Aquinnah is the western-most town on Martha's Vineyard and is home to the famous Gay Head Lighthouse, which is the oldest lighthouse in Martha's Vineyard. This small town is popular because it is removed from the bustling tourism of places like Edgartown and Oak Bluffs, and its beaches are situated along magnificent oceanfront bluffs, which give this area a unique feel from other, flatter places on the island.
Recently, Aquinnah has become celebrated as a center of Wampanoag culture and a center of pride and tradition among members of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head, who make up about one-third of the town's voters. This area is one of the earliest sites of whaling, done from shore by the Wampanoags, long before the 19th-century industry of whaling became the major maritime industry of Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, and New Bedford, Massachusetts.
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Gay Head Public Beach
This is a great, public beach for surfing and for those who like waves. Accessing this beach requires a 10-minute walk through a wooded trail from the parking lot.
Spanning two miles along Vineyard sound, this lovely public beach tends to have relatively calm waters and is great for surf fishing.
Access to Philbin Beach is limited to Gay Head residents, but if you are able to go is an excellent place to surf or spend the day playing in the waves.