Do I Need A Car On Martha’s Vineyard?

Ferry Unloading at Vineyard Haven

A question that we regularly hear when visitors are searching for a Martha’s Vineyard Hotel is “Do I need a car when I’m staying on Martha’s Vineyard?”.
There are some challenges with getting a car here in the busy summer months; the car ferry is not inexpensive and securing a space often means booking months in advance to avoid the ferry being sold out. Once here traffic can be congested in the Down-Island towns (Vineyard Haven, Edgartown & Oak Bluffs) and parking is as rare as hens’ teeth. Fortunately there are several other options to get you around the island that in the summer you do not need to bring a car.
– The first option is to relax and use the incredible bus system that is here on Martha’s Vineyard. Our all-electric buses run thirteen different routes that cover the whole of the island. The Down-Island routes run until midnight and are on a 30 minute schedule. Although there are designated bus stops, the bus will actually stop anywhere to pick or drop you off and an all-day pass is currently only $10. Buses will also take you Up-Island (West Tisbury, Chilmark, Aquinnah) to Gay Head Light with just one change of bus required in West Tisbury. The buses are run by the VTA and tickets and schedules can be accessed through their App.
– If you feel more athletic you can use pedal-power and cycle between the Down-Island towns using the network of bike paths. Many of our member properties provide complimentary use of bikes. Check the properties to see which Martha’s Vineyard Lodging Association Hotels include use of bikes.

Bike From Nobnocket Inn

– The island is fortunate to have many taxi companies such as Atlantic Cabs, Stagecoach Taxis, Bluefish Taxis, Cottage City Cabs, Able Cabs, Our Taxi and Lighthouse Taxis. Taxis are waiting at the ferry terminals and airport when you arrive.
– In the summer months we have many Lyft/Uber drivers (watch out for surge pricing)
– If you wish a day with a car then there are several excellent car rental companies located on the island in Vineyard Have, Oak Bluffs and at the airport.

In the off-season a car is more useful as some of the Up-Island bus routes stop and the number of Lyft/Uber drivers drops drastically. Also off-season weather can be more temperamental so having a roof over your head as you navigate the island is an advantage!

Safe travels,
Simon Hunton
Nobnocket Boutique Inn