Built in 1796, Gay Head Lighthouse was the first lighthouse in Martha’s Vineyard. Because of an increase in the whaling industry around Martha's Vineyard, it was deemed necessary to construct a lighthouse to protect the many passing ships passing through the Vineyard Sound.
The beautiful lighthouse stands on the side of a large open area overlooking the cliffs and water below. With eroding cliffs as the lighthouse's main threat, it has been moved back over a 100 feet in 2015 from where it stood for the last 159 years. Large stones mark its past location.
Climbing to the top of the lighthouse costs $5. The views are amazing, and it is well worth the cost. At the top of the lighthouse, there is a wraparound deck to provide spectacular ocean views. A short walk from the lighthouse, there are restrooms and a street of shops. There is a small hut filled with the history of Aquinnah and its lighthouse and another cliff overlook. This area can be crowded, so patience is required to get a good view of the lighthouse and cliffs. Also, tours are offered throughout Martha's Vineyard, and the Gay Head Lighthouse is one of its stops, so you can always catch a ride to this amazing area.
With beautiful views, small shops and food stands, and Aquinnah Cliffs, the Gay Head Lighthouse is a great stop on your Martha's Vineyard adventure.