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Lighthouses and Attractions
on Martha's Vineyard
and Nantucket Island

Gay Head lighthouse

Massachusetts Islands of
Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Island

With the booming whaling and fishing industries, many captains and wealthy merchants made their homes on the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Island. These islands became resort islands also for tourists and play a major role in Massachusetts tourism industry even today. Many artists live year round on these islands and visitors can get a sense of the Victorian age of architecture in so many of the well preserved buildings.

Lighthouses were built to guide traffic not only to and from the islands, but also for those heading between New York City and Boston destinations.


Lighthouses on Martha's Vineyard
Visitors Can Drive To

Martha’s Vineyard offers visitors the diversity of six island towns, lots of beaches, hiking and biking trails, and elegant Victorian homes to enjoy. Cars are allowed on the island, but rentals are an easier way to get around; either car rentals, moped rentals, or bike rentals. Taxis are also on the island. There are 5 lighthouses on the island to visit.

Click any lighthouse image or link below to find out information about each lighthouse, including historical stories, directions, tours, photos, and nearby attractions.



Lighthouses on Nantucket Island
Visitors Can Drive To

Nantucket Island offers many pristine beaches, quaint shops, and restaurants, for those have come to relax and enjoy the views. Although cars are allowed on the island, many find that rentals for bike, cars, and mopeds, are the alternative and more fun way to explore the island. There are 3 lighthouses on the island to view.

There are various festivals to enjoy, including the end of April, where you'll find over 3 million daffodils blooming across the area.

Click any lighthouse image or link below to find out information about each lighthouse, including historical stories, directions, tours, photos, and nearby attractions.



Places to Visit Nearby:
Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Island

moshup beach on Wampanaog land in aquinnah

Cliffs of Aquinnah, on Martha's Vineyard


Martha's Vineyard Island, Massachusetts

Lighthouse tours to Edgartown light, Gay head light, and East Chop light, including special sunset tours, are offered by the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, the steward of these beacons. There are also plenty of beaches and hiking trails around Martha’s Vineyard.

All five lighthouses on the island are accessible by land, but it is recommended to use transportation methods available on the island as it is quite expensive to bring your own car onto the island.

From Vineyard Haven, it is a short drive to West Chop Lighthouse, now a private resdience, but located right off the road for easy photographs.

Oak Bluffs, as the largest town on Martha's Vineyard, and is a tourist destination with lots of specialty shops and galleries.

gingerbread cottages on Martha's Vineyard Oak Bluffs also provides visitors the opportunity to view hundreds of Victorian cottages known as the "gingerbread houses" laced with intricate details in various assortments of shapes and colors.

East Chop Lighthouse, near the town of Oak Bluffs, is located on an area of high bluffs called Telegraph Hill.

There is also the Island Alpaca Farm for visitors to view these unique animals.

Visit elegant victorian homes in Edgartown, and Edgartown Lighthouse is a short walk from downtown.

brick lined streets of edgartown

In Edgartown, the original huge first order Fresnel lens of Gay Head Light can be viewed at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, along with many of the island's cultural artifacts, historic records and photographs.

Take the tiny Chappaquiddick ferry to Chappaquiddick Island and explore nearby Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge with a narrated tour by the park rangers. The Trustees of Reservations provides tours through the Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge to Cape Poge Lighthouse.

Vineyard Haven lies on the northern shore of Martha's Vineyard with more elegant homes built by the wealthy in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Gay Head Lighthouse is situated above sandy cliffs in the quiet town of Aquinnah.

moshup beach The beaches in Aquinnah, below the cliffs at Gay Head are enjoyed by many, including nudists as a way of spiritual connectivity.

The Wampanoag tribe, one of the few federally recognized tribes in New England, offers many cultural events in Aquinnah, which also borders the town of Chilimark.


Nantucket Island, Massachusetts

Nantucket offers miles of biking and hiking paths, exquisite pristine beaches, historic Victorian homes, and scenic harbors for visitors to enjoy.

All three lighthouses on the island, Brant Point, Sankaty Head, and Great Point lighthouse, are accessible by land.

Departing from the ferry in Nantucket Harbor, cobblestone streets becon tourists to explore the specialty shops, galleries, and museums in the area.

cobblestone streets on Nantucket Island

The Brant Point lighthouse grounds are open year round, and the lighthouse is located a short distance from the ferry dock at the end of Easton Street, marking the entrance to Nantucket Harbor.

The Maria Mitchell Association provies a natural science museum, an aquarium, and operates two observatories for visitors.

original fresnel lens at Nanatucket Whaling Museum

The original Fresnel lens used at Sankaty Head lighthouse can be seen at the Nantucket Whaling Museum. The museum, coordinated by the Nantucket Historical Association, contains a major collection of all artifacts involving the whaling industry in the 19th century.

The Nantucket Shipwreck and Life Saving Museum, provides lots of info and artifacts about rescues and shipwrecks that occured in Nantucket's history.

The Trustees of Reservations offer tours of the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge where they provide an opportunity to climb Great Point Lighthouse and enjoy the views of the reservation area from the lighthouse tower.

seals relaxing on nantucket island beach Sightings of seals relaxing on the beaches are a frequent sight.

Siasconset lies in a very quiet area on Nantucket with nearby beaches and the Siasconset Golf Course, where visitors are allowed to play the course as “pasture golf,” dressed in casual attire and enjoy the views by Sankaty Head Lighthouse.

The Old Mill is the oldest functioning wooden windmill in the United States, and is still used to grind corn. Nantucket windmill, the oldest structure in the country

Located a short walk from the ferry dock on Nantucket Island, and is a favorite attraction for tourists in the summer season.


Ferries to
Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Island
Special Land Tours Also Available.

Ferries mentioned below involve service to take visitors to the islands from either the mainland or between the islands and do not provide views of lighthouses from their boat, with the exception of those entering Nantucket Harbor; visitors will have a clear view of Brant Point Light.

Ferry from New Bedford to Martha’s Vineyard
49 State Pier
New Bedford, MA 02740
(800) 262-8743


Falmouth to Edgartown Ferry
This ferry takes you from Falmouth to the picturesque town of Edgartown on Martha's Vineyard, full of quaint Victorian homes.
278 Scranton Ave
Falmouth, MA 02540
Phone: (508) 548-9400


Chappaquiddick Ferry
Operates between Edgartown Memorial Wharf and Chappaquiddick Island daily, year-round. (508) 627-9427

Lighthouse on Martha's Vineyard: Cape Poge Lighthouse


Hy-Line Cruises
Ferry service from Hyannis on the Cape to Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard; also provides a ferry service from Nantucket Island to Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard.
220 Ocean Street Dock
Hyannis, Massachusetts 02601
Information: (508) 778-2600
Oak Bluffs (508) 693-0112
Hyannis-Nantucket ferry (508) 778-2602


Island Queen
Ferry from Falmouth, Mass. to Martha's Vineyard
297 Dillingham Avenue,
Falmouth, MA 02540.
Phone (508) 548-4800.


Steamship Authority
Ferries to both islands
Vehicle Reservations Call: (508) 477-8600
Office Hours or (508) 693-9130
Fast Ferry Reservations: (508) 495-FAST (3278)
Woods Hole: (508) 548-3788
Vineyard Haven: (508) 693-0367
Oak Bluffs: (508) 693-0125
Hyannis: (508) 771-4000
Nantucket: (508) 228-0262


Rhode Island to Martha's Vineyard Fast Ferry
Ferry from Quonset Point, Rhode Island to Oak Bluffs Marina on a high-speed catamaran.
North Kingstown, RI 02852
Phone: 401-295-4040
Fax: 401-295-4930


Freedom Cruise Line
Ferry from Harwich Port Mass. to Nantucket
702 Main Street - Route 28
Harwich Port, Massachusetts 02646
(508) 432-8999


Island Tours and Flights

Trustees of Reservations:
Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge / Wasque Reservation
Tours of Cape Poge Lighthouse and wildlife refuge area. Kayak tours available to get views from the water.
Dike Road,
Chappaquiddick Island,
Martha's Vineyard, MA

Lighthouse: Cape Poge Lighthouse


Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge
Provides narrative tours by jeep of Great Point Lighthouse and the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge area during the summer months. Sunset tours provide a waterside view.
Wauwinet Road,
Wauwinet, Nantucket, MA 02554

Lighthouse on Nantucket Island: Great Point Lighthouse


Nantucket Regional Transit Authority
THE WAVE provides island-wide seasonal fixed route bus service from Madaket to Sconset, Surfside to Jetties beaches, The Nantucket Airport, downtown Nantucket and the Mid Island area.
3 East Chestnut Street,
Nantucket, MA 02554
(508) 228-7025 or (508) 325-9571
Fax: (508) 325-0788


Cape Air Travel
A year-round scheduled plane service to the Martha’s Vineyard Airport from Boston, Hyannis, Nantucket, New Bedford, and Providence.


Books to Explore

book of the rise and demise of the largest sailing ships

To order a signed paperback copy:

Available also from bookstores in paperback, hardcover, and as an eBook for all devices.

my ebook on apple books

The Rise and Demise of the Largest Sailing Ships:
Stories of the Six and Seven-Masted Coal Schooners of New England

In the early 1900s, New England shipbuilders constructed the world’s largest sailing ships amid social and political reforms to carry massive quantities of coal and building supplies, and measured longer than a football field!

This book, balanced with plenty of color and vintage images, showcases the historical accounts that followed these mighty ships. These true stories include competitions, accidents, battling destructive storms, acts of heroism, and their final voyages. Many of these events occurred while sailing around the dangerous shoals between these islands during stormy weather.



Lighthouses and Coastal Attractions of Southern New England: Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, provides lots of special human interest stories from each of the 92 lighthouses, along with plenty of additional indoor and outdoor coastal attractions and tours in the area, with contact info to plan your trip. More information is provided for lighthouse history and tours, espeically with Cape Cod and the islands.

This 300-page book is filled with over 360 images of lighthouses, attractions, and illustrative maps for all you vacationers to the coast. Welcome!

Look inside!

book about lighthouses and local coastal atttractions in southern New England





New England Lighthouses: Famous Shipwrecks, Rescues & Other Tales

This image-rich book contains over 50 stories of famous shipwrecks and rescues around New England lighthouses, and also tales of hauntings.

Included is the story of the coordinated rescue of survivors of the Andrea Doria south of Nantucket Island. There is the story of the coordinated rescue of survivors of the City of Columbus with the Wampanoag Lifesavers near Aquinnah (Gay Head) Light on Martha's Vineyard Island. 

You'll also learn about lightships stationed on the Nantucket Shoals around the islands. There is also the tragic story of the collision between the Nantucket Lightship LV-117 and the RMS Olympic.

You'll find this book and my lighthouse tourism books published by Schiffer Books, or they can be found in many fine bookstores like Barnes and Noble.


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