19 Things to Do in Martha’s Vineyard: Outdoor Adventures, Art, Shopping & More

Row of Gingerbread houses in Oak Bluffs Marthas Vineyard Massachusetts

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Looking for things to do in Martha’s Vineyard on your upcoming vacation? This guide offers suggestions for activities and attractions outdoors and indoors (just in case it rains!), including the top things to do in the three most popular towns: Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, and Vineyard Haven.

Check out our guide to the towns on Martha’s Vineyard for more details on all six locations.

Based on what you want to do on your vacation, book your stay in one of these MV hotels or opt for a Vineyard vacation rental instead for a little more space.

The Best Things to Do on Martha’s Vineyard

Enjoy All the Beaches and Ocean Fun

The Vineyard is known, first and foremost, as a summer vacation destination.

So you’ll want to explore all the Martha’s Vineyard beaches and enjoy the true island lifestyle.

If you’re just looking to sunbathe and relax on soft sand, check out Aquinnah Public Beach or State Beach between Oak Bluffs and Edgartown.

Hoping to do some surfing?

Head to South Beach (aka Katama Beach) or Aquinnah Public Beach (aka Moshup Beach) for the best waves.

Moshup Beach and the Aquinnah Cliffs in Aquinnah Marthas Vineyard Massachusetts

Kids also love building sandcastles on South Beach.

The calm waters of Oak Bluffs Town Beach and Owen Park Beach are favorites with parents, who can let their little ones learn to swim safely.

Beach wheelchairs are available at many locations, including Owen Park Beach (pictured below).

Beach wheelchair at Owen Park Beach in Vineyard Haven near the ferry to Marthas Vineyard Massachusetts

Play the Martha’s Vineyard Golf Courses

There are several options for hitting the greens on the Vineyard, from 9 holes to 18.

One of the island’s courses is even one of very few 100% organic golf courses in the whole US (Vineyard Golf Club).

To golf on Martha’s Vineyard, check out these courses:

  • Edgartown Golf Club (71 Curtis Lane, Edgartown)
  • Farm Neck Golf Club (1 Farm Neck Way, Oak Bluffs)
  • Mink Meadows Golf Club (320 Golf Club Road, Vineyard Haven)
  • The Royal & Ancient Chappaquiddick Links (North Neck Road, Edgartown)
  • Vineyard Golf Club (100 Clubhouse Lane, Edgartown)
Close up of golf ball and a hole Depositphotos_114889148_L

Play Disc Golf

Not into swinging irons?

Head to Manuel F. Correllus State Forest for a round of disc golf instead!

Go Hiking on the Vineyard

While the island isn’t exactly known for its high altitudes, you can still enjoy several beautiful hiking trails.

Martha’s Vineyard hiking typically entails fairly flat coastal walks, but you can head to the Aquinnah cliffs to enjoy a bit more landscape diversity.

Long Point Refuge also offers a variety of hiking trails in West Tisbury.

Correllus State Forest boasts miles of trails at varying degrees of difficulty.

Waskosim Rock Reservation and Peaked Hill Reservation are both located in Chilmark and offer lovely trails to try.

Peaked Hill Reservation is where you’ll find the highest point on Martha’s Vineyard, although Prospect Hill is not far behind.

Menemsha Hills is managed by Trustees of the Reservation, so there’s a fee to enter, but it’s worth it!

If you’re into hiking, add these best East Coast hikes to your bucket list.

Field Loop Trail and Beach Trail Aquinnah Cliffs in Aquinnah Marthas Vineyard Massachusetts

Cycle the Vineyard Bike Trails

As with many East Coast locations, biking on Martha’s Vineyard is a beloved pastime.

There are countless trails and paths to enjoy no matter where you’re based.

Biking to the more popular beaches is often recommended so you can avoid the struggle of finding parking.

One of the best places to bike on the Vineyard is Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge.

Take your bike onto the Chappy Ferry and then enjoy miles of beautiful natural spaces.

Biking to Katama Beach from Edgartown is recommended; it’s only about 4 miles and allows you to avoid the parking challenges at this very popular beach.

You can also bike around Correllus State Forest; there is a 10-mile loop that follows the perimeter of the park.

The Entering Edgartown sign Marthas Vineyard Massachusetts

Go Fishing

Fishing on Martha’s Vineyard is definitely a popular pastime.

Menemsha is an active fishing village and one of the best places on Martha’s Vineyard for fishing.

Charter a boat to go out all day and experience more of the region.

Tour the African American Heritage Trail

Take a tour of the African American Heritage Trail on Martha’s Vineyard to learn the history of the Black community on the island and so much more.

Tours range from 1.25-hour walking tours to half-day driving tours around the island.

You’ll learn about the Black community on Martha’s Vineyard over the centuries, including highlighting Black-owned businesses in operation today.

Book a tour here.

Experience Beautiful Gardens at Polly Hill Arboretum

The lovely Polly Hill Arboretum in West Tisbury (809 State Road) boasts 20 acres of cultivated gardens, plus an additional 40 acres of native woodland.

The grounds are open to visitors from sunrise to sunset daily; the Visitor Center is open seasonally.

The grounds are largely accessible and a maneuverable wheelchair is available for complimentary use.

There is a fee to enter; no pets are allowed on the grounds.

Visit All the Martha’s Vineyard Lighthouses

From Aquinnah to Chappaquiddick, lighthouses dot the coastline of Martha’s Vineyard.

See how many you can photograph with a journey around the island!

Here are all of the Martha’s Vineyard lighthouses to seek out:

  • Aquinnah Light (formerly known as the Gay Head Light)
  • West Chop Light (Vineyard Haven)
  • East Chop Light (Oak Bluffs)
  • Edgartown Lighthouse
  • Cape Poge Lighthouse (Chappaquiddick)
The East Chop Lighthouse and Telegraph Hill sign Vineyard Haven Marthas Vineyard Massachusetts

Dine Al Fresco

As this is an island, dining al fresco is absolutely one of the best things to do on Martha’s Vineyard for locals and visitors alike!

In Edgartown, you can’t skip the patio at The Seafood Shanty (31 Dock Street) for beautiful views and iconic island fare.

In Oak Bluffs, check out the Dockside Pier for plenty of options to dine outdoors at Nancy’s,

Head to the fishing village of Menemsha to grab lobster or whatever the day’s fresh catch might be and get ready to watch the best sunset on the island.

Get there early during the summer — parking can be tough at such a popular spot!

BYO drinks, stop into Larsen’s Fish Market for a loaded lobster roll, and then stake a spot for the big dramatic sunset show.

Ride the Flying Horses Carousel in Oak Bluffs

One of the most iconic things to do in Oak Bluffs, you can’t skip the Flying Horses Carousel (33 Lake Avenue).

As the nation’s oldest platform carousel, the Flying Horses have entertained visitors and locals alike since 1884.

The carousel was actually constructed in 1876 but was moved to the Vineyard from its original home at Coney Island eight years later, where it remains today.

Take Photos of the Gingerbread Houses

The iconic Gingerbread Houses in Oak Bluffs are beyond Insta-famous — they’ve been photographed long before IG became a way of life!

Built in the mid-1800s in the heyday of the Methodist movement, the original 500 cottages were built to accommodate the ever-growing annual summer camp meetings.

The Carpenter’s Gothic design is distinctive, with unique decorations for each house including various pillars and fringe elements.

The homes are individually painted in bright colors, creating a gingerbread-like effect.

One of the most unique things to do in Martha’s Vineyard in August is to witness the Grand Illumination Night, when the homes are further decorated with colorful paper lanterns.

This annual tradition began in 1869 and continues to this day!

Check out the Cottage Museum to learn more.

Row of Gingerbread houses in Oak Bluffs Marthas Vineyard Massachusetts

Indoor Things to Do on Martha’s Vineyard

If your luck runs out and the weather isn’t perfect for your island vacation, don’t worry.

There are still plenty of things to do in Martha’s Vineyard when it rains!

These are also great things to do if you end up getting a little too much sun and need a break from the beach.

Learn the Wampanoag History on Martha’s Vineyard

Visit the Aquinnah Cultural Center (35 Aquinnah Circle) in the northwestern part of the island to learn about the local Wampanoag history and culture.

Tour the homestead museum, peruse the gift shop, and delve deeper into the history of colonialism and oppression that continues to impact the local Wampanoag today.

The Aquinnah Wampanoag Indian Museum by the Aquinnah Cliffs in Aquinnah Marthas Vineyard Massachusetts

Visit the Martha’s Vineyard Museum in Vineyard Haven

The Martha’s Vineyard Museum in Vineyard Haven (151 Lagoon Pond Road) provides an array of exhibits depicting life on the island over the centuries since European colonizers arrived.

Learn about the whaling industry, local lighthouses, shipping and navigation, and the many ways in which the sea and the land have impacted residents of Martha’s Vineyard over the centuries.

Some of my personal favorite exhibits are the audio recordings of Wampanoag stories, the history of the deaf community in Chilmark, and the Jaws filming stories shared by residents.

The museum is in the former Marine Hospital and includes a variety of spaces to enjoy indoors, as well as a lovely campus should the weather clear up for you!

The museum and campus are all fully accessible.

Learn Local History Through Landmarks

Head to the beautifully restored Carnegie Heritage Center (58 North Water Street) to learn the history of the Vineyard Preservation Trust’s many landmarks in its care.

Originally built as a library from funds donated by Andrew Carnegie, this beautiful neoclassical building now houses a permanent exhibition featuring local history and points of interest.

It’s an excellent overview of the Vineyard!

Go to the Movies on Martha’s Vineyard

There’s something about a rainy day on an island that makes you just want to sit back and watch something on the big screen.

Or maybe it’s because Martha’s Vineyard is where Jaws was filmed!

Whatever your inspiration, head to Edgartown Cinemas (65 Main Street, Edgartown) to catch a film on one of their two screens.

In the summer, they show Jaws every Sunday.

JAWS sign at the Marthas Vineyard Museum in Vineyard Haven Marthas Vineyard Massachusetts

Go Shopping

Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, and Vineyard Haven all boast plenty of shops for you to peruse on a rainy day.

Here are the main streets for each town to do some window — or actual — shopping!

  • Main Street and North Water Street in Edgartown: Don’t miss Backwater Trading Company, Edgartown Books, or Salte.
  • Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs: Check out Slipp77, and don’t miss the Black Dog Dockside Premium Outlet (Dockside Marketplace) for the best deals on the most iconic Vineyard apparel.
  • Main Street in Vineyard Haven: Stop at the appropriately-named Rainy Day Gift Shop or head to Vineyard Vines for preppy apparel to prove you vacationed on the Vineyard.

Do Some Old-Fashioned Shopping

Beyond the big stores and popular spots, Martha’s Vineyard still boasts some old-fashioned general stores you should visit.

You can’t miss Alley’s General Store in West Tisbury (1045 State Road), which has been in operation since 1858 and claims to be “Dealers in Almost Everything”.

Nearby, head to Grange Hall (1065 State Road), which was built in 1859 as the center for agriculture and commerce at the crossroads of the Vineyard.

Today, Grange Hall remains a beautiful barn building that hosts a regular farmer’s market on Wednesdays and Saturdays from June through October, as well as art festivals and special events.

For another old-fashioned experience, head to the Chilmark General Store (7 State Road) and grab an iced tea or a coffee to enjoy while sitting on their large porch.

They also serve breakfast and lunch (grab a pizza slice!), and stock an incredible variety of local produce and home or personal needs.

Front of Alleys General Store in West Tisbury Marthas Vineyard Massachusetts

Explore the Art Galleries on Martha’s Vineyard

Head to the Granary Gallery in West Tisbury (636 Old County Road), which is the oldest and largest art gallery on the whole island.

The Granary family also owns the Field Gallery in West Tisbury (1050 State Road), just across the street from Alley’s General Store.

The whimsical garden sculptures are a beloved Vineyard sight!

Their third location, North Water Gallery (27 North Water Street), is in Edgartown.

The Field Gallery in West Tisbury Marthas Vineyard Massachusetts

In Oak Bluffs, head to the Mariposa Museum & World Cultural Center (57 Circuit Ave), dedicated to fostering peace, equity, and understanding through art exhibits and programs that explore American history and experiences.

The museum is only open seasonally, but the gift shop is open year-round.

Mariposa Museum Oak Bluffs Marthas Vineyard Massachusetts

Final Words

Did this list of things to do in Martha’s Vineyard help you plan your perfect trip? We hope so!

Share your favorite places and activities in the comments if we missed them here.

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