Massachusetts Tips of the Trade USA

Things To Know Before You Go – Martha’s Vineyard, MA

Martha’s Vineyard is a place I have kept in the back of my head that I wanted to visit. I finally got the chance to go and realized I didn’t know all too much about it. Now that I have gone I definitely want to pass on some things to know before you go. This especially holds true if you go in off-season. Hopefully this will help you when planning your trip!


Location- In case you didn’t realize, Martha’s Vineyard is an island located off Cape Cod, Massachusetts. It can only be reached by airplane or taking a ferry.

Ferry – There are a few different ferries that run during the summer months (peak season.) From my understanding that can be caught from New York, Rhode Island, and the Cape Cod area of Massachusetts. There is only one ferry that runs year around and that is Steamship Authority. They also take cars and trucks so if you decide to bring yours you can!

Ferry ©2018 HollyDayz

Steamship Authority – When going off-season they only leave from Woods Hole, MA and dock at Vineyard Haven in Martha’s Vineyard. They say it takes about 45 minutes, but it was more like 30 to 35 minutes. A roundtrip ticket is $17 per person. Depending on the season and type of car will depend how much it costs to bring it with you. You can leave it in a parking lot in Woods Hole which is about $12 a day and take the free shuttle over to the ferry. Whatever you do a reservation is best, especially in peak season. For more information visit their site!

Headed to Martha’s Vineyard ©2018 HollyDayz

Car v No Car – I have heard conflicting things. Bringing a car on the island can be a pain for parking reasons. Some people will leave their car or fly in and opt to rent one once on the island. The island also has many bikes paths and buses so you can get around with our a car. Uber is also an option. However especially in the off-season I would recommend a car. Finding parking is a breeze and in the long run it financially makes more sense for us to do so. Plus you have the freedom of movement whenever to wherever.

Driving – There are no traffic lights on the island. The only thing you will find are stop and yield signs. You must also stop for pedestrians. Some roads are also very dark at night because there are no lights so that is something to keep in mind while driving. It is also very easy to find your way around while driving. There are signs all over directing you from town to town.

Public Transportation- There are 6 towns. The fare is $1.25 per town including the town of origin. They can be purchased on the bus or at Steamship Authority. There are also day passes etc. While there on 4 different days I may have seen about 7 or 8 buses go by. May have been because it was off-season or something.

Off Season- I asked a few locals on the island and they said peak season is the summer for obvious reasons. However they said the best time to go into the ocean is July and August because even in June the water is cold. Many businesses are also not open in the off-season. Some where actually opening up a week after leaving. It is also important to call some of the businesses before going to them to see if they are even open. Even then some would have recordings saying they were, but they weren’t. Although many businesses are closed and not many tourists around this is also a great thing. It is almost like having the island to yourself.

Dry Island – Looking for the ultimate turn up? This isn’t really the place. There are no actual nightclubs. Also unless you go to Oak Bluffs or Edgartown you won’t be purchasing alcohol or have it served to you. You will have to go to one of those towns so if you get a hotel or Airbnb elsewhere then purchase your alcohol in those towns before heading back.

Warm Lobster Roll and Chips ©2018 HollyDayz

Seafood- You can’t go to Martha’s Vineyard and not eat seafood. That is a crime and just blasphemy. There are so many places to get some good seafood. Clam chowder, lobster rolls, and more should be on your list. If seafood isn’t your thing then there are plenty of other tasty things to eat. See all the delicious places we ate!

Franchises- Besides their own dedicated franchise around the island like Vineyard Vines (started in of course Martha’s Vineyard), Sharky’s, a couple of Stop and Shops, a Dairy Queen, and such there are no other big franchises on the island. I saw no Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks (you will be ok), Wendy’s, etc.

I am personally looking forward to going back to Martha’s Vineyard and getting more acquainted with it. It is a beautiful and peaceful place that was greatly enjoyed. I will definitely check it out during peak season.

Have you ever been to Martha’s Vineyard?

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  • Jimmy

    The view over the water is enough to make me want to pay a visit. I personally don’t mind there not being any franchises, it’ll force me to experience something new, as well as the local businesses. Peak season would be preferred just so I can receive all the island has to offer. Although, I’m not a fan of seafood…..sorry. Beautiful photos as always. Thanks.

    • Holly Dayz

      It is definitely worth a visit. I was glad there wasn’t. I love trying local foods. No worries, there are plenty of other great places to try.

  • Jenn and Ed Coleman

    Marthas Vineyard makes me think of touch football in the yard, America, and apple pie. Of all of the East Coast sprawl, this little area seems to be churning along with no intention of industrializing. I would love to visit someday and see it for myself. Off season, especially the fall, seems like the perfect time for a visit.

    • Holly Dayz

      I can totally see that. It is a beautiful island with a lot to offer. I hope you get the chance to visit one day.

  • Giulia Blocal

    I love the video! The place looks amazing and the colored houses are so cute!

    • Holly Dayz

      Thank you! They are so cute and detailed.

  • Medha Verma

    I could never have imagined that Martha’s vineyard would be an island 🙂 It’s so intriguing to know that they don’t really have any traffic lights, I cannot picture a place that already has so much discipline in place that they don’t need to enforce such traffic laws. The island sounds like a pretty cool, laid back place for some time to relax. I’d love to try the seafood!

    • Holly Dayz

      They definitely don’t have any. Just stop and yield signs. It is a great place to relax and have some beautiful scenery.

  • knycx

    I have not heard about Cape Cod and the vineyard but it looks like a lovely place to get away from the hustle and bustle and enjoy a short getaway! I love seafood and so I am excited to know that there are so many places to try them in Martha’s Vineyard!

    • Holly Dayz

      I love seafood too, so I was excited to try a lot of the food while there. You should definitely try and get there one day.

  • Debra Schroeder

    I’ve always thought Martha’s Vineyard was so posh, great to see ordinary looking houses. $1.25 to traveling between towns is cheap!

    • Holly Dayz

      From what I hear it can be very posh, especially in the peak summer season. I felt a laid back vibe while there.

  • Carolina Colborn

    Loved our day in Martha’s Vineyard way back in 2012….and seeing Chappaquiddick, too. Those little homes are so colorful!

    • Holly Dayz

      We could have taken a quick ferry to Chappaquiddick, but were too busy exploring, eating, and relaxing lol.

  • Lara Dunning

    I have never been to Martha’s Vineyard and have never been so all the tips are very handy to have in my travel pocket. Who knew it was a dry island? Not me! I would probably go in the offseason too as I’m not into dealing with the crowds and congestion. The downside of that is closed shops and restaurants, but I’ll sacrifice that to keep my sanity. 🙂

    • Holly Dayz

      I wouldn’t have even thought about it, but it is very interesting to know. I am not into that either, so the off season was enjoyable although I would like to try some plaices that were closed.

  • Indrani

    What a great place to be in! I will not skip the sea food for sure. Less crowd too sounds good to me.

    • Holly Dayz

      It was great. Feels like you have the island to yourself.

  • katefrankiebrennan

    I think I would go just for that lobster roll! I am yet to visit Massachusetts but my whole family have wanted to go for years. I had heard of Martha’s Vineyard before but didn’t actually know it was an island. Now I feel stupid! This place is going on the list

    • Holly Dayz

      I don’t blame you, it was good and filling. You should try and go one of these days. It is a really good time. I am glad you are putting it on the list.

  • Marcus and Mel

    We would love to visit although I can imagine peak season being quite busy. A dry island! – with alcohol only being sold in two towns, we have to get prepared for that. Is it just me or does this area remind me of Jaws, I’m sure they filmed it there.

    • Holly Dayz

      All I kept thinking about was how busy certain places would probably get during the summer. They filmed Jaws there and have a “Jaws Bridge” that many kids jump off of.

  • Marissa

    It’d been my dream to go to Martha’s Vineyard! It looks so relaxing, and I love that it’s not a loud, party town. I’d have to try the lobster roll and other seafood there.

    • Holly Dayz

      I loved that it wasn’t some crazy party island. It was really relaxing. I hope you visit soon and try all the great food.

  • Jayce Cairo

    I’ve only ever heard of Martha’s Vineyard but knew zilch about it before. I didn’t know it was on an island so I didn’t know it’s also known for its seafood. That lobster roll looks like a must-try!

    • Holly Dayz

      It seems many people had no idea. The lobster roll was really good!

  • 100cobbledroads

    I have a special interest in places by the waterfront and this one looks lovely too. That red house in the first picture is so appealing. Seafood and fresh air….what else would one need?

    • Holly Dayz

      I agree. It is very serene with great views.

  • Explorer Whiz

    This is simply amazing…

    • Holly Dayz

      I agree.

  • Honeymoon tour packages

    You’re amazing and inspiring.. Glad to read his post. Thank you so much for sharing a great information!

    • Holly Dayz

      Thank you! I appreciate the kind words.

  • Lauren Morales

    Wonderful writing with perfect guidelines, Martha’s Vineyard is a wonderful place for a visit. this is a Massachusetts island, It’s accessible only by boat or air. Wish that I could find myself on this island in this August. Your information and tips will help all traveler for the best travel experience in Martha’s Vineyard. I want to explore all the wonder of this places, especially lighthouses. You said that in June water become cool. Will I feel the same experience in August? Thanks.

  • Elisabeth Southgate

    I found it helpful when you said that there is only one ferry that runs year-round. My husband and I are thinking of visiting the island on an off-season. Knowing that there is only ferry operating year-round will help us in our planning.

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