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10 Coolest Winter Places in America

Snowstorms used to mean long days spent making snow angels and having snowball fights followed by big mugs of hot cocoa topped with marshmallows. Alas, we're not kids anymore. But that doesn't mean we can't still get outside and play. There are lots of grownup winter activities, like, say, leading a pack of sled dogs across the Maine wilderness or snowshoeing over pathways carved back in the Ice Age (when it was considerably chillier). One thing that hasn't changed? That cup of hot cocoa still hits the spot.Get the best view of the Northern Lights in Fairbanks, Alaska The northern lights - Courtesy of chenahotsprings.com Thanks to its proximity to the North Pole, and the lack of urban light pollution, this isolated area is one of the best places to take in the Aurora Borealis. The green ribbons of light are caused by charged particles from the sun interacting with the earth's atmosphere, and the crystalline skies here, about 360 miles north of Anchorage, come alive (the local university offers forecasts for viewing). If you're looking for some guidance, book an Aurora Viewing Tour. The trips depart from Chena Hot Springs Resort, about 60 miles from downtown Fairbanks, where guests take a military-style SUSV to the top of Charlie Dome. 907/451-8104, chenahotsprings.com/winter-activities, $75 per person. Compete in your own Winter Games in Lake Placid, New York Ice hockey in Lake Placid - Courtesy of roostadk.com Ever watch bobsledders zooming down the track during the Olympics and think, "I could do that?" Well, in Lake Placid, you can. The town has hosted the Winter Games twice (in 1932 and 1980), and now caters to visitors seeking glory. Any reasonably fit person can take a bobsled run (with both a professional driver and a brakeman keeping things safe) at the Olympic Sports Complex. At the nearby Olympic Center, you can pretend you are Apolo Anton Ohno and speed skate around the oval. The center has activities for people of all ages, including a torch run, snowboarding race, and hockey slap shot contests. 518/946-2223, whiteface.com, prices for activities vary. Relax with a glass of ice wine in Traverse City, Michigan There aren't many places in the U.S. with the appropriate conditions to make ice wine (most of it is produced in Germany and Canada). This town, a four-hour dive from Detroit, is graced with panoramic views of Lake Michigan, and the cold air coming off the lakes is perfect for chilling grapes. The wine makers at Chateau Grand Traverse use Riesling grapes that have been left on the vine after the harvest to freeze in the chilly northern Michigan air. The winery offers free tours and tastings of its other wines, and you can also sample wine made from cherries, the area's other bounty. 12239 Center Rd., 800/283-0247, cgtwines.com.Ski down untouched trails in Park City, Utah Skiiing on untracked powder in Park City, Utah - Courtesy of pccats.com Park City has three resorts and some of the country's best skiing, but the best way to get off the runs and really experience the countryside is on a snowcat. Small groups of skiers pile into trucks with tracked wheels that can handle the area's diverse terrain and travel to parts of the mountain with "virgin" runs untouched by other skiers. Park City Powder Cats will take you to Thousand Peaks Ranch in the Uinta Mountains for up to 12 runs through quiet bowls and glades. 435/649-6596, pccats.com, from $449 for a day trip. Take a sleigh ride in the wilderness in Jackson Hole, Wyoming Sleigh ride in National Elk Refuge - Courtesy of nersleighrides.com Jackson Hole may be a premier ski destination, but a much less publicized highlight of a visit to the town is a sleigh ride at the nearby 25,000-acre National Elk Refuge. From mid-December to early April, visitors can enjoy a horse-drawn ride through the park to see thousands of elk. Guides with Bar T5 will also point out the park's other wildlife, such as eagles and trumpeter swans. Free shuttle buses depart from the Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center, 800/772-5386, bart5.com, $18 for adults, $14 for children 5-12. Zoom through America's first national park on a snow coach in West Yellowstone, Montana Roads at the West Entrance to Yellowstone National Park are not plowed in winter. If you want access to this part of the park, populated by bison, pronghorn antelope, and bighorn sheep, you'll need to rent a snowmobile or book a snow coach tour. Some vehicles come equipped with handlebar warmers and you can even rent cozy layers if you didn't pack enough for the frigid air. The park's abundant animal population doesn't seem to mind the chill. destinationyellowstone.com/play/snow-coach, from $105 for trips not including park fees. Snowshoe the Ice Age Trail in Chetek, Wisconsin Don't be intimidated: Snowshoeing on Wisconsin's nearly flat Ice Age National Scenic Trail is totally doable. The state's National Scenic Trail encompasses about 620 miles of marked pathways that feature landscapes left behind when glacial ice carved the earth more than 12,000 years ago. In winter, a section of this trail is open to snowshoers at Chippewa Moraine State Recreation Area. Rent your snowshoes from the visitors' center (free, but donations are encouraged) and loop the 6.5-mile trail, studded with frozen mini-lakes and countless five-foot-tall boulders. 13394 County Hwy M, 888/936-7463, dnr.wisconsin.gov.Take the reigns on a dog sledding tour in Newry, Maine Dog sledding in Mahoosuc - Courtesy of mahoosuc.com Located in Newry, Maine, and with over three decades of full-time, year round guiding, Mahoosuc is one of the most respected and experienced recreational guide services in New England and Canada. Day trips on Umbagog Lake or gentle trails in the Mahoosuc Mountains are available Tuesday through Thursday and some weekends, mid-December through mid-March, and depending on snow conditions. A hearty warm homemade lunch cooked over a campfire is included on day trips, as well as the use of their insulated winter parkas, warm boots and other cold-weather gear. Mush! 207/731-8888, mahoosuc.com, starting from $450 per person for day trips. Sled around a high-country hamlet in Silverton, Colorado Forget cars. In winter, residents of Silverton prefer to get around on kicksleds (essentially chairs placed on six-foot-long steel runners). The townsfolk are so committed to winter fun that they refrain from plowing after the first bountiful snowfall so that the fresh powder will pack into a perma-crust for smoother sledding. Guests and non-guests can rent sleds (as well as skis, snowshoes, and other equipment) from the Wyman Hotel, and take advantage of the area's average annual snowfall of 150 inches. 1371 Greene St., 970/387-5372, thewyman.com.See freaky ice formations beneath the earth in Lava Beds National Monument, California Crystal Ice Cave - Courtesy of nps.gov Winter temps in this part of northern California average in the 40s during the day and the 20s at night. Not chilly enough? Go underground into some of the local caves, where the air hovers at the freezing point year-round. To safely journey into the caves at Lava Beds National Monument, rent a helmet and headlamp from the visitors' center. Then go 100 feet beneath the earth's crust into the Crystal Ice Cave, where freaky ice formations include a 20-foot-high crystal curtain. 530/667-8113, nps.gov/labe, $25 per vehicle for a seven-day entrance.

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The Adirondacks: A Year-Round Vacation Destination

The lands and waterways of the Adirondack region are an outdoor lover's paradise. The region offers year-round recreation, outdoor adventure and relaxation opportunities for visitors, all within a day’s drive for 25% of the entire North American population; an easy vacation destination. Most outdoor activities in the Adirondacks are not limited to one particular season. Mountain bikers can ride from early spring through late fall. Anglers fish the region’s books, rivers and lakes throughout the year. In the winter, snowshoers and cross-country skiers can access trails, fields, state land and even the golf courses that are tucked under a blanket of snow. Hiking isn't limited to the summer and fall either, as there are many who take part year-round. Exploring local culture is something that visitors can do all year at museums, local history centers, within small community shops, restaurants and at the region’s craft breweries, distilleries and cideries where residents and visitors mingle and share stories about their Adirondack adventures. Enjoy Outdoor Activities in the Perfect Fall Weather Fall in the Adirondacks - Courtesy of roostadk.com While summer is the region’s busiest time of year, offering opportunities for swimming, hiking, paddling, mountain biking, and camping, most of these activities carry right through the fall months when the beauty of the Adirondack Mountains provides a stunning backdrop. Days are warm, nights are cool, the sun often shines and the leaves are awash with color. Many who visit during the fall hope to schedule their trip to coincide with the week that the leaves are at their most colorful - when the reds, yellows, golds and rich browns against a backdrop of pines and evergreens are at their most vibrant; also known as “peak.” Fall is also an amazing time to take advantage of the region’s dark skies, with stargazing on many visitors’ agendas. Interested in history? Travelers can visit Fort Ticonderoga, an historic site where the powers of the eighteenth-century fought for empire and the young American republic fought for freedom. Architecture? The village of Essex on the shores of Lake Champlain is often referred to as New York's most historic hamlet - the community contains one of the most intact collections of pre-Civil War architecture in America. The Adirondack Experience at Blue Mountain Lake showcases the history of the Adirondacks. Small museums and historical centers are located within many local towns and villages. Discover A Mountain Winter Wonderland Skiing in the Adirondacks - Courtesy of roostadk.com The Adirondack region embraces winter - this is no time to stay indoors. Winter activities include cross-country and downhill skiing or snowboarding, skating, mountaineering, snowmobiling and winter camping. Hiking the region’s trails past frozen waterfalls and along the shores of frozen lakes offers spectacular scenery. Ice climbing for the adventurous and ice skating for those who prefer a more nostalgic Adirondack adventure. Deep snow lends itself to excellent snowmobiling throughout the area with the western and central Adirondack regions often boasting 12 to 15 ft of snow each year. Peninsula Trails Snowshoeing - Courtesy of roostadk.com Some properties have snowshoes available for guests’ use on their trails, or on the nearby town trails, the Adirondack Interpretive Centers in Newcomb and Paul Smiths offer snowshoes for visitors to use on the local trails and businesses throughout the region rent snowshoes. Experience Small-Town Fun in the Spring Springtime provides wonderful opportunities for lower elevation hiking, fishing, and learning about the region’s history. The region’s small towns begin to plan upcoming events, local businesses prepare for the upcoming seasons and many of the local attractions begin to open for the season. Leaves and flowers begin to emerge, filling in the landscape. The Adirondack Mountains offer some of the best opportunities for outdoor recreation in a beautiful, natural setting, year-round and within a day’s drive - an easy road trip to adventure.

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Love Mushrooms?

The annual Harvest Mendocino kicks into gear November 4-13, 2022 with a focus on the region’s top seasonal gem: mushrooms. An ideal time to savor a taste of place and cash in on a variety of hotel deals, you can take to the trails, belly up for mushroom-laced menus or tie into a beer or winemaker dinner focused on Mr. Fungi. Straddling historic Highways 1 and 101 with nearly 2,500 sq. miles of live oak and stately redwood groves, this Northern California region is a natural hotspot for some 3,000 mushroom varieties, 500 of which are edible. On tap are a treasure trove of coveted candy cap, chanterelle, porcini and hedgehog mushrooms, making the annual haul nothing short of historic. Things to do: Mushroom Train Mushroom Train - Courtesy of harvest.visitmendocino.com Take a magical mushroom ride back in time through old-growth redwoods and pristine wilderness with an optional whiskey tutor-tasting aboard the historic Skunk Train (1885). The 14-mile loop departs from Fort Bragg traversing Pudding Creek Estuary before landing front and center at the new trestle pavilion at Glen Blair Junction. On tap will be 20+ wineries pouring Mendocino AVA’s award-winning juice, a cache of local chefs crafting mushroom-infused edibles and network of nature trails to trek and treasure the annual haul. An add-on program featuring Master Distiller Crispin Cain will showcase regional award-winning libations including a selection of Low Gap whiskies and Mendocino Spirits bourbon and rye. Saturday November 12, 2022; 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Fort Bragg, Calif. $150/person + tax, $50/person whiskey upgrade. Taste Mendocino It’s a party for the palate on November 5 at Barra of Mendocino, where visitors can swirl through the county’s diverse showcase of fine wines, brews and artisanal foods. Take a deep dive into epic Pinot Noirs, skirt the rich cache of regional sparkling wines or dig a bit deeper into the signature CORO blend crafted only in Mendocino. It’s the ultimate trial by flair as 28+ vintners uncork the magic that makes Mendocino County’s 12 AVAs so diverse. Ukiah Brewing Company unplugs with a selection of handcrafted, unfiltered beer for suds heads and a variety of local chefs will be offering everything from barbeque to ceviche. Saturday, November 5, 2022; 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., Redwood Valley, Calif. $65/person. Mushroom & Beer Dinner Courtesy of Little River Inn Restaurant Pull up a seat for six-course fungi-forward repast at the legendary Little River Inn. A fixture along the Pacific for 80 years, the Inn is the ideal outpost for savoring the exotic flavors of the season paired with a thought-provoking line-up of brews from Russian River Brewing Company. Chefs Marc Dym will drive the stoves in an epic gastronomic adventure certain to sway the senses. Friday, November 11, 6:30 p.m. $150 + tax. Left Coast Seafood Winemaker Dinner Celebrating the seasonal harvest, Ukiah’s Left Coast Seafood joins Greg Graziano of Graziano Family of Wines for an evening of fun and frivolity. Chef Julian Sandoval will craft a five-course repast showcasing foods freshly-harvested from farm, land and sea paired with a line-up of accompanying wines. If this meal were any fresher, it would have to be slapped! Sunday, November 6, 2022, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. $130/person. Hotel Steals & Deals The Heritage House - Courtesy of The Heritage House From the newly retooled Mar Vista Farm + Cottages to the retro Andiron Inn or luxe Inn at Newport Ranch, hospitality deals abound during mushroom season. Visitors can glamp out at Mendocino Grove, tap into the scenic Heritage House Inn or drop anchor at Noyo Harbor Inn. More than 25 hotel properties are offering value-oriented pricing for visitors fixated on Mr. Fungi.

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8 Scenic hikes to do on your next trip to Washington County, Maryland

You really can’t go wrong when it comes to choosing a beautiful place to go hiking in Washington County, Maryland, home to five national parks, eight state parks, and two resource management areas. Each comes with its own set of scenic trails, offering plenty of options whether you’re in the mood for a relaxing stroll through the woods or up for something more strenuous as long as it leads to a phenomenal view. Here’s a look at some of the best places to go hiking on your next trip to Western Maryland. Maryland’s Portion of the Appalachian Trail Washington Monument on Appalachian Trail in Boonsboro - Credit: MJ Clingan Did you know the majority of the 40-mile section of the Appalachian Trail that crosses Maryland actually passes through Washington County? This particular portion of the A.T. is relatively easy compared with others, with fewer steep climbs and elevation changes of just 1,650 feet. While you could thru-hike the entire stretch in four or five days, most visitors opt to do day hikes where the trail runs through Greenbrier State Park (Annapolis Rock and Black Rock Cliff), Gathland State Park (Weverton Cliffs), and Washington Monument State Park, home of the first monument ever created in George Washington’s honor. The A.T. also allows access to the Maryland Heights overlook at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, which we’ll get into later. C&O Canal National Historic Park Hikers on C&O Canal towpath - Credit: Canal Trust Constructed in 1828 and declared a National Monument in 1961, the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal is a vast 184.5-mile waterway that connects Georgetown in Washington, D.C. with Cumberland in Maryland. The C&O Canal Towpath — the dirt and stone trail that runs alongside it and was once used by mules to tow boats down the canal — serves as a recreational space for hikers and cyclists, with 78 miles of it passing through Washington County. The canal is also part of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail and is a popular place for birding. Keep an eye out for bald eagles, turkey vultures, egrets, great blue herons, wood ducks, and more than 120 other species of birds as you make your way along the Potomac. The Western Maryland Rail Trail Western MD Rail Trail in Hancock 1st Maryland Trail Town -Credit: John Canan For those who prefer paved paths, the Western Maryland Rail Trail, formerly the site of the Western Maryland Railway, runs alongside a 28-mile section of the C&O Canal Towpath from Big Pool (near Fort Frederick State Park) up to Little Orleans. With beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and the nearby Potomac River, it’s a beautiful place to visit year-round, especially in the fall when the leaves change color. The entire path is wheelchair and stroller accessible and relatively flat, making it a great place to go for a relaxing walk, energizing run, or scenic bike ride. Fort Frederick State Park While most people visit Fort Frederick State Park to learn about the unique stone fort, which was constructed in 1756 and used to defend Maryland during the French and Indian War, it’s also home to two scenic trails perfect for hikers of all ages and abilities. Stroll along Beaver Pond Trail, where you can view white-tailed deer, turtles, birds, and other wetland wildlife along the 0.3-mile path, or take the 1.1-mile Plantation Nature Trail through the forest, where trees were harvested in the 1930s — the C&O Canal Towpath also winds its way through here along the Potomac River. Nearby, the Woodmont Natural Resource Management Area’s Wildlife Heritage Trail offers pathways through rolling mountain landscapes, oak forests, and places to pick wild berries. Antietam National Battlefield Antietam Burnside Bridge - Credit: Scanter Halfway between Hagerstown, Maryland, and Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, Antietam National Battlefield was the site of the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, where 23,000 soldiers were killed that fateful day on September 17, 1862. Today, it’s home to 10 historic hiking trails where visitors can walk along 0.3- to 1.8-mile pathways and read markers indicating the historic events that happened here. Visit in springtime when birds returning from their winter trips south can be seen in the trees around the Sherrick Farm and Snavely Ford trails. The battlefield is also home to 77 species of birds including northern cardinals, red-tailed hawks, and eastern bluebirds, among others. The Maryland Heights Trail at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Harpers Ferry National Historical Park spans three states (Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia) and its Maryland Heights Trail is a major highlight, offering incredible views of the C&O Canal, Harpers Ferry, and the place where the Potomac River and Shenandoah River meet. It also connects with the Appalachian Trail at the Maryland Heights overlook and lets you check out artillery batteries dating back to the Civil War era — the Stone Fort Loop Trail, which adds about two more miles to your hike, is also worth a look. Park at the Visitor Center and take the free shuttle or hike down the 1.6-mile path to begin the 4.5-mile semi-strenuous trail in Lower Town. South Mountain Recreation Area Greenbrier State Park (South Mountain Recreation Area) - Credit: Scott Cantner South Mountain State Park, Greenbrier State Park, Gathland State Park, and Washington Monument State Park make up the South Mountain Recreation Area, home to hiking trails and excellent bird-watching areas. While parts of the Appalachian Trail pass through Greenbrier State Park, there are 11 miles of trails ranging from moderate to difficult due to the steep, rocky landscape — whichever you choose, leave time to cool off in the scenic 42-acre lake. The A.T. also crosses South Mountain State Battlefield, where you can learn how the Battle of South Mountain helped turn the tide of the Civil War in 1862, and Washington Monument State Park, home to a stone tower that was built in 1827 to honor our first president. Sideling Hill Wildlife Management Area In Western Washington County, the 3,100-acre Sideling Hill Wildlife Management Area offers hikers a chance to discover the area’s geology. Stop by the Visitor’s Center to learn how the region’s ancient Devonian-age black shale, which dates back to more than 350 million years ago, and ancient Hampshire and Chemung sandstone support the unique wildlife and endangered plants that live here. Watch for songbirds, black bears, grouse, wild turkeys, and white-tailed deer. Most trails here once served as logging roads or were built to support the C&O Canal, and are now used by hikers and hunters during hunting season. CARD WIDGET HERE

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Travel Tips on Getting to (and Around) Martha's Vineyard

Martha’s Vineyard, an island off the coast of Massachusetts that has become the preferred summer destination to hundreds of families for decades. For those of you visiting us for the first time, you might be a little confused as to how to get to the island and eventually, how to get around island during your visit. We’re here to tackle all your questions, concerns, and overall comments - so here are our top travel tips to getting to (and around) Martha’s Vineyard: 1.There are only TWO ways to get to Martha’s Vineyard: you can fly into the MVY Airport or take one of the many ferries from the mainland. Check out Vineyard Ferries for details on all the ferries you can take to Martha’s Vineyard. If you’re flying, carrier options include Cape Air, JetBlue, Delta, and American Airlines - more details on getting to MV by plane. 2. If you want to bring your car on island, you must take the Steamship Authority ferry from Woods Hole on Cape Cod. The good news is that the Steamship Authority ferry operates many times a day, every day of the year. The bad news is that, while you can walk onto any of their ferries without a reservations, all car reservations must be made in advance, and space on ferries in July and August can fill up quickly. 3. If you still want to fly in and need a car, there are many car rental businesses on island ready to rent you a car, SUV, Jeep, or van. Car renting is common for visitors spending a few weeks on island at a time!​ 4. Rent a bicycle! There are so many locally owned bicycle shops on island and you can’t go wrong with any of them! Renting a bike will cost you between $25-45 a day - check out bike rental rates and ride safely! The island has more than 35 miles of paved, off-road bike paths, so it’s the perfect way to explore.​5. Don’t want to rent a bicycle? Buy a Vineyard Transit Authority Bus Pass! The VTA public buses are a clean, safe and reliable way to travel around the Vineyard. The daily bus pass cost is $8, on/off as much as you like. Children under 6 ride for free, and seniors 65+ get a reduced rate of $5. Bus passes can be bought at the Steamship Authority terminal, and, if you have exact change in cash, right from the bus driver. 6. Don’t want to ride the bus? Walk/run! There are great walking trails and running paths in every town, and it’s a great way to work up an appetite for lobster rolls and ice cream cones! 7. Take a tour of the island! Whether you're here for the day or for the season, don't miss anything Martha's Vineyard has to offer and take a tour. From tour buses and vans, walking tours, food tours, lighthouse tours, and on-the-water tours, there's a tour for all guests.8. Don’t want to do any of the above? You’re in luck, because ride share, such as Uber and Lift are both available, as are local taxi companies. CARD WIDGET HERE

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Where to stay on Martha's Vineyard on any budget

Martha’s Vineyard has a reputation for its beautiful beaches, traditional New England architecture, and for being a summer vacation destination for the rich and powerful. The island is known for being a vacation destination for ex-presidents, as well as being the filming location for Jaws over 40 years ago. You would be forgiven for assuming that Martha’s Vineyard is a destination too expensive for those of us that travel without the means of the wealthy. But you would be wrong. The secret to Martha’s Vineyard is that it has quite a few hotels, campgrounds, and hostels that provide reasonable budget accommodations. There are two tricks for getting these deals: book early, 6-12 months in advance, and book during shoulder-season, which are the months just before and after summer. We’ve assembled a list of our favorite options of stays on the island. $ - Under $100/night Tisbury - Martha's Vineyard Family Campground campmv.com Open May - October With several cottages, also offers space for tents and RVs. Clean, very safe, family friendly campground. Expect to pay $54-60 per campground per night. West Tisbury - Hosteling International Martha's Vineyard capecodhostels.org Open April - October Private and dorm rooms available, Families and non-members welcome. Rates range from $40-150 per night. Oak Bluffs - The Madison Inn madisoninnmv.com Open May - October, this 14 room property is located in the heart of the town center, close to all the fun, the beaches and the food! Rates as low as $79. $$ - Under $200/night Edgartown - Ashley Inn ashleyinn.net 1860 Whaling Captain's home is open year round and is an easy stroll to the town center, beaches and attractions. A charming stay for couples, friends and families. Rates as low as $125/night in the off-season. Edgartown - The Edgar Hotel edgarhotelmv.com Open year-round and recently renovated with all the modern comforts you need, a relaxed Island atmosphere you'd expect and a popular on-site bar and restaurant. Rates as low as $153/night. Oak Bluffs - The Narragansett House narragansetthouse.com This 13 room property is located in the heart if the town center, steps from food, beaches, shopping and fun. Rates from $144/night. Tisbury - Vineyard Harbor Motel vineyardharbormotel.us Open year-round and located on the harbor, each of the 40 rooms is an efficiency unit. Rates from $159/night. Tisbury- The Driftwood of Martha's Vineyard thedriftwoodmv.com Year-round B&B with farm-to-table options, quiet area close to town center. Rates from $150 during off-season and $300 during peak. Tisbury - Look Inn lookinnmv.com Comfortable old farmhouse located in historic district close to shops, restaurants and beaches. Rates from $175-200 per night. $$$ - Over $200/night Aquinnah - The Duck Inn duckinnonmv.com Cozy, year-round, 5-room property is perfect for a true getaway. Located in the western most side of the Island, visitors will enjoy amazing views, easy walk to the beach, fireplaces and divine hospitality. The Duck Inn is pet friendly, but contact them for specifics. Rates as low as $145 but go up to $335/night. Edgartown - The Edgartown Commons edgartowncommons.com Located steps from downtown this budget friendly property has 34 units are apartments (studios, one and two bedrooms) with kitchens, to make it easy for an extra long getaway. Open May - October. Rates from $215/night. Tisbury - The 1720 House 1720house.com Open year-round this 6-room was named one of Yankee Magazine's best small New England Inns. Steps from the beach and town center. Rates from $150 in the off-season and $250 in peak. Oak Bluffs - The Pequot Hotel pequothotel.com Open May - October A Charming small hotel is one block top beaches and a short stroll to shopping and dining. Rates from $200/night. CARD WIDGET HERE

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Visiting Martha’s Vineyard on a budget? Yes it’s possible

Martha’s Vineyard is a beautiful place that happily welcomes and accommodates visitors from all walks of life. While it is known as a destination for the affluent and has a reputation as being a pricey place to visit, it is home to a diverse population and it can definitely be enjoyed on a tight budget. Like any popular destination there are endless choices to pick from so knowing the most affordable options is the best way to plan a budget friendly trip to Martha’s Vineyard. Here’s our top tips for enjoying your time on Martha’s Vineyard without having to break the bank. ​ Getting here and getting aroundThe cheapest way to travel on to the Island is to take the Steamship Authority (SSA) ferry which departs from Woods Hole in Falmouth multiple times a day. It’s the residents’ year-round lifeline to ‘America’ and it’s $19 for a roundtrip passenger ticket which includes a free shuttle bus ride in Falmouth from the SSA’s designated parking lots. There is a cost for parking which ranges from $10-20/day depending on the seasons, rates available here.Once you arrive on the Island the most cost efficient way to get around is via the Vineyard Transit Authority (VTA) bus line which travels through all six Martha’s Vineyard towns daily. A one day pass is only $10 and the bus makes frequent stops including in the busy downtowns of Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven, and Oak Bluffs, as well as the popular fishing village Menemsha and the iconic, and majestic Aquinnah Cliffs. Plan to spend the day exploring Martha’s Vineyard’s most popular points of interest and attractions, most of which can be seen for free, including many of our beautiful beaches! Kids love to stop off at the ‘JAWS’ bridge in Edgartown to take a leap into the water, another popular stop along the VTA bus.​ Another affordable way to get around the Island is to bring your bike over on the ferry (an extra $8 fee round trip) and take advantage of the more than 35 miles of paved bike paths on Martha’s Vineyard. You can also rent a bike once you arrive, as there are several bike rental locations within walking distance from the ferry terminals in both Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven. Staying hereThe most cost efficient way to experience Martha’s Vineyard is to enjoy a day trip and avoid the cost of lodging, but it if you want to stay longer (which we always recommend!) there are some very reasonable options available. One of the most affordable is the Martha’s Vineyard Family Campground, located just one and a half miles from the Vineyard Haven Steamship Authority ferry terminal and easily accessible via a VTA bus. The Campground offers spacious wooded sites, complete with picnic tables, fireplaces, and hookups to accommodate tents or RVs. They also offer a number of new camping cabin rentals, as well as restrooms showers, laundromat, store, recreation hall and playground. The Campground is open seasonally May to October and rates begin at $59/night. Another reasonably priced option is the HI Martha’s Vineyard Hostel located in West Tisbury and also easily accessible via the VTA bus. The hostel boasts free Wi-Fi; free continental breakfast; a fully equipped, shared guest kitchen; easy access to public transit and bike trails; and a large lawn with sand volleyball, grill, tables and chairs. The hostel is open seasonally from May to October with rates starting at just $38/night.​Martha’s Vineyard is also home to dozens of hotels, inns, and beds & breakfast, many of which offer discounted rates in the fall, winter and spring. You can browse our list of accommodations here, and find last minute lodging specials here. Many homeowners also rent their homes with local real estate companies and on online marketplaces that specialize in home rentals. ​ Where to eatThere’s no shortage of restaurants on Martha’s Vineyard but many of them can get pricey if you’re not careful. For starters we’d recommend packing your own reusable bottle of water and granola bars, fruit, or snacks to keep you fueled throughout the day so you don’t find yourself having to spending more in a pinch.​Morning coffee is a must for many of us and the cheapest coffee on the go you’ll get is at Cumberland Farms, 99 cents for the biggest size they have, hot or iced. It’s one of the few chain businesses on Martha’s Vineyard and is located within walking distance to the Vineyard Haven SSA ferry terminal, and directly across the street from the Chamber of Commerce offices – where you can stock up on free maps and info on getting around and making the most of your stay.​When your morning hunger strikes head to Black Dog Bakery in Vineyard Haven for a reasonably priced breakfast sandwich, Linda Jean’s in Oak Bluffs or Dock Street Diner in Edgartown for some of the lowest cost breakfast plates around. Each of them offer a casual, local vibe, and are the type of ‘hidden gems’ we all long to discover on vacation wherever we may go.​Lunch can easily be skipped given the portions you’ll get at the spots above but if you get hungry midday from all of your exploring you can still dine on a dime, or close to it. The Barn, Bowl & Bistro in Oak Bluffs often offers a $9.99 lunch special most days of the week, plus if you’re up for a game of bowling they also offer affordable bowling packages too. If you’re hungry for a burger, Giordano's in Oak Bluffs offers a buy one, get one half off special. You can also score discounted deals on Asian inspired lunch specials, including Chinese and Japanese cuisine at Copper Wok in Vineyard Haven or Thai food at Bangkok Thailand in Oak Bluffs.Alternatively, the cheapest option may be grabbing a salad or sandwich at a local market like Tony’s or Reliable Market in Oak Bluffs, or Stop n’ Shop (conveniently located in Vineyard Haven or Edgartown) and enjoying it outside in the park or on the beach.Dinner is often the priciest meal of the day so be careful where you sit down. Sharky’s Cantina in Oak Bluffs and Edgartown is a local tex-mex favorite known for its big portions and reasonable prices, not to mention their delicious nachos! If you’re looking for an authentic Martha’s Vineyard dining experience you’ll want to try our seafood and Coop de Ville on the Oak Bluffs waterfront has a fantastic view, as well as regular seafood specials including their Tuesday night Lobster Fest. For additional nightly dinner specials browse other options here and be sure to check out local menus before opting to sit down so you know what kind of prices you can expect. So there you have it! Martha’s Vineyard is not made for millionaires, and there’s ample options for the budget-conscious traveler. Good luck discovering the Island and challenge yourself to stay within whatever cost parameters you may have, after all the landscape of the Island is the best feature we have and looking around is absolutely free. CARD WIDGET HERE

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