What to do With Kids on Rainy Vineyard Days

Whether you’re here for the weekend or for the summer, rainy days do not need to mean being stuck in the house with bored kids and cabin fever. There are lots of great activities to do with your kids whether it’s lightly drizzling or you’ve got a daylong downpour.

It’s safe to assume that you’ll encounter a rainy day or two here on the Vineyard so be sure to pack rain gear for everyone – as well as books and a deck of cards. While everyone loves a day at the beach, families can have a great day spending time reading together (aloud or individually) or playing games – especially when you’ve had day after day of bright sunshine, this can be a relaxing break. Many vacation rentals come equipped with a bunch of games, but be sure to ask or bring your own.

If it’s somewhat wet, but not a total washout, it’s a great day for hiking on one of the many trails on the island. Put on the raincoats and boots and head to Cedar Tree Neck or the trails of Trustees of the Reservation and get the kids involved in the beautiful natural world here.

If it’s really pouring, travel to one of the town libraries to find new books or rent movies. Each town has it’s own library with great kid’s sections and most with extensive free movie rental. Town libraries have different hours so look up yours ahead of time. Also check to see what events they have going on for kids that day. There are often story times posted at each town library: Chilmark Library, Edgartown Library, Oak Bluffs Library, Vineyard Haven Library, West Tisbury Library, and Aquinnah Library (508-645-2314),

If renting movies and getting out the popcorn is your thing then Island Entertainment (508-693-7441) in Vineyard Haven also has a huge selection of movie rentals for the whole family. With everything from classics to new releases to cult and foreign films, you’re sure to find something to please even your family movie-buff. Hollywood Video (508-627-3533) in Edgartown’s Post Office Square also has a great selection and great rental rates.

If you are an arts & crafts family than a rainy day is the perfect opportunity to get down and be creative. Shirley’s Hardware in Vineyard Haven has a great selection of craft items from glue sticks to glitter and pipe cleaners to paper. There’s also Beadnicks (508-693-7650) off Main Street in Vineyard Haven where the beader in your family will think they’ve entered heaven. The shop’s mantra is “Don’t Worry, Bead Happy.” Sold individually and by weight, this huge selection of beads can be thrilling or somewhat overwhelming. Luckily there’s plenty of staff on hand to help you choose your beads and they’ll even sit down and help your kids create their masterpieces.

Rainy Day matinees are a tradition on Martha’s Vineyard. On sunny days, you won’t find a matinee anywhere on the island but on rainy days there’s usually at least one or two showings. There’s no rhyme or reason for which of the four movie theaters on the island will offer which movie but call 508-627-MOVY as one of them is sure to be showing something kid friendly.

Best of all? Martha’s Vineyard boasts some of the most breathtaking rainbows I’ve ever seen. So, when the rain does clear and you see that Vineyard sun poking through the clouds, make sure to go outside and look towards the sky.

Special Things to Do with KIDS on Martha’s Vineyard

There are lots of beaches in the world, and while I think Vineyard beaches are something special, I haven’t met a beach yet that wasn’t filled with water, sand and sun. However, there are many things to do and places to go on this island that you can ONLY find on Martha’s Vineyard. Here are some things not to miss with the kids for the ultimate Vineyard Experience.

The Flying Horses is the oldest working carousel in the country. These 22 horses with real horsehair tails and manes are a favorite with every child.

Mad Martha’s Ice Cream is a traditional Martha’s Vineyard treat. With locations in Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs and Edgartown, your family will love the homemade taste of their wacky and standard flavors.

Martha’s Vineyard Glassworks, located in West Tisbury, holds a very cool surprise. Taking kids to a glass shop may not be what you usually do, but MV Glassworks is an actual glass blowing studio where visitors can watch how the beautiful vases, plates and cups are made.

You will find The Fabulists in the Amphitheater in Vineyard Haven every Saturday morning in July and August (508-693-6450). A trip to the Fabulists will make for an exciting Saturday morning as kids get to jump out of their seats and onto the stage to help with the improv fairy tales performed by this madcap theater group.

The Martha’s Vineyard Museum of the Martha’s Vineyard Historical Society is the island’s largest repository of cultural artifacts, historic photographs, archival records, and genealogical records and is a wonderful place to learn about the island. The museum offers a summer’s worth of kids programs, an open library and kid and family nights.

Community Sings happen every Wednesday night in July and August. Located at the Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs, all are welcome for a romping series of hymns, folk songs, spirituals, rounds, and patriotic songs.

Best Kid-Friendly Restaurants on Martha’s Vineyard

There are tons of great restaurants on the island, but if you’re traveling with kids you’ll need to know where to get an inexpensive, good, fast meal…and luckily the island has many wonderful options.

Oak Bluffs
Sharky’s Cantina was voted Best Family Restaurant this year and it’s no surprise. Meals are quick, tasty and there’s a great kid’s menu – complete with bottomless drinks and a free shark toy! They are now located in Edgartown and Oak Bluffs.

Linda Jean’s is a great Oak Bluffs restaurant that will easily have something for everyone in your family. Make sure you don’t miss out on their absolutely wonderful pancakes! Call 508-693-4093 for more info.

The Slice of Life is a less expensive version of some of the fancier Vineyard spots featuring a great selection of carefully prepared food, incredible pizza and one of the Island’s best burgers! They are currently located in Oak Bluffs, but opening a second restaurant in West Tisbury in the summer of ‘09. Call 508-693-3838 for more info.

Pomodoro serves every family’s favorite – PIZZA! This Oak Bluffs eatery has a great selection of pastas and salads and their huge dining room means you’ll get a table a little faster than some of the smaller spots. Take out is also available. Call 508-696-3002 for more info.

Vineyard Haven
The Art Cliff Diner in Vineyard Haven is a favorite with locals and summer folks alike. It is one of the island’s most loved restaurants for its always fabulous food and funky décor. There can be a wait and the hours can change so call ahead and bring your appetites – you won’t be disappointed! Call 508-693-4093 for more info.

If you are staying in town, The Quarter Deck Restaurant may become your kids favorite places for a meal and when you see how quick and easy it is to get the fried clams, burgers, hot dogs and ice cream, it may become one of your favorites too. Call 508-627-5346 for more info.

The Wharf is one of the only pub-style eateries on the island. Parents will love the family orientated atmosphere, the great local seafood and the very reasonable kids menu (including a $4 PB&J).

The Grill on Main is a more upscale family restaurant but you’ll love the new Prix Fixe menu and extensive wine list. A good way to eat well and bring the kids along.

West Tisbury
Fella’s Takeout run by the famous Fella’s Caterers, is a favorite for breakfast sandwiches and yummy, inexpensive take away lunches that are perfect for picnics. Call 508-693-6924 for more info.

The Scottish Bakehouse is officially in Tisbury, but it’s seconds away from the town line and it’s decidedly not in Vineyard Haven, so I’m listing it as West Tis. They have a pretty full menu of egg sandwhiches, stir-fries and salads which are amazing, but the baked goods are out of this world. Breads, muffins, croissant, brownies, pies, coffee cake, cake…I could go on and on. There are a few picnic tables outside, and there’s a great little porch, but mostly this is a pick up and take home kind of place. Call 508-693-6633 for more info.

You’ll find really good pizza at the Chilmark Store as well as huge sandwiches and fresh salads. The store is very crowded at lunch so call and order ahead if you’re planning to feed a big group. But, one of our favorite things? Hanging out on the big porch, rocking in oversized rocking chairs and lazing the afternoon away post-beach…

The Galley in Menemsha is a great place to take away a quick meal to eat on the beach or you can enjoy it on their back deck that looks out over the fishing boats. The Galley not only has a great, inexpensive menu with lots of choices, it also has ice cream! Call 508-645-9819 for more info.

Also in Menemsha is the world famous clamshack of Jaws fame – The Bite. This traditional clam shack has won its share of awards for their delicious fried clams, but don’t stop there – they’ve also got fried scallops, oysters, calamari, etc. and one of the freshest fish sandwiches you’ve ever tried.

The Homeport is another option for sunset dinners. Eat in the restaurant and enjoy fresh lobsters and corn as well as panoramic views of Menemsha pond or order from the “Back Door” and take that same food with you down to Menemsha beach.

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