Visitors to Massachusetts are sometimes surprised to learn that not all beaches are open to the public, even below the high-water mark. On Martha’s Vineyard, there are several beautiful beaches that may be used by anyone, several that are restricted to residents of certain towns and wide stretches of private beach that can only be accessed with an owner’s permission. When walking along beaches on the Vineyard, please be mindful of private property and abide by no trespassing signs.
Here is a list of public beaches by town; access restrictions are noted:
Part of the Joseph A. Sylvia State Beach, a two-mile stretch of gentle beach along Beach Road between Edgartown and Oak Bluffs. Nantucket Sound is on one side, Sengekontacket Pond on the other. Roadside parking and access by the bicycle path.
Both are on the Edgartown harbor at Starbuck's Neck, just off North Water street. Find the lighthouse and you're there. Calm water and a view of the harbor. Parking is at a premium, so leave your car elsewhere or get there early.
Also called Norton's Point/Katama, this three-mile barrier beach has Atlantic Ocean surf on one side of the dunes and a protected salt-pond, Katama Bay, on the other side. Three miles west from the center of Edgartown.
This beautiful stretch of beach, running from the Cape Pogue Wildlife Refuge to Wasque Point, is open to the public. Severe erosion is changing the coastline at a rapid rate, but look for sweeping views of the bluffs and out to the ocean, including Wasque Point and Poucha Pond. Owned and maintained by The Trustees of Reservations.
A quiet spot off Beach Road on the Oak Bluffs side of the drawbridge between Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs.
On Nantucket Sound, this calm beach begins at the entrance of the Oak Bluffs harbor and ends just past the breakwater on the road to Edgartown. The area in front of Ocean Park is known as Pay Beach and the portion in front of Waban Park is the famous Inkwell Beach that a 1994 movie is named after.
Gentle surf and easy bike path and car access make this two-mile beach a popular spot for families. Also, fishing and crabbing along the jetties. The section known as Bend-in-the-Road Beach is in Edgartown.
On the harbor, off Main street and within walking distance of the ferry terminal and downtown, this small sandy beach has an adjacent play area.
At the end of Owen Little Way off Main street, this public beach is next to the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club.
At Herring Creek on Lake Tashmoo. Swim in Vineyard Sound or in the lake. To get there, take Daggett avenue out of Vineyard Haven, and turn right onto Herring Creek Road (a dirt road). Follow this to the end. Clamming (by permit) is allowed here and there is a lifeguard during the summer months. Parking is limited.
On the Vineyard's southern shore, this barrier beach just east of Tisbury Great Pond offers both fresh and salt water swimming. Natural History Tours. Owned and managed by The Trustees of Reservations.
Considered by many to have the finest sand and clearest water on the North Shore. Located off Lambert's Cove Road. Access is limited by sticker to West Tisbury residents only.
Gentle Vineyard Sound surf and great sunsets make this an all-day favorite. Next to Menemsha Harbor, a working fishing port. Bring your camera to this quaint, scenic village.
A picturesque beach in the Chilmark section of the south shore. Surf, sand and bluffs. Access is limited by sticker to Chilmark residents only.
Chilmark south shore. A surfing beach. Access is limited by sticker to Chilmark residents only.
This two-mile dune beach off Lobsterville Road faces Vineyard Sound and is also a popular fishing spot. Parking is limited.
On the southwestern shore, this surf beach off Moshup Trail provides a delightful walk along the base of the Gay Head Cliffs--one of the most photogenic spots on the Island. Good to know: Parking is on a fee basis and the parking area is a 10-minute walk from the beach.
Surf beach off Moshup Trail. Access is limited to Aquinnah residents only.