The Point B Guide to Martha’s Vineyard Beaches

Nestled off the coast of Massachusetts, Martha’s Vineyard beckons beach lovers with its serene coastal beauty and captivating Island charm. As the summer sun casts its warm glow upon this idyllic destination, visitors and residents alike eagerly anticipate a season filled with sand, waves, and unforgettable memories. Here on the Point B MV Blog, we will delve into the latest updates and regulations surrounding the Island’s beloved beaches with The Point B Guide to Martha’s Vineyard Beaches in 2023.

Martha’s Vineyard takes great pride in preserving its natural splendor while ensuring all beachgoers have an opportunity to enjoy its shores. Whether you’re seeking a secluded haven or a bustling waterfront, we’ll explore both private and public beach options, including their respective rules and amenities.

The Point B Guide to Martha's Vineyard Beaches in 2023 South Beach In Edgartown
South Beach, Edgartown

First let’s talk about public beaches. Martha’s Vineyard boasts a collection of public beaches, from popular spots to serene stretches of sand where solitude can be found. These public beaches, accessible to all visitors, showcase the Island’s natural beauty and provide ample opportunities for relaxation, recreation, and connection with the sea’s rhythmic embrace.

The Point B Guide to Martha’s Vineyard Beaches in 2023 – South Beach, Edgartown

The Point B Guide to Martha's Vineyard Beaches in 2023 South Beach Edgartown

South Beach, located on the picturesque south shore of Martha’s Vineyard, stands as one of the Island’s most sought-after coastal gems. Renowned for its vast expanse of sandy shores and impressive waves, this beloved beach offers the perfect setting to relax under the shade of an umbrella or soak up the sun’s rays all day long. Ample parking options are available along the beach, including three large adjacent parking lots. However, it’s important to note that parking fills up quickly during the peak months of July and August, so early morning or late afternoon visits are advisable for those seeking a spot.

For those seeking an active and eco-friendly approach, South Beach is easily accessible by bike, thanks to well-maintained biking trails that traverse through the scenic region of Katama, leading visitors directly to the beach. Along with convenient amenities, such as changing rooms and toilets at various beach entrances, South Beach ensures the safety of its visitors by stationing lifeguards throughout the summer season. While the sandy shoreline is inviting, it’s worth noting that South Beach is renowned for its formidable waves, making it important for beachgoers to exercise caution. There are days when swimming may be unsuitable for young children and even days when it poses risks for adults.

The Point B Guide to Martha's Vineyard Beaches in 2023 South Beach Norton Point Beach Edgartown

The Point B Guide to Martha’s Vineyard Beaches in 2023: Norton Point Beach, Edgartown

Adjacent to South Beach lies the captivating Norton Point Beach, a beloved destination that holds a special allure for beachgoers on Martha’s Vineyard. Renowned for its unique feature of allowing over-sand vehicles, Norton Point Beach has long been a hotspot for creating unforgettable beach day experiences. Picture loading up your car with a sizzling grill, comfortable beach chairs, exciting games, and coolers filled with refreshments – a recipe for the perfect day in paradise.

However, this year brings some changes to Norton Point Beach, as the management of the beach has been transferred from the Trustees of Reservations to the town of Edgartown. As a result, there are some uncertainties surrounding the beach’s access to oversand vehicles, and the continuing efforts to protect endangered shorebird nests. Stickers are currently available for purchase, and oversand access opened July 1, but due to staffing and active shorebird activity, access will be limited to 50 vehicles at a time from 8:30 am to 6 pm. You can follow the Edgartown Parks Department on Facebook for news or text “BEACH” to 877-550-8627 for Edgartown Beach updates. When accessible, you can find rules about Norton Point Beach here.

The Point B Guide to Martha's Vineyard Beaches in 2023 State Beach Oak Bluffs Jjoseph Silvia State Beach
State Beach, Oak Bluffs

The Point B Guide to Martha’s Vineyard Beaches in 2023: Joseph Silvia State Beach, Oak Bluffs

Next on our beach adventure is the ever-popular Joseph Sylvia State Beach, a delightful destination that straddles both Edgartown and Oak Bluffs. With its unique claim to fame as the location of the iconic Jaws Bridge from the original movie, this beach holds a special allure for visitors and movie enthusiasts alike. There is a scenic roadway that stretches alongside the beach that separates the sparkling ocean side from the tranquil expanse of Sengekontacket Pond, a picturesque 745-acre saltwater pond.

Beachgoers can hop aboard Bus 13, which runs along the beach, shuttling visitors between Oak Bluffs, Edgartown, and various points along State Beach. It’s a convenient beach to access for daytrippers relying on public transportation. Alternatively, a delightful bike path winds alongside the beach, offering not only a scenic route but also easy access for exploring both Edgartown and Oak Bluffs while reveling in the stunning coastal vistas.

The Point B Guide to Martha's Vineyard Beaches in 2023 State Beach Bend In The Road Beach Edgartown Oak Bluffs

Joseph Sylvia State Beach offers something for everyone. On one side of the road, sun seekers lounge and relax, while on the other side, adventurers take a dip in the refreshing waters of both the pond and the ocean. For those seeking a bit of excitement, Island Spirit Kayak on the Oak Bluffs side of the beach provides opportunities for kayaking and paddleboarding, adding an extra element of fun to your beach experience. In line with the Island’s commitment to environmental preservation, Joseph Sylvia State Beach operates under a “carry in, carry home” policy. This means that any trash or items brought onto the beach must be responsibly taken back out.

The Point B Guide to Martha’s Vineyard Beaches in 2023: Menemsha Beach, Chilmark

The Point B Guide to Martha's Vineyard Beaches in 2023 Menemsha Beach Chilmark
Menemsha Beach, Chilmark

Menemsha Beach, located within Chilmark, is renowned for its captivating sunset views and fresh seafood markets. While best accessed by car or bus (Bus #4 from West Tisbury Town Hall), parking can be challenging due to limited availability in the peak season. This picturesque beach offers gentle waves, pristine waters, and the opportunity to savor freshly caught seafood while enjoying the magnificent sunset. Menemsha makes for a convenient family beach, boasting public restrooms and relatively calm waters, as well as easy walking access to local seafood markets offering prepared food for lunch and dinner.

The Point B Guide to Martha’s Vineyard Beaches in 2023: Owen Park, Vineyard Haven

Owen Park, a charming public beach nestled in the heart of Vineyard Haven, walkable to Main Street, offers a convenient and accessible coastal retreat for both locals and visitors alike. Situated close to the Steamship Terminal, this beach boasts a small parking lot and provides easy accessibility for individuals with disabilities, thanks to dedicated parking spots and a wooden pathway. Its central location in Vineyard Haven makes Owen Park a convenient choice for those staying in the area. Moreover, its tranquil atmosphere makes it an excellent spot for families with children seeking a peaceful beach experience. Owen Park also plays host to First Friday, a monthly summer festival with a delightful array of food trucks, live music performances, and vendors! 

The Point B Guide to Martha’s Vineyard Beaches in 2023: Aquinnah Public Beach

The Point B Guide to Martha's Vineyard Beaches in 2023 Aquinnah Beach
Aquinnah Public Beach

Aquinnah Public Beach, also known as Moshup Beach, stands as one of Martha’s Vineyard’s most extraordinary and picturesque coastal destinations. While it may require a journey from the popular towns of Oak Bluffs and Edgartown, the experience is well worth it if you have access to a car (or you can take bus #5). A public parking lot is available at a cost of $40 for the entire day, providing convenience and peace of mind. Nestled in Aquinnah, this beach holds special cultural significance as it is home to the Wampanoag tribe. Its distinctive feature lies in the vibrant clay cliffs that serve as a striking backdrop to the sandy shores. For added convenience, public restrooms are located near the parking lot, and a beautiful 10-minute walk awaits to lead you down to the beach.

The Point B Guide to Martha’s Vineyard Beaches in 2023: Inkwell Beach, Oak Bluffs

The Point B Guide to Martha's Vineyard Beaches in 2023 Inkwell Beach Oak Bluffs

Inkwell Beach, located in the Oak Bluffs area of Martha’s Vineyard, holds a special place in the Island’s history and culture. This beach is known by a few different names, and it has long been a cherished gathering spot for African American residents and visitors. The beach earned its nickname “Inkwell” due to the dark complexion of the beachgoers who flocked there during the era of segregation. Today, Inkwell Beach stands as a symbol of resilience, community, and inclusivity. With its beautiful sandy shores, clear waters, and vibrant atmosphere, it continues to be a beloved destination for people of all backgrounds. There is no parking lot, but parking lines the road along the beach and it’s an easy spot to walk to from the town of Oak Bluffs.

The Point B Guide to Martha’s Vineyard Beaches in 2023: Long Point, West Tisbury

Long Point Wildlife Refuge in West Tisbury is one of the largest publicly accessible properties on Martha’s Vineyard. Commonly referred to as Long Point this property is all that remains of a broad prairie with scattered woods formed many years after the last ice age, and is currently managed by the Trustees of Reservations. Today, the refuge hosts globally rare plants and wildlife uniquely adapted to this dry, acidic landscape, its coastal ponds, and its sandy beach, which has become a popular oasis for residents and visitors alike. While the beach is open to the public, due to very high demand advance reservations are required. Summer 2023 hours offer two time slots 9 am to 2 pm and 2 pm to 6:45 pm. Tickets are released weekly on Wednesday mornings for dates the following week (Saturday to Friday). Please note that Long Point operates two separate entrances throughout the year, an in-season entrance from Waldrons Bottom Road from mid-June through mid-September and a winter entrance from Deep Bottom Road.

The Point B Guide to Martha’s Vineyard Beaches in 2023: Lighthouse Beach, Edgartown

Lighthouse Beach is located just outside the heart of Edgartown. The trail to the beach starts just across the street from the Harbor View Hotel, and after about 5 minutes you will find yourself looking up at the captivating Edgartown lighthouse. From the beach, you will see Chappaquiddick up close, as well as watch the boats cruise by through the channel into Edgartown Harbor and Katama Bay — or heading out the other way into Nantucket Sound. There is no parking for this beach, so visitors must park in town and walk or bike, or use public transport.

The Point B Guide to Martha's Vineyard Beaches in 2023 Lighthouse Beach Edgartown
Lighthouse Beach, Edgartown

The Point B Guide to Martha’s Vineyard Beaches in 2023: East Beach, Edgartown, Chappaquiddick

Discover East Beach, affectionately known as Cape Pogue, a captivating over-sand vehicle beach located on the picturesque Island of Chappaquiddick, or “Chappy” just off the coast of Edgartown. Remote and breathtaking, this secluded beach allows you to drive your car (4-wheel drive required) directly onto the sandy shores, creating the perfect setting for your dream beach day. However, keep in mind that reaching Chappaquiddick requires taking the Chappy Ferry, which may experience long lines during the summer season. While open to all visitors, an oversand permit, available for purchase through the Trustees, is required for driving on this magnificent beach.

The Point B Guide to Martha’s Vineyard Beaches in 2023: Lobsterville Beach, Aquinnah

Lobsterville Beach in Aquinnah is across the channel from Menemsha Beach, separated a popular spot for fishing and bird watching, and is generally a more quiet beach as parking is limited. Located on the north shore of the Island the water is generally calm. For a true Vineyard experience take the Menemsha Bike Ferry from Menemsha across the Menemsha channel to West Basin in Aquinnah and arrive nearby Lobsterville Beach. 

The Point B Guide to Martha’s Vineyard Beaches: Eastville Beach, Oak Bluffs

Eastville Beach sits on the Oak Bluffs side of the drawbridge and makes for a convenient beach for families and beach parties as you can practically park right up against the shore. Spaces are limited and it does get busy in the summer months. It can also be easily accessed on foot and via bike, as it’s right off the bike path that runs between Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven. You are looking out on Vineyard Haven Harbor, where the ferries to Woods Hole run back and forth all day.

The Point B Guide to Martha's Vineyard Beaches in 2023 Inkwell Beach
Inkwell Beach, Oak Bluffs

With a commitment to inclusivity, Martha’s Vineyard ensures that public beaches are accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities, by providing handicap accessibility features and accommodations. We recommend Joseph Sylvia State Beach which has handicap parking and boardwalks for wheelchairs. Coupled with convenient transportation options, such as public buses and oversand access, the Island makes it easy for beach enthusiasts to embark on their seaside adventures.

Private Beaches on Martha’s Vineyard

Now let’s touch on some of the Island’s private beaches that are restricted to town residents and permit holders during the summer months. The island is home to quite a few private beaches with different rules and accessibility. 

Martha’s Vineyard Private Beaches: Squibnocket Beach, Chilmark

Squibnocket Beach, exclusive to Chilmark residents, is not only a local favorite but also a renowned surf spot on the Island, attracting wave enthusiasts and beachgoers. Visit this website for more information on the Chilmark private beaches or to purchase a pass.

Martha’s Vineyard Private Beaches: Lucy Vincent Beach, Chilmark

Lucy Vincent Beach, Chilmark

Lucy Vincent Beach, a hidden gem with beautiful hills and stones, is also exclusively open to Chilmark residents. Its secluded and pristine setting offers a tranquil beach experience away from the crowds. It has plenty of parking but a beach sticker is required. 

Martha’s Vineyard Private Beaches: Philbin Beach

Philbin Beach, located just below Moshup Beach, offers a unique coastal experience exclusively for Aquinnah residents and lease-holders. To enjoy this pristine beach, a beach sticker is required, ensuring that the beauty of this coastal paradise remains reserved for those who reside in Aquinnah.

Martha’s Vineyard Private Beaches: Lambert’s Cove Beach

Nestled in West Tisbury, Lambert’s Cove Beach is spectacular, accessible only to residents and renters of this charming rural town from 10 am to 6 pm. With its serene shoreline, almost white sand, and gentle waves, it provides a peaceful escape for those lucky enough to call West Tisbury home. The sunsets and morning walks from this beach are incredible, and so is a summer dip in the clear water. Parking is limited and requires a town resident beach sticker, and the walk to the beach is about 10 minutes (much longer with younger children and a lot of toys in tow!). During the mornings in-season Lambert’s Cove Beach allows dogs off-leash from 7 to 10 am, no resident pass needed. For those dog lovers out there it’s a true treat to watch dozens of pups frolic along the shores of this magnificent beach.  

Lambert’s Cove Beach, West Tisbury

These private beaches provide an opportunity for residents to enjoy the natural splendor of Martha’s Vineyard in a more secluded and intimate setting, away from the hustle and bustle of public beaches.

When renting a home through Point B Realty, you can enjoy access to private beaches based on the location of the rental property within the town. To make the most of this opportunity, renters should obtain a beach pass from the respective town during their stay. Bringing a copy of their lease as documentation ensures a smooth process and grants them the privilege of enjoying these coveted private beach locations.

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