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A Guide to Martha's Vineyard Beaches
by Peter Fyler
Be sure to read "Your Perfect Beach" by Peter Fyler

After I wrote my article, Your Perfect Beach, people started asking me about the beaches on Martha's Vineyard.

Since Martha’s Vineyard is an Island, Martha’s Vineyard real estate not only includes sheep and horse farms, in-town homes, water view and water front properties on lakes and ponds, big and small, on the Vineyard Sound, as well as the Nantucket Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. Massachusetts is one of the few remaining places where it is possible to own water front beaches, but what can you do if you are not fortunate enough to own your own beach?

The private beaches are off limits to the public. There are town beaches, but they are exclusive to the residents of those respective towns. The big question is, “How do I get to the beach?” Is there any access to the water for those who don’t own water front property or are just visiting? Do not despair, there are still beaches that welcome the public. The County of Dukes has put together a comprehensive list of Island beaches which I have outlined below. The beaches shown in RED are open to the public.

AQUINNAH
Lobsterville Beach
This beach is on Vineyard Sound, so the waves are generally small. There is limited parking for town residents only. Managed by the Town of Aquinnah.

Moshup Beach
This beach faces the Atlantic Ocean and usually has fairly large waves. While the beach is free to everyone, there is a fee for parking in the nearby municipal parking lot ($15 per day in season). Owned and managed by the Martha's Vineyard Land Bank Commission.

Philbin Beach
This Atlantic Ocean beach is located off Moshup Trail. A permit from the Town of Aquinnah is required for all access to this beach. Managed by the Town of Aquinnah.

Red Beach
This beach is on Menemsha Pond, so the waters are normally calm. A permit from the Town of Aquinnah is required in season. Managed by the Town of Aquinnah.

Notice: So that you don't get caught with your pants down, I want to warn you that Aquinnah town officials have decided to enforce the long-ignored prohibition on nudity at town beaches, particularly Gay Head Cliffs. "No Nude Bathing" signs will soon go up announcing the rules and the possible fine - up to $50.  For families with children who stroll down the beach toward the Gay Head Cliffs unsuspecting of the changing scenery, this may be a welcomed relief, but for others who for years have felt free to take their clothes off in the secluded privacy of the clay baths at the cliffs this is the end of an era. Times have changed, The Aquinnah police chief said with regard to the town's decision, "Times have changed"; there have been increasing complaints and incidents of "inappropriate behavior."

CHILMARK
Chilmark Pond Preserve
The swimming beach faces the Atlantic Ocean and is accessible by your own canoe or kayak, which may be launched from this property's canoe drop on the Chilmark Pond shoreline. Owned and managed by the Martha's Vineyard Land Bank Commission.

Great Rock Bight Preserve
The swimming beach faces the Vineyard Sound. Parking is limited and there is a lengthy hike over steep hillsides down to the beach. Owned and managed by the Martha's Vineyard Land Bank Commission. The Boston Globe has rated this "the second best hideaway on the Island".

Lucy Vincent Beach
This beach faces the Atlantic Ocean with its normally heavy surf. There is a small area for swimming on Upper Chilmark Pond but this small section of beach requires about a one third of a mile walk east along the ocean beach. A permit from the Town of Chilmark is required for all access between June 1 and September 30. Dogs are not allowed on the beach at any time during the season.
Managed by the Town of Chilmark

Menemsha Beach
This small beach fronts on Vineyard Sound and is adjacent to Dutcher Dock in Menemsha. Owned and managed by the Town of Chilmark. This is a municipal beach that is open to the public with free municipal parking. No permit is required. Lifeguards present in season.

Squibnocket Beach
This beach faces the Atlantic Ocean with its normally heavy surf. A permit from the Town of Chilmark is required for all access between June 15 and Labor Day. Dogs are allowed on the beach before 7:00am and after 5:00pm during the season.
Managed by the Town of Chilmark

EDGARTOWN
Bend in the Road Beach
This small beach fronts on Nantucket Sound. Owned and managed by the Town of Edgartown. Lifeguards present in season.

Cape Pogue Wildlife Refuge
This northern part of Chappaquiddick is accessed via Dike Bridge on Chappaquiddick. The swimming beach is on the eastern shore of Chappaquiddick. Parking is free on the Dike Road side of Dike Bridge and a permit is required for four wheel drive vehicular access across Dike Bridge. Entry fee $3 per person from May 30 to October 15 (Trustees of Reservations members free). Owned and managed by The Trustees of Reservations.

Chappy Point Beach
This beach is on the Chappaquiddick side of Edgartown Harbor, adjacent to the Chappaquiddick ferry. There can be swift tidal currents and the beach quickly drops off into deep water. Owned and managed by the Martha's Vineyard Land Bank Commission.

Edgartown Great Pond Beach
This swimming beach is on the barrier beach separating Edgartown Great Pond from the Atlantic Ocean. All access is by boat only; they may be launched from Wilson's Boulevard at Turkeyland Cove Park on Edgartown Great Pond. Owned and managed by the Martha's Vineyard Land Bank Commission.

Fuller Street Beach (Starbuck's Neck Park)
This small beach is fairly close to downtown Edgartown and fronts on Nantucket Sound. There is very limited car parking at the end of Fuller Street. Managed by the Town of Edgartown.

Joseph Sylvia State Beach
This two mile long barrier beach separates Sengekontacket Pond from Nantucket Sound. It is a popular beach for families because the waves are usually small. If it is too windy and the waves are too large on the Nantucket Sound side there usually will be calm waters along the pond side. Owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and managed by County of Dukes County.

Lighthouse Beach
This beach is only a short walk from downtown Edgartown and is on Edgartown harbor adjacent to the Lighthouse. Managed by the Town of Edgartown.

Norton Point Beach
This 2.5 mile long barrier beach separates Katama Bay from the Atlantic Ocean. Access is from either Katama Road or Wasque Road (on Chappaquiddick). There is often fairly heavy surf along the ocean side of this beach. The bay side is too shallow for swimming at the western (Katama) end of the beach; water deep enough for swimming is located about one quarter of a mile from the eastern (Chappaquiddick) side of the beach. Owned and managed by the County of Dukes County.

South Beach State Park

This 1.25 mile long beach fronts on the Atlantic Ocean, so there is often fairly heavy surf. Lifeguards present in season. Owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and managed by the Town of Edgartown.

Wasque Reservation
The shoreline of this swimming beach fronts on the Atlantic Ocean. From Memorial Day through to Columbus Day weekend there are admission fees for non-members of $5 per car plus $5 per adult, with children (15 & under) free. Trustees Members pay nothing. Owned and managed by The Trustees of Reservations. And please note that Wasque is generally no longer open to over sand vehicle access due to errosion.

OAK BLUFFS
Eastville Point Beach
This small beach fronts on Vineyard Haven Outer Harbor and the channel into Lagoon Pond. The waves are normally small, especially by the drawbridge.

Joseph Sylvia State Beach
This two mile long barrier beach separates Sengekontacket Pond from Nantucket Sound. It is a popular beach for families because the waves are usually small. If it is too windy and the waves are too large on the Nantucket Sound side there usually will be calm waters along the pond side. Owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and managed by County of Dukes County.

Little Joseph Sylvia State Beach

This small beach is on the barrier beach separating Farm Pond from Nantucket Sound, at the southern end of the seawall. The water is fairly shallow.

Marinelli Beach - (Officially Pathway to the Jetty Beach or "Jetty Beach")
This small beach is on Nantucket Sound adjacent to the channel into Oak Bluffs Harbor. There is limited parking with access via a foot trail through the East Chop Beach Club property along the harbor. Owned and managed by the Town of Oak Bluffs.

Oak Bluffs Town Beach
This Nantucket Sound beach is near downtown Oak Bluffs and runs from the entrance to Oak Bluffs Harbor southward past Ocean and Waban Parks. Lifeguards present in season.

Sailing Camp Park
This beach is on the generally calm waters of Lagoon Pond. Owned and managed by the Town of Oak Bluffs Conservation Commission.

VINEYARD HAVEN
Hillman's Point Preserve
The swimming beach is on a sandy spit projecting into the normally calm waters of Lake Tashmoo. Owned and managed by the Martha's Vineyard Land Bank Commission

Owen Little Way

The small beach is on the western shore of Vineyard Haven Outer Harbor at the end of Owen Little Way, adjacent to the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club.

Owen Park
This little beach is close to downtown Vineyard Haven and is located on the protected waters of Vineyard Haven Harbor adjacent to the town dock.

Herring Creek Beach (Tashmoo Beach)
This beach fronts on Vineyard Sound and the channel into Lake Tashmoo, at the end of Herring Creek Road, a dirt road off of Daggett Avenue. The waves are normally small. The currents can be quite strong in the channel. Lifeguard in season. Owned by the Town of Tisbury and the County of Dukes County. Managed by the Town of Tisbury.

Lake Street Beach
This small beach is at the end of Lake Street next to the town docks near the southern end of Lake Tashmoo.

Wilfred's Pond Preserve
The swimming beach is on the usually calm waters of Vineyard Sound (not on the fresh-water coastal pond adjacent to the property). The beach is accessed via a short hiking trail from the parking spaces at the end of the road. Owned and managed by the Martha's Vineyard Land Bank Commission.

WEST TISBURY
Lambert's Cove Beach
This Vineyard Sound beach is restricted to town residents (Car stickers are $50, walk-on passes are $10 for one adult and their children under 16, available at the West Tisbury Town Hall) between mid-June and Labor Day, although the general public can use the beach after 5:00pm. Owned and managed by the Town of West Tisbury

Long Point Wildlife Refuge
This beach fronts on the Atlantic Ocean AND a freshwater pond (Long Cove). From mid-June to mid-September, admission fees for nonmembers are $10 per car (basic-level members get half-price parking discount) plus $5 per adult, pedestrian/bicyclist $5, children 15 and under free. For Trustees Members admission is free. Owned and managed by The Trustees of Reservations. From mid-September to mid-June Long Point is open to everyone for FREE

Sepiessa Point Reservation
This beach is on the usually calm waters of Tisbury Great Pond at the southern end of the property. The beach is accessed via a short hiking trail from the parking spaces at the end of the road. Owned and managed by the Martha's Vineyard Land Bank Commission.

Seth's Pond
This small beach is on the fresh-water Seth's Pond and parking is extremely limited along the sides of Lambert's Cove Road.



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