How Much Does a Trip to Martha’s Vineyard Cost?
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. While there are plenty of things to do in Boston, it is easy to get to, 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.
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.
Book a hotel on Martha’s Vineyard here.
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.
Read Next: Where to Stay & Fun Things to Do in Boston
Is Martha’s Vineyard expensive? What do you think?
Danielle Desir Corbett paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27, and has traveled to 27 countries, including her favorites, Iceland, China, and Bermuda. Go here to learn Danielle’s incredible story, from struggling financially and in debt to finding creative ways to earn more and live on her terms. Listen to The Thought Card Podcast, where Danielle shares how you can creatively travel more and build wealth regardless of your current financial situation. Reach out to Danielle by contacting: thethoughtcard (at) gmail (dot) com.
This is one of the best places on Massachusetts island!
A very useful guide, thank you very much for the information, Vineyard is undoubtedly a very nice place to vacation.
Thank you for sharing this guide. I found it very interesting to read as it describes essential facts that could be useful.
Well, well. Turns out it is not as expensive as I primarily thought. Does it worth it to take the car on the ferry or can you do walk to all these activities? Thanks for your post! I am looking for options for the next year, and Martha’s Vineyard seems to be an excellent choice
Interesting… in general is quite cheap, because for a hotel room with my boyfriend we were charged about 100 usd, a very good amount, we stayed 3 more meals was a total of 400 USD for every day (of course without the transport and souvenirs we bought)
My husband and I would love to go to Martha’s Vineyard for our anniversary. I really appreciate your information that the best way to save money for activities is to find affordable hotels to stay in. We’ll start looking into lower-priced hotels so we can afford a quality site seeing tour.
Yes! Save on the things you value less so you can afford to do the things you really want. Have a blast visiting Martha’s Vineyard!
Thank you so much for the information. I now can get an idea of which way to plan. A little or a lot, my goal is to get the most for my money while enjoying my trip. I plan to visit there within the next few months so planning is critical at this time. SP
So glad to here that Shirley – I hope you have a great time at MV!
I love the way you have broken down all these costs. You are so lucky to have such easy access to such a beautiful island.
Wow you’re a real saver. Very frugal indeed. I know I’d make so many mistakes. Do you want to plan my SL trip? I feel like I’m already over budget…I’ll just have to be extra careful when I get there.
So nice though to have a place like this so close but even $400 seems a bit high for a short visit. That’s for 1 PEROSN RIGHT?
Oh wow! This is super helpful for planning a trip to Martha’s Vineyard! I would love to visit when we do our roadtripping through the US! Thanks for sharing!
When I lived in NYC, I always had travel fantasies about traveling to Cape Cod. I had heard of Martha’s Vineyard but didn’t realize that was actually where it was located. I always thought it was more of wall street banker weekend getaway and very expensive to visit (based on my past life working in Finance) so it’s great to hear that it is so affordable!
Coincidence or not, a friend told me about Martha’s Vineyard just yesterday and how she paid lots for taxi! I`m not sure if I should tell her about your article and make her sad or not haha
$26 for a 15 minute drive?!?!? I’m so used to Uber these days, that $26 sounds super expensive. I love beach towns, so this sounds like a lovely place to visit if I’m ever on the East Coast :)
This is GREAT insight for MV. Lot’s of people want to go, but don’t really take into consideration that food and transit are a bit more expensive here. It’s a gorgeous island (as is Nantucket), but extreme budget travelers are always a little surprised about things like food and transportation costs. I love that you mention that there are loads of free things to do. I know HI is really good about either offering free activities or making sure guests know about free stuff.