On Martha’s Vineyard, there’s a beach for everyone, even if everyone can’t go to every beach. Yes, there are private beaches and town beaches where you need to be a resident or a renter. But some of the most beautiful stretches of Atlantic coast are free and open to the public. Endless sand and waves? We got ‘em at South Beach. Safe and serene? You want State Beach. Wild and empty? See you at Cape Pogue. Whatever your beach, remember – Carry in, Carry out and avoid tall grass.
Lobsterville Beach: This two-mile dune beach off Lobsterville Road faces the Vineyard Sound and is also a popular fishing spot. Good to know: Parking is limited. Bus Route: #5
Aquinnah Public Beach (Moshup Beach): On the southwestern shore, this surf beach off Moshup Trail extends from private Philbin Beach to just before the Cliffs in Aquinnah. Good to know: Parking is $15/day and the parking area is a 10-minute walk from the beach. Bus Route: #5
Menemsha Public Beach: Gentle Vineyard Sound surf and epic sunsets make this an all-day favorite. Next to Menemsha Harbor. Bus Route: #4
Long Point Wildlife Refuge: On the Vineyard’s southern shore, this barrier beach just east of Tisbury Great Pond offers both fresh and saltwater swimming. Owned and managed by The Trustees of Reservations, 508-693-7662. Good to know: Parking is on a fee basis and spaces are limited. Arrive early to secure a spot.
Bend-In-The-Road Beach (State Beach): This two-mile stretch of gentle beach along Beach Road between Edgartown and Oak Bluffs boasts views of Nantucket Sound on one side and Sengekontacket Pond on the other. Good to know: Roadside parking. On the bicycle path. Bus Route: #13
Lighthouse & Fuller Street Beach: Both are on the Edgartown harbor at Starbuck Neck, just off North Water Street. Find the lighthouse and you’re there. Calm water and a view of the harbor. Street parking is at a premium, so leave your car elsewhere or get there early. Bus Route: #1, 6, 8, 13
South Beach: Also called Norton Point, this three-mile barrier beach has Atlantic Ocean surf on one side of the dunes and a protected salt pond, Katama Bay, on the other side. A breach has opened Katama Bay to the Atlantic Ocean, the result of a spring storm in 2007. Three miles west from the center of Edgartown. Good to know: Only vehicles with over-sand permits are allowed on marked dune trails. Street parking available on Atlantic Ave. Bus Route: #8
Cape Pogue Wildlife Refuge & Wasque: This beautiful stretch of beach at the tip of Chappy is open to the public. At Wasque there are also trails along the bluffs overlooking Wasque Point and Pocha Pond. Owned and maintained by The Trustees of Reservations, 508-693-7662. Take ferry from Edgartown to Chappaquiddick.
Eastville Point Beach: A recently improved quiet spot off Beach Road on the Oak Bluffs side of the drawbridge, between Vineyard Haven & Oak Bluffs. An informational kiosk now greets beach goers and there’s a new bike rack. Good to know: Parking is limited. Easily accessible by bike or public transportation. Bus Route: #13
Oak Bluffs Town Beach (including Inkwell Beach): On Nantucket Sound, this calm beach begins near the Steamship Authority dock and ends at the first jetty on the road to Edgartown, just past the breakwater. The beach picks up again about one mile east of the inlet which flows into Sengekontacket Pond and ends where the Joseph A. Sylvia State Beach begins. Bus Route: #13
Joseph A. Sylvia State Beach: Gentle surf and easy bike path and car access make this two-mile beach a popular spot for families. Also, fishing and crabbing is popular along the jetties, and bridge-jumping from the American Legion Bridge (“Jaws Bridge”) is allowed, though not for the faint of heart. Bus Route: #13
Owen Park Beach: On the harbor, off Main Street and within walking distance of the ferry terminal and downtown, this small sandy beach has an adjacent play area and Demonstration Garden adjacent to the Harbormaster’s office. Bus Route: #10A
Tisbury Town Beach (Owen Little Way Town Beach): At the end of Owen Little Way off Main Street, this public beach is next to the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club. Bus Route: #10A
Lake Tashmoo Town Beach: At Herring Creek on Lake Tashmoo. Swim in Vineyard Sound or in the lake. To get there, take Daggett Avenue out of Vineyard Haven, and turn right onto Herring Creek Road (a dirt road). Follow this to the end. Clamming (by permit) is allowed here and there is a lifeguard during the summer months. Good to know: Parking is limited.