beach provides summer recreational opportunities for shellfishing in Katama Bay, swimming, bird watching, and picnicking. The western end of Norton Point Beach abuts the state-owned South Beach, which has lifeguards, seasonal restrooms, and changing areas. For updates on access, call the Beach Hotline: 508.627.8390.

After a day at the beach, travel back through Edgartown Town Center on your 25-minute (9mi) drive back to Oak Bluffs, enjoy an outdoor meal at one of the town’s many restaurants.

A narrow strip of sand separates Katama Bay from the Ocean, on Norton Point Beach, as seen here from the air

Norton Point

Other Options
  • For the Explorers: Coastal Hikes & Scenic Vistas
  • Family Friendly Excursion

For the Explorers: Coastal Hikes & Scenic Vistas

Your first stop on this itinerary is Menemsha Hills, a 211-acre preserve where you can climb to the top of the second-highest point on the Vineyard, enjoy a leisurely picnic, and take in spectacular ocean views. For a longer hike, follow a short path through lush woodlands to The Brickyard, featuring the historic remnants of the water-powered brickworks that helped build downtown Boston. Allow a minimum of 3 hours for the trip down and back to the parking area.

Sunrise over a coastal bank in Menemsha Hills, on Martha's Vineyard, with a view of the ocean

Next up is another coastal gem, Long Point, which is a 25-minute (12mi) car ride away. At more than 600 acres, Long Point is one of the largest properties open to the public on Martha’s Vineyard. The fact that it encompasses beach, dune, and woodland—which bracket a broad and uncommon sandplain heath—makes the reservation even more attractive, environmentally and recreationally. Long Point is also a treasure for birders and other nature-watchers. Hike the 2 miles of trail through woods and open areas, and take in the views of the ocean and pondside beaches before jumping back in the car for a quick 24-minute drive (10mi) back to Vineyard Haven.

Family Friendly Excursion

Just a 20-minute (10mi) drive from the Vineyard Haven ferry stop, and Oak Bluffs (8mi) is The FARM Institute, a great first spot to stretch your legs and explore (bathroom available on-site). Children can visit a variety of barnyard animals, including pigs, sheep, cows, chickens, and turkeys, at this 162-acre working farm, and families can enjoy two walking trails along the south pastures. The flat trails (1.6 miles long and 2 miles long) are suitable for both strollers and wheelchairs designed for outdoor use. A picnic table area is a great spot to stop and enjoy lunch before embarking on the next stop.

From here, drive 40 minutes (which includes a brief 527-ft ride on the iconic Chappy Ferry) to Chappaquiddick’s Wasque (“way-skwee”) Reservation for your next stop. Parking is available in the Fisherman’s Lot, and a short trail leads to a set of aluminum stairs down to the beach.

First-timers and returning guests alike will appreciate Wasque as a “must-see” coastal experience on the Vineyard, with its sweeping, white sand beaches that give it the feeling of being in a land lost in time. Wasque Swimming Beach is a fine spot for swimming, birdwatching, and exploring. Nature watchers can observe  sandpipers, Piping plovers, terns and other shorebirds at the surf line, and ospreys hovering above the water’s surface, looking for a meal. And like the herons and egrets that congregate here to fish, saltwater anglers find Wasque a fine destination for striped bass and bluefish. Children will love spotting monarch butterflies as they feed on the flowers of the Northern Blazing Star before migrating south.

Wrapping up the day’s adventures, travel back to Edgartown (with another brief trip on the Chappy Ferry) to Vineyard Haven (roughly 50 minutes / 13mi), or Oak Bluffs (roughly 50 minutes / 11mi), to catch your ferry home.

Join the Trustees

Enjoy 120 sites featuring inspired trails, historic homes, beautiful gardens, farms, summer camps and more.
Become a Member

Lend a Hand

Join a community passionate about a sustainable future and engaged in diverse projects across the state.
Volunteer

Support Our Work

We rely on your generous support to protect the irreplaceable landscapes and landmarks of Massachusetts.
Donate