Patches of Paradise
On Martha’s Vineyard there really is a beach for everyone. The varying coastline offers good surf on the south coast at public beaches such as South Beach, Long Point, and Moshup Beach; safer family beaches on the east in Oak Bluffs and Edgartown such as State Beach; and picturesque, calm surf on the northwest, such as Great Rock Bight Preserve.
It’s not just about the waves, either: generally speaking the beaches facing south toward the Atlantic and east toward Nantucket sound are uniformly sandy, while those facing north toward Vineyard Sound range from sandy, to small pebbles, to giant boulders.
There may be a beach for everyone here, but not everyone can go to every beach. While there are plenty of public beaches, there are also many stretches of the coast of Martha’s Vineyard are privately owned or are “town beaches” accessible only to residents of — or renters in — a given village. If you are visiting in the off-season, from October to early June, you can generally access town beaches such as Squibnocket and Lucy Vincent in Chilmark, but during the summer they are restricted to pass-holders and visitors staying in hotels or inns in that town.
Good to know:
Walk too far in any direction on an Island beach (except out to sea) and you may run into a local defending his or her own private patch of paradise.