Martha’s Vineyard has fabulous beaches on every side of the island. Don’t get stuck in a rut and stick to one beach during your visit! This post is the second in a series on Martha’s Vineyard public beaches. My top recommendation for you to check-out (at least once) is the lovely Moshup Beach in Aquinnah.
My second favorite beach is also up-island, but very different from Moshup Beach – it is located in the quaint fishing village of Menemsha, in the town of Chilmark. If you go, don’t forget your camera because Menemsha is another picture opportunity! It has a working fishing harbor, complete with large and smelly fishing boats bringing their fresh catches into the local markets. It is very quintessential New England!
The beach itself is a little rocky but it has a pleasant, gentle surf as it faces north on the Vineyard Sound, rather than the Atlantic Ocean; and the view from Menemsha Beach is beautiful. The beach has sweeping views of Cuttyhunk and the rest of the Elizabeth Islands. In fact, it is actually known as the premier spot to watch a Martha’s Vineyard sunset – but that’s a post for another time!
Menemsha Beach Parking and Amenities
This is a public beach with amenities for families and no nude bathing. Because parking is limited, the beach does not get overly crowded… but if you are planning to drive, get there early! This is also why I recommend that you take the Vineyard Transit Authority (VTA) bus, which arrives in and departs from Menemsha hourly in the summer season. The #4 bus will take you to Menemsha Beach.
The town provides a lifeguard during the summer season and public rest rooms are just a short walk from the beach. There is also a small store two minutes away from the beach which stocks ice, drinks and snack items as well as selling gas.
Insider Tip: Up-Island (Aquinnah and Chilmark) has a reputation of being more expensive than our down-island towns. This does not hold true with gasoline, however! Frequently, the best price for gas on Martha’s Vineyard will be found at the Menemsha Texaco, with the next best price frequently being found at West Tisbury’s Up-Island Automotive.
From the beach, you don’t have far to walk to find a full meal, either. There are three seafood shops that sell fresh seafood to go, as well as prepared food for a beach picnic. There is also an authentic New England “clam shack” just down the road. It is a longer walk, but many regulars think its well worth it! The Bite offers all fried tidbits – all of the requisite seafood, as well as chicken for the non-seafood lover. I have been told by connoisseurs of fried clams, that this is a “must stop” when on-island.
While you are there, be sure to check out the cool sculpture (pictured) of the Swordfish Harpooner. You will find it in the sand dunes, just off of the parking lot, and along the way from the beach to the markets and restrooms.
What do you look forward to most about a visit to Menemsha Beach? If you haven’t been yet, make sure it’s on the list for your next visit!