How to Take a Ferry to Martha's Vineyard

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Part of the charm of vacationing on Martha's Vineyard is its tucked-away feel. It's an island, after all, and that means there tends to to be less hustle and bustle -- consequently more time for enjoying the scenery -- than you'll find on the mainland. It also means that unless you have your own boat, you have to take a ferry to get there.

  • Discuss whether you want to have your car on the island. If you decide to drive, your only ferry option is the Steamship Authority ferry from Woods Hole in Cape Cod.

  • Navigate to the Steamship Authority website to check the schedules for that ferry. To leave from Falmouth in Cape Cod, visit the Island Queen website. To leave from Hyannis, visit the Hy-Line Cruises website. To leave from New York, New Jersey or New Bedford, Massachusetts, visit the SeaStreak website to check the schedules. For a ferry from North Kingston, Rhode Island, visit the Martha's Vineyard Fast Ferry website.

  • Click on the "Schedules" page of the ferry you plan to use and note when the ferry departs and returns. Reservations are required for cars taking the Steamship Authority ferry.

  • Pack your belongings in a way that allows you to transport them easily onto the ferry.

  • Arrive at the ferry dock 30 to 45 minutes before the scheduled departure and make your way to the ticket office. Purchase your tickets using a credit or debit card or with U.S. currency.

  • Double check your arrival location so you can inform anyone picking you up. Almost all ferries arrive in either Vineyard Haven or Oak Bluffs, although the Island Queen coming from Falmouth goes to Edgartown.

Tips & Warnings

  • Most ferries will have a luggage cart you can use at the dock.
  • If you tend to get seasick, bring along some motion-sickness medication. The ferries from Massachusetts tend to be less than an hour's rode, but the ferries from New Jersey and New York take more like five hours.
  • During the summer months, you'll probably find all of the ferries run seven days a week or at least most days of the week. Before May and after mid-October, however, the only option may be the Steamship Authority ferry from Woods Hole.
  • Generally, there are no luggage restrictions for the amount of luggage you can bring onto the ferries, although large items may cost extra.

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