Long known as a vacation haven for the powerful and well-connected (looking at you, pretty much all major US politicians for the last 50+ years!), the beaches of Martha’s Vineyard have developed a great rep for being both gorgeous and beautifully well-kept. When it comes to choosing the best Martha’s Vineyard beaches, it can be hard to narrow the list down because there are just so many fantastic options!
A beach vacation on Martha’s Vineyard means pristine beaches, scenic views, and so many fun things to do! Of course, not all beaches are open to the public during the summer season, so it’s important to know which Martha’s Vineyard beaches are restricted and which are not.
If you’re looking for a great public beach on the Vineyard, you’ll find this list of the best public Martha’s Vineyard beaches helpful, but on a gorgeous island like Martha’s Vineyard, it’s hard to go wrong!
Chilmark’s Menemsha Beach is a popular sunset spot on the Vineyard, with many choosing to cap their day on this calm and quiet strip of sand by watching the sun gently sink into the sea across the Vineyard Sound. The waters at Menemsha tend to be fairly calm, and the daily presence of lifeguards makes this beach a great choice for a relaxing swim. Plus, the seafood shacks near Menemsha Beach offer the perfect sunset snack!
Oak Bluffs Town Beach
Located in adorable Oak Bluffs, considered one of the best beach towns in New England and known for its antique Flying Horses Carousel and whimsical gingerbread cottage neighborhood, Oak Bluffs Town Beach is sometimes called Inkwell Beach. There are lifeguards present in the summer and a great sandbar for playing on, and its easy proximity to so many great places to stay and eat doesn’t hurt its appeal, either!
Also referred to as South Beach, Edgartown’s Katama Beach is one of the best Martha’s Vineyard beaches because it offers options for catching some waves on the Atlantic Ocean side, or playing in the calm waters of the protected pond on the other side of this barrier beach. Lifeguards patrol this 3+ mile beach during the swim season, but the undertow and currents are pretty powerful on the ocean side, so keep that in mind when choosing where to take a dip!
Also known as Gay Head Beach, Moshup Beach is a fantastic Martha’s Vineyard beach for scenic views, with the stunning Gay Head Cliffs providing a fantastic backdrop for the beach. There is a bit of a walk to get there from the parking lot, so be prepared. Lifeguards are not often present on Moshup Beach and the surf can get pretty intense, so this may not be the beach for those looking for calm waters. Some sections of the beach here allow nude sunbathing, too, so heads up!
Lake Tashmoo Town Beach
Another favorite Martha’s Vineyard beach for families with kids, Tisbury’s Lake Tashmoo Town Beach offers the option of swimming in the Vineyard Sound or in Lake Tashmoo, the protected waters on the other side of the beach. The presence of lifeguards and the gentle waters of Lake Tashmoo make this a great MVY beach choice for younger children.
Long Point Beach
A part of Long Point Wildlife Refuge, Long Point Beach is located in a naturalist’s dream, with oak forest, savannah, wildflower meadows and more just waiting to be explored! There are no lifeguards on duty at the beach, but kayak and standup paddleboards are available for rent every summer, so for anyone who’s looking for a beautiful beach experience beyond just sunbathing and catching the waves, Long Point Beach might be the Martha’s Vineyard beach for you!
Joseph Sylvia State Beach
Edgartown’s Joseph Sylvia State Beach is often shortened to just State Beach, and it is a favorite Martha’s Vineyard beach for kids and adults alike! In addition to having smaller waves and lifeguards, it is also the site of the famous “Jaws Bridge,” and kids and their adults enjoy climbing up and jumping off into the calm waters below!
Just a quick ferry ride over to Chappaquiddick, East Beach is a great Vineyard beach for those looking for a quieter beach than some of the other popular Martha’s Vineyard beaches! Enjoy a stroll on the soft sand, the Cape Poge Lighthouse views, and the sounds of the often dramatic surf on this exposed side of the island. There are no lifeguards on East Beach, but it sure makes for a sweet romantic picnic spot!
Owen Park Beach
Tisbury’s Owen Park Beach is always a hit with families, as it has ample facilities, a playground for the kiddos, the perfect spot to watch the ferry come and go, and calm water for the whole family to enjoy. This harbor beach is also in close proximity to several great Martha’s Vineyard places to stay and eat, like the famous Black Dog Tavern!
Beautiful Lobsterville Beach is another gorgeous Martha’s Vineyard beach in Aquinnah, with mostly calm waters along its 2-mile shore; while it is open to the public, public parking is very limited. Lobsterville Beach is a great spot for swimming, but there is no lifeguard on duty so it’s not always a first choice for families with young kids. Snorkeling near the shore is a popular activity here!
When planning a beach vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, it’s important to be aware that many of the beaches are residents only during the summer months. All of the Martha’s Vineyard beaches outlined above are open to the public, but there are many other great beaches to visit that will require a friendship with a resident and/or a visitor’s pass!
Enjoy your time exploring these beautiful Martha’s Vineyard beaches!
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Amy is the founder of New England with love. A proud Vermonter, she hopes to share her love of New England and help you find the best adventures in the region. Amy is also blogger/founder at Two Drifters, where she writes alongside her husband about romantic and couples travel, relationships, honeymoons, and more. When not working on websites, Amy is probably reading, cuddling with her husband, son, and cats, & drinking a maple latte.