Summer Guide: Martha's Vineyard Menemsha Beach

The perfect beach for the entire family for an entire day

The Island of Martha’s Vineyard is known worldwide for its beaches. There are some that boast peaceful coves and others that have fantastic surf. There are sounds and bays and of course, white sand beaches at the bottom of drastic red clay cliffs. Some Island beaches are private, others are only open to residents of a particular town, but is the perfect beach for a day with the entire family.

Menemsha is the Island’s last working fishing village and it’s located in the town of Chilmark. Menemsha Beach is a public beach that is easily accessible by bike, car or the bus. It is a sound beach, meaning safer swimming and warmer water and there are lifeguards are on duty until 5 pm.

The town and beach offer many options for everyone in the family. There are great shells and stones to be found on walks down the shore; a long jetty is great for testing ones balance and for catching a fish or two. The dock is filled with boats – from glamorous yachts to great working fishing boats.

The town of Menemsha is filled with wonderful shops and places to eat. sells fishing gear as well as popsicles. You can get clams on the half-shell at or, if you’d rather, award winning fried clams at . has soft-serve ice cream and yummy lobster rolls. (Be sure to bring cash as neither the Bite nor the Galley take credit cards.)

You’ll want to stay for sunset, so after a shower in the public bathroom, you can get dinner at the , which specializes in caught by Island fishermen.

Crowds are known to applaud with appreciation while watching the sun go down from Menemsha Beach. Perhaps it is because it is one of the Island’s most glorious sights, or perhaps they’ve had a simply perfect day at the beach.

Kristin Zern May 24, 2012 at 03:36 AM
Menemsha is very special to us. I met my husband on the beach, our kids grew up on that beach. And we also loved the night time in Menemsha where we went Squiding off the Texaco dock every night. We all loved the excitement of watching a trawler just in unloading it's catch. and there was always the option of enjoying a Popsicle from the Texaco cooler.
Martha Magee May 24, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Uhhhh.......Warmer water??? I don't think so!!!! The water in Menemsha, although absolutely one of my favorite places to swim, is almost without question the COLDEST water on the island! I swim all around the island and have been doing so for many years. Menemsha is always coldest, hands down. The water in Menemsha is known for being crystal clear, and beautiful. So very delicious to swim in. But warm, it ain't!
Mathea Morais (Editor) May 24, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Martha, I think I might be a bad judge...it's all way too cold for me until deep into August!
Martha Magee May 25, 2012 at 01:02 AM
Ha ha.. Well, I understand. Being the Dolphin Woman that I am, I just HAVE to be in it! For instance, this year, Feb, March and April were the only months I didn't go swimming. Today I swam at Sengekontacket (however you spell that! ) Last weekend Lobsterville. Every beach is different, with it's own spirit. I love Menemsha beach. It's just so great there. I love how clear the water is. It's pure. Makes me feel like a "silkie" when Im in it. I never want to get out. Menemsha is so mellow. Love to see everyone there in summertime, enjoying a nice picnic, families together, eating lobster right out of the pot, the boats that come in and out, and the piece de resistance, the magnificent sunsets....the changing light.... I never tire of it. It always captivates me.... And if you get hungry, a cup o chowda and a lobster roll are just few steps away. Yes indeed. Menemsha is magic


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