Block Island is a natural wonder. Just 15 miles from Point Judith, the island’s expansive green spaces and unspoiled coastline are worth exploring. Best of all, Block Island beaches are free.
Old and New Harbors
If you’re arriving on the island by the Block Island Ferry, you’ll land in Old Harbor, which is the busy “Main Street” area of the island. Here, find a concentration of shops selling beachwear, souvenirs, jewelry and nautical gifts, like Gold Diggers. This is also the launching point for many water sports, like Block Island Parasail.
If you’re arriving on the island via New England Airlines or by private boat, you’ll likely land in New Harbor. Boater-friendly restaurant The Oar has showers on the lower level and a lively dining area with an outdoor bar above. Also in New Harbor: kayak rentals, Payne’s Donuts and Champlin’s Marina. Walk down the dock and you’ll be rewarded with a mudslide at Trader Vic’s, a rooftop bar where you can watch the boats come in and out.
Block Island only has a few main roads, and nothing is out of reach without a car – though the slow boat does allow them if you book in advance. Disembark from the ferry, and you’ve got transportation options right in front of you: taxis in the queue that will take you from point A to point B, but also taxi tours from Mig’s Rig Taxi. If you’d prefer two wheels to two feet, rent a bike or a moped – you’ll see a lot of these on the island – from Aldo’s Mopeds.
There are so many options for delicious food on Block Island – your only boundaries are your stomach and your ferry time. Steps off the ferry in Old Harbor, Mohegan Cafe brews its own beer. The National has great views of the harbor from its wraparound porch. Kimberly’s offers Italian and American favorites. Poor People’s Pub serves gastropub fare, and its new sister restaurant TigerFish serves creative Asian fare. Ballard’s Inn (BallardsBI.com) has its own beach and serves food and cocktails – in pineapples, no less – right on the sand.
See the Sights
Nearly half of Block Island is protected from development by organizations like the Block Island Conservancy, which offers resources on exploring hiking trails around the island. The Block Island Maritime Institute gives kids and families opportunities to explore the ocean and sea life. The Ocean View Foundation leads guided nature tours daily in the summer.
When it’s time for the beach – and isn’t it always time for the beach? – you can try your luck at one of the many small private beaches, or head to Fred Benson Town Beach, where they rent beach chairs and equipment and the waves are kid-friendly. Nearby Diamondblue Surf Shop offers surfing lessons.
One of two lighthouses on the island, the Southeast Light offers views of Mohegan Bluffs and a small museum inside. Abrams Animal Farm is home to exotic birds, kangaroos, a camel, lemurs, water buffalo and a zeedonk.