Gay Head Cliffs

Menemsha, Massachusetts

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Multihued clay bluffs rise over a sandy beach for exquisite paddling. At the west end of Martha’s Vineyard, the iconic Gay Head Cliffs have drawn visitors for years. The clay bluffs rise from a sandy beach, exhibiting bands of color that seep in rivulets down the beach when it rains (the popular advice is to see them on a clear day, for the best colors, but they’re spectacular in the rain as well). Most visitors see them from the viewing platform above, but quite a few also make the trek down to the beach, including sunbathers seeking the clothing-optional experience at the far east end. Since the area is shallow and rocky, most boats keep their distance, but sea kayakers have a unique and privileged perspective. Try not to gawk at the nude sunbathers and keep on paddling.
AMC's Best Sea Kayaking in New England

DESCRIPTION FROM:

AMC's Best Sea Kayaking in New England

by Michael Daugherty (Falcon Guides)

Multihued clay bluffs rise over a sandy beach for exquisite paddling.

At the west end of Martha’s Vineyard, the iconic Gay Head Cliffs have drawn visitors for years. The clay bluffs rise from a sandy beach, exhibiting bands of color that seep in rivulets down the beach when it rains (the popular advice is to see them on a clear day, for the best colors, but they’re spectacular in the rain as well). Most visitors see them from the viewing platform above, but quite a few also make the trek down to the beach, including sunbathers seeking the clothing-optional experience at the far east end.

Since the area is shallow and rocky, most boats keep their distance, but sea kayakers have a unique and privileged perspective. Try not to gawk at the nude sunbathers and keep on paddling.

© 2016 Michael Daugherty/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Sea Kayaking
Nearby City: Menemsha
Distance: 5-7.5 nautical miles
Tidal Information: 1.59-foot mean tidal range in Vineyard Haven. Current in Vineyard Sound floods to the east. In the middle of the sound, 3.0 nautical miles northeast of Gay Head, the average max flood is 0.9 knots toward 81 degrees, with average max ebb reaching 1.3 knots toward 238 degrees. This should be of little consequence near the shore. Anticipate strong currents in the inlet to Menemsha Pond.
Hazards/Cautions: Open ocean conditions. Current between Menemsha Pond and Vineyard Sound can be difficult to paddle against and may create lively conditions.
Season: Year-round
Local Maps: NOAA chart #13233; Maptech #85; Waterproof Chart #10
Driving Directions: Directions to Gay Head Cliffs

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Apr 2018