When I was planning our trip to Martha’s Vineyard I was looking forward to experiencing the road trip and amazing beaches with my kids. As I mentioned I wanted the ocean and I wanted the kids to have a blast. I did my research on fun things for kids to do in Martha’s Vineyard before arriving but it wasn’t until we were in the heart of this incredible island did I realize how much stuff there was for the kids to do.
If Martha’s Vineyard is on your list of places to go and you have younger kids, don’t be fooled into thinking you have to wait until their older to truly enjoy the experience. To be honest in order to enjoy everything Martha’s Vineyard has to offer going with the kids is the way to go.
The island has many beaches that you can visit. Some are private to residents only or you need a beach permit to attend but there are many amazing public beaches that will suit all your child friendly needs – shallow waters, sandbanks, and sand for castles – check, check, and check.
Oak Bluffs is where the day-to-day fun is. Experience great restaurants, ice cream shops, souvenir shops and the town’s popular historical arcade just by walking up and down Circuit Ave, but the must-do with the kids, and where you will visit multiple times throughout your trip is to the Flying Horses Carousel.
The Flying Horses Carousel is one of the reasons why I planned our trip to Martha’s Vineyard. I can remember my mom taking me and I remember going round and round trying to catch that brass ring. This National Historic Landmark is the oldest operating platform carousel in America and is loved by both child and parent. This ride was a staple during our visit and it was an absolute pleasure watching the joy in my kid’s faces each time they rode the carousel.
We were fortunate to stumble upon The Pirates Adventures located also on Circuit Ave. This is a must-do with your kids. The fun my kids had was absolutely priceless and my husband and I had just as much fun experiencing it with them. Book your pirate adventure and have fun finding your treasure and firing water canyons at rival pirates!
Before you leave the island you must experience the magic of the Gingerbread Cottages. I’m going to be honest, when I read about this area of Oak Bluffs I didn’t get it. I couldn’t understand how fun it would be to look at a bunch of houses and there was no way this was going to keep my kids entertained. Boy was I wrong. This small hideaway of colorfully decorated quaint homes in Oak Bluffs is nothing short of breathtaking. We had a blast walking through the streets with the kids imagining who lived in these homes and choosing which was our favourite. Please don’t miss doing this. You won’t be disappointed.
Experience fun in the neighbouring towns as well. Hits for my kids and family were:
The Gay Head Cliffs in Aquinnah – Simply beautiful.
Island Alpaca in Oak Bluffs – I want an alpaca farm!
Chilmark Flea Market – Every Wednesday and Saturday – I always love me a good flea market and the kids had fun too.
Island Cove Adventures Mini Golf in Vineyard Haven – The twins may not have been ready for mini golf yet. This game was cut short unfortunately but mom, dad, and the 7 year old had a great time.
Last but not least I have to talk about the food. As I mentioned before I normally try to book something with a kitchen. I like to be able to cook when and if I want to and it’s always great to have a fridge for storage and snacks for the kids. Well that all went out the window in Martha’s Vineyard because the food is simply amazing. Thankfully we budgeted to eat out a lot and I recommend you do so if visiting as well. Trust me, you’ll want to try as many restaurants as possible. While breakfast was always had at the house, lunch and most dinners were had out on the town. And it all started before we even stepped foot on the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard.
Pie In The Sky Bakery in Woods Hole, Massachusetts is where you need to visit while waiting for your ferry to the island. Between their delicious smoothies, fresh baking, and yummy sandwiches it was the perfect stop before we started our week adventure. The line up out the door proved that this was the place to be, and it was.
Once you get to Martha’s Vineyard these are the places to check out, and there are so many more but there were only so many days and so many tummies to fill!
Sharky’s Cantina – If you like Mexican this is the place to go. They have two locations, with their smaller location in Oak Bluffs on Circuit Ave and their larger location in Edgartown.
Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company – Guys…guys…the chowder… If you want some amazing New England Clam Chowder, run, don’t walk to MV Chowder Co. This was a double visit during our week there because we just had to have it again. And the chef gave us the recipe – but I’m not telling!
Giordanos Pizza – It’s right across the street from Flying Horses Carousel and serves delicious takeout pizza. We ordered two for dinner one night and had leftovers for lunch the next day.
Martha’s Vineyard Sand Bar in Oak Bluffs. This restaurant was located in one of my favourite areas of Oak Bluffs on the Circuit Avenue Extension right on the harbor. There is a row of wonderful restaurants to choose from (we visited a few of them) with great food and a view and atmosphere to match.
Martha’s Vineyard Gourmet Café and Bakery – All I have to say is thank gawd we only found this bakery on the last leg of our trip because it would have been an everyday occurrence and my hips would not have been pleased. I have never, ever, had such delish and fresh melt-in-your-mouth donuts. Do yourself a favour, buy a bag of donuts and head out to Ocean Park with the family and enjoy the freakily amazing moment in life you are about to experience. Better yet head back when the same location turns into Back Door Donuts at 7:30 pm and wait for freshly baked donuts and apple fritters for the morning. They are opened until 1am and the wait in line is worth it!
If you are a family with small children and Martha’s Vineyard is low on your list of places to visit my advice is to move it on up. There are so many fun things for kids to do in Martha’s Vineyard. Go to the island and make new adventures with your family. It never disappoints!
While I didn’t mention my Snoozes and Loses for this trip we all slept really well thanks to the ocean air and busy days!
Thank you Martha’s Vineyard for your sandy beaches, delicious cuisine, and wonderful family time while we sailed through the air trying to catch that brass ring.
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Alanna McGinn is a Certified Sleep Consultant and Founder of Good Night Sleep Site – a Global Pediatric and Family Sleep Team. She provides free child and family sleep support through her Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. She invites you to join her sleep community as she works towards Good Night Sleep Site’s mission of a healthier rested family unit. For more sleep tips please visit Good Night Sleep Site. Join our movement and #BringBackBedtime.