About Long Point Wildlife Refuge
Whether you want to play in the ocean, splash with the kids in sheltered salt- and freshwater ponds, or explore a rare grassland habitat, this spectacular reservation will become a favorite escape.
What makes Long Point a special place?
At more than 600 acres, Long Point is one of the largest publicly accessible properties on Martha's Vineyard. The fact that it encompasses beach, dune, and woodland, which bracket a broad (and uncommon) sandplain heath, makes the reservation even more attractive, environmentally and recreationally. Understandably popular in summer, the property is also an off-season treasure, especially for birders and other nature-watchers.
Ice Age Remnants
Long Point Wildlife Refuge is all that remains of a broad prairie with scattered woods that was formed over many years after the last ice age. The plants and wildlife here are uniquely adapted to this dry, acidic landscape, its coastal ponds, and its sandy beach. You can stay by the water to swim and relax, or follow a two-mile trail that leads through oak forest and savanna bordered by Middle Point, Long Cove, and Tisbury Great Ponds.
Long Point is also part of an important sand barrens ecosystem that exists in patches from New Jersey to Maine. This ecosystem is home to many rare plants, including scrub oak shrublands, sandplain grasslands, coastal heathlands, and pitch pine barrens.
In recent decades, rare sand barrens communities have declined significantly throughout their range. To maintain and restore these rare communities, The Trustees are actively managing this landscape and helping to save plants and animals that depend on these open areas.
2.1 miles of flat trails through woods and open areas, plus beachfront. Easy walking.
When to Visit
Mid-June to mid-September: 9AM to 5PM (last admission at 5PM; gate closes at 6PM). Mid-September to mid-June: daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of two hours.
Public restrooms. Picnic tables. Bike rack. Small visitor center.
Regulations & Advisories
- Mountain biking is permitted only on designated trails.
- Horseback riding is prohibited.
- Please respect the privacy of neighbors.
- Ticks and poison ivy may be abundant along trail edges.
- Swimming may be hazardous due to rough surf and undertows. There are no lifeguards on duty; swim at your own risk.
- There are no trash receptacles. Please carry out what you carry in.
- Trail and beach wheelchair available.
- 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.
Off Edgartown-West Tisbury Road
Martha's Vineyard, MA 02568
Get directions on Google Maps.
Mid-June through mid-Sept.: Traveling west on Edgartown-West Tisbury Rd., proceed 0.3 mi. beyond main entrance to airport. Turn left onto Waldron's Bottom Rd. and follow for 1.3 mi. Turn left onto Scrubby Neck Rd. (Path), then right onto Hughe's Thumb Rd., and follow signs for 1.2 mi. to summer parking area (120 cars).
Mid-Sept. through mid-June: Traveling west on Edgartown-West Tisbury Rd., proceed 1.1 mi. beyond main entrance to airport. Turn left onto Deep Bottom Rd. and follow for 1.5 mi., always bearing left at forks. Turn right onto Thumb Point Rd. and follow for 1.3 mi. to off-season parking area (30 cars).
When to Visit
Mid-June to mid-September: 9AM – 5PM (last admission at 5PM; gate closes at 6PM). Mid-September to mid-June: daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of two hours.
Mid-June to mid-September: Trustees Members and children: FREE, plus half-price vehicle parking discount for basic-level members. Nonmembers $10 per car plus $3 per adult; pedestrian/bicyclist $3; children 15 and under FREE. Mid-September to mid-June: FREE to all.
The Wampanoag, who have been on Martha's Vineyard for millennia, depended on the land at Long Point for agriculture (corn, mostly), fuel (firewood), fishing, and hunting/gathering.
In the 1600s, the first white settlers learned from these traditions and techniques; over a 30-year period in the second half of the 17th century, colonists acquired from the natives all of what is now called Long Point.
At first commonly held for grazing, by the 1700s coastal parcels were being divided and sold to individuals. Extraction of resources became more ambitious over the next century. Activities included large-scale clearing of fields; sheep farming (for the export of wool); commercial fishing in the coastal ponds; the harvesting of salt hay for cattle fodder and insulation of homes.
In the early 20th century, wealthy seasonal residents purchased abandoned farms and established waterfowl hunting clubs. Later, as club membership decreased, three remaining members of the Tisbury Pond Club (see below) gave Long Point to The Trustees of Reservations.
Property Acquisition History
Original acreage a gift of Frederick N. Blodgett, Carl J. Gilbert, and William B. Rogers in 1979. Additional land given by Arthur Hadley in 1990, Anthony Lewis and Margaret Marshall in 1993, and Richard and Barbara Campbell in 1999.
Please see our Martha's Vineyard tour brochure 2012.
Claire Saltonstall Education Program (CSEP)
Educational programs for Martha's Vineyard school children are offered throughout the year. For more information, contact the Trustees Education and Interpretation Program Coordinator Molly Peach at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click to see where she goes when she heads south for the winter.
Conservation and Stewardship
Click to see where she goes when she heads south for the winter.
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.
View Long Point management plan.
Maps and Resources
Printed trail maps are distributed free from bulletin boards in parking areas. Please understand that supplies periodically run out. We recommend that you download a trail map before your visit. Some publications are also available for purchase at the Islands Regional Office, 860 State Road, Vineyard Haven (508.693.7662).
Planning Your Visit
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
Tell Us What You Think
We’d love to hear about your visit! Here are three easy ways to let us know what you think:
Take our visitor survey. If you have a question for us, you can ask us in the survey and we’ll get back to you.
Post a comment about your visit on our Facebook page.
Share your experiences with other visitors on our website. Simply fill out the form below, and we’ll post your comment right here on this page.