There are three types of beaches in Martha’s Vineyard: private beaches, town beaches and public beaches. The private beaches – you guessed it – are private. The town beaches are open to a specific town’s residents. You need a beach sticker (or a walk-on permit) to access a town beach. The Martha’s Vineyard public beaches are open to anyone on the island.

Here are our pick of the best beaches of Martha’s Vineyard:

These beaches are mostly public beaches but there are some town beaches too. Off season, all the town beaches are open without restriction.

7 Public Beaches

These beaches are all open to anyone who rocks up but be aware that parking may be an issue.

Aquinnah Public Beach (Moshup Beach)

Down the road from the Aquinnah light house, Moshup Beach is a charming beach wedged between the Aquinnah cliffs and the Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic Ocean waves makes this a popular surf beach.

There’s limited paid parking. After hours and off-season, parking is free.



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Menemsha Public Beach

The Menemsha Public Beach is not the best beach on the island in terms of sand, width or parking.

Yet it’s super popular so parking may be an issue.

Why? The sunsets at Menemsha are epic! People come in the evenings with picnic blankets and eat their dinner while watching the sunset. This ritual is one of our favourite budget things to do in Martha’s Vineyard.

 

The water is calm and its easy for kids to play in the sand and water. There are rocks nearby as well that my kids love to clamber over.

Menemsha Beach is right near the fishing village of Menemsha and its charming little harbor. Menemsha’s charm even appeared in the movie, Jaws.

Top Tip!  We like Larsen’s Fish Market where you can buy food to take out to the beach for a nosh.

Long Point Wildlife Refuge

My kids adore Long Point Wildlife Refuge which is owned by the Trustees of the Reservations. On the one side, you’ve got a calm pond perfect for wading quite far out even for little kids. There’s a sandy beach which is also good for building endless sandcastles and marinas. On the other side you’ve got the Atlantic Ocean with its big waves.

Body Boarding at Long Point,
Body Boarding at Long Point,

You can rent kayaks and stand up paddle boards at Long Point.

Parking is limited and so on a good beach day all the parking will be taken by 11 AM.



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State Beach

State Beach runs from near Edgartown to Oak Bluffs. It’s easy to get to from the bicycle path. There’s also good parking facilities.

On one side,  you’ve got Nantucket Sound and on the other side, there is Sengekontacket Pond. There is wind-surfing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding available on Senge. You can rent kayaks from Island Spirit Kayaks by Little Bridge on Beach Road.

The part of State Beach down near the Edgartown end is knows as Bend in the Road Beach. It’s got shallow water and small waves. We used to take our children there all the time when they were younger because it’s perfect for playing beach games as well as shallow wading.

Now that my kids are teens they insist on going to the other end near Jaws Bridge where the waves are bigger and they occasionally jump off the bridge.  Jaws Bridge (named because it appears in a pivotal scene in the movie, Jaws) is a popular spot to jump into the water.


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Katama Beach/South Beach

South Beach is a wide sand beach that stretches for about 3 miles. It’s got good surf, easy parking and is a popular beach.

The undertow at South Beach can be fierce. When our children were younger, they preferred Katama Bay which had gentler water for playing.

Running at South Beach
Running at South Beach

Cape Poge & Wasque

We love these beaches owned by the Trustees of the Reservations on Chappaquidick.

NB! These are two separate beaches but we are putting them together because Wasque gets occasionally washed out by the vagaries of the sea. For example, when the children were little Wasque was around but then it went away for a few years. When we visited in 2019, Wasque beach was back – as wide and beautiful as ever.

Cape Poge is where the infamous Kennedy Chappaquidick incident happened.

Cape Poge is wide, sandy and generally uncrowded.  There are jeep tours where you can go out to see the Cape Poge lighthouse. You can also get a beach permit to take your car onto the sand.

Cape Poge
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Lake Tashmoo Town Beach

We went to this beach years ago when we rented a house in Vineyard Haven.

They told us it was a bumpy road but they didn’t tell us how bumpy!! I seriously did not think our mini-van would make it. I had visions of strapping two babies onto Baby Bjorns and walking to get help.

The beach itself is nice but you do need a 4 wheel drive to get there comfortably. Thanks to its remote location, this beach is nice and uncrowded.

3 Great Permit Needed Beaches

Think you can sneak onto a town beach during the summer season when they are limited to town residents? Good luck with that. They are fiercely guarded by teens who are paid to check for beach permits.

An island car festooned with beach stickers collected over the years.
An island car festooned with beach stickers collected over the years.

We met a teenager who is an occasional parking attendant at Lucy Vincent Beach. He has told us hilarious stories of people who try to lie and cheat their way onto the beaches. For example, “I took a wrong turn and I’m simply going to turn around” leads to a quick park, a run for the beach and a chase by a young lifeguard.

Lambert’s Cove Beach

Lambert’s Cove Beach is a West Tisbury town beach. It’s a gem of a beach bordering the Vineyard Sound with good sand and clear waters. It’s got amazing sunsets which get a lot less crowded than the Menemsha Town Beach sunsets.

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Lucy Vincent Beach

Lucy Vincent Beach is a town beach for Chilmark. It’s a firm favourite with teenagers for its big Atlantic waves great for surfing and bodyboarding.

When you visit Lucy Vincent, if you head left from the parking lot and keep going at a certain point you will find the nudist part of Lucy Vincent Beach. We’ve never felt the need to visit.

Squibnocket Beach

Squibby is a town beach for Chilmark. It’s a beautiful location and great for surfing.

We love going in the evenings when anyone can visit. It’s usually empty and the sunsets are fabulous. Menemsha Beach may have better sunsets (arguably) but a whole lot more people.

Map of the Best Martha’s Vineyard Beaches

Map of Martha’s Vineyard Beaches
Map of Martha’s Vineyard Beaches – both public beaches and permit only town beaches

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10 best beacheson martha's vineyard
There are three types of beaches in Martha’s Vineyard: private beaches, town beaches and
public beaches. Here are our pick of the best beaches of Martha’s Vineyard – they are mostly
public beaches, but some town beaches as well. Check out why we keep going back to
Martha’s Vineyard! #marthasvineyard #beaches #bestbeaches
10 Best Beaches on Martha’s Vineyard
Heading to Martha’s Vineyard and wondering what’s the best beach?
Here are the best beaches of Martha’s Vineyard – they are mostly public beaches, but some
town beaches as well. Check them out and discover why we bought a house in Martha’s
Vineyard! #marthasvineyard #beaches #bestbeaches

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