How to Get Around the Islands Without a Car

For many reasons, you might not have access to a vehicle while visiting Nantucket & Martha’s Vineyard. As a passenger-only ferry service, people – not vehicles – are our specialty! Additionally, rentals can be expensive, and inventory limited on the islands, especially in the summer months. Don’t worry! The islands are very easily accessible without one. Let us lay out the many ways you can get where you need to go without a car.

First off, both Nantucket’s downtown area and the majority of Oak Bluffs (where we dock on Martha’s Vineyard) are easily walkable. You can spend an entire day just wandering around seeing the sights, shops, restaurants, museums, and more!

On Nantucket, the area surrounding the docks is considered downtown. Straight Wharf leads into Main St. where you will find fun shops to peruse, delicious candy shops (we’re looking at you Aunt Leah!), and the iconic cobblestones this island is famous for. Wander down a few side streets and you will find delicious options for lunch or dinner, more shopping, the Whaling Museum, historical sites, catch a movie at the Dreamland Theatre, walk on the beach, and more! There are also plenty of inns, bed and breakfasts, and hotels to stay at in the downtown area. Don’t miss a visit to the beautiful Nantucket Atheneum too, it’s one of the prettiest libraries ever. You can see and do so much in just a 1- mile radius.

In Oak Bluffs, there is also a lot to see and do within walking distance of the dock. Our dock is at the end of Circuit Ave, which is the main area for shopping, ice cream, coffee shops, an arcade, restaurants, and more. Walk around a little bit more and you will find fun places to explore like Ocean Park, Flying Horses Carousel, the gingerbread cottages and Tabernacle at Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association, and the town & Inkwell beaches. Within walking distance of all of this are many various inns and hotels to stay at, side streets to explore, and waterfront to enjoy. The especially active might even do the 3 mile walk along the water all the way out to Jaws Bridge!

As you plan your trip, keep in mind that there are sightseeing tours of both islands available as well. On Nantucket we recommend booking a tour with Nantucket Island Tours and hopping on either of the tours they offer. On Martha’s Vineyard there are too many options to choose our favorite, but in Oak Bluffs the leading tour companies are OB Land & Wharf, MV Excursions, and MV Sightseeing. Both of these companies offer full-island tours, which is a great way to see all 6 towns in one day and get a feel for how big the island really is. Getting out of the downtown area to explore the more remote areas of the island is a great way to really feel like you got a taste of the local island life and saw more of these beautiful places.

We would be remiss to not mention that there are plenty of opportunities to rent bicycles while on either island. If you’re up for it, these islands are very bikeable with bike paths to just about anywhere you want to go. Whether that be out to Madaket or Cisco on Nantucket, or to Vineyard Haven or Edgartown on MV, there is plenty to explore!

Another option is to utilize public transportation to get where you want to go. Especially on Martha’s Vineyard, since it is much larger, it is a great option to hop on and off the busses while you visit and explore the various towns, lighthouses, and beaches. Check out the Vineyard Transit Authority for schedules, maps, and rates.    On Nantucket, the NRTA Wave shuttles get you around the island, and they are free in the summer!.  They both have fixed routes around the islands to get you just about anywhere you want to go!

See? There is absolutely no need for a vehicle when you’re visiting Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard! The walkable areas close to the docks offer just about all you could hope for, and if you want to explore further, there are plenty of options!


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