Nude beach
27 Aquinnah Circle, Aquinnah, MA 02535, USA
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Martha's Vineyard has long been a haven for New England's rich and famous. From east to west, the island is about 20 miles long (as the crow flies), and most development is along the north and east sides of the island, where the ferry docks are located. Moshup Beach is located on the extreme western side of the island, which is comparatively unpopulated. The beach is backed by multicolored cliffs in hues of red, orange and brown. These cliffs, known as the Gay Head cliffs, are atypical of the New England coastline, appearing to have been transplanted from the canyon country of Arizona or Utah. Moshup Beach is just as often known as Gay Head Beach.

Moshup Beach has long attracted a contingent of nude bathers, who gather about 1/3 mile north of the entry path to the beach. The part of the beach where nudists gather is below the Gay Head lighthouse, and this part of the beach is actually the westernmost extreme of Martha's Vineyard. The scenery is quite beautiful.

Periodically, there seems to be a dustup about nudity at the beach, but anti-nudity enforcement efforts always seem half hearted and short lived. In 2006, the town of Aquinnah erected "No Nudity" signs at Moshup Beach and threatened to issue fines of $50 to violators (a mere slap on the wrist compared to the actions at many other imperiled nude beaches). Nonetheless, nudity continues at the north end of Moshup Beach. A report from 2010 indicates that Aquinnah police ride by on ATV's and wave to nudists, just as they have done for many years. While nudity is technically illegal according to town ordinance, there seems to be no enforcement, and any potential enforcement is likely to be mild.

Moshup Beach lacks amenities, so be sure to bring water and whatever other food and drink. Also, be advised that the parking fee for automobiles is rather steep at $15.

Incidentally, the name "Gay Head" is said to have come from the colors of the cliffs; apparently someone thought the colors were gay (meaning happy, of course). The town of Aquinnah was known as Gay Head until 1997, when residents voted to change the name. (Hmm, wonder why?) Gay Head still appears on many maps, and Gay Head still seems to be more commonly used that Aquinnah in local parlance.

TRANSPORTATION INFORMATION: The website Martha's Vineyard Online is a good starting point for planning your trip. While it is possible to take a car to the island from Wood's Hole on the mainland of Massachusetts, doing so is expensive and requires reservations. Summer passenger ferries to Martha's Vineyard leave from several locations including New Bedford, Hyannisport, Falmouth, Woods Hole, New London (CT) and Montauk (Long Island, NY). Ferries dock at either Vineyard Haven or Oak Bluffs, both located on the north coast of the island. There is seasonal bus service from the ferry docks that goes across the island to Gay Head Lighthouse, or you can rent a car, moped or bicycle on the island.

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GPS: 41.3455, -70.8375

city, county, state, country  Aquinnah, Dukes, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

classification  2 (traditionally nude)

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5 comments
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Anonymous
Moshup was my first nude beach experience. Loved it and love going back!!!
Masscouple
Went this past Monday and had a fantastic day. Couldn’t check in due to poor service but had a great day nonetheless!
Anonymous
Would love to join u both new nudist
Masscouple
We decided to go back in early September. Another perfect day and not many people. Very relaxing and we look forward to going back multiple times next year.
Masscouple
Great beach to visit. The views are amazing. In the water you have to struggle over about 20 feet of rocks but then there is a sand bar that is great to stand on while taking in the waves.
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