A trip to Martha's Vineyard is filled with attractions from historic lighthouses to quaint Carpenter Gothic cabins, classic carousels, cliffside ocean views, and even craft donuts. There are opportunities for fun and adventure for couples looking to have a romantic getaway in a serene Japanese garden or for families to visit a real alpaca farm. You can even visit a filming location from the classic film "Jaws." No matter what your reason for travelling, Martha's Vineyard has something to educate, entertain, and thrill all visitors. Here are the 10 best things to do in Martha's Vineyard.

    1

    Gingerbread houses of Oak Bluffs

    See Carpenter Gothic cottages in a quaint area

    • Unusual

    The gingerbread houses of Oak Bluffs are known as such because of their architectural design and bright colours. The cottages date to the Victorian age and are situated close together, exclusively intended for rental as summer cottages. In fact, the area was once called Cottage City before the name Oak Bluffs became formal in 1880. This is a popular destination for architecture buffs who enjoy the Carpenter Gothic style, while the bright colours and vivid decor are popular with sightseers.

    Location: 80 Trinity Park, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557, USA

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    photo by m01229 (CC BY 2.0) modified

    2

    Flying Horses Carousel

    Ride an antique and historic wooden merry-go-round

    • Couples
    • Families
    • History

    The Flying Horses Carousel stands as the oldest platform carousel in the nation. It dates to 1884 and has been a popular attraction for visitors to Oak Bluffs ever since it was moved here from New York City. It was constructed by famed carousel designer Charles Dare and is one of only 2 of his carousels still in existence today. It was originally an attraction on Coney Island in 1876 before coming to its current home. It offers intricately carved and painted wooden horses with real horsehair manes and tails and realistic glass eyes.

    Location: 15 Oak Bluffs Ave, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557, USA

    Phone: +1 508-693-9481

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    3

    Gay Head Cliffs

    Catch a photo from a cliffside view of the ocean

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Adventure

    Gay Head Cliffs is the former name of the town of Aquinnah as well as the name of the signature landmark cliffs. These cliffs offer a rocky beach along deep, dark-blue Atlantic waters with beautiful views of the sunrise. The cliffs themselves are towering clay walls shot through with rich red and orange hues that gleam in the sun. It's amongst the more popular attractions in Martha's Vineyard, and you can take a bike or bus tour to visit the most photogenic spots to memorialise your trip.

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    4

    Jaws Bridge

    Relive a classic horror film—but it's safe to go back in the water

    • Adventure
    • Unusual

    Jaws Bridge is an iconic location that is renowned as the spot where a famous shark attack from the film "Jaws" was filmed. Thousands of film buffs visit Martha's Vineyard every year to see this location and walk the length of the ironically named "Big Bridge" that separates Sengekontacket Pond from the Atlantic Ocean. The nearby stone quay is also a famed spot from the film where visitors enjoy walking, as is Joseph Sylvia State Beach, which connects to the bridge.

    Location: 267-125 Seaview Ave, Edgartown, MA 02539, USA

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    5

    Island Alpaca Company

    Visit a living, working alpaca farm

    • Families
    • Unusual

    Island Alpaca Company was established in 2004 and today breeds alpacas for their fleece while also being a family-friendly attraction for visitors to the area. The alpacas are quite friendly, tame, and fun to pet and spend time with, while the staff is knowledgeable and eager to educate visitors about these personable animals. The farm also includes a gift shop, unique alpaca yoga classes, and events year-round, including virtual alpaca shearing, private tours, alpaca beach strolls, yarn spinning classes, and so much more. You can even sponsor an alpaca to stay up to date with its life and help with its care!

    Location: 1 Head of the Pond Rd, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568, USA

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 4 pm

    Phone: +1 501-693-5554

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    6

    Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary

    Walk the trails of the island's unique geography

    • Families
    • Adventure

    Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary is dedicated to protecting the native animals and habitats of Martha's Vineyard. It offers over 4 miles of woodland hiking trails that wind through meadows, along the shores of ponds, and through salt marsh wetlands where you can explore the unique landscapes for which this region is famed. Guided tours are available, and the park offers birthday parties on-site with guided outdoor activities that are led by a certified naturalist. Other activities include summer camps for the kids, a young explorer's programme, and a nature play area for the kids.

    Location: 100 Felix Neck Dr, Edgartown, MA 02539, USA

    Open: Monday–Friday from 9 am to 4 pm (closed on weekends)

    Phone: +1 508-627-4850

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    7

    Edgartown Harbour Light

    Climb the steps of a 16th-century landmark

    • Couples

    The Edgartown Harbour Light is a historic landmark on Martha's Vineyard that marks the head of Katama Bay and Edgartown Harbour. It was built in 1542 and today stands as one of 5 such lighthouses on the island. Many visitors come here every year to witness the Italianate architecture or to climb the stairs to the top for a breathtaking panoramic view of the bay and surrounding land and waters. It's become a popular destination for couples looking for a romantic getaway and for historians interested in the naval history of the region.

    Location: 121 North Water Street, Edgartown, MA 02539, USA

    Phone: +1 508-627-4441

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    8

    Mytoi Japanese Garden

    Meditate and relax in ancient-style surroundings

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Adventure

    The Mytoi Japanese Garden is on the Chappaquiddick outpost and is a serene and intimate traditional Japanese-style garden that features both native and exotic flora. The entire area is built around the theme of meditation and contemplation and rests in the shade of a pine grove. Here, you can witness a small pond providing an island habitat for creatures such as frogs, turtles, and goldfish. A hiking trail leads towards the salt marshes and Poucha Pond. You can traverse a wooden walking bridge styled with traditional Japanese architecture and look out over the pond, take a deep breath, and just forget about the real world for a while.

    Location: 41 Dike Rd, Edgartown, MA 02539, USA

    Phone: +1 508-627-7689

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    9

    Back Door Donuts

    Grab a coffee and pastry made with age-old recipes

    • Food

    Back Door Donuts is located in the historic Post Office Square area and is a local gem where everyone goes for delicious, craft, made-from-scratch donuts. The location itself is a landmark in the area, having served as a bakery and donut shop under several different owners since 1948, and the donuts still use those same recipes. The front of the establishment is a sit-down café where you can enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee with your donuts, while the back allows for takeaway, whether it's a single pastry or a dozen to go.

    Location: 1-11 Kennebec Ave, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557, USA

    Open: Monday from 8 am to 3 pm, Wednesday from 7 pm to 11 pm, Thursday–Friday from 8 am to 3 pm and 7 pm to 10.30 pm, Saturday–Sunday from 8 am to 5 pm and 7 pm to 10.30 pm (closed on Tuesdays)

    Phone: +1 508-693-3688

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    10

    Martha's Vineyard Museum

    Discover the island's storied history

    • History

    The Martha's Vineyard Museum is a local history museum with a mission to inspire discovery, exploration, and stronger connections to the island and its diverse storey and heritage. It was originally called the Dukes County Historical Society, and its collection includes Revolutionary War-era documents and artefacts as well as a thorough exploration of the maritime history of Martha's Vineyard island. It has grown steadily over the years and today even includes a library where scholars can perform research and learn about the people and events that shaped the island from its earliest days to today.

    Location: 151 Lagoon Pond Rd, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568, USA

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +1 508-627-4441

    Map

    photo by M V D H P (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

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