A panoramic view of the Coastal Lighthouse on a green grassy cliff with a mirroring sky and sea of blue with fluffy cotton-like clouds in Aquinnah, Martha's Vineyard

Can You Drive To Martha's Vineyard?

Published by Dianne Titos on October 28 2020

The tiny 9 by 22-mile long island of Martha's Vineyard is a glorious place of pristine beaches and antiquated seaside villages. One of the most frequently asked questions is can you actually drive to Martha's Vineyard.

You can drive your car to Martha's Vineyard from mainland Massachusetts by taking the 45-minute Steamship Authority ferry from Woods Hole, Falmouth to Vineyard Haven. Tickets cost $110 to $220 per car plus $17 for passengers for a return trip.

Read on to discover everything you need to know about driving to Martha's Vineyard from mainland Massachusetts, including ferry crossing information and essential tips.

A pleasant day with sheetlike clouds in the sky in Woods Hole, Falmouth and several boats and yachts floating at calm water.
A scenic view at Woods Hole, Falmouth on your way to Martha's Vineyard.
Gordon Bell/Shutterstock.com

Is it possible to drive to Martha's Vineyard?

Martha's Vineyard is a small island off the coast of Massachusetts. There are no bridges or causeways to the island so your only option for driving is to travel to Woods Hole, Falmouth and take the car ferry.

There is only one ferry providing transport for your car on to the island - the Steamship Authority Ferry which departs from Woods Hole, Falmouth on the south coast of Massachusetts. The ferry time from Woods Hole to Vineyard Haven on Martha's Vineyard is 45 minutes.

It is pretty straightforward to drive to Martha's Vineyard from the closest large cities of New York and Boston. From NYC the journey takes upwards of 5 hours depending on traffic, while from Boston it is a shorter 3 hours' drive.

These times don't account for the queue and boarding at the ferry terminal which can take time if you're going in peak season.

Once on the island itself there is a decent road network. Martha's Vineyard is 22 by 9 miles long and it only takes 45 minutes to travel from one end to the other by car.

How to get to Martha's Vineyard?

With no bridges or tunnels, the only way to reach Martha's Vineyard is by ferry or plane. For those who don't have a private jet and their luxury sports car waiting in the hangar on the island, the ferry is the alternative option.

To travel to Martha's Vineyard from Boston, MA you need to drive down the I–93 and MA-3 to Bourne. Then take the exit 1C to Sandwich Road and MA–28 to Albatross Street in Falmouth. The journey with no traffic should take approximately 1 hour 30 minutes.

The Martha's Vineyard bay ferry at Woods Hole to Vineyard Haven in a fair day
This ferry will take you to Martha's Vineyard from Woods Hole.
Michael Sean OLeary/Shutterstock.com

In Falmouth you'll find the ferry terminal which is where you'll be boarding to head over to Martha's Vineyard.

If you're coming from New York City, it's a 250-mile journey up the eastern seaboard. Take the I-95 along the coastline all the way to Providence, Rhode Island and continue along the I-195 towards Cape Cod.

Once you get to Wareham, Routes 25 and 28 will take you south to Falmouth. The journey should take around 5 hours without traffic, but starting from New York does mean it may take you a while to get out of the city.

If you're driving to Martha's Vineyard, make sure you add some time to explore Cape Cod seeing as you're driving all this way!

How long does it take to get to Martha's Vineyard?

Woods Hole, Falmouth is the only port that serves car passengers to Martha's Vineyard.

The closest major cities to Martha's Vineyard are Boston and New York City, both of which have huge international airports for those coming from further afield.

The mileage and travelling times to Woods Hole from the closest cities are as follows:

  • Boston, MA: 85 miles (1 hour 30 minutes)
  • Buzzards Bay, MA: 20 miles (30 minutes)
  • Hartford, CT: 187 miles (2 hours 40 minutes)
  • New Haven, CT: 165 miles (2 hours)
  • New York, NY: 271 miles (4 hours 10 minutes)
  • Providence, RI: 85 miles (1 hour 20 minutes)

A note should be made of traffic to Martha's Vineyard during weekends and holiday times as the island is a very popular destination in the summer months. Traffic during holidays can be chaotic and journey times can easily double.

Queues crossing the Bourne and Sagamore bridges can be lengthy. If it's possible for you to visit Martha's Vineyard during the week then your journey, as well as your experience on the island, will be much improved.

Once you do get to the ferry terminal, check in, muster the queue and board the ferry, the journey across to Martha's Vineyard is 45 minutes. Make sure you get to the ferry port a minimum of 30 minutes (but ideally 1 hour) before departure to navigate the boarding process.

A sunny day in Tisbury Great Pond with some colorful kayaks on a white sand beach and green grass at the dunes in Martha's Vineyard in summer
Move some muscles and enjoy kayaking on Tisbury Great Pond in Martha's Vineyard.
Wandel Guides/Shutterstock.com

Things you need to know about driving to Martha's Vineyard

  • The ferry is the only way to get across from mainland USA to Martha's Vineyard despite the two being relatively close.
  • There are 12 + ferries a day during the summer season starting from May. After Labor Day services are reduced to just a couple of ferries a day throughout the winter months.,
  • Foot passengers' services leave from Falmouth, Hyannis and New Bedford in Massachusetts and Quonset Point in Rhode Island.
  • Foot passengers can walk on to any of the ferry services to Martha's Vineyard. Car passengers must book in advance - check the Steamship Authority website for details.
  • The cost of transporting your car over to Martha's Vineyard is between $110 and $200 for a return trip depending on the season and weekday you are going on - check the Steamship Authority website for the full pricing breakdown.
  • Larger vehicles incur a 10% surcharge in price.
  • Passengers will need to pay an extra fee on top of the car price above - at the moment of writing it's $8.50 each way for an adult. Children aged 5 to 12 are $4.50 and kids under 5 go free.
  • There is no car ferry between Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. If you want to visit both, you will need to get back to the mainland on the ferry and then head over to Hyannis to catch the other ferry service to Nantucket island.
  • The car ferry service is offered daily, all year. However, the weather should be a consideration when travelling to Martha's Vineyard. The island is primarily a summer destination, in the winter the sea can be rough and visibility poor which means the ferries may be subject to cancellation.