Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge
Chappaquiddick Island, Martha's Vineyard
516 acres
Bird Watching Hunting Mountain Biking Not Permitted Swimming Dog Walking Fishing Walking/Hiking (Moderate) Picnicking Quest Guided Tours Canoeing/Kayaking Off-road Vehicles Beach Restroom Lighthouse

About Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge

Explore this magnificent barrier beach with its sandy shoreline, expansive salt marsh, beautiful salt pond, and unique colony of hardy red cedars.

What makes Chappaquiddick and Cape Poge a special place?
We think it's the almost 1,000 acres of preserved land here – including Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge, Mytoi, and Wasque – that offer plenty of places to explore on one's own, or with family and friends, year-round.

Chappaquiddick Island is completely cut off from mainland Martha’s Vineyard since a 2007 storm breached the thin, south-facing beach at Norton Point. In its remote, semi-wild demeanor, "Chappy" is truly a special place to all who visit or live here. First and foremost, there is “water, water, everywhere,” and in every direction. Access is by boat – either by private vessel or by ferry from Edgartown. Here one may find spectacular sunrises, and the equally magical spectacle of a great blue heron rising from the marsh. Sandpipers and surfcasters share the water’s edge.

A Peaceful Getaway
Chappaquiddick Island’s eastern edge is a barrier beach formed thousands of years ago by offshore currents that deposited tons of sand. Today this beach extends for seven miles from Wasque Point on the south past the Cape Poge Lighthouse to Cape Poge Gut. At the reservation’s northern edge, between Cape Poge Lighthouse and the Gut, Cape Poge Elbow sustains a gull rookery and nests of endangered piping plovers, least terns, and oyster catchers.

West of the dunes lies Cape Poge Bay, where calm, clear waters serve as a nursery for finfish and shellfish. The Cedars, stretching between bay and ocean, is a grove of century-old, low-growing eastern red cedars sculpted by salt spray and wind. Powerful currents push through the Gut at the top of the bay, flushing it with oxygen-rich water and attracting striped bass, bluefish, and other favorites of saltwater anglers.

Shining Light
At the northernmost tip of the sand barrier stands the Cape Poge Lighthouse. First erected in 1801, the lighthouse helped guide ships through the shoalwaters and shallows of Muskeget Channel, and into Edgartown Harbor. Storms and erosion felled the beacon twice; the lighthouse was rebuilt in 1844 and again in 1893 and this latter incarnation still stands.The Cape Poge light flashes a brilliant white 63 feet above the sand dunes and can be seen by sailors nine miles out to sea. Today, the Cape Poge Lighthouse is managed by The Trustees, while the U.S. Coast Guard maintains the automated lantern.

Moderate hiking along 14 miles of oversand vehicle and walking trails, plus beach front.

When to Visit
Open year-round, daily, 24 hours (10PM to 5AM – fishing access only). Gatehouse open Memorial Day Weekend through Columbus Day Weekend, 9AM to 4:45PM. Sections of the Refuge may be closed due to erosian or to protect nesting shorebirds. Allow a minimum of 2 hours on foot, longer if in oversand vehicle (permit required) or also visiting Wasque or Mytoi.

Take advantage of our popular Cape Poge Tours! We offer family-friendly lighthouse, kayak, and seaside exploration tours on a daily basis Memorial Day–Columbus Day. You don't even need to bring a car to Chappaquiddick – we offer complimentary van pickup for guided tour participants on the Chappy side of the Chappy Ferry! Call 508.627.3599 for more information and to book your reservation.

Beach access hotline (current beach closure updates): 508.627.8390.

Picnic tables, bike rack, restrooms (May 30 – Oct. 15) provided. Fresh water is available by hand pump from Wasque and Mytoi parking areas.

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Regulations & Advisories

  • 2018 Martha's Vineyard OSV Permits are on sale now >>

  • Oversand vehicle access is subject to occasional closures (June/July) to protect rare nesting shorebirds, the presence of rare or endangered species, or for any other reason pertaining to the safety needs of visitors and/or wildlife.

  • Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.

  • Seasonal hunting (waterfowl only) is permitted at this property subject to all state and town laws. In addition, a Trustees of Reservations permit is required. Learn more about hunting on Trustees properties.

  • There is no longer oversand vehicle access to Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge via Wasque due to severe beach erosion at Wasque Point.

  • Free town parking lot (20 cars) located on town-side of Dike Bridge.

  • Additional parking (15 cars) is located at Mytoi on the left side of Dike Road 0.2 mi. before Dike Bridge.

  • Limited handicapped-accessible transportation; call 508.627.3599 for details.

  • Tour participants may utilize a complimentary shuttle service that runs all day, with pickup 30 minutes before tour time at the Edgartown-Chappaquiddick ferry landing on the Chappaquiddick side.

  • When bringing a vehicle across, please be aware that summer ferry lines to Chappaquiddick Island may exceed 1 hour. Walk-on passengers rarely have to wait more than 7 minutes.

The Trustees reserves the right to photograph or video visitors and program participants for promotional use, and usage of our properties implies consent. Find the full policy here.


Dike Road, Chappaquiddick Island
Martha's Vineyard, MA 02539
Telephone: 508.627.7689
Tours: 508.627.3599
Beach access hotline (current beach closure updates): 508.627.8390.

Latitude: 41.3736
Longitude: -70.4540

Get directions on Google Maps.

From Edgartown-Chappaquiddick ferry, take Chappaquiddick Road 2.5 mi. At sharp right curve, continue straight on Dike Road (dirt road) and follow 0.5 mi. to entrance and gatehouse over Dike Bridge. Town parking area (20 cars) on town side of bridge. Additional parking (15 cars) at Mytoi on left side of Dike Rd. 0.2 mi. before reaching bridge.


When to Visit
Open year-round, daily, 24 hours (10PM to 5AM – fishing access only). Gatehouse open Memorial Day Weekend through Columbus Day Weekend, 9AM to 4:45PM. Sections of the Refuge may be closed due to erosian or to protect nesting shorebirds. Allow a minimum of 2 hours on foot, longer if in oversand vehicle (permit required) or also visiting Wasque or Mytoi.

Beach access hotline (current beach closure updates): 508.627.8390.

Fees and Permits
May 30 to Oct. 15: Trustees members FREE. Nonmembers: Adult $5, Child (15 & under) FREE. Free to pedestrians at other times of the year.

Oversand vehicle permit fees: $180 Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge. Combination permits valid at both Norton Point Beach and Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge are $300 for vehicles not registered on Martha's Vineyard and $250 for vehicles registered on Martha's Vineyard. After April 30, Cape Poge permits will increase to $200 and Combination Permits will increase to $320 for vehicles not registered on Martha’s Vineyard and $270 for vehicles registered on Martha’s Vineyard. Annual permits are valid Apr. 1 to Mar. 31.

Buy a 2018 OSV Permit >>

Property History

Property Acquisition History
Original acreage a gift, with endowment, of Charles S. Bird and Oliver D. Filley in 1959. Additional land purchased in 1972, 1975, 1977, and 1995; and in 1970, 1971, and 1976 with funds given by Mrs. Seth Wakeman. Additional land given by Mr. and Mrs. Richard M. Parmenter in 1964; Doris H. Chouinard in 1965; Dr. and Mrs. Edward B. Self in 1978 and 1984; Dr. and Mrs. Joseph Murray in 1983; and Philip B. Norton in 1986. Additional lands purchased in 1995 from Donald Greenstein.


The Trustees offer a selection of guided and self-guided tours, including natural history and fishing trips, that help adults and children alike explore the natural wonders of Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge as well as the historic Cape Poge Lighthouse. All guided tours are led by expert naturalists.

Due to limited Internet connectivity at these properties, all tour reservations must be booked over the phone. Please call 508.627.3599 to book a tour or ask questions.

Conservation and Stewardship

Management Planning for Our Properties

Since 1891, The Trustees of Reservations have worked to protect special places in Massachusetts and maintain them to the highest standards. To ensure these standards are met, a program of careful planning and sound management is essential. Comprehensive property management plans are created for each reservation and are completely updated approximately every ten years. We often work with volunteers, property users, and members of the community to carry out this planning, which typically involves several steps:

  • Describing in detail the site’s natural, scenic, and historical resources; identifying management issues related to the protection of those resources. 

  • Describing how visitors use the property; outlining the opportunities that the property provides for people to become involved in the work of conservation and caring for their community.

  • Developing a detailed list of management recommendations, a work plan, and a description of financial needs for implementing the actions.

  • Developing a prescribed routine management program for the reservation that will guide staff work plans, volunteer involvement, and the allocation of human and financial resources.

Maps and Resources

Printed trail maps are distributed free from the bulletin board in the parking area. Please understand that supplies periodically run out. We suggest downloading a trail map in advance of your visit.

Some publications are also available for purchase at the Islands Regional Office at 508.693.7662.

Additional Resources:

T-shirts, sweatshirts, caps, and other merchandise can be purchased at the Cape Poge and Wasque gatehouses May 30 to October 15. All proceeds support ongoing conservation work at Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge, including conducting wildlife research, protecting endangered species and their habitats, and restoring sandplain grasslands and heathlands.

Private Functions & Photography

Private gatherings at the Cape Poge Lighthouse may be arranged; email or call 508.627.7689 for more information.

Planning Your Visit

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Before You Go
We encourage you to visit as many Trustees properties as you can.

Wherever your travels take you, please observe all posted regulations, follow special instructions from property staff, and keep in mind the Stewardship Code:

  • Protect wildlife and plants.
  • Guard against all risk of fire.
  • Help keep air and water clean.
  • Carry out what you carry in.
  • Use marked footpaths and bridle paths.
  • Leave livestock, crops, and machinery alone.
  • Respect the privacy of neighboring land.
  • Enjoy and share the landscape with others.

Click on links below for further visitor information:

Before Setting Out

Enjoying Trustees Reservations


About Hunting on Trustees of Reservations Land