Martha’s Vineyard, often referred to as the Vineyard, is an island situated in Massachusetts, and is 23 miles long and 7 miles wide, offering a scenic getaway, with nature trails, beaches, and countless other attractions.
The island is home to 6 distinct vineyard towns, and perfectly suits a car to journey between them, but can you drive to Martha’s Vineyard?
Martha’s Vineyard is surrounded by ocean and doesn’t have any land connections. Therefore, to drive there from the mainland US, you’ll need to travel to Woods Hole, Falmouth, and take a car ferry. Once on the island, you’re free to drive as you please, and renting a car or bike is also an option.
Car ferry service to Martha’s Vineyard
The Steamship Authority ferry is the only year-round ferry service to Martha’s Vineyard.
It carries cars, motorcycles, and trucks and operates from the mainland ferry port in Woods Hole, Falmouth, Massachusetts, to Martha’s Vineyard, with a 45-minute journey time.
Both one-way and round-trip ferries are available, departing most days from 6 am. Ferry costs vary depending on vehicle size and the time of year traveling.
There are no parking spaces available at the Woods Hole ferry terminal, but parking is available in the surrounding areas of Falmouth and Cataumet. Make sure to arrive an hour before departure to avoid rushing!
Additional ferry services run to Martha’s Island from selected areas such as New Bedford, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Nantucket, and New York City.
However, these ferries are seasonal and passenger only, so before boarding, you’ll have to leave your car at an onsite parking lot or nearby street parking.
Distance to Woods Hole ferry terminal
Here is the driving distance from 5 key locations to the Woods Hole ferry terminal.
To calculate your journey time to Martha’s Vineyard, you’ll need to add the ferry boarding time and 45 minutes for the crossing.
- Boston, Massachusetts, 1 hr 27 min (79.9 miles)
- Providence, Rhode Island, 1 hr 19 min (72.5 miles)
- Worcester, Massachusetts, 1 hr 46 min (103 miles)
- Springfield, Massachusetts, 2 hr 32 min (147 miles)
- Hartford, Connecticut, 2 hr 30 min (157 miles)
Do you need to bring your car to Martha’s Vineyard?
When considering whether to bring your car to Martha’s Vineyard, it’s important to understand your intentions on the island, as this way, you can budget accordingly.
For instance, taking a car to the island costs $182 for a round-trip, compared to an adult single round-trip that costs $19.
So, understanding your trip intentions will help you determine if taking a car is necessary, and planning ahead can save you both time and money.
As an example, if you’re planning on a day trip, and intend on fitting as much culture into your day as possible, then instead of driving to the island, why not use a guided sightseeing tour that will transport you around key locations on the island in a short space of time.
On the other hand, if you’re traveling with the whole family, costs might start to add up, as public transportation can be expensive, so it might make sense to take your car.
Further, if you’re planning to stay a few days or longer on the island, then you’ll most likely want to travel between the 6 island towns, each distinct in character and well worth seeing.
In this case, bringing your car is advisable, as the island is 23 miles long and 7 miles wide, and there’s a lot of ground to cover. It takes 45 minutes to drive between corners of the island and longer during peak times.
Renting a car on Martha’s Vineyard
It’s entirely possible to rent a car on the island. For over 18 years, A.A Auto Rental Ferries have provided a selection of vehicles to visitors to explore the island’s attractions.
They are open from 8 am-6 pm and have offices located within walking distance of Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs.
Of course, there are other car rental companies available, and you’ll find them located in Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, West Tisbury (the Airport), and different locations spread throughout the island.
In general, to rent a car, you must be 21-80 years of age. If you’re under 25, then expect to add a young driver surcharge of approximately $27-$35 per day to the reservation fee, and be limited to selected vehicles.
In addition, to be eligible for car rental, you’ll need to show your driver’s license and a credit card in your name. International drivers will need their domestic license and an international driving permit.
- Prices range from $60+ for smaller vehicles to $150+ for larger vehicles such as jeeps.
- Book at least 7 days in advance of travel for lower prices.
- Save 1/3 of the price when renting from non-airport locations.
Renting a bike on the island
Often described as a cyclist’s paradise, there are a plentiful amount of biking trails and lovely beach shorelines available on the island, and to explore them, renting a bike can be a great option.
For instance, Chappaquiddick Island is filled with bike trails, and you can easily explore its inner beauty with a bike.
However, it has been noted that there are hazards on some of the bike paths, such as wide cracks, so cyclists need to be aware of this before proceeding.
Parking on Martha’s Vineyard
There are various parking spots located throughout the island, such as in the popular locations of Edgartown, Lobsterville, Philbin Beach, Head Cliffs, and Oaks Bluff.
Additionally, ferry services located on the island offer parking at or nearby the terminal. However, parking fees and time limits vary, and it’s best to check this beforehand when planning your road trip.
Martha’s Island has no external land connections, so to drive onto the island requires boarding a car ferry from Woods Hole, Massachusetts, with a 45-minute journey time.
Once on the island, car rental is available, and regarding expenses, it’s important to understand your intentions, as planning ahead can save you both time and money.
Welcome to Martha’s Vineyard (link)