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This state park in Vineyard Haven is truly a natural wonder. The park consists of more than 5,000 acres (2,023 hectares) and is located in the center of the island. In the early 20th century, the park was established as a reserve dedicated towards the protection of Heath hens, a now extinct, specie of the Greater prairie chicken family. Today, the park is used for recreational purposes such as hiking, cross country skiing, cycling, horseback riding and more. There are picnic areas, rest rooms and showers available. A large environmental restoration project is underway in an attempt to revive the native grassland ecosystem.
Once a windswept prairie formed after the last Ice Age, the Long Point Wildlife Refuge now exists as a spectacular landscape replete with beaches, coastal grasslands and shrub forests. Straddling West Tisbury's coastline, it is one of the region's most reputed nature reserves since the year 1979. Easy trails, spanning 3.37 kilometers (2.1 miles) scythe through the woodland, looping along the beachfront, offering visitors a glimpse into the reserve's unique ecosystem. Although popular with birdwatchers, one can also kayak along the beach or engage in some stand-up paddleboarding.
Six miles of hiking trails meander through this 350-acre nature preserve. The well-marked trails lead visitors through open fields, woods, marshlands and beaches. Tree swallows, wood ducks, barn owls and osprey as well as other wildlife can be seen while walking around this wild and beautiful landscape. Special programs are held throughout the year, including Sea Ducks at Squibnocket in March and a large plant sale in May.
The Ocean Park offers seats and a gazebo to grab a bite at along the coast looking out over the Atlantic. Its fabulous location by the ocean offers joggers, walkers, and picnickers panoramic views, especially at sunset. Even in the warmest weather, a gentle breeze is always blowing much to the delight of day trippers and picnicking families. Because of its expansive layout by the sea, the park is used at night for firework displays, food festivals and other community events.
One of the many lighthouses on Martha's Vineyard, the Edgartown grounds, managed by the Martha's Vineyard Historical Society, are open to the public. The view from the grounds is breathtaking. The lighthouse, built in 1875 and refurbished in 1985, is an example of Cape Cod style, with three rooms on the first floor and two on the second. It is 45 feet high, made of cast iron and continues to operate as a navigational aid. The walkway leading to the lighthouse is called the "bridge of sighs" because it is said that long ago, when men would leave on sailing trips, their girlfriends and wives would stand on the walkway and look out over the horizon to where their loves had gone.
South Beach, also known as Katama Beach, is a picturesque beach great for picnicking, surfing or simply getting lost in thought. The beach is bestowed with soft, brown sand and overlooks the majestic ocean. The strip of sand also features lifeguards, volleyball nets, free parking and bathrooms among other amenities. Note that even though the serene beach is touted as a family-friendly beach, the waves can get a little rough sometimes, so keep a look out for your kids while they are splashing about in the water.
Menemsha Hills Nature Reserve features 211 acres of woodland, rolling hills and sand cliffs, with 150-foot high headlands overlook the sea. There are over 3 miles of foot trails that lead past ancient stone walls through blueberry woodlands to the beach. On any given day harbor seals and flocks of scoters (sea ducks) are said to come ashore, adding to the scenic mile-long trail that runs to Prospect Hill, with a spectacular view of Gay Head.