Martha’s Vineyard Travel Guide
We’ve received so many questions about our recent trip to Martha’s Vineyard and we’re so excited to have answers for you, all in one place! If you’ve been following along, then you know we’ve posted lots of posts: strolling through Edgartown, visiting Oak Bluffs, where we stayed, and even our 24 hour trip to Boston before we got to the Vineyard. Despite all of those, we’ve yet to cover restaurant recommendations, things to do, travel tips, and a lot of frequently asked questions about this particular trip. We hope this travel guide helps you start planning your trip to Martha’s Vineyard!
Before we jump right in, we created a short little travel video to highlight all of our favorite moments. We hope that it helps you see how we fell in love with this place!
Getting There: Everything You Need To Know Prior To Arrival
One of the reasons we chose Martha’s Vineyard over Nantucket is because of its accessibility. Obviously, it’s an island so you know that there’s going to be some effort in getting there. Nantucket is further away than MV and I’d heard that it’s tougher to get to and flights are frequently delayed. In researching our own flights, I quickly discovered that ticket prices were very expensive if we wanted to fly into Martha’s Vineyard. A flight to Boston was much cheaper, and from there, it’s 70 miles. That being said, we learned a few things along the way: 70 miles does not mean that you’re there in just over an hour. From Boston, it took us three hours to actually step foot on the island. It’s about a two hour drive, plus a 45 minute ferry ride until you’re driving onto island land.
Onto our next subject of conversation: the ferry. Brandon and I are familiar with the ferry in Port Aransas (Texas’ beloved beach town). That particular ferry happens to be quick and free, the complete opposite of the Martha’s Vineyard ferry. I didn’t even think to research ferry prices and times, I just sort of assumed they ran frequently.
We completely lucked out because when we rolled up to the ticket station, they asked if we had a reservation (for the ferry?!). We said no and we were told to wait in standby. Miraculously, we got on without a hitch and arrived in 45 minutes. I think it also needs to be said that we had to pay $85 one way just to take ourselves and our car on the ferry! Be prepared for this and learn from our mistakes.
In leaving the island, we tried to get a ticket early the night before, but when we went at 5:00, the office was already closed! The next morning we were up bright and early but when we tried to buy a ticket, they told us they could not be purchased the day of. We were baffled and once again had to do standby. If you saw our IG Stories, then you know we were lucky enough to be the last ones on the ferry for that particular time slot.
All of that to say, you definitely should look up the ferry times and schedule here. Book your ticket in advance to secure your spot and your return.
Restaurant & Shop Recommendations
There are so many great restaurants to choose from! The only reservation we had in advance was for Lighthouse Grill, the restaurant inside Harbor View Hotel. With a perfect view of the harbor and its stunning white lighthouse, this is one place that we’d highly recommend, especially if you’re traveling as a couple! The food was delicious and even though it’s a little pricier, it was our one really nice meal of the trip.
Casual places that we loved would include Rosewater (the perfect breakfast/coffee spot or get food to go), The Seafood Shanty (awesome rooftop deck with a view), Back Door Donuts (a MUST for hot delicious donuts and the best apple fritter we’ve had), and Red Cat Kitchen. You really can’t go wrong with any of the restaurants but we did find that most places are extremely casual. This is not a town where you need to get dressed up to go grab dinner. Pizza by the slice is sold, fried seafood, lobster rolls, and homemade ice cream are among some of the town’s favorites and we embraced the casual atmosphere with no problem.
We didn’t do a ton of shopping while we were there but managed to visit the iconic Vineyard Vines and Black Dog Company. Both of these are New England staples and I think many of the locals would agree. Jack Wills was a favorite of ours and there are plenty of local boutiques that you can shop around in as well. Shopping is never a real priority when we travel and we’re often more focused on exploring and spending time outside, especially in a place as beautiful as Martha’s Vineyard.
Where To Stay
We stayed at two separate places during our time on the island. The first spot was Harbor View Hotel, located in Edgartown. Edgartown is true New England style with white picket fences and colonial homes. Brandon and I both agreed that the charm captured our hearts and if we return, we will definitely stay in Edgartown again. Harbor View is beyond picturesque and we cannot recommend it enough. The location is perfect and there are so many wonderful amenities offered.
Our second location was Summercamp Hotel in Oak Bluffs. Martha’s Vineyard has several small towns on the island, most just a fifteen minute drive from one another. We wanted to make sure we saw all parts of the island, hints our shift in hotels. Summercamp was colorful and fun, a perfect place for young families, although we still loved staying as a couple. It’s just a short three minute walk from the ferry dock and is also walking distance to the main part of town with all of the shops and restaurants. If you’re more into the nightlife scene and want to ensure that there’s plenty to do in the evenings, Oak Bluffs is definitely the place to stay.
See our review of Harbor View Hotel here.
See our review of Summercamp Hotel here.
What To Wear
We went June 10-13 and the Martha’s Vineyard “season” of tourists doesn’t formally begin until the July 4th holiday, simply because that’s when it is warmest. Our weather was unseasonably chilly (or so we were told by locals). Most days it was high 60s and into the low 70s but it was sunny, making it feel just a bit warmer. Although it wasn’t like we were in swimsuits the whole time, we had no complaints seeing how we had just come from 103 degrees back in Texas. Mornings and evenings were chilly and Brandon and I were happy that we packed heavier sweaters and pants for that. In the afternoons, we were able to shed all layers. If you’re going in July or August, I think that traditional summer attire would be perfect. Anything before July 4th, make sure you have some jeans and sweaters packed, just in case.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How Was Parking?
As we mentioned above, we were there before the summer season officially began. For us, parking was completely fine. Both of our hotels offered complimentary parking for guests and we just left the car there, walking or biking wherever we wanted to go. I imagine that during July and August, things get a little crazy. Many people told us that cars line the streets and it’s a nonstop traffic jam. That being said, Brandon and I thought everything was extremely walkable and bikes are readily available for rent. I would definitely opt to walk vs. drive whenever possible.
How Expensive Is Everything?
We didn’t feel like the food was ridiculously priced when compared to some of the other places we’ve visited (i.e. San Diego, CA). There are lots of budget friendly “beach food” options that you can choose like pizza and all the little cafes they have. Clothing and boutiques are definitely expensive if you’re wanting to do lots of shopping and getting to Martha’s Vineyard in itself is quite expensive (make sure to read our “Getting There” segment up at the top).
What Are The Beaches Like?
The New England beaches are very different from the Florida coastline or the Texas beaches that we’re familiar with. In many ways, it didn’t feel like we were at the beach because we only got in our swimsuits once. Of course, we were fine by that, but if you’re expecting a trip where you can lay on the beach or swim all day, Martha’s Vineyard isn’t the place for you. The water is pretty but it’s so chilly! We were much more comfortable walking the beach in our cable knit sweaters than we were in our swimsuits. However, if you are visiting in July and August, I’m sure that it becomes a different story then.
What Was Your Favorite Part Of The Trip?
Honestly, Brandon and I have the most fun walking the streets, exploring neighborhoods, and eating good food. We loved Edgartown so much and would just stroll from home to home, noticing all the different features or the flowers they had in the front yard. If you do go, make sure you schedule time to just wander the streets and get lost.
The Blog Posts
If you’re looking for outfit details from any of these pictures or other information, we’ve got SIX different blog posts set in Martha’s Vineyard. You can check them out below. Let us know if we failed to answer one of your questions! Leave a comment or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, if you found this helpful, feel free to pin our travel guide (image below) to your Pinterest board!
Patriotic Streets of Edgartown
Lighthouses of Martha’s Vineyard