A Martha’s Vineyard vacation is a guaranteed good time for the whole family. You will not be stuck on what to do on Martha’s Vineyard with kids. With so many options for both indoor and outdoor activities, even if it rains on vacation, Martha’s Vineyard has plenty of things to do with kids. Among the Martha’s Vineyard things to do with kids includes beaches, water sports, hiking and cycling as well as bowling and ice skating. We also suggest where to stay on Martha’s Vineyard with kids and family-friendly restaurants on Martha’s Vineyard. This guide will help you plan your family vacation on Martha’s Vineyard.
Martha’s Vineyard Vacation
A Martha’s Vineyard vacation is perfect for families, including for multigenerational trips. There is plenty to do on Martha’s Vineyard for the entire family no matter the age and no matter which town in Martha’s Vineyard you decided to base yourself.
In terms of accommodation, Martha’s Vineyard’s various options let you rent a big family home where you can all stay together, or rent a compound that has smaller houses on the same property. Resorts on Martha’s Vineyard also offer flexible acccommodaton and activity options. There are also plenty of family friendly restaurants on Martha’s Vineyard, too.
What To Do on Martha’s Vineyard with Kids
As a summer beach destination, spending time on Martha’s Vineyard beaches are the best things to do on the island along with all the associated water activities. We love kayaking Martha’s Vineyard’s ponds as a family. On land, there are easy hiking trails you can do with kids as well as family cycle trails on the island. We have cycled the entire island as a family with teenage children.
Martha’s Vineyard is one of the best places for outdoor activities, so get out there and explore everything it has to offer!
Head to the beach.
One of the most popular public beaches on Martha’s Vineyard is the 3 mile stretch of South Beach edging the Atlantic Ocean in the Katama section of Edgartown. The beach is wide, sandy and warm for most of the day, thanks to its orientation. It’s popular with teens because the waves can be fierce.
My children when they were younger preferred Bend on the Road Beach on Beach Road at the entrance to Edgartown and Fuller State Beach in Edgartown where the waves are fairly non-existent. Visitors to Martha’s Vineyard are super-friendly and kids end up playing together and sharing toys.
Older children will probably insist on jumping of Jaws Bridge which ranks high as one of the top things to do on Martha’s Vineyard for kids. Although my son was desperate to jump off Jaws Bridge, we did not let him do it until he was 9 years old and holding his father’s hand. Our summer babysitter, a Martha’s Vineyard local, says her parents have NEVER let her jump off the bridge. So approach with caution.
Don’t think you can spend an entire day amusing the children on a beach? We have a list of beach games that will keep the kids entertained and your sanity intact.
Explore the ponds.
We love ponds especially ones that have a sandy strip. My kids when they were younger could spend the entire day at either the Long Point Beach pond or Seth’s Pond. Pick a pond because chances are that it will not be crowded.
Another reason we love Long Point Beach is that kids can take a walk on the reserve and explore. They can also take guided kayaking tours. We have even seen the Long Point nature reserve send two rescued sea turtles back into the ocean. Amusingly, one of them had to be coaxed back into the ocean because it had zero interest in going home.
Play water sports.
Martha’s Vineyard vacations are known for water loving enthusiasts. Some of the things to do on Martha’s Vineyard:
- go angling or take a boat out to go deep sea fishing
- kayaking in the ponds or sea kayaing
- stand up paddleboarding
- windsurfing and kitesurfing
- body boarding
Don’t worry you don’t need to bring all your gear to the island because there are places on the island where you can rent equipment. Try Island Spirit or Wind’s Up for renting equipment. Pick up cheap fishing gear or body boards at Trader Freds in Edgartown.
Get active on land.
There are so many things to do on Martha’s Vineyard:
- cycling the Martha’s Vineyard trails
- hike nature trails
- play tennis
- older kids can join the road races
Check out the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest, a Massachusetts state forest, which has a flat paved trail which is great for smaller children on tricycles or scooters.
Take them to a ball game.
It wouldn’t be summer without baseball! The MV Sharks are part of a New England League which is different from the Cape Cod League. You can buy single game tickets or season tickets to see the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks, the island’s own boys of summer. Home games are played at the baseball field at Martha’s Vineyard High School.
The Vineyard Sharks also hold summer drop-in clinics where children aged 13 and under can hone their baseball skills.
Visit a working farm.
There are two working farms that let you visit and learn about a working farm – the FARM institute in Edgartown and the Native Earth Teaching Farm in Chilmark.
The FARM Institute is part of the Trustees of the Reservations, a Massachusetts conservation group. The FARM Institute is free to visit. Kids will love checking out the livestock and walking the trails.
The Native Earth Teaching farm works on a pay what you want basis. Children get to see ducks, the giant hog and hold baby goats.
Learn about animals.
There are a lot of different animals on the island that little children will find adorable:
- the miniature ponies and miniature horses at Little Leona’s Pets and Supplies on State Road in West Tisbury
- the alpacas at the Alpaca Farm in Vineyard Haven
- the cows at the FARM Institute in Edgartown.
- the goats and ducks at Native Earth Teaching Farm in Chilmark
- pony rides at a couple of a horse farm like Red Pony Farm and Arrowhead Farm, both in West Tisbury but opposite sides of the island
Play mini golf.
Play a round of mini golf at Island Cove Adventures in Vineyard Haven. In their cafe seating area that serves ice cream, there are also giant yard games like Connect 4.
Near the YMCA, there is a skateboarding park. Your younger kids can roll their scooters along the same space.
Learn about nature.
The Polly Hill Arboretum is a collection of trees and plants that is free for children to visit. The Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary has miles of woodlands and marshlands to explore.
Rent free binoculars for free from the Oak Bluffs Library as part of their birding backpacks which also includes a birding journal so you can leave notes on what you see.
There are wild blueberries and huckleberries that you can pick in fields like near Sheriff’s Pond in Edgartown. Or, just call and make an appointment at Murphy’s Blueberry Farm in Chilmark which has high blueberry bushes in five varieties.
Visit a playground.
Each of the Martha’s Vineyard elementary schools has a playground where young summer visitors can hang out during the stay. There are also town playgrounds in Martha’s Vineyard. Here are our favourites playgrounds:
- Edgartown School on Robinson Road
- Oak Bluffs school on Tradewinds Road
- Niantic Park in Oak Bluffs on Tuckerneck Avenue
- Vineyard Haven school on Spring Street
- West Tisbury school on Old Country Road
- next door to the Grange Hall parking lot in West Tisbury
Visit the Edgartown Fire Museum.
One of the best free things to do on Martha’s Vineyard with kids is visit the Edgartown Fire Museum. There are some old-fashioned fire trucks that children can explore dating back a long way since the Edgartown Fire Department was established in 1836.
Watch the Chappy Ferry.
Kids love to watch the Chappy Ferry criss cross from the top of Memorial Pier. Even better, taken them on an adventure on the Chappy Ferry. Take your bikes along and find new places to explore.
Clamber over rocks in Chilmark.
The harbor at Menemsha has small and rock piles that kids love to clamber. Skip rocks at Menemsha Beach which has lots of pebbles. Try and catch a fish as well.
Visit a lighthouse.
You can climb three of the Martha’s Vineyard lighthouses, namely Edgartown Lighthouse, Cape Poge lighthouse and the Aquinnah lighthouse at specific times. Kids love to climb anything, after all, and the views from all the lighthouses are beautiful.
Tour the island.
One of the best ways for kids to learn about Martha’s Vineyard is to embark on an adventure around the island.
If you prefer water based tours, cruise around the Vineyard Sound on a charter boat, sail on a tall boat ship like the Black Dog Tall Ship or sign up for a pirate adventure cruise.
Kids from the age of 4 will love taking a biplane ride from Katama Airfield on a pretty vintage plane. They get to wear cool tinted goggles like an old-time aviator, too.
Sign them up for summer camp.
Many of the activities on island have weekly summer camp activities to keep children happy (and to give their parents a break. For example, there are horse camps, sailing camps, tennis camps, kayaking camps etc. Here are some of the places to check out for daily or weekly scheduled activities:
- Featherstone Summer Art Camp
- Theater camp at Martha’s Vineyard playhouse
- Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary
- FARM Institute
- Vineyard Family Tennis
- Horse Camp at either Pond View Farm or Red Pony Farm
- Sailing and Windsurfing Camps at Sail MV
- Island Spirit kayak camp
The Chilmark Community Center has lots of activities in Martha’s Vineyard for kids. For example, there is a playgroup for children 3-5 years old, and specific activities for older children including arts and crafts, drama, tennis and sailing.
Visit A Martha’s Vineyard Festival.
Among the many things to do on Martha’s Vineyard are the special events and festivals the island puts on. Things like the Edgartown Fire Department Pancake Breakfast tend to be lots of fun for kids. Many things are family-oriented like the Edgartown July 4th parade where the people on the float throw candy to children or the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair which has fun fair rides for kids.
Rainy Days on Martha’s Vineyard With Kids
On rainy days on Martha’s Vineyard, you obviously can’t go to the beach. When its merely cloudy, however, we still head to the beach. In fact, my kids claim the best sand castle building muddy fun happens right after the rain has passed. Or, they are just bored and it seems fun.
Lose money at Oak Bluffs Arcade
The Oak Bluffs Arcade is one of the best activities in Martha’s Vineyard for kids. This classic arcade has more than 75 machines, with fun favorites like skeeball, virtual racing, and pinball. The Oak Bluffs Game room has a vintage arcade room on the second floor.
Like any arcade, the point is try to collect as many tickets as possible so you can trade them for prizes and toys. Every year, my kids tried to collect enough tickets for a giant blow up alien which we then took on a lighthouse tour of Martha’s Vineyard and back to London.ugh
Go bowling on Martha’s Vineyard
Bowling at The Barn & Bistro in Oak Bluffs is one of those exciting activities that the whole family can enjoy! With an on-site restaurant and bowling lanes, The Barn Bowl and Bistro is the best place on Martha’s Vineyard for family-friendly fun. Don’t forget to stop by on Saturday for the black light glow bowling.
Ride a pony at the Oak Bluffs Carousel.
As one of the island’s most iconic landmarks, the Flying Horses Carousel is a fun activity for kids of all ages. Built in 1884, this hand-carved carousel and brought to Martha’s Vineyard from Coney Island, the Flying Horses Carouselis the oldest operating merry-go-round in the entire country.
If you can grab the brass ring hanging on the side, you win a free ride! It’s actually harder than it looks but kids love trying.
Catch a movie at the cinema.
Checking out the latest blockbuster hits is one of the best Martha’s Vineyard rainy day activities. Head to Edgartown Cinema, Capawock Theater in Vineyard Haven, or The Strand Theater Oak Bluffs to spend an afternoon watching great movies. Edgartown Cinema has more than one screen but it’s still not a soulless multiplex like you would find off-island.
The cinemas are historic and charming – Capawock on Main Street Vineyard Haven was opened in 1913 and the Strand on Oak Bluffs Avenue opened on 1915.
Check out the public libraries.
Whether you’re lounging on the beach or cuddling up by the indoor fireplace, there’s nothing like a lazy afternoon with a good book. Stop by the Edgartown Library, Oak Bluffs Library, or West Tisbury Library to see what they have happening.
These libraries all have dedicated children’s rooms and activities for younger kids who just need a change of scenery. For example, the Edgartown Library does free take away craft bags and a guided story book walk through Sheriff’s Meadow Sanctuary.
The Oak Bluffs Library has dozens of board games that you can rent for up to two weeks. The Oak Bluffs Library also has lots of summer vacation toys that you won’t need to buy to entertain your kids such as lawn games, such as giant Jenga, giant Uno and giant Connect Four. Rent these vacation toys for up to three days.
In addition you can rent a family-friendly movie at any Martha’s Vineyard Library to watch in your rental home. Most Martha’s Vineyard rental houses are equipped with DVD players.
Forgot your laptop? Rent a Chromebook from the West Tisbury Library for a week at a time so your kids can watch something on their own.
Go swimming at the Martha’s Vineyard YMCA.
You know there’s always fun to be had at the YMCA! Located in Oaks Bluffs, the Martha’s Vineyard YMCA has tons of family-friendly activities to keep you entertained.
Children will love sliding down the 30-foot waterslide, while the older teens can play a game of foosball in the Alex’s Place Teen Center.
Go ice skating in Martha’s Vineyard Ice Arena.
If you need a break from the sunshine, then cool off at the Martha’s Vineyard Ice Arena. Although the arena is normally used for hockey clinics and classes, they offer public skating sessions throughout the week.
Hockey enthusiasts can sharpen their skills on the ice during the Open Stick and Puck practice hours.
Explore the Martha’s Vineyard Museum.
A tour of the Martha’s Vineyard Museum is a great activity on Martha’s Vineyard with kids. With several different indoor and outdoor exhibits, the Martha’s Vineyard Museum takes you through decades of island history.
Learn about the intricate workings of Martha’s Vineyard lighthouses, including the original Fresnal Lens that used to be at the Aquinnah Lighthouse and marvel at life-sized canoes and fishing vessels.
Work together to get out of an escape room.
The Pirate’s Puzzle Escape Room in Edgartown is a lot of fun as it shows up the dynamics of who can work together (and, ahem, can’t play nicely).
Visit a toy shop.
When things got really desperate, I would take the kids to Granite in Edgartown for a bit of Edgartown shopping therapy. Granite has a HUGE selection of toys where kids can spend their pocket money and parents can buy arts and crafts supplies if needed.
If they had money from grandparents to spend, we would pick either the Tisbury Toy Box or the Lazy Frog. The Tisbury Toy Box in Vineyard Haven is an amazing toy store with lots of great well-curated items. The Lazy Frog in Oak Bluffs has a great selection of family games and board games.
My kids have actually been known to shop for kids’ clothes too so long as it for what they want. Places like The Black Dog stores or Shirt Tales have fun tee shirts, shorts and sweatshirts they like.
Visit a family-friendly restaurant.
There are lots of family-friendly restaurants on Martha’s Vineyard. We picked these three restaurants on Martha’s Vineyard because they allow for lingering on a rainy day. See more suggestions for restaurants on Martha’s Vineyard with kids below.
Linda Jeans in Oak Bluffs is great with a series of classics like grilled cheese sandwiches and burgers.
Sharky’s Cantina is a popular place for Mexican food in both Edgartown and Oak Bluffs. The food is OK but the real draw was the plastic blue shark that the kids got with their meals.
The Seafood Shanty in Edgartown is a tried and true place for burgers and seafood. Children remain entertained with the views of Edgartown harbor.
Resorts on Martha’s Vineyard With Kids
On a Martha’s Vineyard vacation, a handful of resorts on Martha’s Vineyard for kids exists. Many of the Inns and B&Bs tend to be adults only. With the notable exception of the Winnetu, we would say that many of the resorts on Martha’s Vineyard are best appreciated with older children.
The Winnetu Oceanside Resort is one of the most family-friendly resorts on Martha’s Vineyard. It’s got a great location in Katama right near South Beach. Choose between staying at the hotel which has suites or the cottages. It has a dedicated children’s program from the ages of 3 to 12. There’s a parent toddler program for children who are not yet potty trained. Children will love the rides on the antique fire truck or bus or the water taxi too Edgartown.
The Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown has 1-3 bedroom cottages with a beautiful view of Edgartown Lighthouse. It doesn’t have the same level of children’s activities or the beachside location as the Winnetu but it does have a hotel pool. We would say the Harbor View Hotel is one of the best hotels on Martha’s Vineyard.
Edgartown Commons is probably the most affordable of the hotel accommodations for kids. The one to two bedroom apartments and houses are basic but comfortable, It’s also got a central Edgartown location, a swimming pool and a playground.
Summercamp in Oak Bluffs have some family rooms. Kid will appreciate the games room and how close to the attractions on Circuit Avenue the hotel is located.
Although the Lambert’s Cove Inn in West Tisbury is really geared for adults, some of the rooms can accommodate up to 4 people. There’s a pool and a big lawn for yard games. Kids will love the alpacas and the cookies left out for munching by the front desk.
The Beach Plum Inn in Menemsha has cottages that sleep 2-4 or a 2 bedroom camp building that sleeps 2-6. It’s got tennis courts, basketball courts, hiking trails, kayak rentals and a path that leads down to Menemsha beach.
Next door to the Beach Plum inn and cottages, the sister property is Menemsha Inn and Cottages. The Inn has one two-bedroom suite and the cottages are one to two bedrooms each. There are also several vacation houses that are part of the property. The Menemsha Inn guests share the amenities of the Beach Plum Inn guests.
You can get passes to the private town beaches of Chilmark (Lucy Vincent and Squibby) from both Beach Plum Inn and Menemsha Inn.
AirBnB Chilmark seems to have quite a few of the listings for the Menemsha Inn and Cottages. For example, these are all part of the Menemsha Inn and Cottages and listed under AirBnB Chilmark:
BTW, the Home Port restaurant in Menemsha mentioned below is owned by the same group that owns Menemsha Inn and Beach Plum Inn.
Rental Homes on Martha’s Vineyard with Kids
If you would prefer more budget-friendly lodging on Martha’s Vineyard, we suggest you try rental accommodation or the Martha’s Vineyard Family Campground. Martha’s Vineyard AirBnB has quite a few options for rental homes on Martha’s Vineyard with kids.
If you would like to rent a house with a private pool for the kids, you will pay a premium for the privilege. Luckily , more and more rental houses now have a pool because so many children LOVE pools.
A cheaper option is to rent a place that comes with a community pool:
- The Meetinghouse Village condos in Edgartown has a small pool for the use of its residence.
- Likewise, the Tashmoo Cove association in Vineyard Haven has a community pool and tennis courts for their residents. The Tashmoo Cove houses come in a variety of floorpans such as townhouses and houses.
- The Stoney Hill Association in West Tisbury also has a community pool and tennis courts available for its residents.
- In Oak Bluffs, check out the Island Inn for condos and cottages that have access to a community pool and tennis courts.
AirBnB seems to have quite a few of the listings for the Island Inn condos and cottages. Check out these listings for AirBnB Oak Bluffs options at the Island Inn:
- studios sleeping four people – here, here and here
- 1 bedrooms sleeping four or six people- here, here, here and here
- 2 bedrooms sleeping six – here, here, here and here
Lots of these Island Inn condos are dog-friendly rentals too if you want to bring the family dog on your vacation.
Although a rental house on Martha’s Vineyard will not have the luxury amenities of a resort on Martha’s Vineyard, they can be a better bet for family vacations on Martha’s Vineyard.
Restaurants on Martha’s Vineyard With Kids
We know how tricky it is to take kids out to eat. We have a fussy eater ourselves and we always had to check the menu of a place to make sure there was something she would eat.
These restaurants below either serve family-friendly fare or have a children’s men that can accommodate simpler tastes.
In Oak Bluffs, we suggest these 8 restaurants on Martha’s Vineyard with kids:
- Barn Bowl & Bistro (casual American)
- Giordanos in Oak Bluffs (pizza and Italian food)
- Coop de Ville (children’s menu)
- Jimmy Seas Pan Pasta (children’s menu)
- Lobsterville Bar & Grille (children’s menu)
- Oceanview Restaurant (children’s menu)
- Martha’s Vineyard Sandbar (children’s menu)
- SeaSmoke Barbecue
In Edgartown, we suggest these 7 restaurants on Martha’s Vineyard with kids:
- Among the Flowers cafe (crepes, children’s menu)
- Edgartown Pizza
- Edgartown Diner (children’s menu)
- The Square Rigger (children’s menu)
- The Newes from America (chldren’s menu)
- Wharf Restaurant and Bar (children’s menu)
- The Dunes at Winnetu (children’s menu)
In Vineyard Haven, we suggest these 4 restaurants on Martha’s Vineyard with kids:
- The Black Dog Tavern has a children’s menu and a view of the harbor
- Rocco’s Pizza (pizza and sandwiches)
- MV Museum Cafe
- The Net Result (sushi, fried fish and chicken fingers)
Elsewhere on the island, the Home Port Restaurant in Menemsha is large and kid-friendly. Aquinnah Shop Restaurant has a children’s menu as well as a large terrace area overlooking the Aquinnah cliffs. The Woods Restaurant at Lambert’s Cove Inn has children’s menu as well.
Along with the three restaurants in Martha’s Vineyard mentioned previously, we hope these 25 restaurants in Martha’s Vineyard provides you with plenty of dining options for a Martha’s Vineyard vacation.
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My kids are all teenagers now, but this is extremely helpful. We are taking out first trip to MV and it’s a little overwhelming. I’ve gotten some great ideas from this article and some of your others. Thank you so much!
Glad that was helpful!
Chris Savin says
Your restaurant recommendations are very unhealthy & low quality.
For example, the Artcliff Diner has far superior breakfast & lunch food than Linda Jean’s.
You need to talk with someone like Susie Middleton at the Gazette to get better recommendations .
Thanks for your opinion.These are recommended for families with young children because (i) they are popular with families and (ii) have kids menus/favourites. Most kids prefer the $8 grilled cheese on bread that Linda Jean’s offers up versus the fancy version (ultimate grilled cheese served on ciabatta for $15) served by Artcliff Diner. Artcliff is indeed a better restaurant but, ultimately on a family vacation, ain’t nobody happy unless the kids are happy.
Your very rude!
Ain’t that the truth!!