Last Updated on: 5th February 2024, 01:00 pm
Don’t move too fast when you’re moving to Massachusetts! Massachusetts contains nearly 300 towns and 59 different cities, each with its own amenities and charms. You may be tempted to move to a large city like Boston, but small towns in Massachusetts have great attractions, affordable homes for sale, and quaint environments.
Martha’s Vineyard is known throughout the world for its top beaches and summer attractions. It also contains six small quaint towns in Massachusetts with charming houses for sale, welcoming neighbors, and fun and unique stores. Before you call a moving company, you should learn more about Martha’s Vineyard and then do a deep dive on each Martha’s Vineyard town. Here’s what you should know about towns in Martha’s Vineyard.
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Where is Martha’s Vineyard? Martha’s Vineyard is just south of Cape Cod, less than ten miles off the coast from Woods Hole in Falmouth MA. Martha’s Vineyard is in Dukes County, which is in the Vineyard Haven micropolitan area but not the Boston metropolitan area. Dukes County also contains Chappaquiddick Island, the Elizabeth Islands, and other small islands. However, most of these islands are uninhabited, and Martha’s Vineyard accounts for the overwhelming majority of the population and land area in the county.
The Wampanoag people inhabited Martha’s Vineyard for thousands of years prior to English settlers arriving in 1642. The Wampanoag called the Vineyard “Noepe,” a word meaning “land amid the streams.” English settlers built their first settlements in the community that became Edgartown.
No one is sure where the name Martha’s Vineyard comes from. The island was first called Martin’s Vineyard, then the name changed to Martha’s Vineyard in the late 19th century. Martha’s Vineyard is also called “the Vineyard.”
The island was largely agricultural and rural until the 19th century, when it became a major hub for the whaling industry. It also gained a reputation as a summer destination, with wealthy shippers and businesspeople buying homes on the island. As the whaling industry declined in the 20th century, towns on Martha’s Vineyard catered more to tourists. Martha’s Vineyard is now internationally known for being a top summer resort, with politicians and celebrities visiting in July and August.
The top Martha’s Vineyard attractions are beaches and outdoor destinations, which are very popular in the summertime. However, towns on Martha’s Vineyard have a quaint and casual aesthetic that many year-round residents enjoy. Points of interest like Jaws Bridge and Long Point Beach are open during the winter and are great sites for photography, paintings, and drawings. Martha’s Vineyard has an active, diverse, and vibrant arts scene, and you can find studios throughout the island.
The Martha’s Vineyard economy mainly caters to tourists, and you can find part-time and seasonal jobs in all parts of Martha’s Vineyard during the spring and summer. However, most residents in the best towns on Martha’s Vineyard manage to hold full-time jobs throughout the year. Health, agriculture, and transportation jobs have grown steadily between 2011 and 2021, giving you opportunities to find work in various sectors. Many people move to Martha’s Vineyard to retire, so you can transition out of work as well.
- Martha’s Vineyard population: 20,505
- Martha’s Vineyard median age: 49.2
- Martha’s Vineyard median household income: $93,410
- Median price of Martha’s Vineyard homes for sale: $1,570,000
- Martha’s Vineyard area: 90 square miles
- Martha’s Vineyard density: 227.8 people per square mile
- Martha’s Vineyard educational attainment: 94.3% of residents older than 25 have graduated high school, 43.2% have a bachelor’s degree
Towns in Martha’s Vineyard
There are six official Martha’s Vineyard towns. What are the 6 towns of Martha’s Vineyard? The towns in Martha’s Vineyard are Oak Bluffs, Edgartown, Tisbury, West Tisbury, Chilmark, and Aquinnah.
Each Martha’s Vineyard town is small, but each has its own attractions, culture, and aesthetic, so you should consider your options and pick the right one for you. Here’s a brief guide on the best towns in Martha’s Vineyard, listed in descending order of population.
#1. Oak Bluffs
Oak Bluffs is the largest town of Martha’s Vineyard by population, and it’s one of the most popular communities for summer tourists. It’s located on the northern part of the island, making it easy to access from Cape Cod. The community contains the Oak Bluffs Terminal that provides access to Nantucket MA, towns on Cape Cod, and other locations in Massachusetts.
Europeans first settled in the community in 1642, but it wasn’t incorporated as a town until 1880, and its streets were designed for easy access and walkability. Oak Bluffs Martha’s Vineyard is a historic center for the Black and African American communities of Martha’s Vineyard, with famous residents including Henry Louis Gates Jr, Spike Lee, and Stanley Nelson. 3.9% of Oak Bluffs Massachusetts residents identify as Black or African American, and 12.7% identify as two or more races.
The town has paved roads and cul de sacs, but it has many trees that provide shade and create a quiet and rural aesthetic. Southern Oak Bluffs is less developed than northern Oak Bluffs, making it suitable for retirees looking for quiet towns of Martha’s Vineyard.
Inkwell Beach is the top beach and outdoor attraction in Oak Bluffs Martha’s Vineyard. The beach is a kid-friendly destination perfect for swimming and bodyboarding, and you can go for walks along the sand and rocks. Farm Neck Golf Club is a must do country club open in the spring and summer. It contains an 18-hole course with scenic views of the Atlantic Ocean, as well as six tennis courts open to adults, children, and teens.
- Oak Bluffs population: 5,335
- Oak Bluffs population growth between 2010 and 2020: 17.8% increase
- Oak Bluffs area: 26.0 square miles
- Oak Bluffs median age: 45.4
- Oak Bluffs median household income: $106,284
- Oak Bluffs median house price: $1,456,000
- Oak Bluffs crime rate: 1,411 offenses per 100,000 residents
- Oak Bluffs map
Edgartown is the most famous town of Martha’s Vineyard. The town includes Chappaquiddick Island, which you can access using ferries. Edgartown is the largest town on Martha’s Vineyard in terms of area due to Chappaquiddick and Katama Bay, which the town has jurisdiction over.
Edgartown MA was a historic hub for the whaling industry before pivoting to tourism. After moving to Edgartown, you can find historic homes with quaint and unique features like widow’s walks, hardwood floors, and moldings from the 18th and 19th centuries. You can also find modern homes for sale in Edgartown MA with beach access, though these properties can be expensive, costing over $2 million.
Many famous Martha’s Vineyard places to visit and top things to do are in Edgartown. Mytoi Japanese Garden is a 14-acre stroll garden with sand paths, Japanese maple trees, and flowering shrubs. South Beach is a popular destination for swimming, surfing, and beach strolling, and it’s free to the public year-round.
Western and southern Edgartown contain fewer attractions and more homes for sale than northeastern Edgartown, making them good Martha’s Vineyard neighborhoods for families. Chappaquiddick is largely undeveloped, so it’s one of the best parts of Martha’s Vineyard for retirees and people looking for quiet places to live. If you’re looking for work, you can find employment with various businesses and stores in Edgartown. Main Street contains popular stores like Vineyard Vines, Edgartown Hardware, and Edgartown Meat and Fish Market where you can find jobs.
- Edgartown population: 5,169
- Edgartown population growth between 2010 and 2020: 27.1% increase
- Edgartown area: 122.7 square miles
- Edgartown median age: 50.2
- Edgartown median household income: $79,127
- Edgartown median house price: $1,570,000
- Edgartown crime rate: 2,126 offenses per 100,000 residents
- Edgartown map
#3. Vineyard Haven
Tisbury MA (also known as Vineyard Haven) is home to the Vineyard Haven Terminal, the main point of entry for Martha’s Vineyard. You can find various businesses and attractions in the area around the terminal, with undeveloped spaces on the edges of the Martha’s Vineyard town.
The Martha’s Vineyard Museum is in Tisbury Massachusetts, and it’s the top museum and indoor attraction on Martha’s Vineyard. The museum houses over 100,000 items, including historic artifacts and paintings from local artists. It also maintains two lighthouses on the island you can visit for $5 during the summer while living in Tisbury. Vineyard Haven is also home to Mink Meadows Golf Club, one of the most prestigious golf clubs on Cape Cod and the Islands. Mink Meadows members have access to a top 18-hole golf course as well as free golf clinics and tournaments.
Many top Martha’s Vineyard restaurants and bakeries are in Vineyard Haven. The Black Dog Tavern is one of the top bars in Martha’s Vineyard, serving dozens of classic cocktails, wines, and canned beers. Waterside Market is a casual and kid-friendly cafe that serves breakfast and lunch all day, including sandwiches and salads, making it a good place for quick meals.
Vineyard Haven currently has the highest median home price of any town on Martha’s Vineyard, despite having the lowest median household income. However, the high median is due to the recent sale of a few expensive properties, so it will drop in the next few months. You can find many homes for sale in Tisbury MA, that cost less than $3 million. A few homes cost less than $1 million and contain two bedrooms and around 1,000 square feet of space, making them suitable for couples and small families.
- Vineyard Haven population: 4,815
- Vineyard Haven population growth between 2010 and 2020: 21.6% increase
- Vineyard Haven area: 19.1 square miles
- Vineyard Haven median age: 52.1
- Vineyard Haven median household income: $65,789
- Vineyard Haven median house price: $12,462,500
- Vineyard Haven crime rate: 1,290 offenses per 100,000 residents
- Vineyard Haven map
#4. West Tisbury
West Tisbury is the safest town of Martha’s Vineyard and one of the safest communities in Massachusetts. The total crime rate is 39.6% lower than the Massachusetts average and 65.0% lower than the national average. The community reported only nine violent crimes and no murders in 2020.
West Tisbury is a predominantly undeveloped community with fewer major attractions than Tisbury MA, Oak Bluffs, or Edgartown. Martha’s Vineyard Airport is on the border between West Tisbury and Edgartown, so commuters to Boston and other cities on the East Coast can live in West Tisbury.
Though green spaces and undeveloped plots take up the majority of the land in West Tisbury, you can find numerous small stores and homes for sale in West Tisbury MA. Cronigs Market offers groceries and household goods throughout the year. The Granary Gallery is the largest and oldest art gallery on the island, and it’s open for the public for free, even if you don’t plan on buying something.
- West Tisbury population: 2,941
- West Tisbury population growth between 2010 and 2020: 7.0% increase
- West Tisbury area: 41.8 square miles
- West Tisbury median age: 49.2
- West Tisbury median household income: $128,045
- West Tisbury median house price: $1,350,000
- West Tisbury crime rate: 822 offenses per 100,000 residents
- Map of West Tisbury
Chilmark MA is just west of West Tisbury, close to the western tip of Martha’s Vineyard. The town is the richest community on Martha’s Vineyard, and the community normally has the highest median house price and most expensive homes for sale. The real estate market in Chilmark Martha’s Vineyard is small, with only one home sold thus far in 2023.
Chilmark is best known for its nature preserves and sanctuaries, and it’s the best town in Martha’s Vineyard for nature enthusiasts. Menemsha Martha’s Vineyard covers 211 acres and contains wetlands, groves, and coastal plains. The preserve is free to the public and one of the best places for nature walks, including for kids and teens. The Middle Road Sanctuary covers over 100 acres and contains a wide range of plants, including oak trees, skunk cabbage, and sweetfern. If you like climbing hills or riding on horseback, you can visit Great Rock Bight Preserve, which contains hiking and horseback riding trails over 28.5 acres.
You also have access to various beaches. Chilmark Martha’s Vineyard’s distance away from the tourist hubs means that Chilmark beaches are less crowded and more quiet than other Martha’s Vineyard beaches. Lucy Vincent Beach is well known for its sand and gravel formations, but you can also enjoy swimming and surfing in the water.
- Chilmark population: 1,561
- Chilmark population growth between 2010 and 2020: 80.0% increase
- Chilmark area: 100.4 square miles
- Chilmark median age: 53.8
- Chilmark median household income: $155,938
- Chilmark median house price: $2,410,000
- Chilmark crime rate: 1,079 offenses per 100,000 residents
- Map of Chilmark
Aquinnah is best known for the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head, which is headquartered in the town. The Wampanoag people have lived in Aquinnah for 10,000 years, and the Wampanoag tribe owns several plots of land in Aquinnah, including a plot that will house the Aquinnah Cliffs Casino. Over 100 people who identify as American Indian and Alaska Native live in Aquinnah.
Many attractions in the town support Wampanoag culture and history. The Aquinnah Cultural Center is home to exhibits on Wampanoag history, showcasing local artists, activists, and political leaders. Outdoor attractions include Aquinnah Cliffs Overlook, an observation point on the westernmost tip of Martha’s Vineyard with breathtaking views of the Atlantic. Many people living in Martha’s Vineyard visit the overlook at sunset.
Aquinnah has a very small real estate market, with only one home sold since 2019. However, homes for sale Aquinnah MA are among the most spacious homes for sale on Martha’s Vineyard. You can buy three-bedroom homes on three-acre lots for around $2.5 million.
- Aquinnah population: 708
- Aquinnah population growth between 2010 and 2020: 127.7% increase
- Aquinnah area: 40.8 square miles
- Aquinnah median age: 53.3
- Aquinnah median household income: $114,375
- Aquinnah median house price: $1,600,000
- Aquinnah crime rate: 1,553 offenses per 100,000 people
- Aquinnah map
Martha’s Vineyard Towns Map
You can use this Martha’s Vineyard map of towns to find Martha’s Vineyard towns, as well as top attractions, restaurants, and beaches on the island.
How Many Towns Are on Martha’s Vineyard?
There are six towns on Martha’s Vineyard but no Martha’s Vineyard cities or CDPs.
What Is the Most Populous Town in Martha’s Vineyard?
Oak Bluffs is the most populous town on the Vineyard, with a population of 5,335 people.
What Is the Wealthiest Town in Martha’s Vineyard?
Chilmark is the wealthiest Martha’s Vineyard town, with a median household income of $155,938.
Which Martha’s Vineyard Town Is the Largest in Land Size?
Edgartown is the largest town by overall size and land size. The community covers 122.7 square miles, with 27.0 square miles of land and 95.8 square miles of water.
What Is the Most Crowded Martha’s Vineyard Town?
Tisbury has the highest population density of any Martha’s Vineyard town, with a density of 252.1 people per square mile.
Which Martha’s Vineyard Town Is Right for You?
Martha’s Vineyard may seem small, but it has six great towns that are perfect for families, retirees, and professionals. People looking for exciting attractions and restaurants can move to Oak Bluffs and Edgartown, and retirees or families looking for quiet places to live can move to Chilmark and Aquinnah.
No matter where your new home is, you should hire professional and efficient Martha’s Vineyard movers. Vanguard Moving has two decades of experience in the moving industry, using a crew of ten full-time employees. Get a free moving estimate by calling 508-790-9188.