Martha's Vineyard provides an old-fashioned beach vacation with miles of pristine beaches, clean salty air, lavish beachfront homes, and rolling farmlands. A favorite summer resort for more than a century, its picturesque towns are filled with ice-cream shops, stately sea captain's houses, art galleries, and winding lanes edged with plum trees and blackberry bushes. Bicycles are the best way to get around.
New England's largest island attracts the rich and famous, including movie stars and presidents who travel by private plane, as well as hordes of day-trippers arriving by ferry. Many rental homes and cottages have their own private beaches. One of the best public beaches for families with young children is State Beach, known for its gentle surf and wide expanse of sandy beach. Older kids enjoy the high waves at the public Katama Beach on the island's south shore, where surfboards, kayaks, sailboards, and sailboats can be rented for fun in the sun. In Oak Bluffs, don't neglect to stop by the Flying Horses Carousel, the oldest operating carousel in the country.