On your way to Martha's Vineyard, consider a rest in charming, old-world Woods Hole. So close to the famous island, and isolated by geography from the mainland, that some call it the “first village of the Vineyard.” You will certainly feel the heart of an authentic New England village beating here, with a real working drawbridge, a marina lined with pleasure and fishing boats, a harbor full of house-boats and the science buildings that make Woods Hole seem like a small college town. With various restaurants to choose from, many shops, science exhibits and a wonderful aquarium, the clever Vineyard-bound traveler leaves time for a stop in Woods Hole.
First timers have LOTS of questions about the logistics of a trip to the Vineyard, so here is all you ever wanted to know about getting to the island via Woods Hole:
The primary ferry service to Marthas Vineyard is run by a government agency called the Steamship Authority. Ferries for the Steamship Authority dock in Woods Hole, and in summer they service two towns on the Vineyard – Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven. In the off season, ferries only go to Vineyard Haven. Ferries run all day long, at least once an hour starting at 6 am and the last ferry returning at 10 pm. The journey on the ferry takes about 45 minutes.
» View the Current Ferry Schedule
Passenger Trips to Marthas Vineyard
Parking spaces in Woods Hole are reserved for visitors to Woods Hole only. Those headed to the Vineyard have several parking options as follows:
Palmer Avenue Lot. The first parking lot, closest to Woods Hole is on Palmer Avenue in Falmouth, about three miles up the road. The Steamship Authority runs regular busses to shuttle people from this lot to Woods Hole in a timely fashion. The trip takes about 10 minutes. Busses unload directly in front of the ferry terminal. There are no tickets for the bus. Parking in the lot costs $8 - 12 per calendar day (depending on the season). Passenger tickets are available in the ferry terminal and cost $16 round trip.
Gifford Street Lot. When the Palmer lot is full, you will be directed to the Gifford Street lot, also in Falmouth about 15 minutes drive in the bus to the ferry terminal.
Cataumet lot. When both Falmouth parking lots are full, you will be directed (with signs on route 28 south) to the Cataumet lot which is about 20 minute drive to the ferry terminal.
» View Ferry Parking Information
Vehicle Trips to Martha's Vineyard
Vehicles headed to the Vineyard in the high season must have a car reservation. The current rate is $135 round trip in the summer for a vehicle under 17 feet. Vehicles are asked to check in, show proof of reservation and line up in the parking lot directly adjacent to the ferry terminal. Ferry staff will guide you onto the boat.