Last updated August 29, 2019. South of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Martha’s Vineyard is a great summer destination to visit if you’re looking for a quick island getaway. Perfect for families, friends or a romantic vacation with your significant other, this 96-mile island in the Atlantic is only four miles away from the southern coast of Massachusetts. It is easy to get to from Boston and does not require a passport.
During Memorial Day weekend, I spent three days exploring the island. I enjoyed its sandy beaches, fresh seafood, and laid-back vibe. And even though Martha’s Vineyard is only 40 minutes away from New England, it was so charming that I felt like I was on a remote island far away.
If you’re on a budget, you might be concerned that Martha’s Vineyard is an expensive travel destination, but I’ll let you be the judge of that after reading this blog post. So how much does it cost to visit Martha’s Vineyard? Depending on your needs and interests, your Martha’s Vineyard budget may look different from mines, nevertheless, use this spending guide to figure out how much money you’ll need for your upcoming trip.
Martha’s Vineyard Cost Breakdown
Round-trip Ferry to Martha’s Vineyard Cost: $17 USD
Martha’s Vineyard is accessible by ferry or fly into Martha’s Vineyard Airport (MVY).
Ferry to Martha’s Vineyard Cost
Steamship Authority is a fast and economical way to get to the island. The ferry takes about 45 minutes and there are two types of fares: passenger and vehicle. If you decide to bring your car to the island you have to take a ferry, there are no bridges connecting the island to the mainland. For more travel tips on getting around, check out this Martha’s Vineyard transportation guide.
Where to buy ferry tickets to Martha’s Vineyard?
You can buy ferry tickets at all Steamship Authority Terminals, Peter Pan Bus Terminals, Plymouth and Brockton Bus Lines Terminals.
How much does it cost to take a car on the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard?
The standard vehicle (under 17′ in length) fare costs $81 USD one-way from April to October and $43.50 from January to March and November to December.
If you leave your car behind, there are plenty of parking lots at the port. However, if you decide to take your car, book your ferry ticket in advance. Tickets sell out fast, often months ahead of time.
The passenger fare for adults costs $8.50 USD one-way. Children under 4 years old are free and children under 13 cost $4.50 one-way.
For more information on ferry fares to Martha’s Vineyard, visit Steamship Authority.
Parking: $15 USD per day
During my three day stay, I paid $45 USD for parking. By leaving my car on the mainland, I saved $100 USD.
Average Taxi: $26 USD
After arriving on Martha’s Vineyard, I took a taxi to my hostel. Since my cab ride from Oak Bluffs port was only 15 minutes, this was an expensive cab ride. In retrospect, this was an unnecessary expense because public transportation is reliable and more affordable. For the rest of the trip, I used public transportation. Alternatively you can get around by renting a car, bicycle or moped.
Public Transportation Cost: $18 USD
I bought the three day Martha’s Vineyard Transit Authority (VTA) unlimited bus pass. This was a great investment. One day ($10 USD), seven day fares ($30 USD) or 31 day passes ($60 USD) are also available. You can buy passes on the bus or at any Steamship Authority Terminal.
You can also buy one-way fares for $2 USD per town. There are six towns on the island – Tisbury, Oak Bluffs, Edgartown, West Tisbury, Chilmark, and Aquinnah.
Average Daily Hostel Cost: $36 USD
It was hard finding budget-friendly lodging options in Martha’s Vineyard. Since hotels and Airbnbs ranged from $150-$600 USD a night, I booked two nights at HI Martha’s Vineyard Hostel instead. Complimentary breakfast at the hostel helped with saving money on my Martha’s Vineyard budget. The bus stop was also conveniently right across the street from the hostel.
Average Daily Food Cost: $60 USD
Eating out was expensive on Martha’s Vineyard. My cheapest lunch cost $20 USD. Dinner cost twice as much.
With that being said, I suggest budgeting $30 USD per meal.
Don’t forget to stop at Mad Martha’s for delicious ice cream and frozen yogurt. Mad Martha’s has been in business for over 46 years. It features 20 unique flavors like Snickers Cream and Maple Walnut! This small chain has three convenient locations on the island – Mad Martha’s Edgartown, Mad Martha’s Ice Cream in Vineyard Haven and Mad Martha’s Homemade Ice Cream in Oak Bluffs.
Average Daily Martha’s Vineyard Activity Cost: Free
I found lots of free things to do on Martha’s Vineyard. This included taking a self-guided tour of Edgartown and going to Owen Park Beach. Although I did not spend any money on activities, you can rent bikes or go kayaking. You can even tour historic lighthouses and colonial homes on the island.
I suggest budgeting $40 USD for activities per day.
For even more things to see and do, check out some of Nadeen’s favorite things to do on Martha’s Vineyard including riding the Flying Horse Carousel and shopping along Circuit Avenue.
Is Martha’s Vineyard expensive?
During a long weekend, budget-conscious travelers can easily spend upwards of $500 USD vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard. On the other hand, the average traveler spends over $1,000 USD.
Helpful Tip: When planning your Martha’s Vineyard budget, be realistic about how much money you’ll likely spend. For the most savings, I recommend finding an affordable accommodation.
Do you think Martha’s Vineyard is expensive?
Danielle is a travel finance strategist, author, speaker and podcaster. She paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27 and has traveled to 26 countries. She refuses to let her financial responsibilities hold her back from living life on her own terms.