A Travel Guide for Getting to Martha’s Vineyard
Getting to Martha’s Vineyard Island is always a challenge. Traffic, ferry reservations, the lines for the ferry and then more traffic. It does not have to be that bad. If you allow some time and do some planning you can enjoy the journey.
Timing is Everything
Make your plans early. Get Ferry Reservations as soon as they are available in January of each year.
Allow plenty of time. If you rush about it makes it stressful for all involved. If you get to Woods Hole early for your boat it is fun to check out the town. Walk over the bridge to the North West of the town and explore the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Have a relaxing meal at one of their excellent restaurants. These are just some of the restaurants along the way – from North to South
Cars are not needed for a trip to Martha’s Vineyard
You can do it all on island without a car. Many of our guests come to the island without a car. We are in town and easy walking distance to everything in Edgartown. There are plenty of cabs that come when they are called and they use 12-15 passenger vans for the most part. The MV bus system is really good and a short walk from the house. The cost and hassle of taking a car to the island through the Steamship authority (the only way to do it) is often way more than taking a cab anywhere you want to go (rainy day in Oak Bluffs, grocery shopping etc., out to a bar.) If you have to have your car then there is no substitute for making early ferry reservations on the Steamship Authority website. Take the time to make an online account and do it that way. Waiting on the phone is normally torture. If you have to do errands do them EARLY in the morning.
If you decide to leave the car there are at least five other additional ways to get to the island. I prefer the Falmouth Edgartown Ferry especially if my travel plans can avoid Cape traffic (thickest on Friday and Sunday Evenings). The “Pied Piper” offers valet parking. On arrival they come in at the Edgartown Town Dock. From there the Captain Morse House is only two blocks away and an easy walk. We have a garden cart to carry luggage in the tool shed or a cab is easy to get . When you are ready to leave the Ferry takes you back to Falmouth and your car is ready and waiting for you. This is by far the most relaxing and fun way to go.
If you want to cut out the trip to Falmouth, especially if you are coming from Connecticut or New York then consider either the Sea Streak (was the NE Fast Ferry) from New Bedford or the Vineyard Fast Ferry from Quonset Point in Rhode Island. The disadvantage is the parking is a bit harder (drop off bags first) and you are let off in either Oak Bluffs or Vineyard Haven rather than in Edgartown. The ride from Quonset can be rough so mind the weather.
New service since 2009 is the NE Fast Ferry service from New Jersey and New York. This is the ultimate way to travel to the island especially if you live in the city. Reservations are highly recommended.
For folks who want to travel by Air there are several that service the island. The price is reasonable and will allow connections from other parts of the country. Again once on island you will really not miss a car.
- Nearest Airport – Martha’s Vineyard Airport, West Tisbury 5.7 Miles – For private planes Katama Airpark 3.5 miles
- Nearest Ferry – Passenger = Falmouth Ferry Dock Street .2 miles Car = Steamship Authority Oak Bluffs 5.9 miles
- Nearest Train – Amtrak Station in Boston 86 miles
- Nearest Beach – Lighthouse Beach and others 9 minute walk
- Nearest Golf – Vineyard Golf Club and others 3 miles
- Nearest Restaurant – Harbor View Hotel and others 4 minute walk
Links with local travel information:
- MVY – Good comprehensive website on travel
- Ferry – The most popular way to get here (Auto carrier): Martha’s Vineyard Steamship Authority 508-477-8600
- Ferry – Seasonal and door to door Falmouth Edgartown Ferry 508-548-9400
- Ferry – New Jersey, New York and New Bedford to Martha’s Vineyard – very fast – 1 hour Sea Streak (was NE Fast Ferry) 508-477-8600
- Ferry – Quonset, R.I. to Martha’s Vineyard – very fast 1.5 hours: Vineyard Fast Ferry from Rhode Island 401-295-4040
- Ferry – from Falmouth to Oak Bluffs – Island Queen – 508-548-4800
- Air Service to MVY / Martha’s Vineyard by
Cape Air, Delta, Jet Blue or US Air – Also see kayak.com or your favorite travel website
- Air Service for private airplanes – MV Airport – Katama Edgartown Airport (grass strip)
- MV Transit Buses – Taxis – Bikes (leave the car behind) On Island transportation alternatives – advice from Trip Advisor and MVOL
- General Info – MV Onlines guide to travel to the island
Flying in to Martha’s Vineyard
Travel by air is best through Logan Airport in Boston Mass with subsequent transportation to one of three ferries that leave from Falmouth or Woods Hole.
A better solution, especially for a group, is a private limo or van depending on how many are ready for pickup.
I have called and gotten some quotes which appear below.
The final water part of the trip can be from any of three ferries. Once on island these two options will require a cab trip from the MV ferry terminal to the house – about $30
- Woods Hole Steamship Vineyard Haven or Oak Bluffs $8.50
- Falmouth Island Queen to Oak Bluffs $12.00
The most fun trip is via this ferry which drops you within walking distance of the house.
- Falmouth Edgartown Ferry $25.00
Dockage and Mooring reservations can be booked through the harbormaster’s office
They use Dockwa which has terrific customer support.
Limo Pricing from Airports
Five Star Luxury Transportation 617-799-7777
$235 all inclusive Wood Hole to Logan Airport (2016)
Suggested Northern Travel Routes from the Mid Atlantic
OPTION ONE – Traveling on a Saturday with a stop before NY City
We have stopped at the Meadowlands / Secaucus in New Jersey the last few trips I have done.
40 Wood Avenue, Secaucus, NJ 07094 PHONE: (201) 272-1000 RESERVATIONS: (866) 272-0060
There are also fine hotels in the area nearby. Simply Google them.
Suggested Eastern Travel Routes from the Mid West
You are going to end up on route 95 eventually so the only real decision is taking the George Washington Bridge or 87 over the Tappan Zee Bridge. Again the GW can be risky if there is traffic in the morning going through NY City. A weekday trip past the city will require extra time.