Our next summer trip was to visit family at Martha’s Vineyard. A longtime New England summer colony, it encompasses harbor towns and lighthouses, pristine beaches and miles of farmland. We spent 4th of July in Edgartown, MA, and it did not disappoint!
In case you plan to venture to the Vineyard, here are a few of our favorite spots for family fun:
Activities for the Whole Family
All three children loved visiting the oldest carousel in America, The Flying Horses Carousel in Oak Bluffs. Constructed by Charles Dare of New York Carousel Manufacturing in 1876, it is one of only two Dare carousels that still exist and a top sight on Martha’s Vineyard. The Flying Horses is available to rent after hours for children’s birthday parties, in April, May, September and October. It has a game of rings you play to win a free ride, so the boys got competitive about that and asked to go back to the carousel multiple times during our stay.
It rained a couple of days we would have otherwise enjoyed the beach. So, we found some places to spend an afternoon while storms passed. We spent one afternoon bowling on a rainy day in Vineyard Haven at The Barn Bowl & Bistro. With great food and drinks in a family-friendly environment, we stayed an extra round!
When it’s not raining, summer is a great time to enjoy the miles of hiking and bike trails and several sandy beaches. My boys had a blast at multiple beaches around the island, catching fish and building sand castles. Ferry over to the remote Chappaquiddick or “Chappy” for a picnic lunch and beach view of the Edgartown light house and harbor. The Chappy Ferry operates year-round and costs $4 round-trip.
Dining on Martha’s Vineyard
People live on their patios in the summertime and grill fresh seafood dinners most nights! Check out Edgartown Meat and Fish for items to cook at home and pre-made items for easy meals (plus groceries, upscale condiments, wine and beer). Their meat and fish counter has the best food you can buy for a cookout on a Vineyard night. Nothing beats a good summer salad and barbecued shrimp with good company!
If you are looking for a quick meal on-the-go, grab a sandwich or slice of pizza at The Chilmark General Store. Head to Rosewater Market for grab and go coffee and lunch items or to Among the Flowers Cafe for in-town lunch or coffee break. You also can’t go wrong with lobster rolls fresh from the fishing docks at Menemsha for a leisurely lunch and stroll.
There are many unique restaurants on Martha’s Vineyard! Enjoy lunch at The Atlantic for upscale dining right at the harbor to see the yachts and sailboats coming and going (entertaining for the kids!). Visit 19 Raw for fresh oysters and fun cocktails or Alchemy for a nice dinner or date night out on the town. Salvatore in Vineyard Haven is great for old-school, family style Italian dining. We also enjoyed The Seafood Shanty patio, overlooking the harbor for a casual spot with the best views. Having a night in? Edgartown Pizza is perfect for a family movie night or weeknight meal.
Last but certainly not least, Massachusetts is known for its delicious homemade ice cream at all the local spots! My kids enjoyed the Ice Cream Shop & Candy Bazaar most frequently, due to its toy and candy section on top of delicious root beer floats and generous ice cream scoops!
Explore the Town
Edgartown is the shopping destination on Martha’s Vineyard. Whether you’re looking for fashion, books or cool gifts to bring home, Edgartown’s historic shopping district has it all, including massive storefronts for The Black Dog and Martha’s very own Vineyard Vines (both started on the island!).
Book lovers will find exciting and fascinating reads at Edgartown Books and the on-site café, Behind the Bookstore for a local favorite haunt and some fun celebrity sightings. If you are spending time on Martha’s Vineyard in the summer, you’ll also want to catch performances by The Vineyard Sound, a long running all-male à cappella group that performs around town and in local homes and churches.
Main Street is lined with a mix of independent small businesses, cafés, and community-minded shops. From boutique women’s clothing to darling children’s stores, art galleries and home decor & gifts, souvenir stores and coastal outfitters, Edgartown has something for everyone. We also love visiting the art galleries around town to learn about local artists and other curations.