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While all of Martha’s Vineyard has gotten busier over the past decade or two, you can still escape the big crowds of downtown Edgartown by heading over to Chappaquiddick.
The On Time ferry shuttles cars (3-4 at a time), bikes and passengers from Dock Street in Edgartown across about 100 yards of Edgartown harbor to Chappaquiddick. When taking a car over, beware that during peak hours the ferry line gets quite long and can take up to an hour.
As you proceed down the main road on Chappaquiddick, you will see:
Immediately left of the ferry is a small beach. Nice sand and good swimming, but the best feature of this beach is its prime location for watching boat (and yacht!) traffic coming in and out of Edgartown harbor.
Continue down a quarter mile on the left and you will pass the Chappaquiddick beach club. This private club is the site of the red, white and blue cabanas featured in the movie Jaws.
Approximately three miles onto the island, Chappaquiddick Road takes a 90 degree right turn. Going straight at this turn takes you down Tom’s Neck Lane where you will find the Mytoi Japanese garden, maintained by the Trustees of the Reservations. Unexpected, and perhaps a little out of place, these gardens are peaceful, quiet and rarely crowded.
Continue further down Tom’s Neck Lane to Dike Bridge. Car traffic ends here, but you can cross the bridge by foot to explore the Cape Pogue Wildlife Refuge, a beautiful barrier beach on Nantucket Sound. Be advised that parking is extremely limited.
If you continue on Chappaquiddick Road (at the 90 degree right turn) and then left on Pocha road you will eventually come to Wasque beach at the southeast corner of Chappaquiddick where Nantucket Sound meets the Atlantic Ocean. This beach has nice sand and good surf as well as dunes and inland tidal pools for the kids to explore. Since it is a little harder to get to, Wasque tends to be less crowded than Edgartown beaches.