Often regarded as a swanky getaway for the east-coast elite, Martha’s Vineyard is a small island sits in the Atlantic Ocean just off the coast of Cape Cod. Counted as a part of the state of Massachusetts, this vacation hot spot is relatively easy to access by air or by sea—ferries will carry passengers onto the island from New York, Rhode Island, and Cape Cod. Luckily, the island is far more accessible (and vacation-able) than the average world traveler might expect: it’s an idyllic getaway for all manners of small group travel. Thinking of traveling to Martha’s Vineyard for your next getaway? Allow youRhere to answer some of your most pressing questions with this Martha’s Vineyard travel guide.
Why is Martha’s Vineyard Called Martha’s Vineyard?
Prior to this naming, the island’s original and native inhabitants—the Wampanoag tribe—named the land “Noepe,” roughly meaning “Land Amid the Streams.” Unfortunately, as is the case with the vast majority of today’s US land, a British explorer named Bartholonew Gosnold coined the name “Martha’s Vineyard” in 1602—Martha having been the name of his young daughter. Fun fact: Gosnold also coined the named “Cape Cod,” but unlike the Vineyard, this space was named for its abundance of cod fish. More than 400 years later, Martha’s Vineyard is the darling of every collection of New England travel guides.
What is the Cheapest Way to Get to Martha’s Vineyard?
As you might guess: the closer you and your fellow travelers are to the island, the more cost-effective your trip will be. Ferries from the surrounding area—the closest being Woods Hole, MA, about a 45-minute journey—cost about $8.50/adult and $4.50/child ages 5-12 (one way pricing). Children under 5 can ride for free. Looking to bring your own car? Depending on the vehicle’s height, you’re looking at $81/car (under 71 inches) or $91/car (between 17 and 20 inches). We’d recommend making Martha’s Vineyard a day-trip for locals and people visiting Cape Cod, Rhode Island, or even New York: it’ll keep the cost down!
Most Popular: The Steamship Authority
Most Luxurious: Seastreak Ferry
Best From Rhode Island: Martha’s Vineyard Fast Ferry
Most Activities on Board: Hy-Line Cruises
Is Martha’s Vineyard Expensive?
Most everyone visiting MV gets concerned about overall pricing. The good news is that you have more control over the cost than you may think. Opting for public transportation (which is abundant and efficient), walking, or biking over taxis is a great way to keep costs down. If you’re into a more “relaxing’ itinerary, you can refrain from booking any extra curriculars while you’re there. Keeping your budget “in check” as far as these two categories are concerned will give you more leeway on the higher prices of food and accommodations.
Self-guided tours and beach days are excellent ways to see and enjoy the island without forking over a pretty penny. Explore the gorgeous Aquinnah Cliffs (an Instagrammable dream: throw this place on a list of wallpaper travel guides), traverse the streets on Circuit Avenue, and peruse a plentiful marketplace at Morning Glory Farm. Click here for more ideas!
What are the Best Hotels in Martha’s Vineyard?
Despite the fact that Martha’s Vineyard is an island, there are plenty of lovely—and relatively affordable—accommodations our Martha’s Vineyard travel guide just wouldn’t be complete without. Some of our favorites:
Photo: Vineyard Square Hotel & Suites
Average Pricing: $225/night
Vibes: Coastal & Colonial
Average Pricing: $299/night
Location: Oaks Bluff
Vibes: Quirky Boutique Summer Camp (with a Modern Twist)
Discover More Places to Stay in Martha’s Vineyard
Where Should We Go for Dinner in Martha’s Vineyard?
While seafood is their specialty, there are delicious restaurants and markets of all genres. Our top picks: