The Joseph Sylvia State Beach, approximately 6500 feet long, is one of the 681 barrier beaches along the coast of Massachusetts. Located on Martha’s Vineyard’s northeastern shore, State Beach, as islanders refer to it, is part of a littoral drift system extending from the East Chop cliffs in Oak Bluffs to the Edgartown Light, at the mouth of Edgartown Harbor. Two inlets, stabilized with stone rip rap, provide for the exchange of water between the Pond and Nantucket Sound. The beach forms the seaward margin of Sengekontacket Pond, a 750 acre tidal, brackish lagoon. Located on the backshore of the beach are a bicycle path and Beach Road, a state road. Beach, pond, sea and sky combine to form one of the loveliest scenic vistas in rural New England, if not the nation.
The beach itself is owned by the Commonwealth and managed by the County of Dukes County by virtue of a 1946 Act of the Massachusetts Legislature. The beach’s aesthetic appeal, unsurpassed swimming, and easy public access attract throngs of beach goers on a summer day. Parking, which is free, accommodates about 500 cars. The Joseph Sylvia State Beach provides recreation, support for the Island’s economy by visitors attracted to the coast, and refuge for protected rare bird species, particularly the Piping Plover and Least Tern. In addition, the beach absorbs and dissipates wave energy, thereby providing storm protection to the road, Sengekontacket Pond and the inland wetlands behind it.
For more information visit the Dukes County Web Site: www.dukescounty.org/pages/index