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The 21 BEST Martha’s Vineyard Rainy day activities

Are you worried that rain will ruin your vacation? Fear not, I’ve got you covered with the best Martha’s Vineyard Rainy day Activities for all ages.

As a seasoned visitor to Martha’s Vineyard for nearly 25 years, I have experienced my fair share of rain here and even a couple of tropical storms! Although November is the month with the most rain, be prepared for the occasional rainy day in the summer too.

These days, with children in tow, I understand the challenge of keeping little ones entertained when being outdoors is not an option.

In this post, I share a curated list of 21 indoor activities on Martha’s Vineyard that will ensure you still go home with nothing but the best memories from your vacation.

So, banish your weather worries and marvel at this ultimate list of things to do on Martha’s vineyard in the rain.

What to do in the rain in Martha’s Vineyard?

Here are my top picks for things to do in Martha’s Vineyard when it rains:

  1. Visit the Martha’s Vineyard Museum
  2. Catch the Brass Ring at the Flying Horses Carousel
  3. Go for a swim or work out at the Martha’s Vineyard YMCA
  4. Bowl a strike at the Barn Bowl & Bistro
  5. Visit an Art Gallery
  6. Peek inside a Gingerbread House at the Cottage Museum
  7. Win some tickets at Ryan Family Amusements Arcade
  8. Pick up a beach read at a local bookstore
  9. Treat yourself to an ice cream at Mad Martha’s
  10. Learn about the history of the Aquinnah Wampanoag
  11. Explore inside a Martha’s Vineyard Lighthouse
  12. Catch a movie
  13. Ignite your curiosity at the Edgartown Fire Museum
  14. Go Shopping!
  15. Visit the Carnegie Heritage Center
  16. Break out of the Pirates Puzzle Escape Room
  17. Venture into the wild at Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary
  18. Watch the master Glassblowers at Martha’s Vineyard Glassworks
  19. Indulge in some comfort food at the best local restaurants
  20. Enjoy the amenities at your accommodation
  21. Take one of these Martha’s Vineyard Classes

The 21 Best Martha’s Vineyard rainy day activities

two children looking at an exhibit about the gay head lighthouse at the marthas vineyard museum

1. Visit the Martha’s Vineyard Museum

📍 LOCATION: Vineyard Haven

This is an excellent choice of Martha’s Vineyard indoor activities for young and old alike. This captivating museum showcases the island’s rich history, culture, and natural beauty through engaging exhibits and interactive displays. You can learn all about the fascinating history of Martha’s Vineyard, its maritime heritage, the Wampanoag people and more.

I’m a huge movie fan and the exhibit on the making of “Jaws” on Martha’s Vineyard is my favorite thing here. The exhibit showing how Gay Head Lighthouse was lifted up and moved to a new location is such an extraordinary story, this is also a must-see.

an antique wooden horse on the the flying horses carousel in oak bluffs martha's vineyard

📍 LOCATION: Oak Bluffs

This historic carousel, dating back to the late 19th century offers a touch of whimsy and nostalgia, perfect for a rainy day. It is fully enclosed so no chance the rain will get you here. Ride on one of the beautifully crafted wooden horses and grab the rings as you go by.

If you catch the brass ring, you win a free ride! You an stay on and go again right away or take a special winning ticket and come back for your free ride another day.

The carousel is on every “Things to do in Martha’s Vineyard” list and is something you should experience on your vacation, rain or shine. My children never tire of this and we visit multiple times each summer.

an image of the windows and wall decor at the martha's vineyard ymca aquatics center. The swimming pool can be seen through the windows

3. Go for a swim or work out at the Martha’s Vineyard YMCA

📍 LOCATION: Vineyard Haven

When rainy weather dampens outdoor plans, buy a day pass for the YMCA! Day passes are $20 for adults and $10 for kids. The facility offers a fully equipped gym, fitness classes and swimming pools. Spend a couple of hours there or the whole day if the weather isn’t improving.

A note for those with very young children – from my experience, the pool is not that warm and I noticed my kids getting cold pretty quickly if they weren’t moving around all the time. If you have a young baby, I recommend using a swimming wrap or baby wetsuit for some extra warmth in the water.

If you are a seasonal resident or visiting for a long period of time, you can also purchase week or month-long memberships. A family pass (2 adults and any dependent kids under 26 living in same home) is $150 for one week or $223 for one month

the 10 bowling lanes at the barn bowl and bistro in oak bluffs. The pins are all in place  at the end of the lanes and artwork showing the 6 towns on martha's vineyard can be seen above the lanes

4. Bowl a strike at the barn bowl & bistro

📍 LOCATION: Oak Bluffs

This boutique ten-pin bowling alley has 10 lanes and is one of the most popular things to do in Martha’s Vineyard in the rain. Forget about hard plastic chairs and enjoy the comfortable couches at your lane in this modern bowling alley.

The menu is extensive, the food is great and you can order it to the lanes or eat in the bar area. This is my favorite place for dining out with kids on Martha’s Vineyard. I love bowling here because the lanes are really well-maintained and there are popup rails and ramps for the kids.

Lanes can be booked by the hour for $60 a peak time and $30 off-peak. 6 people max to a lane and shoe hire is included in the price.

The 4-storey exterior of the Eisenhauer art gallery in edgartown. balconies with white columns and railings can be seen on each floor

📍 LOCATION: Island-wide

Located in Oak Bluffs, Michael Blanchard’s Crossroads Gallery is a haven for photography enthusiasts. This gallery showcases Blanchard’s stunning images of Martha’s Vineyard landscapes. Top tip: You can also follow Michael on Instagram – his photos brighten up my feed every day.

On a rainy day in Edgartown, you can take in the contemporary art at the Eisenhauer Gallery which features sculptures and paintings from more than 40 artists. The Granary Gallery in West Tisbury is a good choice if you want to see works from local island artists.

There are not many free things to do on Martha’s Vineyard (especially indoor activities) but visiting a gallery is one of them!

A green wooden sign for the martha's vineyard camp meeting association in oak bluffs

6. Peek inside a gingerbread house at the Cottage Museum

📍 LOCATION: Oak Bluffs

If you have ever wanted to know what the inside of those colorful gingerbread houses looks like, now’s your chance! When I was planning my wedding, I took a day trip to Martha’s Vineyard for a vendor meeting.

Afterwards, I found myself in Oak Bluffs on a rainy day with time to kill before catching the ferry. I visited the (very tiny) Cottage Museum for a quick and enjoyable trip back in time. The museum showcases memorabilia, furnishings, photos and documents from Campground life in the 1800s.

Visiting the cottage museum is definitely one of the more unique things to do on Martha’s Vineyard. The preservation of these cottages as a living testament to the island’s past is extraordinary.

image taken from above looking down at 5 large game structures at the ryan family arcade on a rainy day in oak bluffs, martha's vineyard

7. Win some tickets at Ryan Family Amusements Arcade

📍 LOCATION: Oak Bluffs

Also known locally as the Game Room, this is another wildly popular venue on the list of Martha’s Vineyard rainy day activities. In fact, my kids will happily go here on a bright sunny day too. Getting them *out* again is a different story!

Kids can easily spend many hours (and dollars) in this lively arcade with a wide selection of classic and modern video games, claw games and skeeball. The lights are bright, the music is loud and the atmosphere is energetic. The arcade is an ideal spot to wait out any dreary weather.

image of the staircase at Edgartown books taken on a rainy day in martha's vineyard. Each step is painted with books and the names of book genres like Cooking, gardening, true crime, Music

8. Pick up a beach read at a local Bookstore

📍 LOCATION: Island-wide

If you find yourself in Vineyard Haven on a rainy day, pop into locally-owner, independent bookstore, Bunch of Grapes. This store has been an island institution for over 40 years and their staff book picks are a thoughtfully curated way to find your next read.

The iconic staircase in the photo above can be found at Edgartown Books, another local icon. You might be lucky enough to catch an author signing here. After shopping, duck behind the store to find one of my favorite coffee and breakfast spots in Edgartown, Behind the Bookstore.

🤩 Shop Martha’s Vineyard books

an image of the interior wall of mad martha's ice cream store in edgartown. The  store logo is painted on the wall. A hand holds an ice cream cone containing chocolate chip ice cream to the foreground

9. Treat yourself to an ice cream at Mad Martha’s

📍 LOCATION: Island-wide

When it’s raining, indulge in a sweet treat at Mad Martha’s. This is my favorite place to get ice cream on Martha’s Vineyard and was recently voted Best Ice Cream on Cape Cod and the Islands. With locations in Edgartown, Vineyard Haven, and Oak Bluffs, you’re close to a Mad Martha’s wherever you’re staying.

If you’re feeling brave, order the Pig’s Delight. It’s 12 scoops of ice-cream, mountains of toppings, a couple of bananas, a big pile of whipped cream and handfuls of cherries and nuts. Every summer I think about trying this and every summer I chicken out! Maybe this year….

A signpost for gay head cliffs in aquinnah in the foreground with the shops and staircase leading to the cliffs in the background.

10. Learn about the History of the Aquinnah Wampanoag

📍 LOCATION: Aquinnah

Venture Up-Island on a rainy day and explore the customs, history and traditions of the original inhabitants of the island, the Wampanoag people. The Aquinnah Cultural Center houses a small museum showcasing local art, artifacts and information about the tribe on Martha’s Vineyard.

The museum is indoors and you can combine this with a visit to see the interior of nearby Gay Head Lighthouse.

the exterior of the redbrick, gay head light house. A good indoor activity for a martha's vineyard rainy day

11. Explore inside a Martha’s Vineyard Lighthouse

📍 LOCATION: Island-wide

There are 5 lighthouses on Martha’s Vineyard and all but one (West Chop) are open to the public. There are seasonal opening hours for most of them and some visits have to be arranged in advance so double check before you go. If you can only see one, I recommend Gay Head Lighthouse (also known as Aquinnah Lighthouse).

There are two things I found out from first-hand experience that you should know before you go. Firstly, the stairs up to the top is narrow and steep and may be difficult for those with mobility issues. Secondly, it gets HOT at the top when there’s a 10,000 watt bulb shining on you!

The history of the lighthouse is fascinating. In 2015, it was lifted up and moved 100ft away from the cliff edge. Learn more about that extraordinary project at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum.

the exterior entrance door to the  entertainment cinemas in edgartown, an indoor activity on martha's vineyard

12. Catch a movie

📍 LOCATION: Edgartown and Vineyard Haven.

Stay cozy and dry at Edgartown Cinemas or the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center and forget about the weather outside. There’s nothing more comforting than warm popcorn and a great movie on a rainy Martha’s Vineyard day.

If you are lucky, you might catch a screening of the original Jaws movie which was filmed on Martha’s Vineyard. Edgartown Cinemas often shows this during the summer months. See how many of the island’s filming locations you can spot!

two antique, red fire engines parked inside the the edgartown fire museum. The museum is a wooden building with an american flag at the entrance and is an indoor activity on martha's vineyard

13. Ignite your curiosity at the Edgartown Fire Museum

📍 LOCATION: Edgartown

The Edgartown Fire Museum is home to a lovingly curated collection of firefighting memorabilia, equipment, uniforms and fire trucks. Retired Captain Richard Kelly runs the museum and we really enjoyed meeting him the last time we visited.

He happily answered all the questions from the kids and showed us his huge collection of fire station patches gathered from all over the world – even Ireland.

This museum makes the list of Martha’s Vineyard rainy day activities because everything is indoors, there is parking right outside and it’s open daily from mid-May to mid-October. Insider tip: Look for the intriguing fire grenades and read about what they do!

the sign for the shop named rainy day in Edgartown. The sign shows an illustration of a person wearing a raincoat holding an umbrella and lists items for sale at the store such as gifts, decor, toys and statinery. A second sign underneath shows the word "open"

14. Go Shopping!

📍 LOCATION: Island-wide

A rainy day provides the perfect excuse for a Vineyard shopping trip. Whether you’re in search of unique handmade crafts, fashionable clothing, local artwork, or gourmet treats, the island’s shops offer an abundance of options to indulge your shopping desires.

Of course, there are ample choices for toy shopping for the kids too. There’s even a store called Rainy Day! My kids love this place because there are so many toys, books and puzzles to choose from and I love it because they sell island-made gifts and home wares.

There are two, centrally located stores. Rainy Day Vineyard Haven is located right on Main street, a short walk from the ferry. Rainy Day Edgartown is on North Water street, in the heart of downtown Edgartown.

The exterior of the daniel fisher house in edgartown. A grand white building with decorative balconies, manicured lawn and expert landscaping

15. Visit The Carnegie Heritage Center

📍 LOCATION: Edgartown

The Carnegie Museum is a treasure trove of historical artifacts about the earliest days of the settlement of Edgartown and Martha’s Vineyard. The museum also has local art on display and a heritage gift shop.

If the rain is not too bad, consider taking the walking tour which will give you access to see inside six Vineyard Preservation Trust landmarks which are not generally open to the public. This includes the beautiful Dr. Daniel Fisher House and The Old Whaling Church next door.

I recommend this museum and walking tour for anyone with an interest in history and architecture.

pirates puzzle escape room building exterior. A green hedge is at the front of the building and the sign shows the company name in gold letters

16. Break out of the Pirates Puzzle Escape Room

📍 LOCATION: Edgartown

Martha’s Vineyard rainy day activities don’t come much more exhilarating than The Pirates Puzzle Escape Room. Get your puzzle-enthusiast friends together and step into an immersive, Jaws-themed adventure.

You have 45 minutes to unravel the mysteries, solve intricate puzzles and free yourselves from the room. You’ll need to work together, combining your wit, logic, and observation skills to uncover clues and unlock secrets. If you escape before the time is up, everyone on the team wins a prize!

two children looking at indoor exhibits about the salt marsh at the felix neck discovery center in edgartown, martha's vineyard

17. Venture into the wild at Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary

📍 LOCATION: Edgartown

The Discovery room at Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary is an education center where you can learn all about the flora, fauna and habitats on Martha’s Vineyard. You might think it’s strange to find this on a list of things to do on Martha’s Vineyard on a rainy day, but the education center is fully indoors!

When we last visited, my kids spent an hour in here before we hit the trails so I can promise you this is worthy of inclusion on the list. The center features hands-on activities, live animals and information about the ecology of the local area and ongoing conservation projects.

There’s no doubt the 4 glorious miles of trails are the jewel in the crown of the sanctuary. Hopefully the weather clears while you are there and you can enjoy spectacular views and take a walk through a variety of terrain from woodlands and meadows to salt marsh and shorelines.

a stock image of a glassblower at work moulding a large glass object like a vase

18. Watch the master glassblowers at Martha’s Vineyard Glassworks

📍 LOCATION: West Tisbury

The Glassworks consists of two galleries (where you can view glass products available to purchase) and a working glass studio showcasing the mesmerizing art of glassblowing. This is a wonderful rainy day activity for art enthusiasts.

You can watch highly skilled craftspeople creating vases, tableware, decorations, ornaments and even sculptures right before your eyes. This is a great opportunity to ask questions about the process as you see the exquisite designs brought to life.

The studio is open from Wednesday to Sunday but you should always call in advance to make sure there are glassblowers at work. If you visit around, Christmas or other holiday, you might be lucky enough to pick up a limited-edition seasonal piece like the adorable Valentines Penguins or a set of fall-favorite glass pumpkins.

a close-up picture of an overflowing mug of chowder with crutons on top. The mug is inside a bowl which catches the overflowing chowder and crutons. An image of a black dog can be seen on the mug. Taken at the black dog tavern in vineyard haven on a cold wet day on martha's vineyard

19. Indulge in some comfort food

📍 LOCATION: Island-wide

What better excuse than a dull, rainy day to nourish your soul with some comfort food? Enjoy a respite from the weather and savor some of the delicious comfort food available across the island. My perfect day of comforting, warm and hearty dishes begins with eggs, bacon and home fries at the Dock Street Coffee Shop in Edgartown.

I would grab a mid-morning muffin or cookie, baked with love at at Morning Glory farm. At lunch time, head to Vineyard Haven for an overflowing, hot cup of chowder at the Black Dog Tavern. For dinner, it’s down to the Brick Cellar bar at Atria, Edgartown for the cozy atmosphere and my favorite Classic Burger and truffle fries. Perfect!

an image of some shelves containing board games and martha's vineyard branded merchandise at the Lazy Frog store in oak bluffs. The game vineyardopoly and a martha's vineyard jigsaw puzzle are the focus of the image

20. Enjoy the amenities at your Accommodation

📍 LOCATION: Island-wide

The best Vineyard vacation rentals and hotels provide a variety of indoor activities to entertain their guests on Martha’s Vineyard in the rain. At your vacation rental, check for a stash of board games, books or a games console to pass the time.

The Summercamp Hotel in Oak Bluffs has a whole game room with activities like Ping Pong and Twister available to guests. The Winnetu Oceanside Resort in Edgartown has an impressive list of amenities for guests.

You can play ping pong, pool or check out a board game from their library. There is also a fitness center on site and a kids summer activity camp for guests

a stock image of a woman with her back to the camera. She is seated cross legged on a yoga mat on a wooden floor in an empty room. The sun casts shadows over her and the floor from the left of the image

21. Take one of these Martha’s Vineyard Classes

📍 LOCATION: Island-wide and online

Use this time of inclement weather to take a class and learn a new skill. Action Karate, Yoga on the Vine and Crossfit MV all offer fitness or yoga classes at their locations. Some are available as virtual classes online so you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your vacation home, rental or hotel.

Featherstone Center for the Arts and The Old Sculpin gallery offer art classes for adults and children. If you would like to learn to cook with local island produce, check out the cookery classes at the Farm Institute in Katama, Edgartown.

A woman in yellow raincoat, blue jeans, white shoes and brown backpack stands on a rock. she is facing the open ocean.

What to wear in Martha’s Vineyard in the rain

When it comes to dressing for a rainy day on Martha’s Vineyard, it’s essential to strike a balance between style and practicality in staying dry. Despite the rain, temperatures on the island may still be warm in the summer months, so lightweight and breathable fabrics are key.

Opt for a stylish yet functional raincoat like this one in a classic color with some extra length. Pair it with a versatile umbrella that complements your outfit. I love this clear bubble umbrella so you can still see the scenic island views even in the rain.

Choose footwear that is both comfortable and water-resistant, like these elegant ballet flats. Layering is key, so opt for lightweight, quick-drying materials. Don’t forget to bring a compact and stylish crossbody bag or small backpack to keep your essentials dry.

With a thoughtful approach to your rainy day attire, you can navigate Martha’s Vineyard’s dress code while staying both fashion-forward and comfortably dry amidst the warm but wet weather.

Final words on Martha’s Vineyard rainy day activities

Martha’s Vineyard is renowned for being a vacation destination with stunning beaches, warm weather, hiking trails and watersports.  People are often surprised to learn how much there is to do indoors here when the weather doesn’t co-operate.

A note for drivers – there are some roads on the island that can flood quite badly if the rain is heavy. The 5 corners intersection in Vineyard Haven is particularly prone to flooding. I have also seen floods at Edgartown Harbor parking lot and the corner of Atlantic drive at the Norton Point beach entrance when the rain is prolonged and particularly heavy.

Something else that might surprise you is how such a small island can have totally different weather from one side to the other. Just because the Edgartown weather is dull and rainy doesn’t mean the weather in Oak Bluffs will be the same, so no need to despair if you wake up to a grey day.

Try the Martha’s Vineyard rainy day activities on this list and don’t let a little rain keep you from making unforgettable vacation memories!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does it rain a lot on Martha’s Vineyard?

No, it does not rain a lot on Martha’s Vineyard. According to measurements taken at Martha’s Vineyard Airport, the average monthly rainfall is 3.2″ with the least rain occurring in July (2.5″) and the most, occurring in November (3.8″). On average, rain can happen on 7.3 days of the month.

What is the average rainfall in Martha’s Vineyard?

The average annual rainfall in Martha’s Vineyard is 37.9″. The average monthly rainfall in Martha’s Vineyard is 3.2″. July has the least rain and November has the most rain according to measurements taken at Martha’s Vineyard Airport.

What to do in Martha’s Vineyard when it rains?

Try one of these 21 indoor activities Martha’s Vineyard. You can visit the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, take a ride on the Flying Horses Carousel, go bowling in Oak Bluffs, catch a movie at Edgartown Cinemas, visit an art gallery or see inside a Gingerbread house at the cottage museum

More things to do on Martha’s Vineyard: