Aquinnah Cliffs Overlook (Gay Head Cliffs)

Aquinnah, Massachusetts
The Aquinnah Cliffs, also known as the Gay Head Cliffs, stand as a captivating natural wonder and a must-see attraction for visitors to Martha’s Vineyard.
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About This Location

The Aquinnah Cliffs, also known as the Gay Head Cliffs, stand as a captivating natural wonder and a must-see attraction for visitors to Martha’s Vineyard Island, Massachusetts. Nestled at the western extremity of the island, these striking cliffs are renowned for their picturesque beauty and fascinating geological features. Composed of layers of vibrant, multicolored clay, the cliffs soar to towering heights, exceeding 100 feet, and are steeped in natural history. It is said that within these clay layers, evidence of ancient creatures such as whales, camels, and wild horses has been discovered, offering a glimpse into the island’s distant past.

One of the most breathtaking vantage points to admire the Aquinnah Cliffs is the Aquinnah Cliffs Overlook. Here, visitors can witness the cliffs in all their resplendent glory, marveling at the rich hues and mesmerizing patterns of the geological formations.

Situated upon the cliffs themselves stands the Gay Head Lighthouse, a timeless sentinel that has watched over the coastline since its construction in 1856. Of the five lighthouses gracing Martha’s Vineyard, Gay Head Lighthouse is the sole working beacon. It serves as both a symbol of maritime heritage and a functional guide for seafarers navigating the treacherous waters surrounding the island.

At the base of the cliffs lies Moshup Beach, a beloved destination among both locals and tourists. This pristine stretch of shoreline offers a tranquil haven for sun-seekers and nature enthusiasts, further enhancing the allure of the Aquinnah Cliffs.

While the Aquinnah Cliffs are a sight to behold at any time of day, they truly come alive during the magical moments of sunset. The warm, golden hues of the descending sun cast a bewitching glow upon the cliffs, creating a scene of unparalleled beauty and tranquility. It’s no wonder that Aquinnah Cliffs earned the esteemed title of the “Most Beautiful Place in Massachusetts” by Conde Nast Traveler. Moreover, the National Park Service recognized the significance of these cliffs, designating them as a National Landmark in 1965, preserving their natural splendor for generations to come.

For those planning a visit to the Aquinnah Cliffs, the Moshup Beach parking lot is the primary destination. During the summer season, a parking fee of $30 grants access to this lot, which accommodates approximately 40 vehicles. However, visitors can also find parking around Aquinnah Circle, providing additional options for reaching this captivating natural wonder. In the off-season, parking is typically free and abundant, making it an ideal time to explore the area. To avoid parking concerns altogether, consider embarking on a scenic bike ride to the Aquinnah Cliffs, adding an extra layer of adventure to your visit.

Location

Address: 31 Aquinnah Circle, Aquinnah, Massachusetts
Place GPS Coordinates: 41.3473204, -70.8369678
Parking GPS Coordinates: 41.3473204, -70.8369678
Parking Notes: The Moshup Beach parking lot is the go-to lot for visitors of the Aquinnah Cliffs. It costs $30 to park there in the summer and it holds about 40 cars. There are also spots to park around Aquinnah Circle. Parking is free in the off-season and typically ample. If you want to avoid parking, consider biking to the cliffs!

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