Logo   Aquinnah-Gay Head Martha's Vineyard
Owned by the Wampanoag Indians, these multicolored bands of fine glacial clay form a striking promontory at the western tip of Martha's Vineyard island.


Don't expect a dramatic, towering wall of land staunchly resisting the thundering waves: the cliffs of Aquinnah are dramatic only when set against the more-or-less level terrain of the island. But the cliffs and their colors are pretty.

You can view the cliffs for free.

Stand at the lookout, in view of the red-brick Gay Head Light (1844), and the bands of earthen color seem like sand.

Walk down the path to the public beach and you see that the colored earth is actually very fine, almost greasy-feeling clay.

The colors on the 150-foot-high (46-meter) cliffs range from near black to off-white, with a range of blues, reds, browns and oranges between.

It's very important that you follow the rules and not dig or climb the clay. Be careful to preserve this beautiful natural attraction for others.

Snack stands near the lookout provide snacks, drinks and light picnic meals.

The walk from the lookout along the trail to the beach takes 10 to 15 minutes.

VTA buses make the run out here from Edgartown, Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven.

I'd suggest you take an early morning one to beat the crowds, or a late afternoon one to enjoy the warm western light on the clay cliffs.

You'll probably want to combine your excursion to Aquinnah with a visit to nearby Menemsha.

—by Tom Brosnahan


West Tisbury


Oak Bluffs

Vineyard Haven

What to See & Do

Island Transport

Tourist Information

About Martha's Vineyard


Paris Girls Secret Society, the new novel by Tom Brosnahan


Aquinnah (Gay Head) Cliffs, Martha's Vineyard MA

Above, bands of subtle color from glacial clays make Aquinnah's cliffs gay.

Below, more colored cliffs down by the beach.


Aquinnah (Gay Head) Cliffs, Martha's Vineyard MA



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