Martha's Vineyard With Kids: A Ferry Tale


Imagine a place where Barack Obama might cross paths with Lady Gaga or Ted Danson, a place where he might say, “Hello” to Carly Simon. What would be the common draw? Pure beaches, top restaurants, historic buildings or iconic vistas? Celebrities call Martha’s Vineyard home for reasons you can only know after you’ve visited this jewel for yourself.

Its charm runs so deep that it could be a model utopia for other small islands to replicate. Light breezes ripple over island grasses that uplift a hint of ocean salt and scented flowers to hang in the air. Manners, friendliness and safety prevail. Stroll around the island and you can’t help but feel welcomed. It’s clear that you are part of the tangible feeling of community. The ferry ride over from the mainland decompresses you upon contact and prepares you for a sublime experience.

The island’s values of conservation and cleanliness are evident throughout. Numerous concerts for conservation are advertised throughout the year. There’s a general code of respect for beaches, where litter is not the norm. The Trustees conservation network has a foothold on the island, offering events within their wildlife sanctuaries and across dunes out to lighthouses.

Martha’s Vineyard somehow manages to retain a friendly, insular village feel while simultaneously attracting internationally diverse visitors. A feeling of tolerance and acceptance permeates throughout the island. It is within that atmosphere of diversity and inclusion that you and your family can enjoy so many experiences on the island. Whether your interests lean toward history and nature, or animals and education, you have options. Try one of these kid-friendly options on your next visit:

Alpaca Farm: Exemplifying Martha’s Vineyard flair for the exotic is this enchanting, picturesque farm with nothing but Alpaca after Alpaca. They are social creatures and they like to stick together. They display an incredibly calm demeanor. A visit here serves to decompress you even further. It’s a petting farm, so kids can get up close and personal with them. You can also take back as many souvenir photos as you like. Depending on timing, you may just spot a baby Alpaca or two. Then, visit the gift shop to secure some unique Alpaca related gifts and also support artisans from Peru.

Miniature Golf: Take the kids to an 18-hole miniature golf park, complete with a 24-foot climbing wall. Participate with them, or enjoy some BBQ and ice cream from the sidelines while they’re playing. The course is water-themed with waterfalls and a frog pond. Island Cove Adventures Mini Golf has it all covered.

Arcade: Your kids will be spoiled for choice in this well-preserved building from the 1800s. It’s right on the main strip in Oak Bluffs, which makes it so easy to get to. It has a plethora of video/arcade games, ranging from old-style classics to more modern technology.

Flying Horses Carousel: Step back into time and visit a national landmark from the late 1800s, which was relocated to the island from its original home in Coney Island. The nation’s oldest platform carousel is up and running for kids to enjoy on Saturdays and Sundays. Adults and antique buffs will appreciate such a well-preserved piece of history.

Ferry to Chappaquiddick: Right next to the larger ferry dock in Edgartown, with ferries heading back to Falmouth, is a much smaller dock adorned with chain link roping. From here, you can walk, drive or bike on and head for the most brief tide from Martha’s Vineyard over to Chappaquiddick. It’s separate from mainland Martha’s Vineyard and, as such, offers a peaceful respite from crowds if you’re seeking a more subdued day out.

A bike gives you freedom to explore the winding curves of the island over to the tucked away Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge, spanning 516 acres! Family-friendly tours to the lighthouse, along the beach, or around the refuge by kayak are offered daily.