Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Martha's Vineyard, MA

  • Published 2022/06/12

Martha’s Vineyard, one of the best retreats for a weekend getaway, has a lot of beautiful spots hidden up its sleeves.

With some of the best beaches and ancient lighthouses, this island is the best spot to visit if you want to swim in the seawater and have a relaxing time.

Interested to know more about this place?

Here are the best things to do in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts:

Visit the Iconic Edgartown Lighthouse

Daytime view of the Edgartown Lighthouse

AR Photography /

Martha’s Vineyard is home to some of the most incredible beaches and lighthouses.

Edgartown Lighthouse is one of five lighthouses in Martha’s Vineyard and is one of the most iconic sights on the island.

It’s located in the region between Katama Bay and Edgartown Harbor.

The view from Edgartown Lighthouse

AR Pictures /

The original building was constructed in 1828, but the entire building was finished by 1939.

The original lighthouse was not built on the mainland.

An isolated island was used, but stones and sand began to accumulate on the way as time went on.

Now, you can walk to the lighthouse from the mainland as there is a beach.

Aerial view of Edgartown Lighthouse

Felix Lipov /

Admire the View from Atop Menemsha Hills

Scenic view from Menemsha Hills

Linnean /

Who doesn’t love rugged ocean views?

Head to the Menemsha Hills to witness some of the most breathtaking scenes on the island.

It’ll take a bit of a climb before you’re rewarded with those alluring views.

Uphill hiking trail at Menemsha Hills

Linnean /

The hill stands at 308 meters.

You can see across the rugged cliffs that extend for miles.

The views are panoramic, offering some of the best of nature.

You’ll also see amazing sights of the Vineyard Sound, along with several islands that extend across it.

Go Swimming or Surfing on Katama Beach

Rocky shore of Katama Beach

Travis Fenway Kozak /

Martha’s Vineyard is the perfect place to enjoy life by the sea.

Katama Beach is one of the best beaches in the United States.

The beach is open to the public and stretches across 3 miles.

It’s a beautiful beach full of life.

The waters and sand of Katama Beach

BP1 /

Are you into surfing?

This is the best place to surf in Martha’s Vineyard.

Want to go swimming?

There is a protected area here, too.

Fall in Love with the Colors of the Aquinnah Cliffs

Gorgeous view of Aquinnah Cliffs

Joaquin Ossorio Castillo /

To witness some of the most mesmerizing views in Martha’s Vineyard, you must visit the Aquinnah Cliffs.

When you look at these cliffs, you will see how wonderful nature truly is and how intricately detailed their work is.

Colorful clay details of Aquinnah Cliffs

Vidu Gunaratna /

You will see the blue waters hitting the colorful cliffs, and the overall views are just majestic.

There are also a lot of fossils found inside these cliffs.

Aerial view of Aquinnah Cliffs

Cole Lander /

Enjoy Some Quiet Time at the Underrated Lucy Vincent Beach

Sunset illuminating the Lucy Vincent Beach

Desha Utsick /

If you haven’t heard about Lucy Vincent Beach, it’s one of the most beautiful beaches on Martha’s Vineyard.

This underrated beach is located in the town of Chilmark.

Plants at the Lucy Vincent Beach

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Since it’s not as famous as Katama Beach, not many people know about it, and it doesn’t get too crowded.

When you visit Lucy Vincent Beach, you will notice the turquoise waters bang against the small cliffs of the beach.

The scenes are picturesque, and you’ll undoubtedly want to snap photos of this beautiful site.

The waters of Lucy Vincent Beach

Linnean /

Tour the Famous Martha’s Vineyard Museum

Exterior of Martha's Vineyard Museum

M V D H P, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A trip to the island isn’t complete without visiting its most famous museum: Martha’s Vineyard Museum.

It was formerly known as Dukes County Historical Society, but after many renovations and changes, Martha’s Vineyard Historical Society gave it a new name.

The island has a rich heritage, which the museum proudly showcases to visitors.

Snap Photos of the Historic Gay Head Lighthouse

Exterior of Gay Head Lighthouse

Allan Wood Photography /

Gay Head Lighthouse now is one of Martha’s Vineyard’s iconic historical landmarks.

It was the first lighthouse built in Martha’s Vineyard in 1796.

Spiral staircase in Gay Head Lighthouse

Maya K. Photography /

Gay Head Lighthouse was no longer functional in the 1980s and has been open to the public since then.

It receives a lot of visitors every day.

Tourists mainly come to snap a few pictures as this is a piece of living history.

Viewing out the window of Gay Head Lighthouse

Maya K. Photography /

Spot Gorgeous Plant Species at the Polly Hill Arboretum

How would you like to see the beautiful plants of the gorgeous Martha’s Vineyard?

Horticulturist Polly Hill resided in Martha’s Vineyard and was quite fond of exotic and native plant species.

She built the Polly Hill Arboretum so that tourists could come and look at the wonders of nature.

The arboretum was built in 1958 over 20 acres of land.

It is entirely filled up with various plant species from different places around the world.

You can find a lot of plants that include magnolias, rhododendrons, and crabapples.

Have a Beach Day at Inkwell Beach

Sunny day at Inkwell Beach

Colleen D Williams /

Inkwell Beach is one of the most crowded beaches on Martha’s Vineyard.

Compared to Katama Beach, this beach gets a lot of visitors every day.

Sunbathing is one of the most popular activities among tourists.

The summers are lovely here.

People come here to go swimming as the water feels exceptionally lovely during the summer.

You can also go jet skiing here.

Take in Scenic Views from Atop East Chop Lighthouse

Exterior of East Chop Lighthouse

Allan Wood Photography /

Constructed in 1878, East Chop Lighthouse was controlled by the US Coast Guard for a certain period.

Eventually, the lighthouse underwent damages that were out of the Coast Guard’s control.

The future of East Chop Lighthouse wasn’t looking so good.

For the sake of the local citizens, Congress took matters into its hands and saved the lighthouse.

The location of East Chop Lighthouse is terrific, as you can see the waves crashing against the cliffs.

You can enjoy panoramic views of the Oak Buffs town if you stand at the top.

The lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Spot Wildlife at Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary

Are you a nature lover?

If so, you must head to Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary in Edgartown.

This protected piece of land comprises several beaches and marshlands.

Did you know there are a lot of birds native to this place?

There are also a lot of coastal animals native to Massachusetts found in this particular area.

At Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, you can explore walking trails and go kayaking.

Say a Prayer at Old Whaling Church

Exterior of Old Whaling Church

John Phelan, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The famous Old Whaling Church was constructed in 1843, and its architecture is on a whole different level.

You might not find many buildings with that Greek Revival design like this one.

Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust later got control of this church by buying it in 1980.

Most of the town’s important meetings are held in this venue.

Enjoy Fresh Produce at Morning Glory Farm

This organic farm has been operating for generations.

Morning Glory Farm grows some of the best veggies, such as lettuce, carrots, beets, and tomatoes.

Want to visit an herb garden?

There is also one of those here.

They have some goats and pigs here, too.

Learn the Value of Conservation at Long Point Wildlife Refuge

The 632-acre wildlife refuge combines beaches, marshes, woods, and freshwater ponds.

There are no other places like it globally; it was developed after the ice age.

Many unique flora and animals may thrive in Long Point’s arid topography and salty seas.

You may walk a 2-mile hiking track that winds through the wooded areas and along a shoreline.

Kayak and paddleboard rentals and access to fresh and saltwater swimming are available here.

Every day of the year, the refuge is open.

Treat Your Sweet Tooth at the Black Dog Water St. Bakery

Exterior of the Black Dog Restaurant

Katkami /

After sightseeing around Martha’s Vineyard, you might be hungry for something sweet.

The Black Dog Water St. Bakery is one of the best places in the city for baked goodies.

Offering a mouth-watering selection of pastries and cakes, it’s an excellent place to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Tour Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association

Exterior of a cottage at Martha's Vineyard Camp Meeting Association

Le grand Cricri, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This organization’s mission is to preserve and share the history of the early nineteenth-century American “campground” religious movement.

There were tiny cottages for families to reside in and a massive tabernacle that hosts religious services at the Martha’s Vineyard campsite.

Paper umbrella on a porch at Martha's Vineyard Camp Meeting Association

Megs Pier /

The MVCMA continues to have Bible studies and services every week.

Visitors may tour the cottage museum, depicting what life was like in the early 1800s for individuals who lived there.

The museum also features a gift store, where visitors may purchase keepsakes and relics of their time there.

Chinese-japanese decorated cottage at Martha's Vineyard Camp Meeting Association

Megs Pier /

Tee Off at Farm Neck Golf Club

Play a round of golf on one of the country’s most picturesque courses.

The Farm Neck Golf Club is located in the eastern part of Martha’s Vineyard.

All kinds of terrain are available for golfers, from wooded areas to the coast’s edge.

From April through December, the course is offered to new students.

Tennis enthusiasts may use Farm Neck’s six public tennis courts as well as individual instruction and clinics.

Guest can dine at the on-site café, which is available for lunch and supper, after their round of golf.

Teach Your Kids Farming at The Farm Institute

This farm institute is part of the Katama Farm.

In the gardens and greenhouses, the farm grows various seasonal fruits and vegetables using organic methods.

Aside from that, they also raise a wide range of animals such as cattle, sheep, and chickens.

The Farm Institute provides year-round self-guided and guided tours of the property for a small fee.

Special events for children and adults and Summer camps are also available.

Join culinary lessons, hayrides across the meadow, movie evenings, and opportunities to help out with farm tasks.

Feel the Zen at Mytoi Japanese Garden

Located on Chappaquiddick Island, the serene Mytoi Japanese Garden is shaded by towering pines.

Landscaper Hugh Jones worked tirelessly for months to develop and landscape the garden.

Native and non-native flora and the animals that call this area home are all on show.

Footpaths winding around the property allow visitors to explore on their own.

Guests can find a quiet retreat on an island amid a pond after crossing a bridge there.

You may visit the garden every day to release your stress as you stroll through the area.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Take a Side Trip to Chappaquiddick

The wooden Chappaquiddick bridge

MindStorm /

Are you interested in exploring more beautiful sandy beaches?

Chappaquiddick is a particularly fascinating place to visit.

This special place does not have a fixed coastline, as it’s constantly shifting.

So, what is this formation, exactly?

People at the Chappaquiddick beach

Raymond Douglas Ewing /

Well, the answer can only be based on its current coastline.

Sometimes, it takes the shape of an island; other times, it becomes a peninsula.

This quaint location is connected to the eastern tip of Martha’s Vineyard and is one of the best places to visit on a side trip.

There are plenty of activities to enjoy here, such as swimming, kayaking, and fishing.

It’s a very picturesque and restful location.

Bikes parked at Chappaquiddick's riverfront

Rolf_52 /

Final Thoughts

Its captivating beauty and laid-back vibe make Martha’s Vineyard one of the top vacation places in the US.

Despite its growing fame, Martha’s Vineyard remains a tranquil retreat for locals, visitors, and A-listers alike.

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