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ℹ️ The MVacay Guide: How to get to Martha's Vineyard for Beginners
*the* post you forward to your friend who's visiting MV for the first time
Let’s plan your trip first.
How do I get to Martha’s Vineyard?
Martha’s Vineyard is an island seven miles off of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The only ways to get there are via ferry or plane. The most popular ferries are about a 90-minute drive from Boston in Falmouth, MA. From there, there are various ferries that take passengers about 30-60 minutes to get you to the island (more on that below). Martha’s Vineyard is a large island (6 towns) and you may want/need a car during your time there depending on your plans.
Will I need a car on my trip?
If you’re going to one specific town, or for a short amount of time, most people can manage their trip just fine without a car and have an enjoyable experience. If you need a car, the only way to get one on the island is with an advanced reservation on The Steamship Authority Ferry. If you don’t have a car you can take advantage of the bus system, rental car or bike options once you arrive. Here’s a whole post on how to get around!
Which Ferry Should I take?
Here’s a post on the various ferry options to MV. The default answer - if you live within driving distance of Cape Cod, take The Steamship Authority from Woods Hole, MA. This option is the least expensive, is available year-round, does not require advance passenger tickets, has the most extensive schedule, and takes cars. This post dives a bit deeper into the three different ferries coming from Cape Cod. Please note the town that your ferry takes you to - Steamship can go to either Vineyard Haven or Oak Bluffs during the season. The two are about a ~10 minute drive from each other.
If you’re coming from somewhere other than Cape Cod, consider the other ferries in the post (from New Bedford or North Kingston) or flying directly to the island.
But what if I decide to fly into Boston instead of MVY?
We have a post that details ways you can get from BOS to the island. It’s not so bad, just adds an additional expense and about ~3 hours per way. We get it, there’s fewer flights to the island year-round and it’s pricey, so you may want to fly into BOS.
Our default answer here - take the PB Bus from Logan to Woods Hole and it’ll bring you right to the Steamship Authority ferry terminal. If you’re traveling with a few people, consider scheduling a private car (Green Shuttle, White Tie or Long’s Taxi) for after your plane lands.
Where do I route to?
Make sure you route to the parking lot — not the ferry terminal! Here’s a handy guide.
Where should I stay?
The most popular towns to stay in are “down-island” in Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs and Edgartown. In those towns, there are ample hotels and AirBnB’s/rentals within walking distance of beaches and entertainment.
Here’s a post on how to pick a hotel - that post also helps you decide which town to stay in!
Here’s a post that includes various rental home options.
Ok, now that you’ve planned your travel, let’s plan your vacation.
Help me plan what to do!
Each week at @MVacay we publish a roundup of activities happening. Check our site before you come!
We also have an app that you can download in the app store that gives you quick access to our guides and highlighted events on-the-go.
For some fun browsing, here are a few guides you might want to peruse:
If you’re with family: 👨👩👧 Family-friendly activities + restaurants on Martha's Vineyard
If you’re with a Group: 💍 Martha's Vineyard Bachelorette Party Resources + Itineraries (this is applicable for large groups too)
If you’re on a Couples Trip: 🌹 Itinerary: Planning a Romantic Weekend on MV
If you want a tour: 🚌 Martha's Vineyard Tour Bus Roundup
If it’s rainy when you’re there: ☔ Martha's Vineyard Rainy Day Roundup
What are the “touristy” things while I’m there?
Well besides the beautiful beaches and delicious seafood, people visiting MV love to:
🏘️ Walk the “Gingerbread Houses” at MV Camp Meeting Association
🚨 Visit Aquinnah Cliffs Overlook and Gay Head Lighthouse
🦈 Jump off Jaws Bridge (a bridge where the movie Jaws was filmed)
There’s a ton more items on our MV bucket list post
*When* should I visit MV?
Most tourists come in July or August so the water is warm enough to swim in, but we have tons of visitors in the “shoulder season” - May, June, September and October are beautiful and less crowded. Theres still a lot open in the winter months, but it’s limited. Here is a list of important events that happen each year if you’re interested in visiting during a popular time.
There was so much more we could’ve added to this post, but we tried to keep it brief! It is SO worth the hassle! Have any other questions? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’re happy to help!