Most people take a ferry to Martha's Vineyard and, although it takes about three hours from Boston, it feels like you're on vacation as soon as you get on the boat!  Flying is also an option if you're short on time and long on cash.

Arriving by ferry -  Quonset Point, Rhode Island to Martha's Vineyard

Martha's Vineyard Fast Ferry offers visitors to Martha's Vineyard an option to skip the long drive out to Woods Hole and totally avoid all the Cape Cod traffic.  Seasonal fast ferry service from Quonset Point, RI to Oak Bluffs aboard a luxurious 400 passenger high-speed catamaran that offers first-class amenities, advance reservations & dockside parking. This ferry service also offers easy connections to the Providence Airport (PVD) and the Amtrak West Kingston (KIN) with thier shuttle service. If you are traveling between the months of May and October this ferry may the best option. May-Oct. with 3 to 4 round-trips daily.    www.vineyardfastferry.com

Fares   round trip fares -- Adults $79, Child (4-12) $46, Child (under 4) FREE, Seniors $64, Bikes & Surfboards $10, Commuter Books (10 one-ways) $276. (Advance reservations are highly recommended). Tax and processing fees not included.

Driving/Parking  Easy to get to off of Interstate 95 (only 8 min. away) the highway goes right to their dock and Vineyard Fast Ferry is the only ferry company that offers convenient dockside parking for only $10/day payable in advance. Credit cards not accepted.  

On the Vineyard  Taxis meet ferry arrivals to help you get to your final destinations.  If you reserve a car in advance, the car rental company can advise you how to pick up your car and whether they might (?) meet you at the ferry.

Arriving by ferry - New Bedford, MA to Martha's Vineyard

This seasonal service on a high speed ferry from New Bedford is a particularly convenient for travelers from New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island.  New Bedford is on the other side of Buzzards' Bay and saves time and traffic.  Moreover, the "high speed" ferry means truly high speed; it covers more than twice the distance in just 55 minutes. 

Fares  Passenger fares run $58 for a round-trip adult ticket and should be reserved in advance.  Ferries are passenger only (no vehicle transport).  Discounts apply for seniors and children.  Fees apply for bikes.

Driving/Parking  From theI195, take Exit 15 Route 18 South/ Downtown New Bedford.  Turn LEFT at 2nd light (a left lane turn) and then continue straight onto the State Pier. Once upon State Pier bear to your left and proceed up the ramp to the New Bedford Ferry Terminal.  Ticket facility is located inside the terminal. 

They recommend that you drop off your passengers and luggage then drive the 1/2 mile to the parking lot from which you can walk back or catch a free shuttle that leaves every 10 minutes.

On the Vineyard  Taxis meet ferry arrivals to help you get to your final destinations.  If you reserve a car in advance, the car rental company can advise you how to pick up your car and whether they might (?) meet you at the ferry.

Arriving by ferry -  North Kingstown, RI to Martha's Vineyard

The Vineyard Fast Ferry offers service from Quonset Point Ferry Terminal in North Kingstown, RI.   Seasonal fast ferry service from Quonset Point, RI to Oak Bluffs aboard a 400 passenger high-speed catamaran. Ferry is 15 min. away from the Providence (PVD) Airport or 20 min. from Amtrak (KIN). Offers first-class amenities, advance reservations & dockside parking. May-Oct. with 2 to 3 round-trips daily.    www.vineyardfastferry.com

Fares   Adults $69 round trip. There may be additional "fuel surcharges".

Driving/Parking  $10/day payable in advance. Credit cards not accepted.  

On the Vineyard  Taxis meet ferry arrivals to help you get to your final destinations.  If you reserve a car in advance, the car rental company can advise you how to pick up your car and whether they might (?) meet you at the ferry.

Arriving by ferry - Woods Hole to Martha's Vineyard

The Steamship Authority sails year round from Woods Hole, MA on Cape Cod to Vineyard Haven on Martha's Vineyard.  In season, it also sails directly to Oak Bluffs.  They maintain a small fleet of boats, all of which also take cars and/or trucks.  The crossing takes about 45 minutes.  Most boats have a snack bar or cafeteria with a pretty full menu of warm snacks and all have restroom facilities.  Try the clam chowder!

This "big boat" ferry is the cheapest and most common way people arrive on Martha's Vineyard.  Good news is that passenger never need a reservation and fares are cheap (below).  Bad news is that vehicle reservations can be very difficult to get in season (June-Aug) and can be expensive. 

Fares  Adult round trip $13.00 -- Child 5-12 years old $7.00 -- Children under 5 years old FREE.  There is also  a $6.00 fee for bikes, surf boards and windsurfers.  Cars cost roughly $75 - $145 depending on season and the size of your car (oversized vehicles are charged more).

Driving/Parking  Cross onto Cape Cod on the Bourne Bridge (the southern bridge of the two that cross the Cape Cod Canal) and then Route 28 to Woods Hole.  Follow signs to Woods Hole, Steamship Authority and/or "Martha's Vineyard" (amusing road sign since it's an island!). Parking is virtually all remote (not at the terminal) so you should watch the parking signs as you approach.  Transportation from the remote lots is by school bus and runs on a continuous loop so the wait is usually short. 

BTW, two hour drive-time estimate from Boston shuld be bumped up by at least a half-hour if not more in high season to allow for traffic.  Crossing the bridge is a particular bottleneck.  Also, the ferry recommends that passengers arrive at least 30-45 minutes before sailiing time in season anyway.

TIP:  Do not bother driving to the terminal where you will certainly be turned away.  You can't sweet talk them into parking on-site and you'll just lose time doubling back.

TIP:  Remember what lot you parked in and make sure you get on the right bus going to that lot when you return.  Tickets are color coded but it will help you get to your car more quickly if you know where you're parked.

Flying/Bus Connections  Bonanza Bus lines connects Logan Airport, Boston Back Bay and other regional centers with the ferry.  This is a surprisingly convenient option that can also save some cash.  Check the Steamship Authority or Bonanza Bus lines for schedules and fares.  Of course, livery options are also available if you want to hire a car service.

On the Vineyard  Taxis meet ferry arrivals to help you get to your final destinations.  If you reserve a car in advance, the car rental company can advise you how to pick up your car and whether they might (?) meet you at the ferry.

Arriving by Air - To Martha's Vineyard

Martha's Vineyard is served by a small regional airport.  Cape Air is the dedicated local airline with moderately prices fares from Boston and other regional airports.  Cape Air has teamed up with JetBlue airlines where booking can be made at one site with discounted rates.  Various national airlines sometimes serve the island out of NYC and/or Newark, particularly in the summer "high season."  At time of writing,  USAirways Express is serving the island through Laguardia (LGA); it's worth seeing who's flying there when you want to travel.  Airport code is MVY. 

Upon arrival, cabs or rental cars (Hertz, Budget and Thrifty) are available at the airport to get you to your final destination.

Also consider flying into the Providence Airport (PVD) and connecting with Vineyard Fast Ferry, they offer a convenient shuttle service to/from the airport. http://www.vineyardfastferry.com/prov...