Dog-friendly vacation on Martha’s Vineyard |

7 Jun

Martha’s Vineyard is a pawfect location for a long-weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle of New York City! We especially like the two words – “off season” – when things on the island are a bit relaxed and not as crowded. The Martha’s Vineyard high season begins the end of June through Labor Day. Here’s how we spent a few days on the island!

On the Steamship Authority Ferry to Martha's Vineyard

On the Steamship Authority Ferry to Martha’s Vineyard

Getting there: We rented a car and drove 4.5 hours from Midtown Manhattan to Woods Hole, MA for the 45- minute dog-friendly Steamship Authority ferry to Vineyard Haven. Leashed dogs are welcome in all areas of the ship except the food stands. The vehicle fare is expensive ($137 round trip!), but having a car on the island is pretty much a necessity if you want to visit all the sites. Book your car ferry reservation in advance. Spaces are limited and it sells out!

Where we stayed: We stayed in the Mansion House hotel in Vineyard Haven for one night. They are conveniently located near the dog-friendly Vineyard Haven beach areas, shopping, the ferry, but they do charge a non-refundable $50 pet fee per dog per stay. Our hotel room rate and pet fee combined was over $400 for one night- yikes! lists some other options. If you have a group of people or are staying for a longer period, check VRBO for options – they do have a filter for pet-friendly homes.

Nancy's walk-up snack stand in Oak Bluffs

Nancy’s walk-up snack stand in Oak Bluffs

Dining options: There are seafood “shacks” with walk-up windows in most of the towns. Other than that, we did not find any restaurants where dogs were welcome on outdoor patios. We were offered to keep the dogs on a leash just outside the patio, but that is not an option for us. We had yummy food at all of the walk-up stands and then just ate at benches which were plentiful in most areas.. Nancy’s in Oak Bluffs had a nice patio by their walk-up stand and did allow the dogs. We ate at Quarterdeck in Edgartown and The Galley in Menemsha.

Aquinnah Cliffs

Aquinnah Cliffs

Activities: Shopping, exploring, walking, beaches — there are lots of fun activities! We were welcome in all of the shops and there are “main street” shopping areas in Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, and Edgartown. We especially loved The Black Dog stores! There are several beach areas and many do not allow dogs at any time. We found the Vineyard Haven beach area to be the most dog friendly. The Oak Bluffs area allows dogs at certain times depending on the season. The state beaches did not seem to allow dogs at any times. Signs are clearly posted at most beach areas with their dog policy. We loved visiting Aquinnah and seeing the Aquinnah Cliffs, but dogs are not allowed on those beaches. They do have walk-up snack stands with picnic tables, so it is a nice stop for lunch and a gorgeous view! Menemsha is a cute little salty stop with a few shops, pretty water views, and walk-up snack shacks. Once again, no dogs on those beaches! We loved walking through the Campmeeting Association campground area in Oak Bluffs! We stopped in Good Dog Goods, a cute dog boutique in Oak Bluffs, and they had tips for us on off-leash dog areas and beaches.

Oak Bluffs Beach Rules

Oak Bluffs Beach Rules

Day Trips: Provincetown on the end of Cape Cod is extremely dog friendly and a great place to visit if you are out on the Cape.
It is about a 2-hour drive from Woods Hole, MA (Steamship Authority ferry terminal). has a nice review of the P-town area.

You can definitely tour most of Martha’s Vineyard in two days! It really is a beautiful place for a dog-friendly getaway! Have fun!!

9 Responses to “Dog-friendly vacation on Martha’s Vineyard |”

  1. (@GoPetFriendly) June 10, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

    What a great post! We had so much fun in Cape Cod last year, so it comes as no surprise that you and your pups enjoyed it. I’ve subscribed to your RSS feed so I can follow along your your future adventures. Thanks so much for the link and, if you’d like, we always welcome guest posts from people who’d like to share their pet travel experiences on our blog. Just let me now!

  2. Sandy August 6, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

    I have a note of caution. Our bulldog died from the stress and heat of traveling on the ferry this year. The Vet in Edgartown told us they had two other dogs die similarly this year. I really don’t think it is a safe trip for dogs.

    • erikamchicago August 6, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

      Hi- I am sooo sorry to hear this!! Thank you for the note. I agree we need to be cautious when we take our pups out in extreme weather. (We traveled in early June and the weather was in the 70s.)

  3. JCK September 23, 2013 at 10:10 pm #

    Three days ago Sep 21, took ferry from Pt Judith RI to Block Island, with my Golden Retriever. I had water and bowl in back pack just to be sure as well as poop bags. It was her first boat trip and she loved it! [There were many leashed dogs on boat which was very crowded.] We spent the day walking around, all the shops were extremely welcoming, many had a bowl of water near the door. We walked to the beach and there were no signs with regulations, just sign that said ‘Beach Access’. We had ice cream at Aldo’s on the patio, lunch at Ballard’s on the patio, and the chef of another restaurant asked if he could give her a sausage! We greeted so many dogs that I would guess at maybe 50! Many people said they had spent a week with their dog swimming every day. This is DOG FRIENDLY, and worth a trip from anywhere. And skip a car-you can walk faster and easier w/o having to search out parking. ENJOY!

    • erikamchicago September 24, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

      Wow- that sounds great!!! Thanks so much for the tip!

  4. Jackie Cangro August 29, 2014 at 12:30 pm #

    We’re planning a trip to MV in Sept with my dog and this post was very helpful. Thanks!

  5. Lourdes February 26, 2015 at 10:14 am #

    Did you stay in one of the “pet friendly” rooms?

    • erikamchicago February 26, 2015 at 10:34 am #

      yes, it was nice and good location near the ferry.

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