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Getting to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard – Transportation Options

Are you traveling to Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket? One of the things you’ll need to do is figure out how you are going to get to one of these islands off the coast of Massachusetts. Here are some of the different transportation options for Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket travel, including the car ferry to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, flying, and the passenger ferry.

 Getting to Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard - Transportation Options

Getting to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard – Transportation Options

Getting to Martha’s Vineyard

Most visitors to Martha’s Vineyard take one of the ferry options. There are a few different options, depending on when you are traveling and whether you are planning to take your car.

The Steamship Authority leaves from Woods Hole and goes directly to Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven (Oak Bluffs open from May-October). You can travel with or without your car. Reservations are recommended (and required during certain parts of the year) if you are taking your car, and it can be hard to get a reservation in peak season. Stand-by for cars is also offered. The ferries include WiFi, comfortable seating, and a snack bar. The Steamship Authority is the only line that runs year round, and the only one that carries vehicles.

There’s no parking right at the Woods Hole terminal, but there are some off property lots. There’s a free shuttle that you’ll be able to take to the terminal, but it can take some time. They recommend that you arrive at least an hour in advance so that you’ll have plenty of time to take the shuttle.

There’s also the Hy-Line Cruises high-speed and traditional ferry, and the ferry travels from Hyannis to Oak Bluffs. There is (paid) parking at the ferry terminals, and if you are flying through Logan Airport, you can take a Peter Pan bus to the ferry terminal.

Other seasonal ferry options include the Martha’s Vineyard Fast Ferry from North Kingstown, Rhode Island, the SeaStreak from New York, Northern New Jersey, and New Bedford, the Falmouth Edgartown Ferry from Falmouth on Cape Cod to Edgartown, and the Island Queen from Falmouth to Oak Bluffs.

Flights are also available right into the Martha’s Vineyard airport from the following airlines. Note that some of these routes are operated seasonally.

  • Cape Air to/from New Bedford, Boston, Hyannis, Nantucket, Westchester, and ZYP
  • JetBlue to/from Boston and JFK
  • Delta to/from JFK
  • American Airlines to/from LaGuardia and Washington DC
  • Charter flights are also offered

In the winter, it’s best to fly into Logan and take Cape Air. Alternatively the Peter Pan bus to the ferry is always an option from Logan Airport.

Getting to Nantucket

Getting to Nantucket is similar to getting to the Vineyard. Hy-Line Cruises and the Steamship Authority both go to Nantucket as well as Martha’s Vineyard. The Steamship Authority does offer a car ferry to Nantucket as well. But taking a car over is very expensive and there isn’t much room for it once you get on the island. There’s also the Freedom Cruise Line which leaves from Harwich Port, MA and the Seastreak High-Speed Ferry from New York City, NY and New Bedford, MA

You can also fly to Nantucket with the following airlines. Note that some of these routes are operated seasonally.

  • Cape Air to/from Boston, New Bedford, and Martha’s Vineyard
  • Jetblue to/from Boston, JFK, and Washington National
  • American Airlines to/from Washington Reagan and LaGuardia
  • Delta to/from JFK and LaGuardia
  • United to/from Newark
  • Charter flights are also available.

Do you need a car on Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket?

Most people wonder if they need a car on Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket. I’d advise against taking a car to Nantucket since it’s so expensive and everything downtown really is within walking distance. Car and Jeep rentals are also available on the island – near both the airport and the ferry terminals.

Martha’s Vineyard is a bit different. Depending on your plans, you may want to have a car, especially if you plan to go to some of the remote areas of the island. But, you can definitely get away without one.  If you do bring a car however, make your plans well in advance during the summer months.  These ferries fill up quickly. If you find yourself without a reservation, try the waiting list which many people have had success with. Car rentals are also available on Martha’s Vineyard in several different locations, including near the ferry terminals and the airport.

Originally published in 2011, updated in 2018

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