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How Long Is The Ferry Ride From Martha’s Vineyard To Nantucket?


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Renie Adamski



Welcome to the beautiful coastal region of Massachusetts, where two picturesque islands, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, beckon visitors with their charm and natural beauty. Situated just off the coast of Cape Cod, these islands are popular destinations for locals and tourists alike, offering a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.


One of the most common questions that visitors to the area have is: how long is the ferry ride from Martha’s Vineyard to Nantucket? This article aims to provide a comprehensive answer, taking into account different ferry routes, durations, and factors that can affect the length of the journey.


The ferry experience between Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket is not just a means of transportation; it’s an opportunity to admire the stunning coastal views, feel the refreshing sea breeze, and soak in the maritime atmosphere. Whether you’re planning a day trip or an extended stay on these enchanting islands, knowing the details of the ferry ride can help you make the most of your visit.


So, grab your sunscreen, pack your bags, and let’s dive into the exciting world of ferry travel from Martha’s Vineyard to Nantucket!


Ferry Routes

When it comes to traveling from Martha’s Vineyard to Nantucket by ferry, there are several routes to choose from. Each route offers a unique experience, allowing you to tailor your journey to suit your preferences and schedule.


The most popular ferry route is the one operated by Hy-Line Cruises. Their high-speed ferry departs from Oak Bluffs in Martha’s Vineyard and arrives at Nantucket’s Straight Wharf. This route is known for its efficiency and offers multiple daily departures, making it convenient for day-trippers and those with a tight schedule.


Another option is the Steamship Authority ferry, which operates between Vineyard Haven in Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket’s Steamship Wharf. This traditional ferry service provides a comfortable and scenic ride, allowing passengers to savor every moment of their journey.


In addition to these primary routes, there are also seasonal ferry services available during the peak summer months. These include the Seastreak ferry, departing from Oak Bluffs and arriving at Nantucket’s Straight Wharf, and the Freedom Cruise Line ferry, which connects Oak Bluffs to Nantucket’s Brant Point.


It’s important to check the schedules and availability of each ferry route before planning your trip. The frequency of departures may vary depending on the season, so it’s advisable to make reservations in advance, especially during busy periods.


No matter which ferry route you choose, you can expect a scenic and enjoyable journey along the stunning coastline of Massachusetts. So sit back, relax, and prepare to be mesmerized by the breathtaking views as you make your way from Martha’s Vineyard to Nantucket.


Duration of the Ferry Ride

The duration of the ferry ride from Martha’s Vineyard to Nantucket can vary depending on several factors, including the route, weather conditions, and the type of ferry you choose. On average, the ferry ride takes around 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes. However, it’s important to note that this is just an estimate, and actual travel times may vary.


The high-speed ferry operated by Hy-Line Cruises offers the quickest journey, taking approximately 1 hour to reach Nantucket’s Straight Wharf. This option is ideal for those who want to minimize travel time and maximize their time exploring Nantucket’s attractions.


The Steamship Authority ferry, on the other hand, takes a bit longer, with the voyage typically lasting around 1 hour 30 minutes. However, this allows passengers to enjoy a more leisurely ride, taking in the scenic views along the way.


It’s important to keep in mind that travel times can be influenced by external factors. During heavy sea conditions or inclement weather, ferry schedules may be affected, resulting in longer journey times or even cancellations. It’s always a good idea to check the weather forecast and ferry updates before setting out on your trip.


If you’re looking for a more scenic and relaxed journey, consider taking one of the seasonal ferry services. The Seastreak ferry and the Freedom Cruise Line ferry may take slightly longer than the high-speed options, but they provide a unique experience and stunning views of the coastline, making the extra time well worth it.


Ultimately, no matter which ferry option you choose, the journey from Martha’s Vineyard to Nantucket is an enjoyable one. Sit back, unwind, and let the rhythmic motion of the boat transport you to your island destination.


Factors Affecting the Ferry Ride Duration

While the average duration of the ferry ride from Martha’s Vineyard to Nantucket is around 1 to 1.5 hours, there are several factors that can affect the actual travel time. It’s important to consider these factors when planning your journey to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.


1. Weather conditions: One of the most significant factors influencing ferry travel is the weather. Rough seas, high winds, or storms can result in slower speeds or even cancellations for the safety of passengers and crew. It’s always advisable to check the weather forecast and ferry updates before your trip and be prepared for potential delays or schedule changes.


2. Type of ferry: The type of ferry you choose can also impact the duration of the journey. High-speed ferries typically offer a faster ride, reaching Nantucket in approximately 1 hour. Traditional ferries may take a bit longer, averaging around 1.5 hours. Consider your preference for speed or a more leisurely ride when selecting your ferry option.


3. Ferry route and departure point: Different ferry routes and departure points can have varying travel times. For example, the Hy-Line Cruises high-speed ferry from Oak Bluffs to Nantucket’s Straight Wharf offers a quicker journey compared to the Steamship Authority ferry from Vineyard Haven to Nantucket’s Steamship Wharf. Be sure to check the specific travel durations for your chosen route.


4. Passenger demand and seasonality: During peak travel seasons, such as the summer months, ferry demand is typically higher. This can affect travel times as ferries may be operating at or near capacity. It’s advisable to book your ferry tickets in advance to secure your preferred departure time and reduce the risk of travel delays.


5. Maritime traffic: The waters around Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket can be busy with other vessels, including fishing boats, sailboats, and commercial ships. In some cases, the ferry may need to navigate through these congested areas, which can slightly extend the travel time. However, ferry operators are experienced in managing this and will work to minimize any delays.


It’s important to keep these factors in mind and allow for some flexibility in your travel plans. Remember that the ferry journey itself is part of the experience, and taking the time to relax and enjoy the scenic beauty of the Massachusetts coastline can make your trip even more memorable.


Tips for an Enjoyable Ferry Ride Experience

Embarking on a ferry ride from Martha’s Vineyard to Nantucket is not just about reaching your destination; it’s an opportunity to enjoy the journey and make the most of your time on the water. To ensure a pleasant and memorable experience, consider the following tips:


1. Arrive Early: It’s always a good idea to arrive at the ferry terminal early, especially during peak travel periods. This will give you ample time to park, purchase tickets, and board the ferry without feeling rushed. Arriving early also allows you to secure a good spot on the ferry deck for optimal views.


2. Pack Essentials: Remember to pack essentials for your ferry ride, such as sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and a light jacket or sweater. Even on sunny days, the sea breeze can create a chill, so it’s best to be prepared. Also, bring any necessary medications, snacks, and entertainment to keep yourself comfortable during the journey.


3. Capture Memories: Don’t forget to bring your camera or smartphone to capture the stunning coastal scenery during the ferry ride. The picturesque views of the ocean, islands, and lighthouses can make for incredible photo opportunities that you’ll cherish for years to come.


4. Explore the Ferry Amenities: Many ferries offer amenities such as onboard cafes, restrooms, and seating areas. Take the time to explore and familiarize yourself with these facilities to make your journey more comfortable. Grab a snack or a beverage to enjoy while you take in the sights and sounds of the ocean.


5. Enjoy the Views: Whether you choose a high-speed ferry or a traditional one, be sure to spend some time out on the deck to fully appreciate the scenic beauty of the Massachusetts coastline. Feel the refreshing sea breeze on your face and take in the panoramic views. You might even spot some marine life, such as dolphins or seals, swimming alongside the ferry.


6. Stay Informed: Follow the announcements and updates provided by the ferry crew. They will keep you informed about any changes to the schedule or any important safety instructions. Pay attention to these updates to ensure a smooth and hassle-free journey.


7. Respect Others: Be considerate of your fellow passengers by keeping noise levels to a minimum and avoiding any disruptive behavior. Remember that everyone is there to enjoy the ride, so maintaining a peaceful and respectful environment will enhance the experience for everyone onboard.


8. Plan Ahead: If you’re visiting Nantucket for just a day trip, it’s a good idea to plan your itinerary in advance. Research the attractions, restaurants, and activities that you want to explore on the island to maximize your time there. Consider factors such as transportation options on the island and any time constraints you may have.


By keeping these tips in mind, you can make the most of your ferry ride from Martha’s Vineyard to Nantucket and create lasting memories of your island adventure.



Traveling from Martha’s Vineyard to Nantucket by ferry is a delightful experience that allows you to soak in the beauty and charm of these coastal havens in Massachusetts. The duration of the ferry ride can vary depending on factors such as weather conditions, ferry routes, and the type of ferry you choose. On average, the journey takes around 1 to 1.5 hours, providing ample time to admire the captivating coastal scenery along the way.


Choosing the right ferry route and departure point, keeping an eye on the weather forecast, and allowing for some flexibility in your travel plans are key to ensuring a smooth and enjoyable journey. Arriving early, packing essential items, and capturing memorable moments through photographs are some of the tips that can enhance your ferry ride experience.


While the ferry ride is primarily a means of transportation, it offers much more than that. It is a chance to savor the maritime atmosphere, feel the invigorating sea breeze, and revel in the breathtaking vistas of the Massachusetts coastline. Whether you opt for a high-speed ferry for a quick journey or prefer a traditional ferry for a more leisurely ride, the ferry experience holds a certain allure that adds to the overall charm of your visit to these captivating islands.


So, whether you’re planning a day trip or a longer stay, make sure to include a ferry ride from Martha’s Vineyard to Nantucket in your itinerary. Immerse yourself in the serenity of the open waters, marvel at the scenic views, and let the ferry transport you to a world of natural beauty and coastal wonder.