Moshup Beach (Aquinnah Beach)
Located on the exclusive barrier island of Martha’s Vineyard, Moshup Beach aka Aquinnah Public Beach is a gem. It’s also known as Gay Head or referred to by locals as “the cliffs beach” as that’s what it is.
The cliffs are multicolored providing a stunning and dramatic backdrop to the beach. These cliffs are so special they are a National Landmark and are owned and protected by the Wampanoag Tribe of Aquinnah. The colors range from orange, red and mustard yellow to dark purple and were once beneath the ocean.
Many of the beaches on Martha’s Vineyard are reserved for residents and guests who need to show a parking or beach permit. However, Moshup Beach is public and open to all. Located on the southwest promontory it has good surf, the best access point is from the parking lot near Moshup Trail (don’t worry about the name – it’s actually a street!). You can drop your family and beach gear and then park on the parking lot (fee currently $15 all day in summer) where there are restrooms. The walk back to the beach is about 10 minutes max.
Some visitors opt for nude sunbathing on the fine white sand, although the authorities are trying to clamp down on naturist sunbathing.
The beach stretches for about half a mile but you can swim around the headland and continue along the shoreline which is part of the Aquinnah Headlands Preserve. Climbing up the cliffs, mud bathing or removing any clay is illegal and will cause serious erosion.
The beach is ideal for boogie and body boarding, angling for striped bass and bluefish from the shore, birdwatching, beachcombing and picking up bleached driftwood and exotic shells.
Also known as:
Type of beach
- Good fishing
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