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With beaches, ice cream and America’s oldest working carousel, there’s much for families to love about Martha’s Vineyard.
Some towns on the island will bore your kids silly (unless they like history as much as iPods) while some towns seem like they were designed with children in mind. “Kids would prefer Edgartown or Oak Bluffs,” says one TripAdvisor Member. “Edgartown is very quaint and pretty—the beaches are right there and the shops are totally geared to tourists, with clothes, candy, t-shirts, ice cream, etc. Oak Bluffs is louder and more eclectic. There's a lot of action. Some of it is really exciting and fun! There's an arcade, lots of pizza, a carousel, and again, a lot of shopping geared to the visitor.”
Jump the waves or ride the great surf on the Atlantic Ocean side of Katama Beach, a three-mile barrier beach that’s the largest public beach on the island, or enjoy a more relaxed pace on the tranquil Katama Bay side, a protected salt pond with lovely views of the bay. “Katama Beach offers the best conditions,” says one TripAdvisor Member. “Soft sand, clean ocean, and big waves make this a fun place to spend the day. Easily accessible by bike or foot (you can drive...but who drives on MV?). There can be a bit of an undertow...so keep an eye on small children."
Small waves, low dunes and lots of seashells make Joseph Sylvia State Beach, a narrow, two-mile stretch of public beach, popular with families. The beach runs between Oak Bluffs and Edgartown and is called "Bend-in-the-Road Beach" on the Edgartown side.
Kid-Friendly Trip Back in Time
Flying Horses Carousel in Oak Bluffs is the oldest working carousel in the U.S., which has been enchanting children and adults for over a hundred years. The 20 hand-carved horses on this official historic landmark have real horsehair manes and tails. “Step back in time to the flying horses,” says one TripAdvisor Member. “You can even win an extra ride by catching a brass ring. This is what the Vineyard is all about, returning to a simpler time—reading books, playing board games, riding an old fashion Carousel, and eating an ice cream cone.”
TIP : The caurosel gets busy in high season and on cloudy/rainy days. However, it makes a good half- or full-day outing with a stop at one of the nearby pizza or fried-clam take out places. It's basically at the bottom of the main shopping on Circuit Avenue and short walking distance to the main beaches, the harbor, most ferry dockings and the wide open "commons" park for kids to run off some steam.
Kid-Friendly Adventure on the Water
Pirate Adventures: Martha's Vineyard offers families the chance to have their kids transformed into pirates and engage in a hands-on, interactive pirate themed adventure. The trip centers around a 60 minute boat ride aboard a real pirate ship and features assembling a map, finding a message in a bottle, a water cannon battle (you might get a little wet) and the discovery of treasure. The ideal age for little pirates is 2 to 10 but can be fun for pirates of all ages if they are game for imaginative play. The pirates can be found on the Harbor in Oak Bluffs at Dockside Marketplace and Marina--where the Hyline Ferry from Hyannis docks. Remember to bring water, a hat and dress for the elements as you will be on the "unchartered oceans". mvpirates.com