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Situated just seven miles off the Massachusetts coast, Martha’s Vineyard has a special place in every New Englander’s heart. Beloved for its pristine beaches and charming harbor towns, this picture-perfect island has long been a favorite summer vacation destination. City slickers flock from Boston to Martha’s Vineyard every summer to sail, sample local wine, and indulge in copious amounts of fresh seafood.
While it has a well-earned reputation as a magnet for millionaires, “the Vineyard” (as locals call it) has plenty to offer for every type of traveler – you just have to get there first.
Although the distance between Boston and Martha’s Vineyard is small, the island is not connected to the mainland by any bridges or tunnels. So, you’ll need to figure out how to get to Martha’s Vineyard from Boston and other major cities without your car.
But don’t fret, we’ve got you. Just like Wanderu helps you find the absolute best deals on bus and train travel, we’ll help you get your toes in the sand ASAP. Here is an all-inclusive guide on the best ways to get from Boston to Martha’s Vineyard, including ferries, buses, trains and flights.
Ferries to Martha’s Vineyard
Unless you’re searching for flights from Boston to Martha’s Vineyard, any itinerary will include a ferry ride. The good news is that the passage through Vineyard Sound is incredibly scenic. The bad news is that there are no ferries that travel directly from Boston to Martha’s Vineyard. Instead, most depart from terminals on Cape Cod, the peninsula just north of Martha’s Vineyard.
Of course, Cape Cod is a destination in its own right. Good thing we have a comprehensive guide on getting from Boston to Cape Cod by bus, train, ferry, car or plane, if you plan to stick around Hyannis or Provincetown for a bit.
Steamship Authority from Woods Hole
The Steamship Authority provides year-round ferry service between Woods Hole (a village in Falmouth) and Vineyard Haven on Martha’s Vineyard. It is the only ferry that runs during all four seasons, and it’s also the only one that can transport cars, motorcycles and other vehicles.
The Steamship Authority also provides a seasonal ferry between Woods Hole and Oaks Bluff on Martha’s Vineyard. If you plan to take your vehicle aboard, a reservation is required. However, if you’re just taking an impromptu Boston to Martha’s Vineyard day trip, you can simply show up at the terminal and await the next departure.
There are numerous crossings daily, and the journey takes about 40 minutes. One-way tickets start at $9.50 for passengers and $59 for vehicles.
Island Queen from Falmouth Harbor
The Island Queen is a seasonal, passenger-only ferry between Falmouth Harbor and Oak Bluffs. Daily departures are available between May and October, and the trip takes around 35 minutes. One-way tickets start at $17, and reservations are highly recommended.
Hy-line Cruises from Hyannis
Hy-Line Cruises offer seasonal, passengers-only trips between Hyannis and Oak Bluffs. The ferry runs between May and October, with multiple departure times. One-way tickets start at $35, and the trip takes about one hour. Reservations are highly recommended.
Falmouth-Edgartown Ferry from Falmouth Harbor
If your final destination on Martha’s Vineyard is Edgartown, then hop on the luxury Falmouth-Edgartown Ferry, also called the Pied Piper. This seasonal, passenger-only ferry runs during the summer from Memorial Day to Labor Day with between three and five trips daily.
One-way tickets start at $40, and the trip takes about one hour. Purchasing your tickets online in advance is highly recommended, as this ferry is smaller and has fewer trips available.
Eventually, you’ll have to make your way back from Matha’s Vineyard to Boston, so make sure to check the latest ferry departure times from the island. No matter which ferry you take, plan to arrive at the terminal at least 45 minutes before the scheduled departure time.
Bus + Ferry to Martha’s Vineyard
While there is no direct bus from Boston to Martha’s Vineyard, there are various bus routes to the ferry terminals on Cape Cod. Traveling by bus to Cape Cod and then by ferry to the Vineyard is probably the best way to get from Boston to Martha’s Vineyard, because it combines affordability with convenience.
Taking the bus is an easy way to shuttle between Boston and Cape Cod, and the New England carrier Peter Pan Bus Lines offers direct routes to several locations on the peninsula. Buses run year-round every day of the week, making the bus as convenient as it is cheap.
Peter Pan buses depart from these stations in Boston:
700 Atlantic Avenue
Buses depart from Gates 21 & 22
Boston Logan Airport
1 Harborside Drive
Buses stop at terminals A, B, C, & E
Boston Logan Airport
Whether you want to depart from South Station in downtown Boston or take the bus from the Boston Airport to the Martha’s Vineyard ferry, Peter Pan offers plenty of routes around Cape Cod. If you are taking the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard, check out the following bus trips:
Boston to Falmouth
You can book a direct trip from Boston to Falmouth on Wanderu. Buses depart from both Logan Airport and Boston’s downtown South Station with stops at the Steamship Authority Pier and the Peter Pan Terminal (59 Depot Ave) in Falmouth.
Steamship Authority Pier
1 Cowdry Road
Woods Hole, Falmouth, MA
Steamship Authority Pier
Peter Pan Terminal
59 Depot Ave
Peter Pan Terminal
Be sure you select the Steamship Authority Pier in Woods Hole as your final destination if you are taking the Steamship Authority Ferry. If you are riding on the Island Queen or the Falmouth-Edgartown ferry, you can hop off at the Peter Pan Terminal and walk to the ferry (about 30 minutes) or catch a rideshare.
Boston to Hyannis
If you are taking a seasonal ferry out of Hyannis (Hy-Line Cruises), the bus from Boston’s South Station to Hyannis will get you close to the terminal. However, you will need to take the Hyannis area’s regional trolleys from the bus stop in Barnstable to the Hyannis Transportation Center (about a 15-minute ride) and then walk an additional 15 minutes to the terminal.
Barnstable Bus Station
2155 Iyannough Road
Barnstable Bus Station
Remember that Hyannis is a village within the city of Barnstable; so even though the Peter Pan bus will say it’s going to “Barnstable,” it will take you to the closest bus station to Hyannis.
Train + Ferry to Martha’s Vineyard
There is no Amtrak train between Boston and Cape Cod, but a seasonal train service runs on weekends from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
The CapeFlyer train service is run through the MBTA (Boston’s public transportation system) and departs from South Station in downtown Boston. The train ends in Hyannis (with several stops along the way) and takes about 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Train schedules are coordinated with the Hy-Line Cruises’ departure times, to make it super easy to travel by train and ferry with short layovers between. However, there are also shuttle buses to take you to other ports if you’re riding with the Steamship Authority or Island Queen.
One-way tickets on the CapeFlyer start at $22, but there are usually some great summer sales to look out for. You can purchase tickets at the station or on the MBTA mTicket app.
Driving + Ferry to Martha’s Vineyard
While you can’t drive all the way to Martha’s Vineyard (it is an island, after all), if you prefer to be in the driver’s seat, you can always drive to the ferry terminals on Cape Cod rather than taking the bus or train. If you don’t have your own set of wheels, you can find the best deals on rental cars on Wanderu for your island getaway.
The Steamship Authority ferry terminal in Woods Hole is about 75 miles south of Boston via MA-3 and MA-28. Remember, if you want to take your car with you to Martha’s Vineyard, then the Steamship Authority ferries are your only option.
You can also leave your car on the mainland and walk onto the ferry, if you choose. Park your car at one of the designated lots in Falmouth, then hop on a free shuttle between the parking lot and the ferry terminal. If you choose this option, plan to arrive plenty early in the summer and on weekends, since the lot is usually extremely busy and spots may be hard to come by. Prices vary, but you can expect to pay $15 to park during the week (Mon-Fri) and $20 on weekends (Sat-Sun).
If you don’t mind leaving your vehicle behind, you can always depart from one of the other Falmouth ferry terminals. Both the Island Queen and the Falmouth-Edgartown ferries depart from the Falmouth Harbor. The Island Queen has a parking lot just 200 meters from the dock ($20), and the Falmouth-Edgartown Ferry has valet parking on-site ($30 for a single day and $40 for multiple days).
If you’re riding with Hy-Liner Cruises, you’ll need to make your way to Hyannis in south-central Cape Cod. Parking is available on-site for $28 per day.
Flying from Boston to Martha’s Vineyard
For those who don’t mind paying for convenience, booking a Boston to Martha’s Vineyard flight is a quicker but slightly spendier option. CapeAir is one of the most popular airlines that service the island and offers daily flights from Boston to Martha’s Vineyard year-round. Flight time is approximately 40 minutes from wheels up to wheels down – which is by far the fastest way to get from Boston to Martha’s Vineyard!
JetBlue also offers seasonal service between Boston and Martha’s Vineyard, along with service from New York City’s JFK and LGA airports. A few other airlines fly to the island (including Delta and American Airlines), though these carriers do not currently have routes departing from Boston.
The Martha’s Vineyard Airport (MVY) is conveniently located in the center of the island, just five miles south of Vineyard Haven. Passengers shouldn’t expect the full airport experience from this tiny regional airport, though there is a restaurant in the arrivals area if you show up hungry!
Day Trip from Boston to Martha’s Vineyard
While you likely won’t want to leave once you arrive, taking a day trip from Boston to Martha’s Vineyard is completely feasible. If you get an early start, a single day on the island will allow you to explore whichever port city you dock in and maybe even get a little beach time.
If all the research and planning for your Boston to Martha’s Vineyard day trip gets overwhelming, consider taking an organized tour.
New England Trips offers an epic day trip that lets you leave the travel logistics to someone else and simply enjoy your time on the island. The trip picks you up from your hotel in Boston and takes care of all the transportation to and from Martha’s Vineyard.
You’ll get six hours to roam the island, and you can even add an optional guided tour of Matha’s Vineyard. You can book without hesitation thanks to the free cancellation policy – get a full refund if you cancel up to 24 hours before your tour. It doesn’t get much easier to travel from Boston to Martha’s Vineyard, folks!
Getting Around Martha’s Vineyard
Once you’re on the island, getting around is a breeze. The island is relatively small – just 25 miles long and 9 miles wide at its thickest point.
For a comprehensive look at the whole island on your own schedule, bringing your own vehicle (or renting one on the island) is a good idea. That being said, traffic can get quite congested in the summer, and parking is limited. If you don’t want your precious vacation time to be spent in the car, there are plenty of ways to get around Martha’s Vineyard without a vehicle.
To just explore whichever port town you ferried into (Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs or Edgartown), your own two feet will get you anywhere you want to go. If you’re hoping to visit further-flung destinations like West Tisbury, Chilmark and Aquinnah, the Martha’s Vineyard Bus (Vineyard Transit Authority, or VTA) has comprehensive routes that connect these towns to the port cities.
Taxis service the island, but they can be hard to find in the busy summer months and are only available on a first-come-first-served basis.
The island is extremely bike-friendly, and most ferries and the VTA can accommodate bicycles. If you don’t want to haul your own from the mainland, there are numerous opportunities for bike rentals right on the island. You’ll definitely be tempted by the plethora of bike paths and trails around Martha’s Vineyard.
Things to Do on Martha’s Vineyard
Like so many islands, Martha’s Vineyard is famed for its pristine beaches. Spending some time on the sand is a rite of passage for all summertime visitors, and you’ll find plenty of scenic stretches to get some vitamin sea.
If you’re traveling with the kiddos, Lobsterville Beach in Aquinnah is a great option, as is the Oaks Bluff Town Beach. Joseph Sylvia State Beach gets a lot of hype thanks to its starring role as the backdrop in Jaws, though there’s no need to worry about sharks at this shallow, calm and scenic stretch of sand along the Nantucket Sound.
The island also has its fair share of historic lighthouses, but if you have to choose just one, check out the 1800s-era Edgartown Lighthouse.
Get your heart rate up on the hiking and biking trails in the Long Point Wildlife Refuge or the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest. Once you work up an appetite, there are plenty of spots to gorge on fresh seafood and local farm-to-table cuisine.
Grab some raw oysters at the 19 Raw Oyster Bar in Edgartown, enjoy lobster rolls and waterfront views at the Lookout Tavern in Oak Bluffs or enjoy the perfect al fresco breakfast from Among the Flowers Cafe.
The best way to experience all the incredible aspects of Martha’s Vineyard is by taking a bus tour of the entire island, guided by locals. From the charming “gingerbread houses” in Oak Bluffs to the beautiful clay cliffs and everything in between, the tour showcases some of the Vineyard’s most stunning landscapes and shares the local history that shaped the island. And it’s all in a three-hour stint, so you get you back on the beach without missing too much sun!
Where to Stay on Martha’s Vineyard
As we said, a Boston to Martha’s Vineyard day trip is totally possible, but you’ll never regret spending more than one day here. Here are some of our top picks for accommodation on Martha’s Vineyard:
Now that you know all about the best ways to get from Boston to Martha’s Vineyard, you can start planning your trip! Say hi to Martha for us.