From its pristine beaches and quaint towns to historic lighthouses, Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts is a charming island with something for the whole family. Here, you can visit an alpaca farm, ride the nation’s oldest carousel, or just walk along the sandy beaches looking for seashells. Whether you choose a Martha’s Vineyard vacation rental in Oak Bluffs, Edgartown, or along one of the remote beaches, look forward to enjoying kid-friendly activities that will keep your little ones entertained during your island getaway.
1. Kick Back at Long Point Beach
If there’s one thing Martha’s vineyard has in abundance, it’s sandy beaches that hearken back to simpler days. Long Point Beach is perfect for kids of all ages thanks to its calm waters on one side and constant waves on the other that are ideal for boogie boarding. The secluded beach is located in Long Point Wildlife Refuge, which features more than 2 miles of laid-back hiking trails, picnic tables where you can eat a meal prepared at your vacation rental, and a rental facility with kayaks and stand-up paddle boards.
2. Ride the Flying Horses Carousel
If you’re traveling to Martha’s Vineyard with younger kids, don’t miss the chance to let them ride the Flying Horses Carousel, the oldest working carousel in the United States. The old-fashioned wooden horses feature manes and tails of real horse fur, and kids can try to touch the lucky brass rings as they pass. After riding the carousel and taking a few photos, stop by Mad Martha’s for a few scoops of ice cream before heading back to your relaxing vacation rental.
3. Go for a Bike Ride
While you likely want to rent a car for easy sightseeing, you can also traverse the island by bike along the many groomed and paved bike trails. Kids of all ages are sure to enjoy taking the bike ferry across Menemsha Pond to the fishing village on the other side where you can stop for seafood, and a bike ride along the shoreline is the perfect way to reach a remote beach where you can lay out your beach towels or build some sandcastles. Bring your own bikes and store them in your vacation rental, or rent bikes in town.
4. Spot Some Wildlife at Felix Neck Sanctuary
Families with kids of all ages love exploring the hiking trails at this unspoiled sanctuary near Edgartown where you can spot deer, swans, horseshoe crabs, and other local animals through the woods and salt marshes. You can also explore the sanctuary from a canoe or kayak, or even snorkel in Sengekontacket Pond. Be sure to ask about daily programs such as the Eco-Kid events, and remember to take a walk through the colorful butterfly garden.
5. Check Out the Island Alpaca Farm
A favorite Martha’s Vineyard attraction of the young and young at heart, the Island Alpaca farm nestled in Oak Bluffs is a place where you can pet and feed the soft alpacas, participate in a few barn chores, and even get up close and personal with adorable newborn alpacas. Be sure to catch a Alpaca Discovery Session in the morning to learn more about alpacas and how to care for them.
6. Take a Walk Through Gingerbread Campground
Built on the site of a historic Methodist campground, this little neighborhood of ornate homes in Oak Bluffs looks like something right out of a storybook. Kids have a great time looking up at the colorful cottages built in the 1800s, which offer some great photo ops. For a small fee, you can even tour one of the cottages that has been made into a charming museum.
7. Comb for Shells on the Beaches
While not all beaches on Martha’s Vineyard are ideal for swimming, you can always find a stretch of shoreline to search for beautiful seashells and smooth rocks within walking or biking distance of your vacation rental. Walk down to the shore during low tide to let your kids find a few favorite shells to take home as a special souvenir.
8. Embark on a Cruise With Pirate Adventures
There are plenty of fun cruises, yacht rides, and sailboat excursions leaving from Oak Bluffs, but none is more popular among families than Pirate Adventures. Step aboard a pirate ship to dress up like a pirate, create a treasure map, and watch as the crew pull up sunken treasures and shoot water cannons at their rivals. The interactive experience lasts around an hour and a half, including portions both on land and at sea, and it is designed for kids ages 2 to 12.
9. Look Over the Aquinnah Cliffs
You can’t visit Martha’s Vineyard without a trip to the towering Aquinnah Cliffs, where you can enjoy panoramic views from above or kick back on the secluded beach below. After you’ve captures a few photos, head over to Aquinnah Lighthouse, one of the oldest operational lighthouses in the nation. For a small fee, you can climb to the top and see the inside of the lighthouse, a fun experience for kids of all ages. If you’re visiting in the morning, you can also stop by the Aquinnah Shop to enjoy a family breakfast of fresh pancakes while taking in the breathtaking views.
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