Best Beaches to Explore on Martha’s Vineyard in the Off-Season

The shores of Martha’s Vineyard are one of the most magical things about our Island, and a visit to one of our local beaches is a must any time of year.

The shores of Martha’s Vineyard are one of the most magical things about our Island, and a visit to one of our local beaches is a must any time of year. Martha’s Vineyard boasts 124 miles of tidal shoreline, meaning there is a lot of sand to stick your toes in. While the summer is the most popular time to suit up and enjoy a picture perfect beach day, we love exploring our local beaches year round, especially in the quieter months when you can have a beach all to yourself.

Imagine looking out as far as you can see on one of our picturesque pieces of paradise and not seeing another beachgoer in sight? It’s possible from about October through May. Not to mention beach access restrictions are lifted during this time, meaning that some of our most sought after beaches that are limited to town residents in the summer are open to anyone and everyone after high season.

Here’s a few of our favorite private beaches that are accessible in the fall, winter and spring, and worth a visit! Please note if you are renting a home in one of these towns during the summer months you will have access to these beaches as long as you secure proper permits and passes from the appropriate town.

Lambert’s Cove Beach, West Tisbury

Lambert’s Cove Beach is what many locals consider the most picturesque beach, and it often boasts the softest sand and clearest ocean water around. You can access the beach off of Lambert’s Cove Road in West Tisbury and it is only a 10-15 minute drive from the Steamship Authority in Vineyard Haven, view on map here. There’s a small parking lot available to anyone in the off-season, but be warned permits are required mid-June through Labor Day. From the parking lot expect about a ten minute walk to the sand via a wooded path that is relatively flat and can get highly trafficked in the summer.

As you approach the shore you’ll be greeted by an incredible view, with the Elizabeth Islands across the Vineyard Sound to your north, and Falmouth and Woods Hole on Cape Cod to your northeast. The beach is located on the north shore, the more protected side of the Island, meaning the water is generally more calm than what you will find on the south side, such as at South Beach in Edgartown. Make it a point to get here for sunset as the unobstructed view of the sun going down to the west is as impressive as the sunsets you’ll see at the more popular Menemsha Beach.

Lucy Vincent Beach, Chilmark

Lucy Vincent Beach has long been known as one of the most coveted Island beaches to visit. No Martha’s Vineyard bucket list is complete without a trip to this popular beach, known for the iconic structures made of densely packed sand that scatter the beach. Sadly the largest sand tower collapsed in 2020 but it is still one of the most photographed places on Martha’s Vineyard and a go-to spot for seasoned Island photographers to capture at sunrise.

Located on the south side of the Island Lucy Vincent Beach is accessible by travelling South Road in Chilmark and turning onto Lucy Vincent Beach Road, view on map here. There is a generous parking lot but keep in mind vehicle stickers and walk-on passes are necessary to access Lucy Vincent Beach between June 1st and September 15th and are available for Chilmark town residents and renters only.

Squibnocket Beach, Chilmark

Squibnocket or “Squibby” is another Chilmark town resident only beach accessible to the public October through May. The coast here is a bit rockier than nearby Lucy Vincent but it’s known for its strong waves and impressive surf, making it a favorite spot among the hardiest surfers, especially in the colder months. It’s accessible from State Road by turning onto Squibnocket Road, view on map here.

Philbin Beach, Aquinnah

Located the furthest “Up-Island” Philbin Beach can be found off of Moshup Trail in Aquinnah and  is restricted to only town residents and renters in the summer. The beach has a rocky shoreline and views of the beautiful Gay Head Cliffs made of clay and sand, a National Landmark and quite possibly the most majestic sight on all of Martha’s Vineyard. We recommended walking along the shore towards the cliffs (be sure to stay off of them!) and taking in as much of this part of the coast as your legs allow. Please note that town resident restrictions typically go into place on/around June 15th.

Two other beaches worth exploring any time of year (though permits are required in the summer but available to all for a fee) include: Long Point Wildlife Refuge, one of the largest publicly accessible properties on Martha’s Vineyard made up of a broad prairie with scattered woods and coastal terrain including open and protected waters; and Norton Point Beach in Edgartown, where oversand vehicle driving is available to those automobiles with four wheel drive. Both of these properties are managed by the Trustees of Reservations and permits are required.

There are also several “key beaches” scattered across the Island accessible to only those families and properties with key rights, and you’re lucky enough to have access to one of those, well congratulations!

No matter what beach you are able to enjoy on Martha’s Vineyard we’re sure you’ll be delighted with the tranquility and beauty it provides. For more information on all of the local beaches of Martha’s Vineyard visit the local Chamber of Commerce’s website.