Your Travel Guide to Martha’s Vineyard

Just seven miles off the coast of Cape Cod lies the incomparable island of Martha’s Vineyard. The island is 96 square miles of stunning vistas and classic homes and is known primarily as a summer colony. However, its 17,000 year-round residents welcome over 200,000 visitors each summer.

Does Martha’s Vineyard look vaguely familiar? Perhaps because it was featured in a movie that changed the way most of us look at any body of water – Jaws. If you look at an East Coast map, you will see that you can only access Martha’s Vineyard by boat or air, so be prepared to step away from the rush of life found in any large city. And your morning Starbucks? That requires a boat ride back to Cape Cod.

History of Martha’s Vineyard

Cape Cod wood chart

Like the neighboring island of Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard rose to prominence during the height of the whaling industry. Ships were sent from these waters to hunt whales for their oil and blubber, creating a boom in the economy for this small island. Martha’s Vineyard has long enjoyed a good reputation as a resort and tourist destination, even as far back as the Great Depression.

A small island at the southwest corner of Martha’s Vineyard was initially named Martha after the daughter of the British explorer during his exploration of Cape Cod. Since then, the tiny island was renamed No Mans Land (or Nomans Land), and the name Martha’s Vineyard was transferred to the larger island, discovered just northwest of No Mans Land. Look closely at an East Coast map and you will see the uninhabited island situated about three miles off the coast of The Vineyard.

Martha’s Vineyard is divided into six towns. Each town is governed by selectmen elected by the residents who oversee building, development, and environmental and aesthetic concerns. 

6 Towns of Martha’s Vineyard

  1. Tisbury 
  2. Edgartown 
  3. Oak Bluffs
  4. Chilmark
  5. Aquinnah 
  6. West Tisbury

As you travel through the towns, be mindful of just how much fun you can have! Each town holds its own ordinance regarding drinking alcohol. Tisbury, Edgartown, and Oak Bluffs are “wet,” offering full liquor service. W. Tisbury and Aquinnah are “soggy,” meaning they only offer beer and wine. And Chilmark stands as the only dry county on the island. 

The towns are clearly designated on an East Coast map. The etched roads that ramble from town to town remind you of the days you biked along the coast, soaking in the wind, waves, and sunlight. Your days strolling through Oak Bluffs Harbor, Vineyard Haven, and Edgartown are vivid in your mind every time you look at the wood map. You are consistently reminded what a special place Martha’s Vineyard holds in your heart. 

6 Must-See Martha’s Vineyard Destinations

  1. man and woman walking on beach in Martha's Vineyard
    Martha's Vineyard beaches are unspoiled and scenic.
  2. Aquinnah Cliffs offers more than a lighthouse.
  3. Oak Bluffs Campground is the most charming neighborhood in all New England.
  4. Edgartown Lighthouse is leaving the light on for you.
  5. Island Alpaca Company is an absolute delight.
  6. Flying Horses Carousel is the oldest operating platform carousel in America. 

The beaches of Martha’s Vineyard are as diverse as they are beautiful. 

From the sands along shallows on the northern and eastern sides to the shorelines with crashing waves and soaring cliffs, each offers beachgoers a memorable experience. The shallows along the beaches of Vineyard Sound, revealed on an East Coast map, are dramatically different from the shoreline along Katama Bay. So, whether you are looking to kiteboard, windsurf, surf, relax on the sand or dip your toes in the water, there is a perfect beach for you.

Beaches on Martha’s Vineyard

  • Lobsterville Beach
  • Lucy Vincent Beach
  • East Beach
  • Lighthouse Beach

A high-quality East Coast map will offer a unique glimpse at the shallows and sandy beaches surrounding Martha’s Vineyard. The wood map will define the shoreline and draw your eye towards the bodies of water that surround the island. The Rock powerfully rises from the water and offers residents and visitors an extraordinary summer playground.

Aquinnah Cliffs is a favorite of tourists and residents of Martha’s Vineyard.

cliffs at Aquinnah

In an area formerly called Gay Head, the Aquinnah Cliffs are a breathtaking stretch of red clay cliffs soaring over a pristine expanse of sand at Moshup Beach. The epic clay cliffs, etched by glaciers millions of years ago, are just the beginning of the beauty in this favored spot. Climb to the top of the cliffs and enjoy fabulous views of Gay Head Light and nearby Elizabeth Islands, or enjoy a less strenuous view of the topography with a wood map.

The Cliffs are a protected part of the Wampanoag reservation. Off-limits areas remind visitors that the area is under special environmental protections. The area is often bustling with residents and visitors during the summer months; bus and bike tours keep the paved areas congested. Take it all in, but don’t even think about taking home red clay as a souvenir! It’s protected.

Oak Bluffs Campground gingerbread homes will charm smiles for miles.

Martha's Vineyard Cribbage Board

Originally a campground, the Oak Bluffs Campground neighborhood evolved into charming pastel candy-colored homes that line the streets of Oak Bluffs. Flower boxes and walking paths add to the vintage appeal of the gingerbread cottages. As you walk along the tree-lined streets, you will be tempted to rest in one of the rocking chairs found on each porch, painted to match its host house perfectly.

You cannot miss the Oak Bluffs neighborhood on a wood map.  Rent a charming gingerbread home for your vacation and walk to the quaint town of Oak Bluffs or go a few blocks more to the ocean. The Victorian cottages will whisk you to times when life was simpler, quiet, and a nap in the backyard hammock was a “thing.” 

Edgartown Lighthouse welcomes you to visit.

Edgartown Lighthouse

A lighthouse keeper will welcome you and share the extraordinary history of this harbor light. One of five on the whole of the island, the current Edgartown Lighthouse is the second one to be constructed on the same site. The first one, built of wood, was demolished and replaced with the fortified tower and built with cast iron.

Edgartown Lighthouse keepers are legends in their own right. Principle Keepers have been keeping the entrance to Edgartown Harbor and Katama Bay illuminated since 1828. The narrow entry to Katama Bay is clearly seen on an East Coast map and shows the importance of the lighthouse. Welcoming and educating visitors to the harbor light is just one way of keeping the historic landmark alive and vibrant.

The Island Alpaca Company is a cuddly adventure you cannot miss.

Ever wanted to do yoga with an alpaca? This is the farm of your dreams! The sweet, fuzzy quadrupeds bring a smile with their antics and gentle nature. Plus, summer brings babies! A visit with alpacas has the power to generate smiles and promote silly laughter. So, enter the farm and be ready to make great memories.

On an East Coast map, you may be surprised to see how much of the island offers farmland. In the 19th century, most of The Vineyard was farmland and much of the almost one hundred square miles is still rural. There are currently over five dozen farms still on the island, producing food and products that are sold at local markets and farm stands.

The Flying Horse Carousel Moved to Martha’s Vineyard From New York.


Like many city-dwellers who vacation on the island, the Flying Horse Carousel came from New York and decided to stay. The carousel is tucked into the iconic Oak Bluffs neighborhood, in good company amongst the gingerbread houses and tree-lined streets. 

The carousel itself is an intriguing mix of history and modern ingenuity. Initially powered by steam, the carousel was converted to electricity in 1900 and is now powered by a 10-horsepower motor located under the platform in the basement. Its gears and belt were rehabilitated in the 1980s, and the carousel still maintains its original ring assembly, where the rider who grabs the ring wins a free ride.

What to Do in Martha’s Vineyard

From the moment your ferry arrives on Martha’s Vineyard, you are a world away from your everyday life and surrounded by serenity. The island begs you to slow down and enjoy the sights, appreciating the history and epic beauty of every inch of The Rock. The perfect day starts with a fool-proof plan to take in as much as you can in a laid-back, relaxed way.

Plan Your Day on Martha’s Vineyard

  • Take the ferry for your day trip to Martha’s Vineyard from Falmouth
  • Rent bikes for the day
  • Stop by the famous Jaws Bridge
  • Check out the kite surfers
  • Go shopping!
Martha's Vineyard Clock, 12" Diameter

You will feel the Vineyard vibe the moment your feet hit the ground on the island. As you stroll through boutiques and cafes, admiring various wood maps and noticing the effortlessness of the décor, you realize you want that in your own home ASAP!

You will notice the prevalence of wood maps in the shops and on the walls of the eateries. East Coast maps appear to be specific favorites, and you can clearly picture that map in your office. The Martha’s Vineyard energy is going to feel so good at home!

Where to Stay in Martha’s Vineyard

May through September offers the best weather and the Atlantic Ocean water temperature ranges between 70 and 90 degrees. When it comes to where to stay, Edgartown is a hands-down favorite due to its central location to all things fabulous. The collection of historic hotels ensures you will travel back in time and enjoy the opportunity to relax. 

Amazing Places to Stay in Martha’s Vineyard

As you gaze at the towns etched into the wood of an East Coast map, you realize anywhere on the island is the perfect place to stay. The proximity to water and stunning views of unspoiled, rural land reinforce your decision to vacation on Martha's Vineyard and bolster your confidence in picking the perfect place to stay. 

Where to Eat in Martha’s Vineyard

Martha's Vineyard Serving Tray

Surrounded by the sea and rich in farmland, Martha’s Vineyard is a food lover’s paradise. With abundant seafood and farm-to-table produce, the island offers some of the best dining experiences found anywhere. Sunny summer days offer outdoor dining options, from a table by the sea to a tiny garden hideaway. Be prepared to close your eyes and soak it all in! 

Top Martha’s Vineyard Eateries

You can lose yourself in the freshest from the land and sea. The baked goods rival the ocean’s bounty, and the winner is you! One would expect regional favorites in New England, but Martha’s Vineyard prides itself in the unexpected. The only thing left to decide is, are you going to start with sweet or savory? 

Popular Foods in Martha’s Vineyard

Lobster roll
  • Lobster Roll
  • Lobster Bisque
  • Onion Rings 
  • Fudge 
  • Crêpes 
  • Donuts  

A wood map of the East Coast shows the depths of the water surrounding Martha’s Vineyard, leaving no mystery that the island produces some of the best seafood anywhere. Charter fishing around the Vineyard offers abundant opportunities to catch striped bass, or you can spend the day searching for sea scallops. Make the easier choice and simply scoot up to the table to indulge in the legendary Vineyard offerings.

A vacation in Martha’s Vineyard is truly second to none. Perfect sunsets, miles of beaches, and the opportunity to spot celebrities are just a few reasons The Rock makes the quintessential island getaway.

A glimpse at an East Coast map shows the island of Martha’s Vineyard is just seven miles off the coast of Cape Cod but it feels lightyears away from an average vacation destination.

Martha's Vineyard Wood Chart

When you bring home your wood map of Martha’s Vineyard, you will be awestruck at the differences of each shoreline. The cliffs will be etched in detail, with the Vineyard Sound, Edgartown Harbor, and various flats and shoals peering from the depths of the East Coast map. The wood map is pieced together to provide you a whole new perspective on this remarkable island.

Your adventure at Martha’s Vineyard will not be complete without the perfect nautical souvenir. A wood map will bring you back to the days you meandered through the boutiques and eateries in Oak Bluffs.  An East Coast map displayed in your home office will be the perfect reminder of your relaxing days on the island, walking in the steps of history and marveling at the elegance that has developed over time.

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