Seasons mark the passing of time and every New Englander on Martha's Vineyard will tell you that each season has a special place in their heart. Spring brings the hope of warmer temperatures, summer ushers in the hustle and bustle of the busy season, fall is a respite moment to catch their breath, and winter is the calm time to get organized for the next season ahead.
Martha's Vineyard, the idyllic island located south of Cape Cod, has a climate range that might seem interesting to inquiring minds. Designated by the Koppen Climate Classification system, it is said that the climate of Martha's Vineyard borders between a humid continental climate, a humid subtropical climate, and an oceanic climate. An oceanic climate might be a shock to climate and data nerds, because it's a type of climate that is rarely found on the East Coast of North America.
Highly influenced by the surrounding Atlantic Ocean, which is in charge of moderating the temperatures of the island throughout the year, Martha's Vineyard has a moderate climate in comparison to other New England locations.
Here, we're exploring each season's weather, with a sprinkling of travel tips so you can be best equipped for your travels whenever you plan your time on Martha's Vineyard. Below you'll find a few of the outstanding events that take place throughout the year on the island as it relates to the season on Martha's Vineyard. For the most updated and comprehensive event listings, make sure to check the local newspapers such as The Martha's Vineyard Times and The Vineyard Gazette.
When booking your trip to Martha's Vineyard, weather is incredibly important as it dictates the activities you will be taking part in while visiting, so the best way to narrow down when to visit the island is to make a list of the types of activities you'd like to do and take it from there!
Memorial Day at the end of May is what most consider the unofficial start to the season on Martha's Vineyard, but spring arrives on the island much earlier than that. The first day of Spring in mid/late March graces the island after a cold, typically snowy winter and the locals rejoice at the not so freezing temperatures.
The first signs of spring include the delicate purple crocus flowers that start popping up on grassy fields, the sound of pinkletinks, the little frogs that make a lot of noise, and of course the migration of birds that slowly come back to the feeders and grace us with their song.
Consider that during the beginning of the spring, the windier weather is still around from winter storms, so take this into consideration as you plan ferry travel. Ferries from Woods Hole will typically be canceled when winds exceed 25-30mph, so continue to check the official ferry sites for the most up to date weather conditions.
Spring and fall are transition seasons with spring typically being cooler than fall. Average temperatures in March, April, and May vary and the question is always, what's the best month to visit in the spring? We think of every month as a great month to visit Martha's Vineyard, but let's look at some average temperatures:
March on Martha's Vineyard
In March, the average high temperature is 46 degrees Fahrenheit, with the lowest average temperature being 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The sun is slowly warming up the winter landscape as spring arrives and local, seasonal businesses are rousing from their winter naps.
March is a fantastic time to visit Martha's Vineyard if you're looking for a spring retreat that's calm, quiet, and relaxing.
Hotels still offer discounted rates, shops are having spring sales, and you'll be able to connect with the locals at a slower, more thoughtful pace.
This month is great to visit and explore the year-round businesses open as well as activities throughout the island. The Martha's Vineyard Museum offers plenty of stimulation - both in house and virtual - if discovering history is what you love to do.
April on Martha's Vineyard
In April, the average high temperature is 56 degrees Fahrenheit, with the lowest average temperature typically being 40 degrees Fahrenheit. April is when things really start activating on the Vineyard, with everyone painting, cleaning, organizing, and getting ready to open their doors for the busy summer season. Note that we mention businesses reopening for the season, but remember we have plenty of year round businesses that are open, so have no fear that in April you'll find plenty of things to do, eat, and drink.
The weather continues to warm up, with days in the high 50's and nights in the low 40's, making it a New England spring escape. Note though that this month is the tailend of windy winter weather leftover from storms before, so make sure to note it might also be a rather rainy month.
May on Martha's Vineyard
In May, the average high temperature is 65 degrees Fahrenheit, with the lowest average temperature being 50 degrees Fahrenheit. May is the unofficial start to the season and much warmer weather typically begins to arrive, as many seasonal businesses reopen. Many visitors consider late May and early June as some of the best times to visit during the spring.
Mother's Day weekend is designated as Edgartown's Pink & Green Weekend, where the town dresses up quite literally, in pinks and greens to usher in the arrival of spring. Events are crafted with the theme in mind, with a dog parade, dining specials, and more.
Another great excuse to visit in May is the kickoff of the Vineyard Artisans Festival, which takes place during Memorial Day weekend. It's the only art show on Martha's Vineyard exclusively featuring All Island Artisans with hand made fine furniture, sculpture, clothing, fine art one of a kind jewelry, fine ceramics, and so much more.
What To Pack
When it comes to planning what to wear, the spring is the season to bring layers - you might get a warm day of 65 degrees Fahrenheit and might just need a simple base layer, but you could also experience a cold front and temperatures in the low 20's and 30's, so a winter coat might still be needed.
Always check the weather for the town you're arriving and settling into for the best information on what to pack for Martha's Vineyard in the spring season. And make a note that no matter what time of year you visit a sweatshirt at the very least will likely be needed as soon as the sun goes down.
Mostly known as a summer destination, Martha's Vineyard is at the height of its business during the summer months, so make sure to take that into account as you plan your travels. If you plan on bringing your car on island, book your Steamship Authority Ferry (the only car ferry to Martha's Vineyard) with enough lead time. For summer travel, the ferry reservations open in January and are quickly booked up for the busy holiday weekends during the summer.
What to Pack
When thinking about what to pack for a summer trip to Martha's Vineyard, it varies depending on whether you're packing for adults or children, and whether you plan on having a lot of outdoor activities and beach days. Classic beach and summer resort wear are the usual, with the Vineyard being extremely laid back compared to its other New England counterparts such as Nantucket or Block Island. Unless you're planning on going to a special formal event or dining at a top-tier restaurant, resort casual is the norm during the summer.
During the summer months, the island's warmest months (July and August) average around 71.5 degrees Fahrenheit. The first day of summer arrives in June, with the summer solstice around June 21, and rapidly the weather becomes warm and slightly humid, perfect for beach days and walks on nature trails, among many other island outdoor activities such as water sports. Summers are warm and mild with temperatures rarely exceeding 90 degrees Fahrenheit, with only 1 or 2 days reaching or exceeding it, but it's not the usual.
Summer is when the bulk of events happen on Martha's Vineyard, so be prepared to have a busy social calendar if that's what you wish to do. Alternatively you can decide to do a whole lot of nothing and spend your days lounging on the beach or poolside at your hotel. The weather is typically perfect for both.
June on Martha's Vineyard
In June, the average high temperature is 74 degrees Fahrenheit, with the lowest average temperature being 58 degrees Fahrenheit. Everything is in full swing on the island and this is when you'll start noticing possibly longer wait times in line at local landmarks like the Flying Horses, busier reservation times at restaurants, and overall a buzz of higher interest in all things Martha's Vineyard.
If visiting in the summer months, make a note to explore the West Tisbury Farmers Market, which kicks off mid-June. Founded in 1934 by Island farmers in response to the Great Depression and revived in 1974 by a “ragtag group of hippies, yankees, and retired English teachers,” the West Tisbury Farmers Market is Martha's Vineyard's oldest, largest, and finest open air market.
July on Martha's Vineyard
In July, the average high temperature is 81 degrees Fahrenheit, with the lowest average temperature being 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Also known for its perfect summer nights and for fireworks, which is one of the main draws of July on Martha's Vineyard, along with many other events that are planned for this month.
The Edgartown Fireworks are spectacular and can be watched from all over Edgartown Harbor but most people tend to walk to Fuller Street Beach as well as Lighthouse Beach, to secure a spot on the warm sand and watch the show of lights.
Bring a picnic of snacks to munch on as you wait for the fireworks, typically done after sunset once the sky gets dark.
August on Martha's Vineyard
In August, the average high temperature is 80 degrees Fahrenheit, with the lowest average temperature being 64 degrees Fahrenheit. It's typically the warmest month on the island, with surrounding ocean temperatures refreshing and a warm welcome.
The Martha's Vineyard Agricultural Fair takes place in August and is a four-day event that showcases everything agricultural on the island, along with fun and exciting fair games for the family.
One of the island's most memorable and unique events also happens in August: Grand Illumination Night in Oak Bluffs. This event generally takes place on the third Wednesday of August and is unlike anything you've ever experienced. This tradition began in 1869 as a way to mark the visit of the Governor of Massachusetts that summer. It became a yearly event once the residents of the cottages realized how special it was for everyone - both locals and visitors alike. The evening includes a Community Sing piece as well as live music by the Vineyard Haven Band, with the ceremonial lighting of the first lantern to kick off the evening.
Booking a Place To Stay
We don't have to tell you that the summer on Martha's Vineyard is busy and exciting, as you can see - with hundreds of events happening during the summer months, there's no lack of entertainment.
Vacation rentals, hotels, and the likes must be reserved with plenty of time in advance, although a quick day trip to the Vineyard during the summer is easily doable and a fun way to add-on an experience to your Cape Cod or Nantucket trip.
The first day of fall comes towards the end of September, so summer is still in full swing through most of the month. When it comes to prime business on Martha's Vineyard, the tempo starts to taper off once Labor Day arrives in early September.
September on Martha's Vineyard
In September, the average high temperature is 74 degrees Fahrenheit, with the lowest average temperature being 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Known for its great fishing, September is also the kick off of the Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby. It takes place in September and October and is a destination for anglers and spectators, bringing visitors from all corners of the world to fish in Vineyard waters.
October on Martha's Vineyard
In October, the average high temperature is 65 degrees Fahrenheit, with the lowest average temperature being 50 degrees Fahrenheit. After a hot summer, October arrives to give us some respite from the warmer temperatures, as it cools down to ideal weather in New England - not too hot, not too cold.
Along with finding that balance, October is on average the wettest month of the year, so take this into account and make sure to check out rainy day activities on the island - there's still so much to do when it rains on Martha's Vineyard, so do not let that dissuade you from planning a late fall trip.
Food and Wine
If you're a food and wine lover, October is also the month when the Martha's Vineyard Food and Wine Festival takes place and is a great getaway for friends to visit in October. The flagship food, wine and drink festival of Martha's Vineyard, the MVF&W Festival stays rooted in the Island's rich tradition of farming and fishing, inviting you to meet local culinary talent, and the farmers, fishermen, oyster producers, and artisans they work with—adding guest chefs and vintners from around the world for a unique to the island celebration.
Indigenous Peoples Day
October's big national holiday is Indigenous People Day on October 10th, a great time to dive into the history of the native Wampanoag population on the island. Ancestors of the Wampanoag people have lived for at least 12,000 years in Aquinnah and throughout the island of Noepe, the original name for Martha's Vineyard. The history of the Wampanoag on the island is long and vibrant, and can be explored on your next visit.
Make sure to spend a day up island and check out the Aquinnah Cultural Center, home to the Aquinnah Wampanoag Indian Museum.
November on Martha's Vineyard
In November, the average high temperature is 54 degrees Fahrenheit, with the lowest average temperature being 39 degrees Fahrenheit. November marks the start of the holiday season with Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas approaching. It's the time of year when the weather is definitely cool and the warmth of summer is gone. There's also a chance of snow so be prepared. But visitors love this time on island because the relaxing energy returns, the availability of rentals, restaurants, and ferry reservations are copious - except during holiday weekends, make sure to book those months in advance!
For Thanksgiving, many local hotels and restaurants will offer lodging and dining specials, whether you're looking to have a holiday meal out or at home, catered by your favorite island private chef. The Fall season is generally considered the “off-season” but we like to call it the “insider's season.” It's the time to visit when there's a balance of busy and relaxing - the weather calms the energy of the summer, while making whatever you do a more relaxing, peaceful time of year.
Winters on Martha's Vineyard are cool to cold with a January average of just slightly below 32 degrees Fahrenheit and the average annual snowfall is 25.3 inches. Winter officially arrives at the end of December and snow is not a given for a White Christmas, but the island rejoices when the weather stars align and give us a white holiday.
December on Martha's Vineyard
December is a busy month on the island. Many summer residents return to bask in the quaint picturesque New England scene. Vacation rentals are bustling with friends and families, restaurants are overjoyed with reservations, and the holiday ambiance is in full swing during this festive month.
In December, the average high temperature is 46 degrees Fahrenheit, with the lowest average temperature being 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Winter arrives and with that, cold temperatures, wind advisories, and a season of deep rest and relaxation for the locals. The holidays are a perfect time to visit the island to soak in all the holiday magic. Whether it's the Christmas in Edgartown Parade, the craft fairs and tree lighting in Oak Bluffs, or the Santa sightings there's something interesting to do every weekend on the island in December on Martha's Vineyard.
January on Martha's Vineyard
In January, the average high temperature is 40 degrees Fahrenheit, with the lowest average temperature being 25 degrees Fahrenheit. We've reached peak winter weather, so prepare for that. Visitors love this time on the island because it's quiet, with the crowds from the holiday season and summer a wishful moment months away.
If you're okay with colder weather, January is a fantastic time to visit when you're looking to get away from busy cities. After the new year, January comes to delight us with its calm winter views, crisp fresh air, and slow walks on nature trails. Download the TrailsMV app created by Sheriff's Meadow Foundation and discover all the nature trails on the island, all conveniently displayed in this handy app!
Warm up in a hotel room or vacation rental with a fireplace, discover the delicious seafood coming out of the pristine Vineyard waters, and retreat.
Sledding is a popular passtime when it snows on the Vineyard. Many locals will stop by the Tashmoo Overlook to blast down its slopes.
February on Martha's Vineyard
In February, the average high temperature is 39 degrees Fahrenheit, with the lowest average temperature being 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Plan a romantic getaway in February to celebrate Valentine's Day on the island - book a cozy hotel room, support locals by shopping for gifts at local retailers, and indulge in a delicious meal at one of the many island restaurants.
20 Mile Race
For those of you looking for more of a winter thrill, the Martha's Vineyard 20 Mile Race is for runners of all levels, but for hearty entrants that can withstand the February weather. From competitive athletes wanting to test themselves for bigger marathons to leisure runners wanting to get a good run in, this race offers a chance to “combine a visit to one of the East Coast's most beautiful shore communities with a race on a fast, USATF certified course.” A great way to get moving during the slower winter months, and you can make a fun trip out of this race!
No matter the season you decide to visit Martha's Vineyard, we assure you it will be a fantastic time if you plan your time carefully. Weather aside, the island is a year round destination with locally owned businesses open throughout the year! Like many New England towns, weather varies so much throughout even the same month, so make sure to look at current weather outlooks while you plan your trip. We are here to help - consider us your local insider concierge service for all your itinerary and planning needs!