You've packed the bathing suits, towels, and lobster forks and you're bound for a trip to beautiful Martha's Vineyard. This sleepy fishing town is one of the quaintest, prettiest places in New England. Though the historic shops and charming sights could keep you occupied for your entire trip, let's not forget one of the island's best assets: the beaches. Here are our picks for the best beaches in Martha's Vineyard.

Also known as Katama Beach (due to its placement on Katama Road), this three-mile shore is one of the very best beaches in Martha's Vineyard, if not the best, with plenty of parking space, to boot. Both families and young adults frequent this versatile coastline. Lifeguards are on certain sections of the beach and the waves are interesting enough to keep water sports enthusiasts (including surfers) happy.

Want to bike from your Martha's Vineyard vacation rental to the beach? This mile-long beach has a paved bike path. For those not up to pedaling to the shore, a scheduled shuttle service also makes stops to State Beach during the summer season. The Joseph A. Sylvia State Beach is one of the most popular (and thus, the most crowded) beaches on the island due to its gentle, warm waves and a wooden drawbridge. Those looking for lifeguards will find them located only on the Edgartown side of the beach.

Sorry, drivers, there's no parking to be found near Lobsterville Beach (in Aquinnah), but that doesn't mean you can't easily bike or walk to this treasure. The 2-mile shoreline has shallow, tranquil waters ideal for a young child's first introduction to the water. Plenty of native wildlife abounds, too.

This remote beach is located on the Wasque Reservation. Be forewarned that getting to the beach isn't easy - you've got to bike, hike, or take a car with four-wheel drive to get to this private beach. There's a $3 admission charge and driving on the beach will cost you a pretty penny, so park near the Dyke Bridge instead if you're driving. With all the difficulties of getting here, the privacy and beauty of this natural beach make it well worth the effort.

The waters are rough, but the people are plentiful. With no shortage of lifeguards or restrooms, this is a popular choice for families. Food vendors arrive daily to peddle wares like ice cream, hot dogs, shrimp, and steamers. Do yourself a favor and catch the sunset here at least once during your stay in Chilmark.

Another beach on the Wasque Reservation, this one is much easier to get to than East Beach, though it certainly hosts more crowds. You'll find a relatively uncrowded coastline complete with lifeguards, restrooms, and decent parking selections.

This beach is a sleepy little half-mile beach nestled against the cliffs of Martha's Vineyard. The parking lot isn't well equipped for in-season parking, so come early. This may not be the best beach for families with small children, as you do have to take a small hike to get to the beach (not easy with little legs and a bag full of beach toys). A shuttle service runs from down-island to Aquinnah during the summer season.

Martha's Vineyard vacation rentals

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  • 6 BR
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