Synaptic vesicle fusion occurs at specialized release sites at the active zone. How refilling of release sites with new vesicles is regulated in central synapses remains poorly understood. Using nanoscale-resolution detection of individual release events in rat hippocampal synapses we found that inhibition of myosin V, the predominant vesicle-associated motor, strongly reduced refilling of the release sites during repetitive stimulation. Single-vesicle tracking revealed that recycling vesicles continuously shuttle between a plasma membrane pool and an inner pool. Vesicle retention at the membrane pool was regulated by neural activity in a myosin V dependent manner. Ultrastructural measurements of vesicle occupancy at the plasma membrane together with analyses of single-vesicle trajectories during vesicle shuttling between the pools suggest that myosin V acts as a vesicle tether at the plasma membrane, rather than a motor transporting vesicles to the release sites, or directly regulating vesicle exocytosis.