Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts

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Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts

Introduction to Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts

Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, in Dukes county, is 23 miles SE of New Bedford, Massachusetts (center to center) and 67 miles SE of Boston, Massachusetts. It's a resort town situated along the northeast shoreline of Martha's Vineyard. It includes a steamship ferry port for boats arriving from the mainland. Tourists enjoy Oak Bluffs' beautiful beaches and the pleasant summer weather. It features the historic Gingerbread Cottages from the early days of the Methodist meetings.

The town includes the largest marina on Martha's Vineyard. The downtown features quality restaurants, unique shops, charming inns and numerous galleries. It has one of the most active nightlife scenes on the island. The town includes several communities that are popular for prosperous African Americans. Martha's Vineyard has a lot of summertime residents. The island is known for its celebrity residents and visitors.

Oak Bluffs History

The area was settled in 1642 and in 1880 was incorporated as Cottage City. Before it was incorporated it belonged to Edgartown. In 1907 it was renamed Oak Bluffs. The name was given due to the landscape including an oak grove situated on the bluffs. In the early years, the town was the primary tourist area on Martha's Vineyard while the the other communities were involved in industry.

Oak Bluffs was a major center of the flourishing 19th century Methodist movement. The site now called the Martha's Vineyard Campground Meeting Association was the location of popular summer Methodist meetings. Members built and stayed in what are now known as Gingerbread Cottages. Hundreds of the cottages were constructed.

Oak Bluffs Attractions

  • The Historic Gingerbread Cottages located in Martha's Vineyard Meeting Association site feature Carpenter Gothic style architecture.
  • The Flying Horses Carousel is the oldest continuously operating platform carousel in the nation and is a National Historic Landmark.
  • East Chop is a residential area which features prominent bluffs and includes the private East Chop Beach Club.
  • The Tall Timbers is a distinctive gingerbread house.
  • Harthaven.
  • Eastville.
  • The Tabernacle.
  • Island Theatre.
  • East Chop Lighthouse.
  • Strand Theatre.

Oak Bluffs Events

  • The Grand Illumination is an annual celebration that attracts a large crowd. Ornate Chinese lanterns are placed around the Gingerbread Cottages and the event includes a sing-along in the Tabernacle.
  • The Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby.
  • Oak Bluffs Harbor Festival.
  • The Annual Portuguese Feast is a notable event.
  • The Oak Bluffs Monster Shark Tournament has been shown on ESPN.
  • Chili Festival.
  • August Fireman's Association Fireworks.

Oak Bluffs Activities

The scenic beaches are very popular with tourists. Golf enthusiasts enjoy playing at one of the best golf courses on the island, the Farm Neck Golf Club. Chartered fishing expeditions are available. Oak Bluffs features a variety of quality restaurants. The area includes bicycle and walking trails. Circuit Avenue is a popular destination. Ocean, Hiawatha and Viera parks are enjoyed by residents and tourists. The Manuel F. Correllus State Forest features grasslands and wooded areas and is popular for bicycle riding and hiking.

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High Points

Oak Bluffs strengths, compared to Peers (similar size places nationally) or State (other places in Massachusetts):

Category Trophy
Short Commute Times
(vs. Peers)
Top 6% Oak Bluffs Short Commute Times
Walking and Biking to Work
(vs. Peers)
Top 6% Oak Bluffs Walking and Biking to Work
Well-Paid Single Women
(vs. Peers)
Top 9% Oak Bluffs Well-Paid Single Women
Well-Paid Single Men
(vs. Peers)
Top 10% Oak Bluffs Well-Paid Single Men
College Educated Adults
(vs. Peers)
Top 10% Oak Bluffs College Educated Adults
Public Transportation Use
(vs. Peers)
Top 12% Oak Bluffs Public Transportation Use
Median Family Income
(vs. Peers)
Top 17% Oak Bluffs Median Family Income

Comparative Profile of Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts

Comparing Oak Bluffs to similar size places nationwide (Peers) and to other places in Massachusetts (State):

Ratings range from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest).

The People

Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Well-Paid Single Women 10 5
Well-Paid Single Men 10 5
Racial Diversity 7 8
Age of the Population 7 7
Male Share of the Population 6 5
Senior Citizens 5 7
Female Share of the Population 5 6
Children Under 5 Years Old 4 5


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Average Household Size 3 2
Portion of People Married 2 2


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
College Educated Adults 10 6
Median Family Income 9 3
People in Middle Class or Better 7 2
People Above Poverty 7 2

Commute & Sprawl

Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Walking and Biking to Work 10 10
Short Commute Times 10 10
Working at Home 10 9
Public Transportation Use 9 6


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Seasonal and Vacation Housing 10 10
Housing Recently Built 10 10
People Living Alone 8 9
Studio & One-Bedroom Rentals 7 7
Affordability of Property Taxes 2 8
Affordability of Rents 1 4

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Oak Bluffs Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 23 miles SE of New Bedford, Massachusetts (center to center)
Nearest Large City 67 miles SE of Boston, Massachusetts
County Dukes
P.O. Box Zip Codes 02557
Phone Area Codes 508
Time Zone Eastern (-5 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 41.454
Longitude -70.562

Oak Bluffs Climate

Nearest Weather Stations

  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)
Distance 5.4 miles
Jan Temp 22 to 39 F
Apr Temp 38 to 54 F
Jul Temp 62 to 79 F
Oct Temp 45 to 63 F
Annual Precip 46 inches
Distance 22.9 miles
Jan Temp 20 to 37 F
Apr Temp 38 to 56 F
Jul Temp 65 to 83 F
Oct Temp 46 to 63 F
Annual Precip 50.7 inches
Distance 29.2 miles
Jan Temp 19 to 38 F
Apr Temp 37 to 57 F
Jul Temp 62 to 83 F
Oct Temp 42 to 63 F
Annual Precip 49.8 inches
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Oak Bluffs Population (2000)

Category Count Percent
Total Population 3,713 100%
Male 1,802 48.5%
Female 1,911 51.5%
Under 18 838 22.6%
18+ 2,875 77.4%
65+ 549 14.8%
Median Age 39.4
Average Family Size 2.94
White 3,220 86.7%
African-American 160 4.3%
Asian 25 0.7%
American Indian & Alaskan 56 1.5%
Other 93 2.5%
Mixed Race 159 4.3%
Hispanic (included in categories above) 44 1.2%

Estimated Oak Bluffs Population Growth 2000-2005

Category Value
Est. 2005 Population 3,787
Growth 74
Growth % 2%

Oak Bluffs Ancestry

(From 2000 Census, as reported by individuals)

Note: This is national, not racial, ancestry, so, e.g., the Census doesn't have categories for Hispanic and African-American people. CityTownInfo is currently gathering additional ancestry data for this site.
Ancestry Percent
English 22.1%
Irish 13.5%
Portuguese 10.4%
Other (often includes Hispanic and African American) 8.4%
Italian 5.7%
French (except Basque) 5.5%
German 4.4%
US/American 4.2%
Polish 4%
Brazilian 3.3%
Scottish 3.3%
Scotch-Irish 2.7%
Swedish 2.1%
Norwegian 1.6%
Cape Verdean 1.3%
Scandinavian 1.2%
Dutch 0.9%
French Canadian 0.7%
African 0.6%
Welsh 0.6%
Greek 0.5%
Austrian 0.4%
European 0.4%
Czechoslovakian 0.3%
Arab/Arabic 0.3%
Hungarian 0.2%
Bulgarian 0.2%
Lebanese 0.2%
Turkish 0.2%
Celtic 0.2%
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Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Pop. Median Family
Income (2000)
Oak Bluffs 3,713 $53,841
Aquinnah 344 $46,458
Chilmark 843 $63,750
Edgartown 3,779 $55,153
Falmouth 32,660 $57,422
Tisbury 3,755 $53,051
West Tisbury 2,467 $59,514

Oak Bluffs Public Libraries

Oak Bluffs Public Library
Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts
(508) 693-9433

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Oak Bluffs High Schools (2004)

BOX 1385
Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 804 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 11.1

Oak Bluffs Colleges

(List of Massachusetts Colleges)

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City, State Similarity   1 Person Houses 65+ College Grads Commute Minutes Family Income Kids 0-4 Non White Pop. Poverty Prop. Crime Seasonal Housing Viol. Crime
      loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose
1. Port Aransas, Texas 88.3   29.1% 15.7% 27.9% 16 $46,719 4% 6.1% 3,370 11.3% 119 50.7% 8.6
2. South Padre Island, Texas 87.5   33.7% 18.4% 35.5% 20 $53,250 4.1% 5.4% 2,422 12% 270.9 44.1% 16.5
3. Big Bear Lake, California 84   29.2% 17.4% 23% 21 $41,848 5.3% 8.8% 5,438 13.5% 57.9 63.5% 8.6
4. Globe, Arizona 74.8   31.2% 15.6% 18.9% 16 $42,280 6.7% 22.4% 7,486 11.4% 64.4 1% 9.1
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