New England Wanderlust

Rhode Island , Summer  ·  April 6, 2022

17 Incredible Things To Do On A Block Island Day Trip (2024)

Sitting just 9 miles from mainland Rhode Island, Block Island is a gorgeous place to visit for a day trip that has amazing beaches, nature trails, a charming downtown, lighthouses, awesome food and a very relaxing atmosphere. I love Block Island for all of these reasons, but mostly because it just has such a unique vibe with some really cool things to do that you can’t find anywhere else, and most of it is free.

Mansion Beach is one of the best things to see on a Block Island day trip.

Having done both, I can say that a Block Island day trip, as well as a weekend getaway are wonderful trips to consider. In this post, I’m excited to focus on all the best things to do on Block Island for a day trip, and many of these things can also be used to plan a weekend itinerary to make your trip to Block Island worth it.

New England Wanderlust contains affiliate links, and is a member of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. We may earn a commission from any purchases you choose to make from our links, at no additional cost to you. For more information, please refer to our  Privacy Policy .

Is Block Island Worth A Day Trip?

Block Island is most definitely worth a day trip. With ferry crossings only taking 30-60 minutes, it’s an enjoyable day trip to take from the Newport/Narragansett area. And with the island being relatively small, it’s very easy to see most of it in just one day. While there are lots of things to do on Block Island, you can really take your time and slow down for the day to soak up all the beautiful sights and scenery. 

Be sure to explore the shops downtown on Block Island.

I also think Block Island is one of the best beach towns in New England , so even if you’re just looking for a fun and unique beach day trip, it fits the bill perfectly – especially since all the beaches are free to visit!

17 Best Things To Do On Block Island During A Day Trip

While the island is small, you might not be able to do everything on this list, but you’ll be able to do most everything while on a Block Island day trip, especially if you have a car or rent a moped. So, if you’re looking for ideas on the very best things to do on Block Island, here are 13 incredible things to consider to make Block Island worth visiting.

1. Experience The Mohegan Bluffs

If you only do one thing on your day trip to Block Island, it should absolutely be the Mohegan Bluffs. These are featured on almost any postcard, stock image or website for Block Island, and are the most famous sight on the entire island. To get to Mohegan Bluffs, you’ll need to drive or bike 2 miles from downtown.

The views from the bluffs are absolutely incredible. Be sure to take some time from the top of the staircase, and admire the views from a distance, and then slowly make your way down to the beach to walk along the shore. The staircase is 141 steps long, so be prepared for a bit of a hike to get back up! There will be some light scrambling as you get to the end of the staircase close to the beach, but nothing that most people wouldn’t be able to handle.

The views from the top of the stairs at Mohegan Bluffs are one of the best views you can get during your Block Island day trip.

The beach itself is a bit rocky, so it’s best to bring some water shoes, or sturdy sandals with you if you’re worried about hurting the bottoms of your feet. But the views of the cliffs from the beach below is absolutely worth the trek down the stairs!

If you drive, there is a small parking lot near the top of the staircase, but it can fill up fast on weekends in the summer. Some people will park along the road, which is also permitted.

2. Explore The Clayhead Trail & Maze (And The Secret Beach!)

Of all the trails to do on a Block Island day trip, this would be the one I would pick. This is a 3.5 mile loop trail that takes you through some of the prettiest scenery on the island, and should take you about 2.5-3 hours to complete.

The Clay Head Trail & Maze is about 3 miles from downtown, and to begin the trail, you’ll want to turn right on Clayhead Trail Road, and follow the dirt road until you reach the small parking area.

This beach isn't super popular because the only way to access it is through the Clayhead Trail. This is definitely a great stop to make on your Block Island day trip.

Once you’re on the trail, walk for about a quarter to a third of a mile, and you’ll reach an intersection. You’ll have the option to go right to visit a gorgeous beach (a local’s secret where almost no tourists or day trippers go!), or go left to walk along some beautiful bluffs for amazing views. Keep in mind that the beach is pretty rocky, so it’s not ideal for laying around or swimming, but the views are definitely worth it.

Once you reach the top of the trail, you’ll find yourself in The Maze, which is just a series of connected and unmarked paths, and you can choose where you want to go from there. To be honest, I’ve never veered off-course into The Maze, just because I don’t know where these trails lead, but if you’re feeling like an adventure, go for it!

Tip : Poison Ivy is very prevalent on this trail, so be sure to stay on the path. And if you’re allergic (like I am!) come prepared with special soap to wash it off, or better yet, wear sneakers with high socks or pants for this trail. I’ve never gotten it while on this trail, but I always come prepared just in case.

The views from the Clayhead Trail are definitely worth the hike!

3. Enjoy The Atmosphere At Ballard’s Beach

Ballard’s Beach is a very quick 5-minute walk from the ferry, so if you’re looking to spend most of your Block Island day trip having a fun and exciting beach day, this is a great place to do that.

The beach is free to visit, and you’ll only have to pay if you’d like to rent any beach equipment like lounge chairs or umbrellas. There are even VIP Cabana rental options for larger groups or special occasions. Along the beach you’ll also find multiple Tiki Bars where you can order drinks, and you’ll also have Ballard’s Beach Restaurant on the grounds, where you can grab lunch, small bites or dinner. The restaurant staff will even deliver your food to your beach chairs.

The waters along Block Island's shore are always this beautiful turquoise color.

Ballard’s Beach definitely has a party atmosphere, so if you’re looking for a quiet and serene experience, this is not the best place to spend your day. However, if you’re looking for a lively beach atmosphere with tons of amenities, live music and volleyball nets, this is one of the best things to do on Block Island. 

4. Relax At Mansion Beach

Contrary to Ballard’s Beach, Mansion Beach is where to go for a more relaxing beach day during your Block Island Day Trip. Usually less crowded, and known for its bigger waves and long stretch of pristine sandy shoreline, Mansion Beach can be found about 3 miles, or a 10-minute drive, from downtown. 

Mansion Beach is one of the best beaches on Block Island for relaxing and long walks because the shoreline is covered in super soft sand.

It’s good to note that there are no facilities at Mansion Beach, including bathrooms. You’ll want to come prepared with anything you’ll need for the day if you plan to spend some time here. Otherwise, as a quick stop, a walk along Mansion Beach is one of the best things to do on Block Island for a day trip. 

Be sure to swing by Mansion Beach during your Block Island day trip, even if you just walk along the shore.

5. Hunt For Glass Orbs All Over The Island

Probably one of the coolest things to do in all of New England is the Glass Float Project. Each year, over 500 glass orbs, or floats, are handmade in nearby Wakefield, RI by a local artist named Eben Horton, as well as his wife, Jennifer and the team at his studio. Each glass float is dated and numbered, and hidden around Block Island by volunteers, sometimes called “Orbivores.” 

The floats are hidden on beaches and greenway trails, and are never placed in protected areas of the island such as sand dunes, so be sure not to walk on any forbidden areas to try and find one. Anyone is allowed to search and find them, including tourists and day trippers. If you’re lucky enough to find one during your Block Island day trip, be sure to register it by clicking here , so everyone knows how many have been found thus far in the season, and then you’re free to keep it as the ultimate Block Island souvenir. The hunt for all the floats doesn’t end until they’re all found and registered!

I’ve never found any during my stay, but it’s a goal of mine to find one someday. Wishing you the best of luck during your float hunt!

Hints : Floats are placed between the high tide lines and bluffs on beaches (so they don’t float away!) and not more than a few feet from trails. The floats are usually hidden around early to mid June, so if you come before then, you’ll likely not be able to hunt for any orbs, unless there are some leftover from the previous year.

6. Visit North Light

North Light is one of two lighthouses on the island, and one of the best things to do on a Block Island day trip. Close to the Clayhead Trail, the lighthouse is about 10 minutes from downtown by car, and has a good-sized parking lot. 

North Light on Block Island requires a 20-minute walk or so along the beach to get to, which makes it one of the most scenic things to do on the island.

To get to the lighthouse, there is about a 1/2 mile walk along a beach involved, so plan your time accordingly. To get to the actual lighthouse, take Corn Neck Road all the way to the end. You’ll run right into a parking area by the water, right before a beach called Cow Cove. You’ll see the lighthouse in the distance, and from there, you’ll begin your walk along the beach to get to the lighthouse.

North Light is one of the best things to do on a Block Island day trip. Just be sure to budget enough time to walk there and back.

7. Explore Southeast Lighthouse & Museum

The other lighthouse on Block Island is Southeast Lighthouse, and is located on the other side of the island, close to Mohegan Bluffs. Also offering amazing views of the ocean, this lighthouse has been named a National Historic Landmark, and was built in 1873, but moved to avoid bluff erosion in 1993. 

Southeast Lighthouse on Block Island offers tours to the top of the tower, which is one of the best things to do on Block Island.

The lighthouse has an attached museum and gift shop, and in the summer season, tours are given inside the museum, as well as up to the lighthouse tower. There is a fee to take the guided tours, but the lighthouse grounds are free to wander and explore. 

Tip : During the summer, the Southeast Light Delights Food Truck is nearby, offering lobster rolls, grilled cheese and lemonade. Check their Facebook and Instagram page for updates to see if they’ll be around during your Block Island day trip.

8. Explore The Island By Bike, Moped or Car

If you didn’t bring your car over on the ferry, but want flexibility to explore the island on your own time, renting a bike, moped or car is easy from downtown, and is one of the best things to do on Block Island to make your day trip worth it. Island Moped and Bike and Aldo’s Bikes & Moped’s both offer rentals that are less than a 5-minute walk from the ferry.

Renting a moped is a great way to see the island on a Block Island day trip. Just remember that you aren't allowed down dirt roads on moped, so accessing some beaches and trailhead will require a bit more walking.

My very first trip to Block Island, my husband and I rented bikes, and I wasn’t quite prepared for how hilly the island is! Renting bikes was a wonderful experience, but keep in mind that it’ll be a workout. If you’re up for it, this is a great way to see the island. 

If you’re not up for all the hills during a bike ride, a moped is also a great option. The only thing to keep in mind with a moped rental is that many of the dirt roads don’t allow them, and most beaches and trail heads are at the end of dirt roads. You’ll need to park your moped along the side of the main road, and do a bit more walking in these cases. 

And lastly, Aldo’s has Jeeps available to rent for your Block Island day trip, which will allow you both flexibility and access to those dirt roads to get to all the beaches and nature trails. To keep things easy, it’s also an option to bring your own car on the ferry (see later in this post for more information on this option).

9. Walk Around Downtown And Visit The Shops

The downtown area along Main Street is one of the best things to do on Block Island for a day trip, and is also right where the ferries dock, making it really convenient for you to visit.

Block Island's downtown is the first thing you see when you get off the ferry, and many of the shops are worth visiting!

The downtown is small, but there are some really lovely shops, boutiques and restaurants that will make your day trip to Block Island worth it, and most of it is along the water for a really lovely way to spend your afternoon. See below for some of my favorite shops to visit on the island.

The Glass Onion is one of the cutest little shops on Block Island that you shouldn't miss while exploring downtown.

Best Block Island Shopping

If you’re looking to visit the best shops during your Block Island day trip, I’ve got you covered! Below is a list of shops not to missed during your visit:

Mary MacGill – Simple and stunning gemstone jewelry made on the island in an inspiring shop that also has some home goods, artwork and clothing. 

Glass Onion – An adorable little home goods boutique that also sells nice jewelry, apparel and gifts.

Block Island Trading Company – A great place for souvenirs that are nice quality, as well as gifts and unique finds.

Chapel Sweets – A must-stop if you’re looking for an old-fashioned candy shop!

Island Bound Bookstore – A small little bookshop that has a great selection, including fun beach reads and new releases.

Block Island Trading company is a great shop to find some island-themed souvenirs.

You may also like: My post on the best New England gifts and souvenirs!

10. Go Bird Watching At The Block Island National Wildlife Refuge

With over 120 acres of protected land, the Block Island National Wildlife Refuge is an incredible destination to view over 70 species of migratory birds in the fall season, and an important destination for birds and all wildlife throughout the rest of the year. 

But even if bird-watching isn’t your thing, the Wildlife Refuge is a very peaceful place for nature walks, and strolls along the beach. The adjacent Sachem Pond is also a very scenic place to stop and admire the views. 

11. Sail The Open Waters

If you’re coming to Block Island with a group or family, chartering a sailboat might be something to consider! Through the Block Island Club , you can charter a sailboat and crew for a customized tour around the coast of Block Island. 

The Club encourages you to pack snacks and drinks for your sail, and taking in views of the bluffs from the water will offer an amazing and unforgettable perspective of Block Island. 

To book a charter, you just need to email them directly to get started. 

12. Kayak Through Salt Marshes With Pond & Beyond Kayak

Take an amazing guided eco kayak tour through the Great Salt Pond of Block Island with an island native, and get a chance to see an oyster farm and fiddler crab colony. Corrie, the owner of Pond & Beyond , has volunteered with the Block Island Conservancy and the Committee For The Great Salt Pond, and has won awards and recognition for her conservation efforts. With expert knowledge of the island’s ecosystem and navigating the waters, this is a truly amazing experience to have.

Pond & Beyond offers other guided tours as well, and also just rentals if you’re looking to do a self-guided tour. They also have a restroom on-site, and are able to store your extra backpacks and belongings while you kayak, making the whole experience as easy and stress-free as possible. 

13. Grab Lunch With A View At The Oar

For lunch with a cool atmosphere and an incredible view of the water, head over to The Oar . This is actually my favorite place for lunch on the entire island. The Oar is about a 30-minute walk or a 5 minute drive from downtown, and has amazing, casual-style food and cocktails.

Located inside the 1661 Inn, The Oar also has an awesome outdoor deck, much of which is covered for shade (so it’s a nice break from the sun on a hot day), and has an awesome view the Great Salt Pond and harbor. 

There is a large parking area if you arrive by moped, bike or car.

14. Have A Quiet Moment At The Sacred Labyrinth

Located about 10 minutes from downtown, and near the Clayhead Trail, this little spot is a lovely place for a meditative walk and reflective moment. The Sacred Labyrinth is a circular walking maze without dead-ends that’s meant to slow you down, and allow you to reflect and meditate while walking to the center. Once you reach the center, there’s a place to sit and enjoy the views of the ocean, as well as North Lighthouse and Sachem Pond. It’s a unique and fun thing to do on your Block Island day trip.

The Sacred Labyrinth is a really unique thing to do during your Block Island day trip. It's mean to provide a safe space for meditation, and you can also see North Light from here.

15. Walk To The Ocean View Pavillion

Located a short walk from downtown, a hidden little path will take you to the Ocean View Pavilion (and also connects you back down to Ballard’s Beach). The pavilion provides a quiet area to enjoy views of the water from atop a hill, and has some cool sculptures and a community garden. Once you’re up there, be sure to wander for a bit and see what you can find.

This isn’t the most exciting thing to do on the island, but I really enjoy it because it’s never crowded, and often end my Block Island day trip here before heading down to catch the ferry back. To find the trail, you’ll want to walk to Water Street, and go past Calaveras restaurant. It’ll be on your right, and Google Maps also has it marked.

16. Visit The 1661 Exotic Farm & Gardens

Located close to downtown on Spring Street, the 1661 Inn has a free garden and animal petting area , which is a great experience for the kids (or adults, no judgement!). At the animal petting area, they have a llama, camels, kangaroos, lemurs and even a zedonk, which is a zebra/donkey hybrid.

The gardens on the farm are absolutely beautiful, and one of the best things to do on Block Island to support the local sustainable living movement. Enjoy an hour or so walking through the orchards and flowers, and leave feeling connected to nature. The 1661 Inn also uses 95% of food waste throughout their property to use as compost for their gardens.

The Exotic Gardens and Animal Zoo is free for all, but there is a donation box, and all donations go toward their sustainable living efforts, so I highly encourage you to bring some cash for a donation if you’re able.

17. Walk The Breakwaters

There are a few breakwaters accessible from downtown that are fun to walk on. As you get off the ferry downtown, and begin to walk around, you’ll immediately see them. The easiest one to access is right in front of the Block Island Summer House. Look for a small staircase that leads down to the water, and begin your walk.

Another one is located right at Ballard’s Beach, and you can’t miss it once you arrive. This is also a nice little picture spot.

Be sure to have sturdy enough shoes to feel comfortable walking on the breakwater and exercise normal safety precautions.

There are a few breakwaters that can be accessed from downtown, and walking out onto them provides really nice views from the water, and of town!

Things To Do On Block Island At Night

If you decide that the island is just too amazing, and you must stay overnight (it happens!), then there are a few things I couldn’t include on the list for best things to do on a Block Island day trip, but are really cool things to do on the island in the evenings during longer stays. If you’re staying overnight or for a weekend, you can also consider these four options, which are some of the best things to do on Block Island around, or after, sunset.

1. Take A Ghost Tour Of The Island

Take a spooky walking tour with Block Island Ghost Tours because with so much history comes lots of opportunities for ghost stories! In the evenings, take guided walking, driving or even a haunted pub crawl throughout town to learn about the history and spooky lores of the island.

Tours can easily be made online via their website.

Click here to read my post on the best New England ghost tours!

2. Catch The Best Sunset On The Island At Dories Cove

You can see some gorgeous sunsets all over the island, but Dories Cove is regarded as the best sunset on Block Island by locals. This little cove is a secluded beach on the West side of the island, and can be rocky, so it’s not ideal for swimming. But it’s a perfect spot to end your day, and watch the sky fill with beautiful colors as the sun goes down.

The sunset at Dories Cove might not be something you can do on a Block Island day trip, but definitely worth it if you ever come back to stay overnight.

3. Have A Beach Fire

Beach fires are allowed at any beach on Block Island with a permit, which you can get at the Police Department on the island. You must stay 25 feet from dunes, have your permit on you at all times, and be done by midnight. Other than that, you’re good to go! So grab some things to make s’mores, and head to the beach to settle in for a night of listening to waves by a crackling fire.

Tip : It’s imperative that you practice leave-no-trace during your beach fire, and be sure to carry everything out with you, including any wrappers or drink containers that may have fallen out of your bags or coolers.

4. Witness The Beautiful Bioluminescence At Great Salt Pond

You don’t have to go to the Maldives to experience the beautiful phenomenon that is bioluminescence, and you can see it right here on Block Island! The downside is that you do have to visit during the month of August when the comb jellies light up the Great Salt Pond. The good news is that if you can, or already planned to visit in August, this will be an unforgettable experience.

Pond & Beyond Kayaks also offers an amazing night time kayak tour during the bioluminescence. If this is something you’re interested in, keep an eye on their website and Instagram page, or reach out to Corrie directly to ask if that tour will be offered during your visit.

How To Spend The Day On Block Island – Suggested Itinerary

To make the most of your time, I’ve created a sample itinerary for you. This itinerary assumes that you will have either a car or moped to get around . If you plan to use a bike to get around, you’ll just need to adjust the timing a bit, since it takes longer to get everywhere on a bike versus a motorized vehicle. I also suggest you take an early ferry (8 or 9a) to the island, and a 6-7p ferry back so that you can really spend a full day here.

This cool artwork can be found near The Ice Cream Place and makes for a fun photo opp.

Morning : Arrive downtown at the ferry terminal, and head to pick-up your car, bike or moped (if renting). If you brought your car with you on the ferry, you can obviously skip this step. Head over to Mohegan Bluffs, and spend about an hour taking in the views, snapping some photos, and walking the beach.

Tip : If you need to get some breakfast before starting your day, Persephone’s Kitchen is a great option, and does online ordering if you wanted to schedule your order to be ready when you arrive. You can also swing by the Old Post Office Bagel Shop , which is in the same area, and grab some bagels to-go.

Persephone's Kitchen is a great place to stop on your Block Island day trip for a quick bite to eat, especially for breakfast.

From the bluffs, walk over to the nearby Southeast Lighthouse, and spend 30-60 minutes there (depending on if you choose to visit the museum, or do a guided tour to the lighthouse tower).

Late Morning : Stop by the 1661 Exotic Gardens & Animals Zoo on your way back to town from the lighthouse. You’ll only need about 30-60 minutes here (closer to 30 if you just see the animals).

Lunch Time : Drive up to The Oar for lunch, which is about 5 minutes from the zoo.

Afternoon : Drive to Mansion Beach. Stop for about 30 minutes or so to enjoy a nice walk on the beach, and snap some photos. After Mansion Beach, head over to the Clayhead Trail for a scenic walk/hike. You can go as far as you’d like on the trail. The entire trail is about 3.5 miles, and usually takes 1.5-2 hours to complete. Or, you could just walk about halfway to get to the bluffs, take in the views, and backtrack through the trail back to your car.

Block Island beaches are free for everyone year-round, so be sure to stop and explore as many as you can during your day trip.

Late Afternoon : Depending on time, you could stop at the Sacred Labyrinth, since it’s on the way to North Lighthouse. If you’re short on time, I would go straight to the lighthouse, and plan to spend about 60-90 minutes there, to account for the walk there and back.

After the lighthouse, drive about 10-15 minutes back downtown, and drop off your rental. Spend your remaining time exploring the shops downtown, and any sights you’d like to see (Ballard’s Beach is just a few steps from downtown).

Catch your ferry back to the mainland , and enjoy scrolling through your photos, and all the memories you’ve captured on your Block Island day trip!

Aldo's Bakery is a great place to get baked goods to bring home with you, but I prefer the ice cream at Ice Cream Place.

Can You Drive To Block Island?

No, there is no bridge that connects Block Island to the mainland, so you have to take a ferry to get there. But that adds to the fun of visiting Block Island for a day trip!

How To Get To Block Island

To get to Block Island, you’ll take the Block Island Ferry from Point Judith in Narragansett, RI, which is only about 30 minutes from Newport, RI.

The Block Island Ferry offers two types of service: The Fast Passenger-Only ferry, and the Traditional Ferry, which will accommodate vehicles.

The Fast Ferry option will take 30 minutes to get from Point Judith to Block Island, and the Traditional Ferry option will take 1 hour.

There is also a Block Island Express Ferry from New London, CT, which takes about 1.5 hours to get to Block Island. This ferry does not have an option to bring your car to the island. 

The houses on Block Island are so charming, and you'll find yourself dreaming about which one you'd want to live in.

How To Bring Your Car To Block Island

To bring your car with you to Block Island, you’ll need to make a reservation ahead of time with Block Island Ferry by calling them directly. Vehicle reservations can’t be made online. When you call, be sure to have them book your passenger ticket, as well as your vehicle ticket . Both will be needed to board the ferry.

Parking At The Point Judith Ferry

There is no official ferry parking lot at Point Judith, but there are tons of lots on Great Island Road, where the ferry terminal is located. Most don’t take online reservations ahead of time, and it’s best to have at least $20 cash with you to pay to park for the day if leaving your car behind. 

I’ve also used SpotHero to pay for parking here ahead of time, and it works really well with an easy-to-use online reservations system.

All parking lots are easily walkable to the Point Judith ferry terminal. 

Should I Bring My Car Or Rent Transportation On Block Island For A Day Trip?

My personal preference is to bring my own car. It is expensive to bring your car on the ferry, and the ride will take an additional 30 minutes, but a car rental on the island will likely cost more in the end anyway. I’ve also rented bikes and a moped to explore the island, and enjoyed both, but prefer driving. That’s just my opinion, and I know people who would rather bike or moped.

If you would prefer to rent bikes or a moped for your Block Island day trip, this will be more cost-effective than bringing your own car to the island. Just be sure you’re aware that mopeds can’t get down the dirt roads to access some beaches and trails.

Best Way To Get Around Block Island

For a day trip to Block Island, the best way to get around is by car. Mopeds are also great, but you won’t be allowed to go down any dirt roads to lead to trailheads or beaches, so keep that mind. Mansion Beach is at the end of a long, dirt road, so with a moped, a lot more walking will be required to visit this beach.

Crescent Beach and Fred Benson Beach have easy parking along a main road, so a moped will easily work to visit these two beaches without any additional walking.

Biking is also a great way to get around the island since it’s pretty small, but keep in mind that the island is actually pretty hilly, and it’ll be a workout! There are some flat areas, but you’ll encounter a lot of hills. 

For those reasons, I always suggest having a car to make your day trip to Block Island worth it, and cover as much ground as you can while having time to go at a leisurely pace. 

Is There Uber or Rideshare On Block Island?

Uber and other rideshare services are not available on Block Island, but there are taxi companies that can get you around if needed. Rondo’s Taxi and Mermaid Cab are two great options available.

What Is There To Do On Block Island Without A Car?

Without a car, bike or moped on Block Island, you’ll be limited on what you can do. While the island is small, if you’re on Block Island for a day trip, you’ll spend most of your time walking rather than actual sightseeing. If you don’t have a car, or don’t wish to rent a car, moped or bike while on the island, you can use the local taxi services to get around.

Many of the taxi companies offer customized tours, which usually lasts between 1-2 hours, and costs between $50-$75 for two people. For this option, you’ll want to reach out to them directly by phone to arrange something, as most of them don’t have websites.

If that’s also not an option for you, you’ll likely spend most of your time exploring downtown, and you could also opt to walk to Mohegan Bluffs and Southeast Lighthouse, which would be just under 2 miles one-way. You’ll still get a good feel of the island this way, but I highly suggest having some mode of transportation for the day to make your Block Island day trip worth it.

Spending time at the Block Island beaches is always free, year-round.

Free Things To Do On Block Island

One of the best things about Block Island is that most of the sights and attractions are free, which is a stark contrast to most New England summer destinations. If you come to the island with your car, you could spend the entire day here without paying money to see anything on this list. There are no parking fees for the lighthouses, beaches and nature trails, and no entrance fees to most sights and attractions. Below is a list of everything that is free to do on Block Island.

  • All beaches and parks (including parking)
  • Mohegan Bluffs (including parking)
  • North and Southeast lighthouse grounds (there is a fee for a Southeast Light tour)
  • Block Island National Wildlife Refuge
  • The Sacred Labyrinth
  • 1661 Exotic Gardens & Animals
  • The Glass Float Project
  • Exploring downtown
  • Ocean View Pavilion

One of the best things to do during a Block Island day trip is visit Mohegan Bluffs, which is free to do.

Best Time To Visit Block Island

The best time to visit is between Memorial Day Weekend and Labor Day Weekend. It’s good to know that Block Island is very seasonal, and if you want to visit when all the shops and restaurants are open, you’ll want to visit between these weekends. If visiting outside of these weekends, you’ll run into a good amount of closures, but there will still be some restaurants and shops that are open. 

For this reason, you’ll run into the most crowds between July Fourth and Labor Day, and while parking spots will fill up fast, especially on weekends, I don’t find the island to feel as crowded as places like Newport, RI or Cape Cod. 

Crescent Beach requires a short walk through the sand dunes from the parking area to get there.

I’ve visited in late September, mid-May and peak summer time, and have found the island to be enjoyable each time. If you’re looking to avoid crowds, and don’t mind that certain places may not be open, the two weeks following Labor Day are awesome (a lot more places will start to close down toward the end of September). I’ve also been the weekend before Memorial Day, and things were just starting to open up, but the island was very quiet (a few places were still closed at this time, including The Oar and a few shops).

What Is Block Island Known For?

Block Island is known for its dramatic bluffs, gorgeous beaches and extensive ecosystem which includes the The Block Island National Wildlife Refuge, a significant migratory stopping point for over 70 species of young birds, and the Great Salt Pond.

How Big Is Block Island?

Block Island is only about 7 miles long, and 3 miles wide, and the locals will refer to the shape of island as a pork chop.

Block Island from above is in the shape of a pork chop.

How Long Does It Take To Go Around Block Island?

Without making any stops, you could drive around the island in about an hour. But of course, there are so many beautiful places to stop, so definitely plan for much longer than that to enjoy all the natural beauty of Block Island.

How Many Beaches Does Block Island Have?

Block Island has 15 beaches and over 17 miles of beautiful shoreline to explore. None of the beaches charge entrance or parking fees, so this is a great destination for summer beach days in New England.

The beaches are one of the best things free things to do on your Block Island day trip.

Best Block Island Beaches

With so many options to choose from even on such a small island, it might feel overwhelming to choose what beaches you’d like to visit on your Block Island day trip. Here is a list of my favorites:

Mansion Beach – As mentioned, Mansion Beach has a long stretch of soft sand and beautiful turquoise waters. It also has a very calm and relaxed feel. There are no facilities at this beach.

Taking a Block Island day trip is one of the most underrated things to do in New England. It's very easy to do, and the views and beaches on the island are incredible.

Crescent Beach – One of the most popular beaches is Crescent Beach. It’s located just outside of downtown, and parking can be found along the road (remember, parking is free for all!). This beach is beautiful, and I really enjoy the walk through the sand dunes to get there from the street. There are no facilities at this beach.

Crescent Beach is a great option for a Block Island day trip, as it can be found close to downtown.

Fred Benson Town Beach – Another popular beach right off Corn Neck Road, and bordering Crescent Beach is Fred Benson Town Beach. It’s equally as beautiful as Crescent Beach, but might be better for families with children, as there are facilities like bathrooms, changing rooms and a snack bar. This beach is also lifeguarded.

What To Pack For A Day Trip To Block Island

For a Block Island day trip, you’ll want to pack light enough that you don’t feel like you’re lugging around too many things all day, but also pack enough that you’ll be comfortable. Below is a list of some things you may want to consider bringing with you for the day.

Be sure to pack the essentials for your Block Island day trip, including plenty of sunscreen, a water bottle and a towel if you plan to visit any beaches.

  • A small backpack or tote bag to carry everything (a backpack is better if you plan to rent a moped)
  • Refillable water bottle (you can refill at Nicholas Ball Park in downtown!)
  • Beach flip flops or sandals for walking on beaches (sturdy enough to walk on rocky shoreline)
  • Extra set of clothes (including underwear) and a beach towel if you plan to go swimming at any of the beaches, and especially if you’re planning to spend the day at Ballard’s Beach.
  • Driver’s license if you want to rent a moped, car or bike.
  • Cash for parking at the ferry, or for a donation if you plan to visit 1661 Exotic Gardens & Animals.
  • Binoculars if you want to go bird-watching.

My favorite towels for beach day trips (and in general!) are from Dock & Bay. They’re super lightweight, and take up way less space in your bag than a traditional beach towel. They also repel sand and dry super fast, which makes them perfect for day trips and travel. I would suggest the regular Large size, as opposed to the XL for day trips so that they take up even less space in your bag.

Click here to check out and buy these awesome Dock & Bay towels for your day trip!

Best Restaurants & Places To Eat On Block Island

While I do suggest The Oar as a great place for lunch, the island is full of wonderful places to eat. Below is a list of my suggestions on the best restaurants and places to eat on Block Island.

  • Persephone’s Kitchen for coffee and breakfast (they do online ordering if you’d like to have it all ready when you arrive). They have an awesome acai bowl.
  • Block Island Oyster Bar & Grille for a casual, but more upscale dining experience with a water view.
  • Calaveras is awesome for tacos in a casual setting with a water view. I love their fish tacos.
  • Dead Eye Dick’s is great for pub-style/seafood dishes, also with a water view.
  • The Ice Cream Place has my favorite ice cream on the island!

The Ice Cream Place on Block Island has the best ice cream and homemade waffle cones.

Other posts you may find helpful:

  • Best Things To Do In Westerly, RI & Watch Hill
  • Summer In New England: Best Places To Go & Things To Do!
  • Best New England Day Trips
  • The Perfect 7 Day New England Road Trip
  • The Most Incredible New England Lighthouses To Visit
  • Gorgeous New England Islands Worth Visiting
  • Must-See Towns On The New England Coast

That’s A Wrap On The Best Things To Do On A Block Island Day Trip

Now that you know all the best things to do on Block Island, you’re ready to plan your own Block Island day trip! If you’re traveling around Rhode Island, this really is a special little place to visit, and a day trip to Block Island is definitely worth your time.

' data-src=

You might also enjoy

Kennebunkport is one of the most magical and best Christmas towns in New England.

April 9, 2022 at

Genuinely no matter if someone doesn’t know after that its up to other people that they will help, so here it occurs.

' data-src=

April 16, 2022 at

wonderful post, very informative. I ponder why the opposite specialists of this sector do not notice this. You should proceed your writing. I am sure, you’ve a huge readers’ base already !

Subscribe To My Newsletter

  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms & Conditions
  • Disclosure Policy

THE EVOLISTA

Best Block Island Day Trip: 12 Fun Things to Do on Block Island

If you’re looking for a summer adventure that’s full of outdoor activities, beaches, and adorable shops, a day trip to Block Island is the perfect getaway.

Whether you want to go for the day or the weekend here are some of the best things to do on Block Island , especially with kids.

A 30-minute ferry ride from Rhode Island will transport you to this East Coast island gem that exudes storybook charm and the laid-back feeling of summer. A Block Island day trip definitely deserves a spot on your USA bucket list .

Things to do Block Island Pin

Best Time For a Day Trip to Block Island

The busiest time to plan a trip to Block Island is in the summer months of June, July, and August. The island is alive and everyone is having fun. During this time, it’s best to plan ahead and make reservations, including ferry tickets.

This trip was the start of the most epic New England Road Trip to Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, Quebec, and Montreal at the beginning of summer.

Highs are in the 70s, and lows are in the 60s from mid-June to mid-September. You can also expect some summer rain.

If you prefer to enjoy this beautiful island more peacefully, plan your trip in late Spring or early Fall. The weather is still nice, and it’s definitely more chill.

READ NEXT: THE ULTIMATE NEW ENGLAND ROAD TRIP FOR 5, 7, OR 10 DAYS

How to Get to Block Island Ferry

How to Get to Block Island

T.F. Green International Airport (PVD) in Providence, Rhode Island is the closest major airport to Block Island. It’s 42 miles from the ferry terminal in Pt. Judith .

The Block Island ferry in Point Judith has a fast 30-minute high-speed ferry or a one-hour traditional ferry that takes cars too. It’s a pleasant way to make the 12-mile trip offshore.

There are also ferries available from New London , Connecticut, Montauk , New York, and Downtown Newport. They take about an hour and fifteen minutes. Block Island has an airport too but most people opt to take the ferry.

Once you arrive, you’ll be centrally located in the Old Harbor Historic District to start your Block Island day trip. Across from the ferry landing, you can rent bikes or a moped to get around the island.

Check the Block Island ferry schedule and buy your Block Island ferry tickets here .

Best Things to do on Block Island for a Day Trip

Block Island Day Trip Hotel

1. One of the Best Block Island Things to Do is a Bicycle or Moped Tour

One of the first things you’ll notice when you arrive on Block Island is the charming Old Harbor Historic District. After a quick look around and maybe a bite to eat at Ballard’s Beach Resort, you’ll probably want to check out the rest of the island.

Island Moped and Bike Rental is right across the street from the ferry. Rent a scooter or a bike by the hour, day, or week. Helmets are included in your rental. If you are bringing the kids, they have trailers and baby seats.

Plus, cruising around on a bike or moped is one of the most fun things to do on Block Island. Everything is pretty close, so it’s the perfect mode of transport.

We were meeting friends who were staying on block island with a car but the guys still jumped at the chance to tour the island on motorcycles.

Block Island National Wildlife Refuge

2. See Wildlife and Beautiful Views at the Block Island National Wildlife Refuge

Block Island National Wildlife Refuge is a 134-acre parcel of land and one of the most unique and beautiful places on the island. It’s a popular spot for bird watching, as it is home to many different species of birds, including migratory songbirds.

This is a chance for you to see undeveloped New England coastal wetlands. It provides a haven for threatened species as well as an amazing variety of plant and animal life.

It’s about 4 miles from the ferry to the parking area at the end of Corn Neck Road. If you arrive early, you’ll probably see a lot of seals and other wildlife that seem to become scarce later in the day.

Bring shoes to comfortably walk along the rocky beach.

Block Island North Light

3. Walk to the North Light and Beyond

No visit to the island is complete without a stop at the Block Island North Light , one of the most iconic landmarks on the Island. Built in 1829, the North Lighthouse stands as a testament to the island’s rich maritime history. 

The lighthouse is open on weekends and daily in July and August. It offers stunning views of Block Island Sound.

Visitors can also enjoy a stroll along the nearby beach, taking in the fresh sea air and admiring the view. 

To get to the North Light, simply take a leisurely walk from the parking area for the Block Island National Wildlife Refuge. It’s approximately 1/2 mile. Continue walking past the lighthouse where the water converges over the end to see the seals.

Things to do on Block Island Kayaking

4. Explore Great Salt Pond by Kayak, SUP or Take a Tour

If you’re looking for a unique way to explore Block Island, why not consider kayaking or SUPing? Great Salt Pond is the perfect place to start, and there are plenty of tour options available. 

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddler, you’re sure to enjoy your time on the water. And who knows? You might even spot some wildlife!

Pond and Beyond Kayak has kayaks and stand-up paddle boards available to rent unless you are lucky enough to have brought an inflatable kayak with you.

They also offer tours for individuals and families during the day and at sunset. Probably the coolest thing they offer is a full moon tour that is kissed by moonlight.

Sailing Great Salt Pond

5. Sailing on the Great Salt Pond

There’s nothing quite like spending time out on the water. Block Island Club offers charters by the hour for a leisurely afternoon cruise on the Great Salt Pond, which are great for a Block Island Day Trip itinerary.

There are also plenty of charter companies that offer longer and more adventurous options, such as round-island cruises and sunset sails.

So whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a complete novice, Block Island is sure to offer a sailing experience that you’ll never forget.

The Oar Restaurant

6. Seafood and a Mudslide at The Oar is a Highlight on Your Block Island Day Trip

If you’re looking for a quintessential Block Island seafood restaurant, look no further than The Oar .

Always full of boaters, locals, and tourists who love the atmosphere, it’s a great place to get a lobster roll and sip on a famous Block Island Mudslide .

They serve lunch and dinner daily in a colorful, oar-clad dining room, on the covered deck, or at picnic tables and Adirondack chairs on the lawn. The sushi is excellent as well as the calamari and Mahi Mahi tacos.

The food is great, but the real star is the view of the Great Salt Pond. So enjoy your meal with a view and don’t miss the farm across the street with exotic animals like kangaroos, alpacas, and camels.

1661 Exotic Animal Farm Block Island

7. A Block Island Day Trip “Must See” is the 1661 Exotic Animal Farm & Gardens

It doesn’t get any better than the 1661 Exotic Animal Farm for fun things to do on Block Island.

In addition to kangaroos with babies in their pouches, you’ll also find camels, llamas, lemurs, and more. It’s thrilling for kids and adults alike.

Garden lovers will also appreciate the orchard and stunning array of colorful flowers. You’ll find this little slice of New England paradise right across from the 1661 Inn in Old Harbor.

Southeast Lighthouse

8. Tour the Highest Lighthouse on the East Coast

The Southeast Lighthouse has the unique distinction of being the highest lighthouse on the East Coast at 200 feet. It’s perched above the Mohegan Bluffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

It has been an important part of the island’s history for centuries and it offers stunning views. Impressively it was moved in 1993 back away from the edge of the bluff and more recently underwent a full renovation.

Hours are 10 AM to 4 PM. Open daily during summer and weekends from Labor Day to October 10. Closed in winter. Docent Tour is $15 and kids under 9 are free with an adult.

Mohegan Bluffs

9. Hike up Mohegan Bluffs for Stunning Ocean Views

One of the island’s most popular attractions is Mohegan Bluffs , a series of steep cliffs that offer panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Visitors can hike to the top of the bluffs or take the stairs down to one of the prettiest Block Island beaches below.

Either way, it’s a stunning sight. And on a clear day, you can see all the way to Montauk Point in New York. So whether you’re looking for a vigorous hike or just a place to relax and take in the scenery, Mohegan Bluffs is well worth a visit.

Block Island Fishing

10. Go Fishing

For the angler looking to wet a line, Block Island is a prime destination from May through November. The island’s waters are home to a variety of fish, including striped bass, sea bass, bluefin tuna, fluke and more.

Cast your lines from shore or from a boat, and while daytime fishing can be productive, it’s typically best to fish at night. That’s when the big ones come out to play. 

So whatever your preference, Block Island is sure to have something for you. The island has several charter boats that can take you out for the day or night. Block Island Fishworks has a bait and tackle shop and charters along with kayak rentals.

Block Island Clamming

11. Clamming in Cormorant Cove or Andy’s Way

Clamming on Block Island is a cherished pastime. It’s an adventure that offers up a nice bounty.

With a shellfishing license that you get in person from the Harbormaster (bring your ID), you can comb the shore of the Great Salt Pond in designated areas.

Among these, Andy’s Way and Cormorant Cove stand out as a favored locales, where clusters of clams abound. Digging is a fun pastime for adults and kids alike.

Comb through the first few inches of sand when it’s low tide and enjoy the thrill of discovery. Bring a bucket, a clamming rake, and don’t forget the shellfishing license.

Clay Head Preserve Block Island Hiking

12. Hiking on Block Island

One of the best Block Island activities is hiking. Block Island’s diverse hiking trails cater to all skill levels from a leisurely walk to an adrenaline-filled excursion.

The best Block Island hiking trails include Rodman’s Hollow offers a moderate 1-mile loop through woodlands and rolling hills.

“The Maze,” or Clay Head Trail , is an easy 3.5-mile trek across rugged terrain with rewarding coastal views.

The Greenway’s interconnected paths wind gently through the island’s interior, varying in length and difficulty with 30 miles of trails overall.

Ranging from easy walks to strenuous hikes, these trails unveil Block Island’s natural splendor, showcasing its coastal bluffs, serene meadows, and lush woodlands.

Make sure to pack your day hiking essentials and check your body for ticks when you’re done.

Where to Stay on Block Island

Want to make a weekend of your trip to Block Island? We don’t blame you. Here are some cute places to stay overnight. These are all walking distance to town.

  • Block Island Beach House (8.8) – With cute beachy decor, 31 rooms with private bathrooms, dining on a wrap around deck and a swimming pool, this is a charming spot to set up for the weekend.
  • Neptune House (8.9) – great choice for families with an outdoor pool. All rooms equipped with a kitchen, dining area, seating area, and private bathroom. Choose from a studio, one or two bedroom apartment.
  • Old Town Inn (9.6) – This small inn has 10 rooms with private bathrooms, and set on a gracious property with a tennis court. It’s a nice spot for couples and they offer a daily buffet breakfast. It’s also pet friendly.

If you just want to do a Block Island day trip and need a hotel near the Pt. Judith ferry or in Newport::

  • The Break Hotel (9.3) – Bright coastal decor, spacious rooms, sea views, delicious complimentary breakfast and an outdoor pool in Narragansett by the ferry.
  • Attwater Hotel (9.0) – Stylish, comfortable rooms, great location, attentive staff and delicious food. Great for couples or families.
  • Pelham Court Hotel (9.4) – Condo hotel with fully equipped kitchens in a great location and pet friendly.

Final Thoughts About a Day Trip to Block Island

Block Island is a great place to visit for a day trip. There are plenty of things to do, and the island is small enough that you will find it easy to get around. So whether you’re looking for a relaxing day trip or a fun-filled adventure, Block Island is the perfect destination.

Save This List of Things to do on a Block Island Day Trip For Later? Pin it!

Block Island Day Trip Pin

About Jenifer

You might also like....

Best Places to Visit in December in the USA

15 Best Places to Travel in December in the USA, Europe & Abroad

Bucket List USA Monument Valley

23 Most Beautiful States in the USA – Ranked by Beauty & Best Things to Do

America the Beautiful National Park Passport

5 Reasons to Get An America the Beautiful National Park Pass

I want to go to block island with you!!!

Maybe next summer we can meet there xx

Leave a Reply Cancel Reply

Copyright 2024 - The Evolista | All Rights Reserved | Disclosure

The Daily Adventures of Me

A Day Trip to Block Island, Rhode Island

Spend the day exploring Block Island including the Lighthouses of Block Island, Rhode Island. #lighthouses #rhodeisland #thingstodoinRhodeIsland

Living in Rhode Island, we visit Block Island at least once a summer. Block Island is a very convenient day trip from Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, or New York. In only about an hour, you can get a completely different state of mind and atmosphere. Block Island is also small enough to explore thoroughly in a short amount of time. Read on to plan your Block Island trip. Whether you are looking for a party with the girls or a day with kids, I know it will give you great ideas for things to do on Block Island.

24 Hours in Block Island / A day trip to Block Island

Table of Contents

What is Block Island?

How to get to block island, how to get to block island from rhode island, ferry from narragansett, a day trip to block island from boston or anywhere in massachusetts, getting to block island from connecticut.

You can get to Block Island from New London, Ct.

Ferry Service to Block Island from New York

Viking Ferry Service can take you from Montauk, NY to Block Island.

Where Does the Ferry Bring You in Block Island?

Things to do on block island, visit manisses animal farm.

Things to do on Block Island with kids

Since you can buy feed cups, the animals come over to you. There is a big gated field containing a zeedonk with one eye, yaks and goats. There are many birds around, in cages and free. Up the hill and through the gates are free-range alpacas. They were available for petting, but seemed a little wary of our littlest and craziest children and kept looking like they were about to spit on us.

Located on Spring Street just a couple blocks to the left off the ferry up the hill past the statue of Rebecca is a unique farm. It is right past the Manisses Hotel, which has beautiful gardens. This is a private collection of animals that the owner wants to share with the world. Right after the parking lot, there are caged animals, such as lemurs.

Take a Tour at North Light Fibers

See how alpaca hair is made into yarn. They also use bamboo, soy silk, and many other fibers in their thread and are located near Manisses Farm.

Explore how to book a tour here.

Explore Block Island Beaches

Ballard’s beach club.

Block Island beaches

Mohegan Bluffs

Mohegan Bluffs is one of the prettiest places on the east coast. It has a gorgeous beach set at the bottom of the limestone cliffs, but to access it you need to go up and down a very steep and lengthy set of stairs. There are no food or bathrooms at this secluded, but popular beach. Visitors cover the beach with stone cairns , which make the beach even prettier. The water is much rougher at this beach, so it is more suited for older children or adults. There are no lifeguards on duty.

Things to do with kids on Block Island, just 20 miles off the shore of Rhode Island. #thingstodoonBlockIsland #BlockIsland

Block Island’s Lighthouses

Explore a lighthouse or two.

Block Island Southeast Lighthouse

Explore Block Island, Rhode Island. Things to do on Block Island

The Southeast Lighthouse is located only about a block away from the Mohegan Bluffs. I would highly recommend taking the tour up the lighthouse, especially to see the incredible Fresnel Lens.

Block Island North Lighthouse

lighthouses of Block Island

How to Get Around Block Island

Do i need a car for my trip to block island.

Although the roads are crazy for pedestrians or bike riders, cabs are so ubiquitous, and only the traditional ferry from Narragansett allows cars. It is probably more efficient to rely on cabs.

Take a Cab Around the Island

The roads around Block Island are very narrow, and winding and tourists drive crazy. When I am here, I walk just in town or take one of the cabs that are readily available near the ferry dock. The last time we visited, we used Rondo’s Cabs (401-466-5550).

Ride a Bike around Block Island

Right as you get off the ferry, there are many bike rentals. The ride to the Southeast Lighthouse and Mohegan Bluffs is about 2 miles from town, but is quite steep and busy with traffic.

The ride to the North Light is flatter but longer, about 4 miles. It is also hectic.

Martha’s Vineyard is a flatter place if you want to bike with younger kids. I only bike offseason, because in-season the roads are way to crazy for me!

Where to Eat in Block Island

National hotel.

Our tradition is to eat dinner at the National Hotel , which overlooks the beach and the ferry. The view is impressive. Dinner isn’t too expensive, considering the view, and everything to eat is excellent. I love their award-winning clam chowder, which is really up to that claim. It is perfectly seasoned with dill, just like I like it. It may be the best chowder evah (spoken in Boston accent). The salads come in half sizes and are delicious. The crab legs were perfectly cooked and sweet, which is hard to find on the left coast.

Set on the Boat Basin on the Great Salt Pond, this place has the famous Block Island Mudslide, made with real ice cream, seafood and sushi. In summer the lines are long, but if you score a table on the lawn, the kids can run around. The menu is smaller but worth it.

What to do on Block Island

Block Island Accommodations

You can search here for the perfect Block Island hotel from Hotels.com . Since I live so close, I have never stayed.

Block Island attractions/ Block Island activities

Read on about more adventures in my little state in A Local’s Guide to Rhode Island or 24 Hours in Newport, Rhode Island , or any of my other Rhode Island posts . For more New England island exploring, read 47 Fabulous Things to do in Martha’s Vineyard.

Located just off the coast of mainland Rhode Island, Block Island is the perfect place to spend a day exploring cliffs, beaches and lighthouses and enjoying a sweet New England town. #BlockIsland #RhodeIsland #NewEngland

If you liked it, please share it. Thank you!

12 thoughts on “A Day Trip to Block Island, Rhode Island”

Over the years I have spent countless days weeks hours on Block. I dont think there is anything like it in the world. It is an incredible place. I was married at the epicopal church on the Island my daughter met her now husband on the Island and it goes on and on. If I could live there I we would

What a special connection you have with it. ?

Living on the west coast, I had never heard of Block Island before. But it definitely sounds like a nice little getaway, especially living as close as you do! I’m hoping to get back out to the east coast again in the coming years and will keep Block Island in mind!

I have lived in Washington DC for about 20 years now been to Bethany and OC many of time. I never heard of Block Island before. This is great post and I have to say I may have to take a trip over there some day. Your photos are amazing looks like a wonderful place to visit.

What is OC?

I’ve never heard of Block. (Though, to be fair, I’m not that familiar with Road Island in general) It looks super cute! I am hoping to make it to New England this fall!

Where are you planning to visit in New England?

I’ve never heard of Block Island before, but it looks like a great place to spend a day or two! I like that it’s in decent proximity of a lot of major spots!

Thank you for providing such a great post! I would love to visit all the lighthouses. They all look gorgeous. I’m glad to hear that I wouldn’t need to rent a var to visit the island. I’m not keen on driving (even in my own city), so I love places where I’m able to use alternative methods to get around. I think I would rent a bike and cycle around the island.

What are your thoughts on renting a moped for the day? I’ve heard good and bad. I don’t thing we want to bicycle all over. It may be too pricey to bring our car over, plus not sure what the parking situation is. What do you suggest? Is it really super dangerous?

I have never tried, so am not sure there is a place that rents them. The drivers are pretty crazy and there are a lot of curves, so the safety is questionable, but that is up to your risk adversity. You can take cabs around.

Amazing place! We visited during the summer and had great time. It was definitely fun riding mopeds around the island.

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

Notify me of follow-up comments by email.

Notify me of new posts by email.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information Accept

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Adventures in New England

Adventures in New England

A local's guide to savoring the history, culture, food and nature of the Northeast USA

things to do in block island

Things to do on Block Island, Rhode Island

block island day trip

Living in Rhode Island, we visit Block Island at least once a summer. Block Island is a convenient day trip from Rhode Island, Connecticut, or New York, and you can get a completely different state of mind and atmosphere in only about an hour. Block Island is also small enough to explore thoroughly in a short amount of time. Read on to plan your Block Island trip. Whether you are looking for a party with the girls or a day with kids, I know it will give you great ideas for things to do on Block Island.

Table of Contents

What is Block Island?

How to get to block island, how to get to block island from rhode island, ferry from narragansett.

things to do on Block Island, New England, USA

Getting to Block Island from Connecticut

You can get to Block Island from New London, Ct.

Ferry Service to Block Island from New York

Viking Ferry Service can take you from Montauk, NY, to Block Island.

Where Does the Ferry Bring You in Block Island?

Things to do on block island, visit manisses animal farm at the 1661 inn ..

Things to do on Block Island with kids

Located on Spring Street, just a couple blocks to the left off the ferry up the hill past the statue of Rebecca, is a unique farm. It is right behind the 1661 Inn, which has beautiful gardens. This is a private collection of animals the owner wants to share with the world. Caged animals, such as lemurs, are directly after the parking lot.

Since you can buy feed cups, the animals come over to you. A big gated field contains a zeedonk with one eye, yaks, and goats. There are many birds around, in cages and free. Up the hill and through the gates are free-range alpacas. They were available for petting but seemed a little wary of our littlest and craziest children and kept looking like they were about to spit on us.

Take a Tour at North Light Fibers

See how alpaca hair is made into yarn. North Light Fibers also use bamboo, soy silk, and many other fibers in their thread and are located within Manisses Farm.

Explore how to book a tour here, which happens on weekdays at 10 am

Explore Block Island Beaches

Ballard’s beach club, mohegan bluffs.

Mohegan Bluffs is one of the prettiest places on the east coast. There is a gorgeous, rocky beach at the bottom of the limestone cliffs, but to access it you need to go up and down a very steep and lengthy set of stairs.

There are not food or bathrooms at this secluded but popular beach. Visitors cover the beach with stone cairns , which make the beach even prettier. This beach’s water is much rougher, so it is more suited for older children or adults. There are no lifeguards on duty.

Block Island’s Lighthouses

Explore a lighthouse or two.

Block Island Southeast Lighthouse

block island day trip

The Southeast Lighthouse is located only about a block from the Mohegan Bluffs. I highly recommend taking the tour up the lighthouse, especially to see the incredible Fresnel Lens.

Block Island North Lighthouse

A day trip to Block Island

How to Get Around Block Island

Do i need a car for my trip to block island.

Although the roads are crazy for pedestrians or bike riders, cabs are ubiquitous, and only the traditional ferry from Narragansett allows cars. It is more efficient to rely on cabs.

Take a Cab Around the Island

The roads around Block Island are very narrow and winding, and tourists drive crazy. When I am here, I walk around town or take one of the cabs that are readily available near the ferry dock. We used Rondo’s Cabs last time we visited (401-466-5550).

Ride a Bike around Block Island

Right as you get off the ferry, there are many bike rentals. The ride to the Southeast Lighthouse and Mohegan Bluffs is about 2 miles from town but is steep and busy with traffic.

The ride to the North Light is flatter but longer, about 4 miles, and it is also hectic.

Martha’s Vineyard is flatter if you want to bike with younger kids.

Where to Eat on Block Island

National hotel.

Our tradition is to eat dinner at the National Hotel , which overlooks the beach and the ferry. The view is impressive. Dinner isn’t too expensive, considering the view, and everything to eat is excellent.

I love their award-winning clam chowder, which lives up to that claim. It is perfectly seasoned with dill, just like I like it. It may be the best chowder evah (spoken in a Boston accent). The salads come in half sizes and are also delicious. The crab legs were perfectly cooked and sweet, which is hard to find on the left coast.

Set on the Boat Basin on the Great Salt Pond, this place has the famous Block Island Mudslide, made with real ice cream. They also serve seafood and sushi. In summer, the lines are long, but the kids can run around if you score a table on the lawn. The menu is smaller but worth it.

What to do on Block Island

Block Island Accommodations

You can search here for the perfect Block Island hotel from Hotels.com . Since I live so close, I have never stayed.

Block Island attractions/ Block Island activities

Read on about more adventures in my little state in A Local’s Guide to Rhode Island or 24 Hours in Newport, Rhode Island , or any of my other Rhode Island posts . For more New England island exploring, read 47 Fabulous Things to do in Martha’s Vineyard.

Take an easy day trip from Rhode Island or Connecticut to Block Island for some hiking, biking, exploring or listening to a band at a beachside bar. #thingstodoinNewEngland #BlockIslandRI

Sharing is caring!

11 thoughts on “Things to do on Block Island, Rhode Island”

That sounds like a perfect day out, some lovely walks, sight-seeing, a relax on the beach and finally a lovely dinner at the National hotel. I adore seafood, so that crab sounds delicious. Great tip too to not take a car, why be stressed driving when you can jump in a cab or walk.

It sounds like we will need to plan a visit to Block Island if we ever spend some time in the area. Great to know that there are more than one way to get to the island. But that not all can be used with cars. I like the idea of heading over without a car and using a cab to get around the island. A lovely day trip.

Block Island sounds really relaxing! I would love to rent a bike if I ever visit, and $35 for a full beach set up doesn’t sound too bad either. You are lucky to live you so close!

I am definitely blessed to live in New England.

This seems like a great place to add to a trip I’ve been planning for a while around New England. I wanted to add one of the islands, as part of our road trip and this one seems perfect for that!

I learned a lot about Block Island in Rhode Island after reading your post. It definitely evokes curiosity in me about the place and would definitely like to visit it if an opportunity arises in the future. Nicely captured pictures.

Reading more of your posts really makes me want to visit New England in the summer! I love little beachy towns and islands and your pictures make it look so beautiful. Plus the seafood sounds so good!

The seafood is definitely some of the best in the world!

This looks like such a fun place! Rhode Island always has flown under my radar, but I think now I’m gonna think of ways to bring it into my next trip up to New England. Just gotta find the time to plan that one!

Do they have motorized wheel chairs for handicap?

Who are you referring to, Becky?

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Notify me of follow-up comments by email.

Notify me of new posts by email.

You may also like to read

block island day trip

What to Do in Ogunquit, Maine

block island day trip

What to Do in Newport, Rhode Island

Martha's Vineyard things to do

47 Fabulous Things to Do in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

Rhode Island Sunset

14 Fabulous Spots to Watch the Sunset in Rhode Island

block island day trip

Things To Do In Provincetown and the Outer Cape, Massachusetts

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information Accept

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

10 Best Things to Do on Block Island

block island day trip

Kim Knox Beckius

What are the best things to do on Rhode Island's time-forgotten Block Island? With its Victorian charm and windswept beauty, Block Island appeals to both outdoorsy travelers who want to hike, bike, boat and explore and to those who simply want to abandon reality back on the mainland.  Getting to Block Island  can be a bit tricky, but once you're over that hurdle, deciding what to do on this three-by-seven-mile, pork chop-shaped isle is relatively easy. Block Island is so laid back, some visitors choose to do practically nothing. But you really shouldn't miss these 10 best Block Island attractions and experiences once you've made the journey.

See Mohegan Bluffs

As dramatic as any scenery in New England , the Mohegan Bluffs are 150-foot clay cliffs on the south side of Block Island. Unforgettable Atlantic Ocean views await those who descend a wooden staircase more than 140 steps to the sliver of sand below. This remote beach is so serene, it's hard to believe the cliffs were named for a violent event that occurred in 1590, when a band of Mohegans attempted to invade Block Island. The native Manisseans were not amused, and they drove their adversaries over the bluffs and into the sea. The only protection you'll need when you invade this spot is… sunscreen.

Laze on a Beach

Block Island has 17 miles of ocean beach, and some visitors never wander farther than the southern end of Crescent Beach, which is just steps from the Old Harbor ferry dock. Admission to all of Block Island's beaches is free, and Caribbean-blue water will entice you to splash right in. Your dog can join you. This dog-friendly island allows leashed dogs to enjoy a day at the beach, too.

Climb to the Top of Southeast Light

Like the invading Mohegans, Block Island's Southeast Light seemed doomed to fall into the sea. Erosion threatened this 1874 brick beacon atop Mohegan Bluffs until it was safely moved inland from its precarious location in 1993. The Victorian Gothic-style lighthouse's small museum is open free to the public between Memorial Day weekend and the second Monday in October, and for a fee, you can often venture to the top of the tower on a tour: The 360-degree island views are worth it.

Hike at Clay Head Preserve

More than 45 percent of Block Island's 6,200 acres are preserved in their wild and scenic state thanks to the foresight and efforts of three organizations: the Block Island Conservancy, the Block Island Land Trust and the Nature Conservancy. You'll find pristine places to hike all over the island, but one of the most spectacular spots for a memorable trek is the Nature Conservancy's 150-acre Clay Head Preserve . Whether you walk along the otherworldly beach or wander the inland-reaching trails known as "the maze," you'll be wowed by some of the most exceptional views not only on Block Island but in all of New England .

Devour Killer Donuts

The sign says: "Home of the Killer Donuts!" And that's no small claim considering New Englanders are overly fond of donuts. Believe the hype, though. Payne's Donuts at 1 Ocean Avenue is worth finding while you're on Block Island. Although these donuts only come in three simple flavors—sugar, cinnamon and plain—you'll be hooked from your first bite into one of these warm and crispy, yet tender treats.

Learn About Block Island's History

Block Island was settled by 16 farming and fishing families in 1661, but more than 200 years ebbed by before it became a destination. Victorian-era hotels built around the turn of the 20th still give the island its throwback appeal. As you might imagine, isolation has made this a land of colorful stories, and the best place to discover them is the Block Island Historical Society , which operates a museum and gallery that is open daily in the summer, weekends during shoulder seasons, and off-season by appointment. In addition to showcasing island artifacts, each year, a special exhibition takes a look at island history through a specific lens.

Have a Drink at The Oar

The Oar is to Block Island as Margaritaville is to Key West: It’s the island’s laidback watering hole, where locals and in-the-know tourists kick back and enjoy food, booze and the water view. The Oar’s specialty? Frozen Mudslides. The best seats in the house? On the deck, looking out over Great Salt Pond. Open seasonally from mid-May through mid-October, The Oar does not accept reservations, but if there’s a wait for a table or a seat at the bar, you can pass the time boat-watching or playing a game of cornhole on the lawn.

Meet Exotic Animals

We'll bet you didn't expect to bump into a yak, red kangaroos, camels and a zebu on Block Island. At 1661 Farm and Garden (also known as Abrams' Animal Farm)—across the street from the 1661 Inn and just a short walk from the ferry dock—you can meet a variety of exotic animals. This free mini zoo is popular with families. Be sure to wander over to nearby North Light Fibers , where friendly alpacas are also eager to meet you, and yarns made from their fiber are handcrafted on-site.

Paddle the Great Salt Pond

Nicholas Monu/Getty Images

To fully appreciate Block Island's ecological wonders, you'll want to get out on the water. Pond and Beyond Kayak offers two-and-a-half-hour small group ecotours of the Great Salt Pond that are perfect for even inexperienced paddlers. You'll be able to ask questions and hear local insights, in addition to spying on wildlife and oyster farms. If you're an experienced kayaker, you can also rent a kayak and explore on your own.

Take a Taxi Tour

Bringing a car to Block Island requires advance planning, and you really won't need one. Taxis are readily available, and island taxi drivers are known for being real characters, who regale passengers with entertaining anecdotes and island gossip. If this is your first visit to Block Island, a taxi tour is an especially good way to see the entire island and its highlights. Want to be dropped off to explore on your own? Ask your driver for a phone number to call when you're ready to be picked up.

20 Best Things to Do in Rhode Island

18 Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in the US

How to Travel From Long Island to Block Island by Ferry, Train, Car, and Plane

January in New England: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

The 10 Best Beaches in New England

The Top 20 Things to Do in San Diego, California

Lincoln Woods State Park: The Complete Guide

22 Best Things to Do in Belize

16 Top Luxury Outdoor Travel Experiences

The 20 Best Things to Do in Hawaii

Acadia National Park: The Complete Guide

The 12 Best Things to Do Along England's Jurassic Coast

12 Best Things to Do in New England in the Winter

Top 10 Things to Do on Catalina Island

The Best Beach in Every State

15 Best Islands in the US

Stay New England

21 Wonderful Things to Do on Block Island (2023)

Photo of author

From the Author : Our family has been taking week-long vacations on Block Island for 5+ years. We love this island and know it well. If you have any questions, we respond quickly to comments!

You’ll be surprised by just how many things there are to do on Block Island – especially for such a small piece of land (3-by-7 miles to be exact)!

Whether you’re staying the week with access to car, or just here on a day trip walking around, this guide has something for you. NOTE : All asterisked * activities below are within a 20 minute walk from the Ferry Landing in Old Harbor and can be experienced during a day trip!

Ok, with out further ado, here our favorite things to do on Block Island…

NOTICE // We try our best to keep the information in this guide as up to date as possible. If you notice anything has changed, please leave us comment down below.

LAST UPDATE :

1. Payne’s Donuts First Thing in the Morning (seasonal)

Payne’s Donuts is a 50 year Island tradition, and the perfect way to start your day.

Each morning at 7AM, their trailer take out window opens on Ocean Avenue.

Payne's Donuts

If you enjoy hot, fresh donuts, you’re in for a treat. First come, first served – they stay open until they sell out.

Open daily in the summer.

Insider Tip:

This is a very popular spot and the line starts early!

2. An Afternoon at Mansion Beach

Block Island has 17 miles of beautiful beaches, and Mansion Beach is one of the best beaches on the the island.

Manson Beach

Mansion Beach has it all – white soft sand, clear blue waters, and big waves.

From the moment you turn down Mansion Road you feel like you’ve escaped the normal hustle and bustle that takes place downtown.

This beach is located at the end of a dirt road. Bikes and cars are allowed, but no mopeds.

A plus to this beach is that it is generally less crowded due to its “off the beaten path” location.

Mansion Beach drone shot

No lifeguards on duty. Porta potty available on beach walkway.

3. A Night of Live Music at Captain Nick’s* (seasonal)

Captain Nick’s is located on Ocean Avenue, shortly after you drive through the Islands only four-way-stop.

Captain Nicks Block Island

If a night of dancing, good music, and fun cocktails is up your alley, this is your spot.

Although Captain Nick’s indoor venue is 21+, all ages can enjoy live entertainment on Sunday afternoons.

Ask the bartender to sparkle you if you’re up to have an extra “glow” that might carry into your next morning…

4. Outdoor Movie Night on Town Beach* (seasonal)

Town Beach (officially known as Fred Benson Town Beach) is located on Corn Neck Road – only a 20 minute walk from the ferry landing.

It’s a family friendly beach by day, and movie theatre by night (well on Tuesday nights at least).

During the summer months they play a movie every Tuesday night at the beach. It’s a free event for all age groups to come and enjoy.

Pack some snacks, beach chairs, and blankets and enjoy a movie under the stars. The movie lineup is posted on the Beaches Facebook page.

Past movies include: Little Rascals, A Bug’s Life, Ratatouille, Toy Story, Frozen, Finding Nemo, The Goonies, etc.

Alcohol is not permitted on this beach.

5. Visit a Lighthouse (or two!)

Block Island has two lighthouses – Southeast Lighthouse and Block Island North Light. The Southeast Lighthouse sits atop a 200 foot clay cliff known as Mohegan Bluffs.

Block Island Lighthouse

During the summer months you can tour the tower, learn about historical Block Island shipwrecks, and browse the gift shop.

North Light stands 55 feet tall (3 feet taller than Southeast Lighthouse) on the northern part of the Island.

This lighthouse is a bit more difficult to access due to the 20 minute walk on a sandy beach once you arrive at the lighthouse parking lot.

Block Island Lighthouse

The North Light lighthouse isn’t open to the public but you can learn more about it at North Light Interpretive Center (800 feet away).

This museum is open limited weekend hours from Memorial Day to Columbus Day and daily 10am-5pm in the summer.

6. Charter a Fishing Trip with Fishworks Block Island

Fishing off Block Island is a memory you won’t forget; I definitely won’t forget my first charter in 2020 thanks to Captain Chris from Block Island Fishworks .

Block Island Fishing

Block Island Fishworks will be celebrating 20 years of business this summer, and it’s no surprise given their experience .

The local captain and guides know all the hot spots to keep your reel busy the moment you hit the water.

They have two boats and multiple charter offerings (small and large party pricing, 3/4/6/8 hour options) to best fit your needs, experience, and interests.

In addition to the charters, Block Island Fishworks offers rentals (kayaks, paddleboards, etc.) and a full service bait and tackle shop.

7. Bike or Moped Rentals from Aldo’s*

Moped Block Island

My favorite way to see the island is via bike or moped, and they are both popular modes of transportation on Block Island.

With that said, it’s important to note:

You aren’t able to ride down dirt roads on a moped. So if you are hoping to explore all the nooks and crannies the island has to offer a bike rental might be best for you.

Mansion Road Sign Block Island

However, the island has some hills which might make pedaling for the average joe a bit more challenging depending on your route/destination.

After a moped fatality in 2021, The New Shoreham Town Council adopted new restrictions which limits the hours of operation to between the hours of 10am-6pm as well as all moped renters need to watch an educational safety video and pass a proficiency test.

8. Enjoy Appetizers on the Lawn at Spring House Hotel*

Spring House Hotel Block Island

The Spring House Hotel is the oldest hotel on the island. You’re guaranteed to experience authentic New England charm when visiting.

In front of the hotel there is a large rolling grass hill that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and it’s lined with white Adirondack chairs.

Spring House Hotel Block Island

There is nothing better than ordering a drink and appetizer while taking in the ocean views.

My favorite: an Aperol Spritz and caprese salad!

Spring House Hotel Block Island

The Adirondack chairs are first come, first served but if you are interested in a more formal dining experience on their porch or inside I would recommend making reservations.

9. Watch the Sunset from Grace’s Cove

This secluded beach is on the west side of the island, and provides a perfect view of the sunset over the ocean horizon.

Since it’s located furthest from town, you can usually expect to find the beach blissfully quiet.

Graces Cove Beach View

You may find a couple sitting on a driftwood log, a few people walking the rocky beach, and occasionally a group of people surrounding a beach fire. 

It’s located down a small dirt road, so you won’t be able to access by moped.

10. Visit the Island Zedonk*

The Abrams Animal Farm is home to the Island Zedonk (half zebra/half donkey…yes, it’s a real thing!).

Block Island Zoo

The farm can be found on Spring Street (behind Hotel Manisses), and even though it’s on the smaller side, it’s packed with interesting animals that you wouldn’t expect to see at a small farm on Block Island (yes, Kangaroos and Camels too!).

Block Island Zoo

It is free to enjoy, but there is a donation box outside the building.

There is also a small store which sells yarn and other items that come from the animals on site.

11. Clamming in New Harbor

Clamming on Block Island is the perfect family outing, and a great way to create your own “farm to table” experience.

Kids on Great Salt Pond

My favorite spot to do this is in New Harbor on Great Salt Pond .

This pond is on the western end of the island and is known for its diverse ecosystem.

In addition to the clams, there are plenty of fish, crabs, and even a number of tropical species.

The best way to access the pond is via Andy’s Way.

When you pull down the dirt road there is a small area for parking at the end (there is a bike rack here as well).

This access point brings you to a crescent of sandy beach that is often lined with kayaks.

Andys Way

Keep in mind that the sand path from the parking lot to the water is narrow which makes navigating a beach wagon a little more challenging. As always, dirt road = no mopeds.

If you want to go clamming, you’ll need a license! You can get one at the Harbor Master’s office, right behind The Oar.

block island harbor master

12. Blvck Market on Water Street

I always hope for at least one gloomy weather day when I visit Block Island because that’s when my sister and I browse the shops of Old Harbor!

One of our favorites is Blvck Market.

This boutique is owned by island local, Sean Dugan (fun fact: his wife is a co-owner at The Darius Inn – THE best B&B).

In this store you’ll find t-shirts, skirts, dresses, towels, bathing suits, headbands, etc.

Dugan lives in Bali during the off-season and many of his pieces are made there.

Not only does everything have unique and fun designs, but the material is super soft too.

You’ll find locals and tourists alike repping this brand!

Other honorable mentions would be: Glass Onion, Lazy Fish, Diamond Blue Surf Shop, & Minnow 02807.

13. Indulge in an Ice Cream from The Ice Cream Place*

Ice cream and summer are one of my favorite duos but when you add vacation and Block Island to the mix it’s a must.

Block Island has a few solid options for ice cream, but my absolute favorite is The Ice Cream Place.

Block Island Ice Cream

You get to enjoy the “old-fashioned” ice cream shop feel and smell as soon so you step inside .

They make homemade fudge sauce, whipped cream, and waffle cones that are to die for.

The only problem you may have is trying to decide–there is no shortage of flavors and toppings.

Don’t let a long line scare you away; it moves quickly and it’s worth the wait!

This is a cash only facility.

14. Order a Mudslide from The Oar

The Oar is always a repeat visit when I’m on the island. This place is perfect for food and drinks or just drinks.

They have a lot of outside lawn seating options (wooden chairs and picnic tables with umbrellas) as well as indoor “open air” seating.

The Oar Block Island

I’ve found this to be a great restaurant for families because the outdoor lawn tables allow the kids to run around while you wait for your food.

They also have a few cornhole boards and bags set up for use.

The Oar Block Island

As for the mudslides – this is a non-negotiable part of your order. Your waiter will ask three questions: 1. Top shelf? 2. Floater? 3. Whipped cream?

I’m usually a “yes, no, yes” but my husband would say “yes” to all three is the only correct answer!

As for the name—The Oar—you’ll notice many wooden oars hanging around the restaurant, inside and out.

The Oar Block Island

Each oar has a memory written on them from visiting guests.

I always wondered how you get an oar put up on the wall, and I was surprised to find out all you have to do is drop one off at the front desk!

15. Breakfast at the Airport Cafe

UPDATE : The Airport Cafe closed at the end of 2022.

I’m a big fan of breakfast and my favorite sit-down breakfast spot on Block Island is Bethany’s Airport Diner.

It’s located at the island’s airport so you get prime viewing of all the action that takes place on the tarmac.

Airport Cafe Block Island

On a nice day, you have the option to enjoy breakfast from a picnic table outside – this is where you will have the best view of the arriving and departing planes.

The long-time owner, Bethany Coviello, has been running the diner since she was 28 years old.

It’s a local hangout but you’ll definitely see tourists here as well.

This is your traditional diner when it comes to menu items.

A fun added twist is a beer and wine menu and, most recently, a dinner menu that they are trying out a few nights a week.

16. Visit the Town Library*

Some claim this is the friendliest and most professional community library on the East Coast!

block island day trip

With every visit, I’m more and more impressed with what they offer – there is something here for all age groups.

Their website has an up-to-date calendar of all of their events.  They have everything from nature walks and storytelling to knitting and “film and soup” nights.

If you are looking for a good deal – don’t miss the basement level. There are books and games for only $1.

AC and free Wi-Fi

17. Hike Rodman’s Hollow

Rodmans Hollow Block Island

Rodman’s Hollow hiking trail is comprised of 230-acres of rolling hills, beautiful wild flowers, and panoramic views of the ocean.

As for difficulty level, it’s definitely on the easier end and well-suited for most people.

If you are up for an adventure, you are able to access Black’s Beach from this trail.

18. Devour Clam Cakes from Rebecca’s*

Rebecca’s Seafood is located on Water Street right across the street from the Old Harbor ferry landing.

This cash only facility is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, they have quite the extensive menu.

There is a take-out window and outside eating area (picnic tables with umbrellas) as well as a small inside eating area with counter and table seating options.

I consider this to be the perfect “quick bite” stop.

My family goes to Rebecca’s for their clam cakes. They are served hot and fresh!

Make sure you ask for tartar sauce – they make their own on-site! (Keep in mind, the clam cakes are usually not offered until after 11:30am).

There is another location – Rebecca’s Beach – located on Fred Benson Town Beach. They serve lunch inside the Town Beach Pavilion.

Lobster roll on the beach? Yes, please!

19. Stroll the Island Farmers Market

The Block Island Farmers Market is open late June – early October.

It’s held on Saturdays at Legion Park from 9am-11:30am.

Block Island Farmers Market

You can find anything from fresh baked goods and yummy drinks to photography and pottery.

My three favorite stops included a warm scone, freshly squeezed lemonade, and a bouquet of flowers.

Legion Park is a small peninsula of land surrounded by roads (no fence so keep this in mind if traveling with small children).

There are a few benches and some trees for shade if you plan on packing a blanket to people watch, enjoy some live music, or just relax.

Block Island Farmers Market

The market is open rain or shine.

20. Take in All the Action at Payne’s Dock

A family owned operation for years which has become quite the Block Island landmark.

Payne’s Dock is located on the south side of Great Salt Pond in New Harbor.

Paynes Dock Block Island

The dock consists of 100 boat slips, Mahogany Shoals (awesome dockside bar), Rebecca’s Dockside Restaurant, and a store that sells sporting goods and beach supplies.

Paynes Dock Block Island

There is live music nightly in the summer that fits in perfectly with the laid back/casual vibe.

Keep in mind it’s cash only at the bar. You’ll find people of all ages, consisting of boaters who are docked at the marina, locals and tourists.

21. Join the Island’s Glass Float Hunt

Each summer, 550 handcrafted glass orbs (similar in size to an orange) are hidden around the island as part of an interactive art experience.

Everyone is encouraged to try and find one which you then get to keep.

The hunt starts in June and continues until all the orbs have been found. It’s important to note that they are not all put out at once.

More are added as the summer progresses.

The orbs are never put on private property, in the dunes, on the side of bluffs or further than a few feet from any trail.

If you find one you register it online. Then what? Finder’s keepers!

They only ask that you only keep one if you happen to find more throughout the year…

I haven’t been lucky enough to find an orb but I always keep an eye out hoping it will be my lucky year.

Block Island may be small, but there is always something new and exciting to explore.

Whether you’re a car-less “day tripper”, or a week-long “vacation goer”, you’ll have plenty to see and do.

What’s your favorite thing to do on Block Island? Leave me a comment below!

Photo of author

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

cropped-Stay-New-England-A2.png

Eat. drink. STAY. nEW eNGLAND. ™ 

Follow our travels on social! ↓

© stay new england 2023

16 Best Things To Do On Block Island

Block Island, located 12 miles off the Rhode Island coast, is a lesser-known vacation spot compared to celebrity-favored Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.

However, visitors are captivated by its unique charm from Memorial Day to Columbus Day. The island offers beautiful beaches, breathtaking ocean views, extensive hiking trails, towering coastal cliffs, a rich history, and vibrant nightlife.

It also offers a distinctive atmosphere with unique attractions, most of which are free, and amazing food. Often described as a hidden gem, Block Island is among the top New England spots to visit during the summer.

If you’re planning a day trip, weekend getaway or summer vacation on Block Island, let us tell you some of the best things to do. Things that you’ll absolutely enjoy doing and want to keep doing. Here are our 16 Best Things To Do On Block Island list:

Table of Contents

How to get to block island.

Before we tell you what to do, let us tell you how you can reach Block Island.

There are a few good ways to reach Block Island. You have the option of taking a boat or a plane. However, the popular choice among people who travel frequently to this Island is the Block Island Ferry from Point Judith on Rhode Island, which gets you there in just 30 minutes.

If you’re thinking of bringing your car on the ferry, it’s important to reserve a spot well in advance. Ferry bookings for the upcoming season open in early January, and the coveted weekend slots get booked fast.

So, if you’re planning a day or weekend trip to Block Island, consider leaving your car behind. Walking, biking, and swimming are the best ways to explore the Island. And if you wonder if a car is necessary for Block Island, the simple answer is – not at all! The Island is only 3×7 miles .

Top Things To Do On Block Island

1. mansion beach – spend a perfect and calm afternoon.

In contrast to the bustling vibe of Ballard’s Beach, Mansion Beach offers a rather calm island experience for those who prefer some quiet time.

Commonly less populated, this beach is renowned for its larger waves and an expansive stretch of barely touched sandy coast. Located just 3 miles or a brief 10-minute drive from the town center, it offers a serene escape.

However, let us tell you one important thing. Unlike Ballard’s Beach and other popular beaches, Mansion Beach lacks amenities, including restrooms. If you’re planning an extended stay, it’s advisable to bring all essentials.

For those on a tight schedule, a leisurely stroll along Mansion Beach or a quick dip in the ocean remains a top recommendation for a day trip to Block Island. However, if you’re planning a longer trip, you may just get to experience all the goods this beach has to offer.

2. Ballard’s – Best Entertainment Outdoors

A stone’s throw away from the Old Harbor ferry landing, Ballard’s stands as a premier spot on Block Island. For many new and repeat visitors, it’s often the first destination they visit during their island day trip, and sometimes even end with it.

Ballard’s offers an all-inclusive beach experience, ensuring guests have everything for an entertaining day outdoors. Their private beach boasts amenities like lounge chairs, umbrella rentals, tiki bars, and beach volleyball.

Add to that the daily live music and dedicated waitress service, ensuring you can relax, eat, and drink without moving an inch from your sandy perch.

Indulge in their signature beverages, served in a carved-out pineapple, offering a tropical vibe right here in the Northeast. And if you’re tempted to extend your stay, Ballard’s also features a comfortable hotel. For those looking for a unique experience, private beach bonfires are available upon request.

3. Dori’s Cove – Best For Sunset

If you love sunsets, you’ll love Block Island. There are several spots where you can sit and watch stunning sunsets. However, if you want to experience the best of them all, ask locals. They’ll point you towards Dori’s Cove.

In fact, this place holds a special place in the hearts of locals as the prime sunset-viewing location.

Nestled on the island’s west side, this quaint cove offers a sense of solitude. While its rocky terrain might not be the best for a swim, it’s undeniably the perfect backdrop to end your beautiful day.

As dusk approaches, the horizon comes alive with an intriguing palette of colors, offering a visual treat as the sun bids farewell.

4. Grace’s Cove – Second Best For Sunset

Tucked away on the island’s west side, this hidden gem of a beach offers an unparalleled view of the sun setting over the vast ocean expanse.

Its distance from the town center ensures a relaxed atmosphere, often undisturbed by large crowds.

It’s not uncommon to spot a duo seated on a piece of driftwood, individuals strolling along the rocky shores, or a small gathering basking in the warmth of a beach bonfire.

The beach is accessible via a narrow dirt path, making it unsuitable for mopeds, further preserving its peaceful charm.

5. Orb Hunting – Most Unique Activity On The Island

One of the most unique and interesting things you can do on Block Island or throughout New England is find the glass orbs. Every year, over 500 exquisite glass orbs, also known as floats, are crafted in Wakefield, RI, as a Glass Float Project.

This artistic endeavor is led by local artist Eben Horton, along with his wife, Jennifer, and their dedicated studio team.

These glass orbs or treasures are then hidden throughout Block Island by devoted volunteers, often referred to as “Orbivores.” They’re strategically placed on beaches and greenway trails, ensuring they don’t disturb the island’s protected areas like sand dunes. So, while on the hunt, it’s essential to respect the island’s natural habitats.

The best part? Everyone, from locals to tourists, is encouraged to join the hunt. If luck favors you and you discover one of these glass marvels during your visit to Block Island, you’ll notice a date and a number carved onto it. As a matter of fact, each glass orb carries a number and date.

When you find an ord, You can register your findings. This is important as it helps keep track of the number of floats found during the season. Once registered, the float is yours to cherish as a special Block Island memento. The entertainment-filled search continues until every single float is discovered and logged.

While we’ve yet to find a float during our visits, we’re quite committed to finding one in the future. But we hope that you find one during yours.

6. Sail To The Block Island

If you’re planning a trip to Block Island with friends or family and are taking a plane or boat to reach there, think again. Why take the boring way when you can have so much fun by chartering a sailboat?

You can have a really good view and tour of the Island’s coast, offered by none other than the hand-picked crew.

The Club warmly suggests bringing along your favorite snacks and beverages to sweeten your sailing experience. Imagine savoring these treats while soaking in the breathtaking views of the bluffs from the vantage point of the water – it promises to be a memory you’ll cherish.

To set sail on this unique adventure, simply reach out to the Club via email, and they’ll guide you through the booking process.

7. Sleep On The Ocean

If staying in homes on land is too boring for you, how about spending a week living on the waters with full facilities? CharterKai’s Catamaran Quest is a unique South African luxury expedition catamaran, custom-made and measuring 57′ x 27′.

This boat sails an impressive 8,000 miles annually between the Caribbean and New England. During the winter, Quest offers week-long all-inclusive sailing trips in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to live on a catamaran, here’s a rare chance to experience boat life.

It’s a unique opportunity to stay on the water and wake up to the gentle rocking of the waves, with great ocean views all around. Watch sunrise or sunsets, take the boat from remotest of beaches to the most crowded.

8. Payne’s Donut For Breakfast

Payne’s Donut is a 50-year-old shop and has become a morning staple for most of the islanders. They open their take-out windows at 7 AM every morning, greeting everyone with their delicious smell of freshly made donuts and coffee.

It is a totally exquisite experience and often fills people with excitement. However, make sure you arrive early, as their donuts sell out really fast, and whoever comes first gets served first.

9. The Incredible Mohegan Bluff

If you’re on a one-day trip to Block Island, consider making a stop at the Mohegan Bluffs. This place is quite famous and is a representation of the island. It is so famous that you’ll find images of this bluff on postcard stock images and more. Mohegan Bluffs is only a couple of miles away from downtown, and no matter where you are on the island, accessing this bluff is quite easy.

The panoramic views from the bluffs are truly breathtaking. Spend some time taking in the scenery from the top of the 141-step staircase before slowly descending to the beach to walk along the shoreline. Be ready for a bit of a climb on your way back up, and anticipate some speeding towards the staircase’s end near the beach. It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places on this island to spend some quality time.

10. Lighthouse/ and The Museum

North Light, one of the island’s two lighthouses, stands as one of the major attractions for a day trip to Block Island. Situated near the Clayhead Trail and a mere 10-minute drive from downtown, it features plenty of parking space.

To reach the northern lighthouse, you’ll have to take a half-mile walk along the beach, so make sure you arrive here on time to witness the lighthouse in its full glory.

To find it, follow Corn Neck Road to its end, leading you to a parking spot by the water just before Cow Cove Beach. Once there, you can see the lighthouse in the distance. At this point, your walk will start to reach it at the far end.

Block Island’s other beacon, Southeast Lighthouse , lives on the opposite side of the island, near Mohegan Bluffs. It offers stunning oceanfront views and has been declared a National Historic Landmark. The lighthouse was constructed in 1873, but it was relocated in 1993 to prevent bluff erosion.

When you reach this lighthouse, you’ll find a Museum attached with a small gift shop. If you visit this spot during the summer, you might find a food truck serving delicious seafood. However, roaming the lighthouse grounds remains complimentary.

11. Find The Secret Beach At Clayhead Trail and Maze

If you’re on a several-day vacation to Block Island but want to spend a whole day exploring something in particular, the Clay Head Trail & Maze should top your list. This 3.5-mile loop trail offers some of the island’s most stunning scenery and typically takes around 2-3 hours to complete.

The Clayhead Trail is situated about 3 miles from downtown and can be accessible by turning right onto Clayhead Trail Road and following the dirt path to a small parking area.

It takes around 400-500 meters of walk to reach a crossroad. You can either choose to go left, towards a gorgeous bluff, or to the right, where a secluded beach is waiting. This beach is only known amongst the locals, and not many tourists know its whereabouts.

Do not swim near this beach as it is quite rocky, however, you can sit here for hours, taking in the breathtaking views.

The second best part, subjective given your preference, is waiting for you at the trail’s end. You’ll find a maze-like network of paths, often unmarked, giving you the opportunity to explore various areas. You never know where you’ll end up taking the road less travelled.

12. Kayaking The Great Salt Pond of Block Island

The Great Salt Pond holds the distinction of being Block Island’s only estuary, boasting a unique history. Originally a freshwater pond, it transformed into a tidal salt pond in the 1870s when a channel connecting it to Block Island Sound was excavated.

Exploring the pond by kayak or paddleboard is among the top activities on Block Island. Pond & Beyond Kayak promotes this adventure by offering both rentals and guided tours.

Embarking on their “Eco-Tour,” you’ll navigate around the pond, gaining insights into the surrounding ecosystem. The two-hour journey features visits to an oyster farm, sightings of a fiddler crab colony, and much more. Additional unique experiences include tours under the full moon, at sunset, and at sunrise for the early birds.

This is also a good spot to watch the Beautiful Bioluminescence show in the dark. However, the said phenomenon only takes place around August.

13. Enjoy Fulfilling Lunch With Stunning View At The Oar

If you are looking for a dining experience featuring a relaxed ambience and stunning waterfront views, make your way to The Oar. It is one of the best Block Island restaurants . Situated within the 1661 Inn, The Oar is a mere 5-minute drive or a pleasant 30-minute walk from downtown, offering lovely casual cuisine and refreshing cocktails.

The Oar is an excellent spot for both dining and sipping on cocktails. They offer plenty of outdoor seating on the lawn, complete with wooden chairs, picnic tables, and shaded umbrellas.

Additionally, they have an indoor seating area that feels breezy and open. The spot is made for all, whether you’re coming with friends or family.

There’s a big lawn where children can play, and sitting arrangements allow everyone to enjoy their meals in the open. For added entertainment, they’ve set up a few cornhole games for guests to enjoy. Their salad with chicken is quite popular and we must say, for a good a reason.

When at the venue, go to the Sushi bar, where you’ll find a wide range of sushi rolls waiting to be eaten. Also, when munching down, ask for their speciality drink, Mudslide, and say Yes 3 times!

14. Go On Breakwater Walks

There are multiple breakwaters that are easily accessible from downtown, and you’ll spot them as soon as you get off the ferry and start exploring. The most convenient one is situated in front of the Block Island Summer House. Just look for a small staircase leading down to the water to begin your walk.

Another famous breakwater is located at Ballard’s Beach, and it is hard to miss once you arrive at the beach. It also serves as a pretty good spot for photography.

Make sure you wear sturdy shoes for a comfortable walk on the breakwater and stick to standard safety measures.

15. Go For The Spooky Night Tour

If you’re not afraid of ghosts and ghost stories, then one of the most exciting things to do at Block Island is to take a night tour of the island.

The island’s rich history sets the stage for countless ghost stories! The tour is organized locally in the evening, where a guide takes you on a walk, drive and through a haunted pub tour.

Most of the stories are intertwined with the island’s history, adding more eerie and spooky elements to the lore and the tour.

16. Sway On Live Music At Captain Nick’s

Captain Nick’s Rock-n-Roll bar is conveniently located on Ocean Avenue, just after passing through the only four-way-stop on the island.

If you fancy great music, lip smacking cocktails, and a night of dancing then this is just the perfect spot for you.

Captain Nick’s one of the very few places that always seems full, making it one of the few places that actually reaches its capacity on some busy nights.

If you have never been to this place before, let us tell you something. There are two stages for live music. During the day, the smaller outdoor stage is typically used, while the larger indoor stage takes the spotlight at night.

The indoor area is only accessible to those who are 21 and over. However, on Sunday afternoons, people of all ages can come still enjoy the live music.

Remember you carry your some ID card with you as often many get carded trying to get in. Also, this place is cash only!

Block Island is a fairly small region surrounded by water, and yet it offers way more. You can do many more things on this island than listed in this blog.

We enjoyed doing many of the things we mentioned above, and that’s why we recommend you indulge in a couple of them.

It doesn’t matter how you arrive at this island or for how long, you will find something interesting regardless. We recommend you spend at least 2-3 days enjoying as many things as you can and then return with loads of good memories.

I've been travelling for quite some time now and have explored most of the United States. After having written numerous post on my adventure for others, I finally decided to have something of my own.

Similar Posts

The 9 best block island bars.

Do you like the smell of ocean, the endless horizons, good music and cute tiki huts? Well, Block Island Bars will give you just that and even more. If you’re searching for a perfect spot to get a refreshing drink with your family or a fun late night out with friends or partners, this article…

Everything You Need To Know Before You Visit Block Island

Block Island is a small Island, just 25 km2, south of Rhode Island. It is so small that there’s only one town on the whole of Block Island, New Shoreham; people often refer to this place by the town’s name. Throughout New England, this Island is famous as one of the best weekend getaway spots. A quick…

5 Best Block Island Moped Rental Spots

Are you looking to explore Block Island in the most convenient, intimate, and fun way? Why not rent a moped! Cruising through the island’s beautiful scenic routes on a scooter not only gives you the freedom to discover hidden gems at your own pace but also adds a sense of adventure to your trip. In…

9 Best Pet Friendly Hotels On Block Island

Are you travelling with your pet to Block Island and looking for a pet-friendly hotel where you and your best friend can live and have fun together? You’re in luck. Although not many, there are a couple of hotels on Block Island worth checking out. If you’re open to other options, you can go for…

12 Best Block Island Beaches

Block Island is a relatively small island, a little under 10 square miles. It has a 17 miles long shoreline housing some of the best beaches in Rhode Island or New England. The Block Island beaches offer plenty of things for various types of beachgoers, including surfing, sailing, kayaking, and more. If you’re visiting this…

Best Block Island Hotels With Pool

If you’re visiting Block Island and looking for accommodation with an indoor or outdoor pool, you might find yourself out of luck as there are very limited options that offer a pool on Block Island. But if you’re flexible and open to suggestions, some other accommodations on the block island and nearby areas offer a…

Automated page speed optimizations for fast site performance

Hotel Deals!

Hot hotel deals.

Spring Special offer

  • Travel Guide
  • Art Galleries
  • Historic Homes & Buildings
  • Historic Sites
  • Lighthouses
  • Newport Mansions
  • Historical & preservation societies
  • Marinas & Harbors
  • Motorized Charter
  • Family Favorite Beaches
  • Hidden Gem Beaches
  • State Beaches
  • Lakes & Ponds
  • Dog-Friendly Beaches
  • Music & clubs
  • Performing arts
  • Spectator sports
  • Drive-in movie theaters
  • Indoor activities
  • Pick Your Own
  • Nature & science
  • Parks & trails
  • Winter outdoor fun
  • Spa & wellness
  • What to do in Rhode Island now
  • This Weekend
  • Newport Family Summer Getaway
  • Summer Like a Vanderbilt
  • Rhody Art & History Immersion
  • Urban Family Escape
  • Ocean State Biking Adventure
  • Northern RI Arts & Culture
  • Coastal Family Fun

Block Island Retreat

  • Ocean State Food & Drink Tour
  • Arts & Culture Family Experience
  • Great Outdoors Family Adventure
  • Family Fun & Games
  • Newport Arts & Culture Experience
  • Central-Northern RI Arts & Culture Experience
  • The Rhody Mix Experience

Block Island/ New Shoreham

  • Broadway, Newport
  • Chepachet Village
  • Downtown Westerly
  • Garden City, Cranston
  • Hope Street, Providence
  • Main Street, East Greenwich
  • Thames Street, Newport
  • Westminster Street, Providence
  • Wickenden Street, Providence
  • Wickford Village

Unplugged on Block Island

  • Cocktails & Culture
  • Boos & Brews
  • Take a Hike
  • Birds Flock Here in the Fall
  • Early Black History in Providence
  • Nature & Luxury in South County
  • Upscale Romance in Newport
  • Newport with Your Squad
  • Fun & Frugal Winter Break
  • A Classic Coastal Christmas
  • Winter Family Fun in Northern Rhode Island
  • Shop like a local
  • This weekend
  • Gaspee Days: America's First Blow for Freedom
  • Free events
  • Submit Events
  • Annual Fairs, Festivals & Events
  • June 2024 Events in Rhode Island
  • July 2024 Events in Rhode Island
  • August 2024 Events in Rhode Island
  • Hotels & motels
  • Bed and breakfasts, inns & guesthouses
  • Rentals & reservation services
  • Waterfront Campgrounds
  • State Campgrounds
  • Delivery & takeout
  • Clam shacks
  • Coffee & cafes
  • Desserts & ice cream
  • Outdoor Dining
  • Bars & Pubs
  • Breweries & distilleries
  • Vineyards & Wineries
  • Speakeasies
  • Blackstone Valley
  • Block Island
  • Newport County
  • South County
  • Warwick & West Bay
  • Tourist info centers
  • Travel guide
  • Airports & airlines
  • Car rentals
  • Electric vehicle charging stations
  • Rhode Island Public Transit (RIPTA)
  • Colleges & universities
  • #VisitRhodeIsland
  • Special Offers Form
  • Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport
  • Rhode Island in the news
  • Move your business here
  • Celebrate Pride in RI
  • Accessibility in RI
  • International
  • Tourism News

block island day trip

Block Island, Rhode Island

Only a short ferry ride from the mainland, Block Island offers the quintessential island experience. Think food and drinks overlooking the ocean, boutique-lined streets, spectacular natural sights and some of the most unspoiled white sand beaches in the country. Hop on a bike or moped and get exploring charming streets, dramatic cliffs, quiet beaches and pristine nature trails. 

BLOCK ISLAND EVENTS

Block island glass float project, st. patrick's day in june, 4th of july fireworks, 4th of july parade, ballard's legendary summer of music: foreigner journey experience live at ballard's beach resort, ballard's legendary summer of music: the broken hearts: tom petty tribute band live at ballard's beach resortliv, ballard's legendary summer of music: the dave matthews tribute band live at ballard's beach resort, ballard's legendary summer of music: parrots of the caribbean: jimmy buffett tribute band live at ballard's beach resort, ballard's legendary summer of music: the zac brown tribute band live at ballard's beach resort, ballard's legendary summer of music: red not chili peppers: red hot chili peppers tribute live at ballard's beach resort, ballard's legendary summer of music: the dirty deeds ac/dc tribute band, ballard's legendary summer of music: no shoes nation kenny chesney tribute band, block island getaways, beaches & watersports.

If you’re into clamming, or just a pleasant stroll, this is your spot. It’s a large crescent of sandy beach on... Read More ›

This is the beach that locals want to keep secret – a well-sheltered beach with gentler waves and less... Read More ›

Ballard's Beach

Ballard’s Beach is a Block Island tradition, with a hotel and an oceanfront restaurant, plus tiki bars serving... Read More ›

Block Island Boat Basin

Full service transient marina. Full marine store, small grocery, souvenirs, and clothing. Auto and bikes... Read More ›

Block Island Fishworks and Sandy...

Since 2002, we have been Block Island's headquarters for everything fishing! The only full-service bait tackle... Read More ›

Block Island Parasailing and...

Block Island Parasail has since 1989 offered a variety of fun-filled entertainment. Soar above Block Island's... Read More ›

Champlin's Hotel, Marina and Resort

Boasting 46 newly-renovated guest rooms, our Block Island hotel is the perfect home base for the ultimate... Read More ›

Charlestown Beach

Secluded, romantic and known for amazing sunsets. Charlestown Beach is a great spot for a sunset picnic and... Read More ›

Cooneymus Cove

Cooneymus Cove is one of three secluded beaches on the west side of the island, furthest from town. It's wave... Read More ›

Crescent Beach

A stretch of white sand beach along the east side of the island. Crescent Beach stretches along the Island's... Read More ›

Diamondblue Surf Shop

Block Island's only surf shop since 2008. Located at the Island's busiest "four-way" intersection, it's a shop... Read More ›

Dinghy Beach

Featuring majestic views that make a perfect backdrop for photos, Dinghy Beach is a small sandy cove with a... Read More ›

Fort Island Kayaks

Fort Island Kayaks is located adjacent to Block Island Fishworks and offers one of the best Block Island... Read More ›

Fred Benson Town Beach

Known locally as Crescent Beach. Chairs, umbrellas, boogie boards and concessions available to rent on a daily... Read More ›

Hula Charters

Charter fishing off Block Island for the serious fisherman, beginner or someone just looking for a nice day... Read More ›

Linesider Fishing Charters

Captain Eric and "Rooster" have been chartering out of Block Island for almost 10 years. Read More ›

Mansion Beach

Secluded beach on Block Island, famous for its big waves. It's best to arrive by bike, as the limited parking... Read More ›

New Shoreham Harbormaster

Ninety town rental moorings in New Harbor are first-come-first-serve. Two boats allowed per mooring. There is... Read More ›

Payne's Dock

Located in new harbor at the end of Ocean Avenue. On the west side of the island, through the channel and into... Read More ›

Pond & Beyond Guided Kayak

Kayaks for rent; kayak tours available. Tours are ecologically based and are available for any age experience. Read More ›

Scotch Beach

Scotch Beach is accessible from a small parking area located on its namesake road leading to the right-of-way.... Read More ›

Sea Dog Cruising

We are a Block Island, Long Island & Connecticut based private boat that offers the most unique intimate... Read More ›

Snowfly Fishing Charters

RI Captains Greg Snow and John Tondra are a light tackle and Fly Fishing charter guide service on Block... Read More ›

Right at the south end of Crescent Beach sits Surf Beach, named for The Surf Hotel which sits just above it.... Read More ›

Vaill Beach

Rocky but private, Vaill Beach is very secluded and is a good place for beach combing, finding glass floats... Read More ›

Viking Fleet

Viking Fleet provides passenger ferry service only. We do not take cars; however, you are welcome to bring... Read More ›

While not great for swimmers and a bit rocky for laying on the beach, West Beach is very secluded and gorgeous... Read More ›

1661 Farm and Gardens

A collection of exotic and domestic animals is maintained by Justin Abrams, owner of the 1661 Inn & Hotel... Read More ›

Block Island Club

The Block Island Club is a non-profit club specializing in Sailing, Tennis and Events. Our weekly Kid's Camps... Read More ›

Block Island Ghost Tours

Block Island Ghost Tours. Ghost ships, FBI serial killer man hunts, Native American massacres, and curses are... Read More ›

Glass Float Project -Scavenger Hunt! The search, which begins the first weekend in June and continues until... Read More ›

PARKS & RECREATION

Beach rose bicycles.

Lift your spirits and exercise your body. Bicycling is the best way to explore Block Island! You won't miss... Read More ›

Block Island Bike and Car Rental

Rental vehicles all seasons of the year. In the summertime, a wide assortment of adult mountain bikes are... Read More ›

Block Island Maritime Institute

The Block Island Maritime Institute (BIMI) is the destination point for children and adults on Block Island.... Read More ›

Block Island National Wildlife...

Adjacent to a former U.S. Coast Guard light station, Block Island Refuge consists of 46 acres of sandy beaches... Read More ›

Block Island Off Shore Wind Farm

Block Island Wind Farm is the first commercial offshore wind farm in the United States, located from Block... Read More ›

Greenway Walking Trails

There are about 28 miles of walking trails on Block Island that are open to the public free of charge for... Read More ›

Island Bike and Moped

While on Block Island, you are going to need a way to get around and explore. Join the thousands of satisfied... Read More ›

Lewis-Dickens Farm

Lewis-Dickens Farm on Block Island, though requiring a ferry ride, is a gem of a refuge with beautiful... Read More ›

Mohegan Bluffs

The bluffs rise about 200 feet above the sea and stretch for nearly three miles. Spectacular vistas. Nature... Read More ›

Moped and bike rentals Read More ›

Old Harbor Bike Shop

Full-service bike, moped and car rentals. Read More ›

Rodman's Hollow

This 230-acre, glacial, out-wash basin, located in the southwest part of the island, is considered the... Read More ›

Rustic Rides Farm

Horseback riding on beautiful trails down to the beach. Pony rides, sunset beach rides. Read More ›

RESTAURANTS

Aldo's restaurant.

Aldo’s Is The Number 1 Restaurant on Block Island for dining in or take out. Whether you’re in the mood for... Read More ›

Ballard's Restaurant

On the beach dining service, outdoor dining, indoor dining in our gorgeous lounge. Great cocktails, live... Read More ›

The Beachead

BEACHEAD…This legendary beachside restaurant features traditional New England fare, fresh Seafood and old... Read More ›

Bethanys Airport Diner

Great place for breakfast or brunch while visiting Block Island. Read More ›

Block Island Oyster Bar and Grill

Great Food, Great Views, Great People and Great Reviews. Read More ›

Block Island Pizza Pie Company

“Casual pizzeria located in the heart of New Shoreham, just a 2 minute walk from the ferry! All of our pizzas,... Read More ›

Captain Nick's Rock N' Roll Bar

Captain Nick's is a seasonal watering hole located on Block Island, Rhode Island. We are known as a nightclub... Read More ›

Over 29 Years of Fun, Food, Drinks & Live Music Read More ›

Dead Eye Dick's

One of the most historic restaurants on the island, Dead Eye Dick's has been catering to Block Island visitors... Read More ›

Eli's Restaurant

Eclectic, New American menu with a seasonal bent served in a snug, romantic setting. Read More ›

Ernie's Old Harbor Restaurant

Breakfast place to start your morning off right! Read More ›

Finn's Seafood Restaurant

Restaurant and Market. We do fresh seafood, local oysters, frozen painkillers, and chilled Rose. We do clam... Read More ›

The Ice Cream Place

Read More ›

Kimberly's on Block Island is located on Ocean Ave. Tourists and locals alike enjoy the exceptional food. The... Read More ›

Manisses Restaurant

Enjoy the beautiful Victorian landmark, hosting contemporary cocktails, fresh season cuisine & unparalleled... Read More ›

Mcaloon's Saloon

McAloon's Saloon has been serving up local seafood, Irish-inspired dishes and island favorites for 6 years.... Read More ›

Mohegan Restaurant and Bar

An old island favorite, The Mohegan Restaurant and Bar is starting off the first summer of the decade with a... Read More ›

The National Hotel Tap & Grille

Seafood lovers will enjoy our delicious variety of dishes and great atmosphere. Read More ›

The Oar, a casual American restaurant with the added bonus of a fabulous sushi menu serving lunch and dinner... Read More ›

Old Harbor View Take-Out

Old island pub.

Block Island's most recent pub, we have a small food menu and a large bottled beer list as well as wine and... Read More ›

Old Post Office Bagel Shop

Payne's donuts.

Payne's Killer Donuts are an island tradition for over 50 years. Stop by our food truck beginning at 7:00 a.m.... Read More ›

Persephone's Kitchen

We believe that where your food comes from, and how it’s prepared & enjoyed, matters. That’s why we use... Read More ›

Poor People's Pub

Nothing Fancy, Just Good Grub. Island Style. Read More ›

Rebecca's Seafood Takeout

A family-owned business serving Block Island the freshest seafood since 1994. Read More ›

Restaurant 1879

Formerly "The Atlantic Inn Dining Room", 'Restaurant 1879' presents itself with a fresh new look and enticing... Read More ›

The Scoop Shack

Spring house restaurant.

Enjoy beautiful views, a variety of seafood, neopolitan pizza and a wide variety of entrees. Read More ›

The Barn At Spring Hotel

The Barn is one of Block Island's best kept secrets. This unique dining venue features an open kitchen and a... Read More ›

Three Sisters

Home of great sandwiches and all around good food! Read More ›

Inspired by our travels throughout SouthEast Asia, TigerFish offers an eclectic menu featuring our own take on... Read More ›

Winfield’s offers a sophisticated and flavorful menu influenced by French, Italian, new American and Asian... Read More ›

Yellow Kittens Tavern

Seasonal, low-key tavern established in 1876, offering live music & DJs, plus Mexican eats & beer. Read More ›

THINGS TO DO

Block island north lighthouse.

The fourth lighthouse to attempt the shifting sands on Block Island's Sandy Point. The building was opened in... Read More ›

Cow Cove/North Light Area

If you appreciate great scenery, this is one of the island’s best bets, with pretty coastal views and the... Read More ›

Greenaway Gallery

Block Island photos by resident photographer Malcolm Greenaway. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.... Read More ›

Jessie Edwards Gallery

Contemporary American paintings, drawings, photographs, and woodcuts, as well as offering a wide selection of... Read More ›

The Photo Dog Art Gallery

A small unique gallery located under the National Hotel. We carry memory cards, camera batteries, and... Read More ›

Settlers' Rock

A monument listing the names of Block Island's first settlers at their landing place, April, 1661. Read More ›

Southeast Lighthouse

The Mohegan Bluffs rise abruptly to a height of about 200 feet above the sea and stretch for nearly three... Read More ›

Spring Street Gallery

Features work by Block Island artists on exhibit in a cooperative gallery space. A wide array of arts and... Read More ›

STAY ON BLOCK ISLAND

The 1661 inn.

Taking in the spectacular ocean view of the Atlantic Ocean, one can’t help but feel that this is what vacation... Read More ›

Anchor House

This quaint building is located on Spring Street, just down the street from the 1661 Inn. The Anchor House... Read More ›

Ashley House

A 4-minute walk from the Block Island Ferry landing, this cozy Cape Cod-style guesthouse is flanked by cafes... Read More ›

Atlantic Inn

Set high on a hillside overlooking the village and the ocean beyond. This Victorian inn offers a unique & warm... Read More ›

Avonlea, Jewel of the Sea

A dreamy Block Island lodging, Avonlea is a beautiful newly renovated beach house that offers what is hands... Read More ›

Ballard Hall Real Estate

Whether you are looking to purchase that special Block Island property or planning a relaxing vacation,... Read More ›

Ballard's Beach Resort

NOTE: Hotel has updated Covid response amenities please scroll to bottom of the page for details. From the... Read More ›

The Barrington Inn

Offers six guest rooms and two apartments with private baths, decks and ocean views. Enjoy the deck to soak in... Read More ›

Beach Real Estate

Welcome to Beach Real Estate of Block Island. We are your one-stop source for Block Island Real Estate, Block... Read More ›

Block Island Beach House

NOTE: Hotel has updated Covid response amenities please scroll to bottom of the page for details. Come one,... Read More ›

Block Island Inns Cottages & Suites

Located in the direct vicinity of Blue Dory, our Block Island house rentals are the perfect way to get a... Read More ›

Block Island Realty

We have Residential, Land and Commercial listings along with rentals accommodating 2-14 Occupancy. Read More ›

Block Island Reservations

Full service reservations. We offer hotel rooms, suites, cottages and apartments on Block Island. Visit our... Read More ›

Blue Dory Inn

The Blue Dory Inn sits at the head of the famous Crescent Beach and is only a short walking distance to the... Read More ›

Crescent Cottage

Sleeps up to 5: Private path access to Crescent Beach and views of the Great Salt Pond and ocean from every... Read More ›

Five apartments and eight rooms located across the street from Block Island's crescent beach. Walking distance... Read More ›

Dodge Cottage

This New England summer cottage, built circa 1900, is located at the bottom of High Street near the 1661 Inn... Read More ›

Restored Victorian inn offers guest rooms and three two-bedroom efficiency apartments. Wide veranda wraps two... Read More ›

Harbourview

Nestled behind the tall privet hedges sits the Harbourview Guest House and Cottages. Relax on the patio of... Read More ›

Hendrickson House

The Hendrickson House is located on Weldon’s Way and features six contemporary rooms with private bath and two... Read More ›

Hotel Manisses

Located Just Steps from the Ferry Landing and a 3 Minute Walk from Ballard’s Beach. There is nothing like an... Read More ›

The Inn at Old Harbor

Light continental breakfast and wine and cheese included in room rate. Walk to beach and ferry. The inn is in... Read More ›

Marchesi House

This five bedroom house has ocean views and sleeps 10 guests maximum. Marchesi House is located off of Spring... Read More ›

Meadow View House

The Meadow View House is a spacious condo within the peaceful meadows of the Rose Farm. The expansive 20 acres... Read More ›

Mitchell Cottage

The Mitchell Cottage is the most recent addition to our resort. It is located on the property of The 1661 Inn... Read More ›

Narragansett Inn

The Narragansett Inn stands on the shore of the Great Salt Pond with its marinas, restaurants and shops. Our... Read More ›

The National Hotel

NOTE: Hotel has updated Covid response amenities please scroll to bottom of the page for details. Circa 1888... Read More ›

Neptune House Timeshare

Call a Neptune House vacation condo home for the week you're on the Block! We have hundreds and hundreds of... Read More ›

New Harbor House /Payne's Harbor...

A modern inn with a historic feel. On the water. Featuring whirlpool tubs, private decks and large bridal... Read More ›

New Shoreham House

The New Shoreham House is located in town across from the ferry landing. Most rooms here have shared bathrooms... Read More ›

Ocean View Penthouse

Vacation near the pulse of Block Island's entertainment! This condo situates you right in the middle of the... Read More ›

Old Bakery Inn

The Old Bakery is located in the down town area on Water Street overlooking scenic Old Harbor. There are two... Read More ›

Old Post Office Hideaway

Stay in town just steps from Crescent Beach and less than a block from the Old Harbor ferry landing. This... Read More ›

The Old Town Inn

Charming New England inn, renovated with first-class amenities and all private baths. Quiet, convenient... Read More ›

Perry Cottage

Private home for rent on Block Island! Read More ›

Phillips Real Estate

Phillips Real Estate is an office made up of year-round, friendly personnel. We are a vibrant year round real... Read More ›

Rose Farm Inn

Nestled in a sea-and-country setting near beaches, town and ferries. Romantically furnished with antiques,... Read More ›

Seacrest Inn

This quaint guesthouse in the Old Harbor district is a 3-minute walk from the Block Island ferry terminal.... Read More ›

The Sheffield House

Queen Anne Victorian with wraparound porch and private garden in back. Five-minute walk from Old Harbor ferry,... Read More ›

Spring House Hotel

The Spring House Hotel is considered one of Block Island's most elegant historic landmarks. With its... Read More ›

A variety of accommodations to choose from: Barn Apartments: Recently renovated in 2013, the Barn is located... Read More ›

The Sullivan House

A restored 1904 Victorian featuring a wraparound porch, short walk to beach, town and water views from each... Read More ›

Sullivan Sotheby's Real Estate

Whether for a week or a lifetime, Sullivan Real Estate will help you make this your Island. As Block Island's... Read More ›

The Sea Breeze

One of the loveliest of Block Island's small B+B's, The Sea Breeze is a family-run business for over 35 years.... Read More ›

Torrey Guest House

The Torrey House is located on Payne Road about a mile from town and the beaches. This property is owner... Read More ›

Water Street Inn

A charming ten room inn located in the heart of the historic district. Many of the rooms have breathtaking... Read More ›

Water Street Suites

The Water Street Suites are located behind the Water Street Inn convenient walking to the shops, restaurants... Read More ›

Summer Getaways

block island day trip

  • Industry Partner
  • Leisure Travel

block island day trip

  • Story Ideas
  • Fun-Sized Rhode Island
  • Rhode Island in the News
  • Free Travel Guide
  • Contact Visit Rhode Island
  • What's New in Rhode Island
  • Downton Abbey Lifestyle
  • Rhode Island Foodways
  • Hidden Gems
  • Fall Enchantment
  • Image Library
  • Meetings & Conventions
  • Privacy Policy
  • Partner Portal
  • SMS Privacy Policy
  • SMS Terms & Conditions

block island day trip

Special Offers

Looking to plan your next visit to Rhode Island, check out some of the current special offers and enjoy savings, extra perks and more!

How to spend 5 hours on Block Island, RI – Day trip from Montauk

block island day trip

POV: You wake up at 9 am & your partner tells you “Get dressed, we’re going to Block Island and the ferry leaves at 10.” You act quickly– throw on the first thing you think of: tank top, jean shorts & sneakers. Oh yeah, and you probably should grab a hat, sunglasses & bathing suit too.

That’s exactly what we did on a summer Tuesday morning in Montauk. With 10 minutes to spare, we booked the tickets online on the way to the docks. It’s a miracle we made it! Here’s a guide to a day on Block Island, a fun day trip from Montauk:

block island day trip

What to pack:

  • Sneakers (or if you’re okay with just sandals, do you!)
  • Sweater or windbreaker

Prep: Buy your tickets online at at Viking Fleet it’s $40 + tax one way: Montauk to Block Island Ferry

9:50 am – Get to Viking Fleet Marina, check in at the booth before boarding

10:00 am – Ferry Departure

On board, you can buy snacks, coffee/tea & drinks.

We got hot coffees for $2 & a homemade coffee cake for $3. I was very grateful since we didn’t have time to grab anything before we left! The ride was beautiful but admittedly choppy on the way over. We had some rough waters this day. It was a bit windy, so I definitely recommend a windbreaker or some sort of sweater.

block island day trip

11:15-11:30 am – Arrive at Champlins in Block Island & disembark the ferry

Once we got off the ferry, we saw tons of boats docked. As we walked down the dock, the boaters were asking us about our ride (they know the waters & knew it must’ve been a bumpy ride.) At the end of the dock, there are bathrooms on the left.

block island day trip

11:45 am – Grab a taxi & ask them to take you to Old Town

There are tons of taxi vans that arrive waiting to take passengers that just got off the ferry to wherever they want to go & don’t worry if the first few get filled up, more are on the way. It cost us $14 for the taxi so we gave our driver $20 (don’t forget to tip! We want to give back to the local businesses.) We had a lovely older lady who had fresh eucalyptus in her van. She was very kind.

block island day trip

12:00 pm – You’re in Old Town!

This is where there are quite a few shops. Our first stop was “Odd Fellows” to get caffeinated (again.) If you know me, you know my love of iced coffee is strong.

block island day trip

I’d recommend getting a moped as soon as possible as they apparently go quickly. The ways to get around on Block Island are walking, biking, or mopeds. There are definitely hills if you’re exploring the island so be aware if you’re not an experienced cyclist.

The soonest available time slot for a moped was 1:30, so we signed up for that spot & reserved it for 3 hours. It cost $96 & the driver needs to have a license.

block island day trip

12:15 – 1:00 pm – Grab a bite to eat at the “Poor People’s Pub”

After we got our moped situation settled, we walked over to the Poor People’s Pub for a bite to eat & to kill some time. I was SO hungry by this point. It’s a no-frills dive bar, perfect for holding us over till dinner. The fish sticks were DELICIOUS. I’m not exaggerating, they were that good. Initially, when I thought of fish sticks, I thought of the frozen school-version. These couldn’t be further from that– these were proper beer battered fish sticks made from fresh Atlantic cod. While you’re there, you also MUST try a “stuffie.”

block island day trip

1:00-1:15 pm Walk back for your moped reservation

Here, you’ll sign a release form, grab your helmets from the bins & instructors will give the driver a quick tutorial & mini driving test to make sure you’re good to go.

block island day trip

1:30- 3:00 pm Go Sightseeing

Time to explore the island! Hopping on your moped will allow you to cover a lot of ground in a little amount of time.

block island day trip

Mohegan Bluffs – A gorgeous viewpoint overlooking the ocean

This view will make you think you’re on the coast of France or New Zealand. It’s a steep trek down flights of stairs. If you’re not equipped to go all the way down, there are signs letting you know when you’re at the halfway point. Just remember, as far as you go down, you’ll have to hike back up!

block island day trip

Ride around more. At this point we just rode around to see where the roads would take us. We drove around taking in views of the ocean & we came across this massive preservation called Rodman’s Hollow.

block island day trip

After, we stumbled upon a pebble beach.

block island day trip

Other options: Check out the Southeast light house if you have time!

3:15-4:00 pm Have dinner at “The Beachead”

We sat outside and started off with 2 dozen oysters (they were $1 today!), a lemonade & a whaler’s pale ale. After deliberating for a bit whether we were really hungry or not, we decided on clam strips, another half dozen oysters & split a lobster roll on a brioche bun. A perfect meal to round out the day.

block island day trip

4:00-4:30 pm Buy your return tickets & do a little shopping

We returned our mopeds when we got back into town, booked our return tickets for the ferry & decided to pop into one of the little shops. I needed a hoodie so we spent some time looking for the perfect coziest one.

block island day trip

Other options: Grab an ice-cream cone.

4:30-4:45 pm Take a cab back to Champlin’s Marina

We hopped in the van to head back to the marina, our ferry leaves at 5! We spent the same amount as we did on the way over($20.) Our driver had such a small town charm to him, I loved hearing him chat about what’s it’s like living on Block Island year-round & him telling us how cold the winters can get over here.

4:45-5:00 pm Get ready to depart!

Arrive back at Champlin’s Marina & get ready for your journey back to Montauk

block island day trip

5:00-6:15 pm Ferry back to Montauk

Wave goodbye to Block Island! I’ve got to tell you–it was choppy on the way back, but the views were beautiful. I was so mesmerized by the water & just how powerful it truly is. All I could think was: “the ocean is NOT to be messed with.” It definitely got chillier on the boat & I was very thankful I had bought that hoodie.

block island day trip

6:15 pm You’re back in Montauk!

It was so sweet; people were waving to us from the docks as the ferry came in. I was exhausted by the end of this adventure-filled day but very satisfied. We disembarked the ferry & enjoyed the rest of our evening.

block island day trip

You may also like:

Snow Tubing at Camelback Mountain Resort! – Day trips from NYC

Exploring Cape May in a Day: Best Things to Do

24 Hrs in Cold Spring NY – Best Things to Do

Top 3 Best Places to go Apple Picking in NY

Actually Arielle

« Fall Fashion Faves from Amazon

Best boutique hotel in fort lauderdale beach: kimpton shorebreak resort », you may also like.

block island day trip

Staying at the stunning Tarrytown House Estate Hotel

block island day trip

Follow @arielletillett

© 2024 Actually Arielle

a life of adventures

collecting happy moments one adventure at a time

Hiking , Rhode Island , United States · April 1, 2022

How to Visit Block Island, Rhode Island (including tips for visiting in the off-season)

Block Island is a unique island off the coast of Rhode Island. We had never heard of Block Island before and stumbled upon it while scouring Google Maps. We were happily surprised at what we found on Block Island while exploring it all ways that we could. The beaches at Block Island are some of the prettiest beaches on the east coast of the United States. Block Island is a magical island with a lot to offer in terms of a peaceful beach getaway. 

block island

How to get to Block Island

To get to Block Island, most people take a ferry. Depending on the time of year, there are several locations that the boats leave from throughout the day. 

In the off season, the only location that the ferry leaves from is Point Judith, Rhode Island. The ferry that leaves from Point Judith in the off season is the slower ferry that takes around 1 hour to reach Block Island. In the winter and off season, it travels less to and from the island, so make sure to look at the ferry schedule online. The Block Island Ferry from Point Judith can also take vehicles. If you plan on taking your car, I describe the process below in depth. It is advisable that you purchase ferry tickets in advance to ensure your spot on the ferry. 

In the summer, there are multiple ferries leaving from various locations. The ferries are much more frequent in the summer. The main ports of departure for Block Island are Point Judith and Newport, Rhode Island. For more information on the summer schedule and all of your options, visit the Block Island Ferry website .

If taking the ferry from Point Judith, Rhode Island and not taking your car, you will need to park your car in Point Judith for the entirety of your trip. There are several different parking lots in the area, but not all are open in the off-season. The one lot that was open during the off-season was the lot directly across from the ferry loading area with a giant yellow and blue sign advertising parking. To park in this lot, you can pay for parking from your phone and get immediate confirmation. The going rate for parking as of 2022 in most parking lots is 10 dollars on weekdays and 15 dollars on weekends.

block island

How to get around Block Island

To see everything around the island, you will probably need some mode of transportation if you want to see most of the things included in the blog post here. You can drive your car onto the island to get to different places, however, keep in mind that parking areas at most of the things to see on the island are very very small. 

You can take your car to Block Island on the ferry leaving from Port Judith Rhode Island. Reservations to bring your car must be made in advance. In 2022, it costs around 80 to 100 dollars (price depends on the size of your car) round trip to bring your car on the ferry. You cannot ride in your car during the ferry ride, you must also purchase passenger tickets for everyone in your party. As of 2022, passenger tickets cost around $12 one way. 

If you would like to drive around the island, but don’t like the idea of bringing your own car, you can rent a car on the island. The prices to rent a car on the island are pretty pricey, even if just renting the car for a few hours. Be sure to make a car rental reservation online prior to your trip. Some companies offering car rentals on the island include Old Harbour Bike and Moped Rentals and Block Island Bike and Car Rental. Also, depending on the time of year you are visiting, the rental companies may or may not be open, so be sure to check before arrival. 

On the island, there are several rental companies that rent out mopeds. What is open really depends on the time of year you are visiting. Mopeds are a fun way to get around the island, but can be dangerous if you’re not really experienced. They are cheaper to rent than cars, but much more expensive than bicycles. Some companies that rent out mopeds on Block Island are Old Harbour Bike and Moped Rentals, Island Moped and Bike, and Aldo’s Mopeds Inc. 

Bicycle is one other way that you can get around Block Island. This is the way that we chose for several reasons. It is the cheapest way to get around the island and also it allows you to see more of the island while in between stops. The island is very bike friendly with bike racks anywhere you would like to stop. Going by bike was definitely enjoyable and let us see many parts of the island that we wouldn’t have been able to see by only walking. We rented our bicycle from Old Harbour Bike and Moped Rentals and they were great. Some other companies on the island that rent out bicycles include Island Moped and Bike and Aldo’s Mopeds Inc.  

block island

Where to Stay on Block Island

Many people do a day trip to Block Island, but I recommend staying overnight on the island so you can experience it with less crowds and also see both sunrise and sunset from the island. The experience of staying overnight on the island allows you to see more of the island. We stayed at The 1661 which we absolutely loved. They were very hospitable and the rooms were really clean. There was complimentary breakfast and a view of the ocean from our bedroom window. They have many different rooms with various views. I totally recommend staying there during your time on the island. Some other well known places to stay on the island include Block Island Beach House, Avonlea Jewel of the Sea, and The National. 

If you decide to not stay overnight, my advice would be to leave for Block Island on the first boat of the morning. This will allow you to see Block Island with less crowds and be the first to some of the beaches.  

block island

Places to Go on Block Island  

Mohegan cliffs.

The Mohegan Cliffs are what drew us to visiting Block Island. The cliffs are nothing like anything we have seen on the east coast. Tall cliffs rise up from the ocean and tower over the rocky beach below. Blue waves crash onto a rocky beach. It is the bluest water we have seen on the east coast, especially in the north.  

To get to the bottom of the cliffs, there is a long staircase with around 150 steps to get to the bottom and then you have to climb over some rocks to get down to the water. There is a rope to help you get down to the beach from the bottom of the steps. You can walk along the rocky beach in either direction, just be careful of the rising tides, which at high tide come up quite close to the bottom of the cliffs. We sat on a big rock and had a picnic watching the waves roll in. 

If you look way out in the distance, you will see giant windmills in the ocean. These windmills are part of the first offshore commercial wind farm in America. 

block island

South East Lighthouse

South East Lighthouse is located very close to the parking area for Mohegan Cliffs. From the viewpoint at the South East Lighthouse, you can see part of the Mohegan Cliffs. In the summer, the lighthouse is open for viewing. An interesting fact about this lighthouse is that it actually had to be moved from its original location because it was too close to the cliffs which erode very quickly. 

block island

Vail Beach is located in the southern part of the island, to the west of Mohegan Cliffs. I preferred Vail Beach as it was less crowded and we had the entire beach to ourselves. The cliffs around Vail Beach are a little shorter than the cliffs at the Mohegan Cliffs beach, but the beach area is a little wider. We walked up and down the rocky beach. 

The parking area for Vail Beach is very small, but there is a large bike rack available. There are no steps down to the beach, but a short muddy trail. Do note that a short piece of the road that goes to Vail Beach is inaccessible by mopeds if that is your mode of transportation. 

block island

Painted Rock

Painted Rock is something we overheard a Block Island local talking about while on the boat over. Painted Rock is a large rock along the road that is painted by people of the island for various occasions. While we were there, it was painted blue and yellow, but you could see evidence of many different painting coats before. To see the Painted Rock and its latest painting, see it at the sharp turn in the road where Lakeside Dr and Mohegan Trail meet. You will pass this rock if turning to go to Vail Beach or Black Rock Beach. 

block island

Black Rock Beach

Black Rock Beach is west of Vail Beach along the coast. If you continue out the dirt road that goes to Vail Beach, Black Rock Road,  at the end of the road, you will reach the parking area for Black Rock Beach. As you can imagine due to the name, there are black-appearing rocks on the shore of Black Rock Beach. 

block island

Grace Cove and Coast Guard Lighthouse

On the west side of the island, there are various coves where the water tends to be calmer and the beaches are made more of sand (rather than the rocks of the southern coast). The beaches on this side of the island looked significantly different than the beaches on the south side of the island. There are large sand dunes with plants growing through the sand. The waves were calm and the water very blue. Grace Cove is less accessed than some of the other coves in the area. If you walk along the beach from the entrance of Grace Cove, you will reach Charleston Beach which is quite isolated and a great beach to have some solitude. 

There is not really much (if any) parking for cars at Grace Cove. There is room to park bikes if you are riding your bike to the cove. 

While down by Grace Cove, you can see the Coast Guard Lighthouse. However, it is a lighthouse that you really can’t visit up close due to it being currently used by the Coast Guard. 

block island

New Shoreham and Old Harbor

New Shoreham is the town on Block Island and it is super cute. Most boats that arrive to Block Island arrive in the port at New Shoreham. New Shoreham is where most of the hotels, restaurants, and shops are located. There is one main street that has mostly everything that you could need during your stay. In the summer, all of the shops and restaurants are open to accommodate visitors. 

If you visit in the off-season like we did, keep in mind that most of the shops and restaurants will NOT be open during your stay. Our hotel gave us a list of places that may be open during our stay. The grocery store on the island is open year round if for some reason you need any amenities or snacks (we had to pick up some motion-sickness medicine for the ferry ride back). 

block island

Fred Benson Town Beach and Crescent Beach

The beaches closest to the town of New Shoreham are the Fred Benson Town Beach and Crescent Beach. You can access the town beach from the main street. Crescent Beach is a little more north and can be accessed by taking the road out of town that heads to the northern part of the island (there is only one road that heads this direction). There are little wooden stairs and boardwalks that cross over the dunes to access the beach. The beaches here are sandy with little blue waves. 

block island

Cow Cove and Settlers’ Rock

Cow Cove is in the northern part of the island. To access Cow Cove, park at the National Wildlife Refuge parking and enter the beach there. The part of the beach closest to the parking lot is Cow Cove. The beach here is a mixture of rock and sand, but is peaceful and quiet. Settlers’ Rock is at the entrance of the beach here and was placed in 1911 to commemorate the 250th anniversary of settlement on the island. 

block island

Block Island National Wildlife Refuge (and the seals)

The Block Island National Wildlife Refuge is one of the things on the island that surprised me the most. I wasn’t expecting much from the wildlife refuge, but it was so peaceful and beautiful. We walked along the beach and watched many seagulls flying and running around. There are sand dunes within the wildlife area that are protected from humans and it is advised that you only walk on established paths. We walked through the sand dune paths near the very tip of the island. This part of the island is the northernmost part of the island and you can see the tip of the island that comes to a very pointy sand bar where large waves collide. 

The very best part of the wildlife refuge was while at the top of the island, we got to see a large group of seals, sunning themselves in the bright sun along the shore. There were many grouped together sleeping, but also some younger seals playing in the water and going from water to shore. Apparently, they live here for much of the winter months. As signs in the area say, be sure to stay at least 50 yards away so as to not disturb them. 

We rode our bikes to the very north of the island to the Block Island National Wildlife Refuge. There is a parking area there. 

block island

North Lighthouse

North Lighthouse is within the Block Island National Wildlife Refuge and is close to the very northernmost part of the island. Even though it was not open to go inside, it was nice to walk around and see the historic lighthouse. Many seagulls were flying and sitting all around the lighthouse when we were there, so if you are scared of birds, this might not be the place for you. 

block island

Itinerary for a weekend on Block Island

-Take the first ferry of the day to Block Island

-Upon arriving to the island, rent your mode of transportation (or skip this if you brought your car to the island) 

-pick up a picnic lunch from New Shoreham (or skip this if you were prepared and packed something from home!)

-head to the southern part of the island

-Stop 1: Southeast Lighthouse

-Stop 2: Mohegan Cliffs (eat your picnic lunch here!)

-Stop 3: Painted Rock

-Stop 4: Vail Beach

-Stop 5: Black Rock Beach

-head to the western side of the island

-Stop 6: Grace Cove and Coast Guard Lighthouse 

-Check into your hotel and freshen up before dinner

-Have dinner in New Shoreham (we went to McAloon’s and I had an amazing salmon BLT)

-Watch sunset and head back to your hotel

-Grab breakfast in the morning (if your hotel doesn’t have breakfast, Odd Fellows Cafe has some great options)

-head up to the north part of the island in the morning before the crowds come

-Stop 1: Block Island National Wildlife Refuge (don’t forget to look for seals on your walk!)

-Stop 2: Cow Cove and Settlers’ Rock

-Stop 3: North Lighthouse

-head back to the main part of the island

-Stop 4: Fred Benson Town Beach and Crescent Beach  

-Grab lunch in New Shoreham

-Return your method of transportation (if applicable)

-Take an afternoon ferry back to the mainland 

block island

Tips for your Visit to Block Island

Here are some tips that I wish we had known before planning our trip to Block Island

If you are going in the off-season, make sure that things are open 

In the off-season, most restaurants and stores are closed. This was something that we didn’t realize when planning our trip. On Google, it showed that stores and restaurants were open, but in reality, almost nothing was open. We were so thankful that our hotel was able to give us a list of the restaurants that were open during our stay. That being said, don’t plan on someplace being open or being open at strange hours. For example, we were planning on renting bikes for the weekend, and although various places said they were open online, only one bike rental shop was open and it was their first weekend of the year and only renting out a small number of things. We really lucked out that they were open, but just make sure you have options before making plans and be flexible with your plans. 

block island

Bring stuff you may need from the mainland

If there is anything you think you may need while on the island, it is a good idea to bring it along or bring extra with you. There is a grocery store on the island, but it is very expensive (some of the most expensive Oreos I have ever seen). We had planned on getting stuff for a picnic lunch and ended up spending a ton of money on bread, peanut butter, and jelly for sandwiches. In hindsight, I wish we had brought picnic food or snacks with us to the island, rather than buying it on the island. 

block island

Prepare for the ferry ride

We have rode ferries various times in the past, but the ferry to Block Island was much more turbulent than we thought. We also made the mistake of sitting at the front of the boat (which we learned the hard way has the most movement). We recommend bringing Dramamine or Bonine motion-sickness medicine and sitting closer to the back of the boat to prevent getting seasick on the hour-long ferry ride. We took the slow ferry and still got seasick. If you plan on taking the faster boat in the summer, there is usually even more movement with the fast boats, so just something to keep in mind when choosing the way you get to the island. 

block island

I hope this guide helps you to plan your trip to Block Island!

Let me know any comments or questions you may have in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

block island

join the club

You’ll also love.

block island day trip

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Notify me of new posts by email.

block island day trip

Guide to Hiking Jay Mountain, New York: the prettiest hike in the Adirondacks

Destinations.

  • NORTH AMERICA
  • NATIONAL PARKS

join the adventure

  • WORK WITH ME
  • Terms and Conditions
  • Privacy Policy
  • Cookie Policy

Copyright © 2024 a life of adventures · Theme by 17th Avenue

Discover more from a life of adventures

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Type your email…

Continue reading

Good Luck Spending Only One Day on Block Island

block island day trip

So you're planning a day trip to Block Island? Good luck leaving at the end of the day.

BLOCK ISLAND, Rhode Island — The next morning’s fishing trip was effectively canceled when I found out there was a stately hotel across the harbor called The National . If my friends didn’t want to stay the night on the island, they shouldn’t have pointed out the perfect spot for me to indulge my love for both old hotels and making impulsive travel choices. Lucky for me, we happened to be on the deck at Ballard’s — a well-looked-after property in its own right — attending to an unobstructed view of the Atlantic, an absurdly large tray of chilled seafood, and several bottles of white wine. So, everyone was very amenable.

I’m sure it’s possible to successfully day trip Block Island. You just have to understand that your day trip may unexpectedly involve a night, then another day.

Block Island sits just off the coast of Rhode Island, southwest of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. It maintains a much more under-the-radar status than its neighbors, which is hard to imagine given the island's wide-open terrain, ranging coastline, and unpretentious charm.

Daily flights leave from Westerly. To fly, though, would be to miss out on a (as designated by me) New England institution: the Block Island Hi-Speed Ferry and its inexplicably delicious hot dog/bloody mary combination. By the time you’ve washed it down with a plastic cup of prosecco, you’re already there.

block island day trip

Ferrygoers empty out onto the promenade of New Shoreham, Block Island’s only township. Busy with T-shirt shops and ice cream parlors, it feels like an amalgam of every classic New England beach destination you’ve ever seen — exactly like Jaws , though only the good parts. This is where you’ll want to rent a bike, which is by far the easiest and most efficient way to explore the island.

Heading south, the road out of town winds through wide open fields, stretching past colonial homes and farmland. It’s almost all uphill, a fact I was unaware of before I agreed to tow a 50-pound Yeti full of tequila, ice, and beer behind my bike. The views along the southeastern coast of the island, coupled with a pleasantly unyielding sea breeze, make it hard to complain. The low-rolling hills are unassuming and bucolic, making it all the more dramatic when they eventually yield to the plunging Mohegan Bluffs.

block island day trip

A narrow dirt path brings you from the trailhead to the landing of a steep wooden staircase and a panorama of the island’s jagged shore. Deep aquamarine and turquoise water is juxtaposed against weather-beaten coves that are more reminiscent of Monterey, California, than New England. Once down the stairs, from the precarious, rocky beach — waves crashing below, and cliffs towering above — you can feel the immense wildness of the island spreading out in front of you.

We hiked up to our bikes, and started back toward New Shoreham — downhill, mercifully. The road basically dead ends at Ballard’s, just before town. It’s the perfect spot to rest your legs, and maybe ply your friends with crab and sauvignon blanc while you figure out how you’re going to extend your stay, if not spend the rest of your days, on Block Island. And it’s where we were when someone pointed out the inviting hotel across the water, whereupon I pointed out that we really didn’t need to go back to Connecticut just yet. 

If stately hotels or cozy inns aren’t convincing enough, the island’s pristine beaches, small family farms, and bountiful seafood options should lure your beach party into expanding their definition of day trip. As for those meetings or fishing trips you’d had planned for the next morning, well, they’ll still be there next week.

Where to Eat

Aldo’s serves rustic, homestyle Italian in an intimate setting.

Naturally, New England seafood staples abound on the island. Head to The Oar , Rebecca’s , or The Beachead for clam chowder, lobster, and a cold Narragansett.

Winfield’s and Eli’s serve inventive menus of seasonal, local ingredients.

block island day trip

Where to Stay

The National is indeed the grand dame of Block Island. Ocean-facing suites are air conditioned only by the sea breeze, which is more than adequate. Head to the back patio at dusk, where martinis are served around fire pits and a garden party kicks off the evening. For breakfast the next morning, a $10 stipend included with the room. Use it on lobster frittata.

Ballard’s is perfectly located, sprawled across a point on the outer edge of Old Harbor. Its well-appointed suites provide both beach access and air conditioning. On your way to the beach, grab a pitcher of daiquiris from one of the beachfront, thatch-roofed bars.

To round out the New England beach vibes, book a room at a B&B on the north side of the harbor: Blue Dory Inn , The Darius Inn , or one of several inns nestled into unbelievably picturesque environs in the countryside like  The 1661 , The Rose Farm Inn , and The Atlantic Inn .

What to See

Fred Benson Town Beach is situated just up the road from Old Harbor. For a slightly more secluded feel, head a bit further north to  Mansion Beach .

The Southeast Light is a stunning red brick lighthouse situated near the Mohegan Bluffs trailhead. It’s a National Historic Landmark, and the handful of shipwrecks laying off the BI coast speak to its strategic and historical significance.

Want even more reasons to stick around? Read Finding Summer Bliss on Block Island next.

A version of this article originally appeared on Chris Adair's blog and is reprinted here with permission.

We make every effort to ensure the information in our articles is accurate at the time of publication. But the world moves fast, and even we double-check important details before hitting the road.

A Day On Block Island: Exploring Rhode Island's Most Iconic Vacation Spot

Block Island might be just under seven miles in length, but there's plenty to see in one day on this secluded patch of shoreline.

As the country's smallest state, Rhode Island has its quirks. There's plenty to see here but it's not a place that most outside of New England are very familiar with. While its most prominent features, such as The Breakers , have brought plenty of attention to its rocky shores, there's another landmark that's equally as curious: Block Island.

This island can only be reached by boat and most rely on the ferry as their mode of transportation. The real question, however, is this: Is Block Island worth it? And, even more so, is it the kind of place that can be explored in one day trip? In short, the answer to both is yes - and this is how.

Related: Which Rhode Island Beach You Should Visit, Based On Your Favorite Beach Activity

Block Island: An Introduction

To spend the day on Block Island is to immerse oneself in the nature that Rhode Island is so well known for. The island itself consists of little more than seven miles to explore in full, and it's easily reachable by the mainland, as well as the neighboring states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York. Its beaches are flawless with crystal-clear water surrounding, and the cliffside echoes New York's Montauk in their sheer beauty.

Hi-Speed Ferries To Block Island

  • Narragansett or Newport, RI Ferry
  • Fall River, MA Ferry
  • New London, CT Ferry
  • Viking Ferry Service from Montauk, NY

The ferries will bring passengers right to the ferry port in the center of town (New Shoreham).

What To See In One Day On Block Island

There's plenty to fill a day on Block Island and while some would recommend spending a full two days to see it all, it's not entirely necessary.

Explore Block Island's Beaches

Understandably, one of the biggest draws of Block Island is its pristine beaches. With many to choose from (it is an island surrounded by sand and ocean, after all), there are some beaches that edge out the competition.

  • Ballard's Beach Club. For convenience and for those where spending money to enjoy the landscape is not an issue, Ballard's Beach Club is a must. Those visiting this beach won't need to worry about packing their own food or drinks for the day, as their full-service facility offers it all. Guests to the beach also have access to cabana-like setups for $35, as well as bathroom and shower access for $2. It's family-friendly and a great place for kids, especially if the adults are looking to spend a majority of time enjoying a sunny day on the sand.
  • Mohegan Bluffs. This beach can be described in two words: simple and stunning. Even those who aren't entirely familiar with Block Island have likely heard whisperings of the beauty of Mohegan Bluffs, thanks to its untouched nature. There are no umbrella and lounge setups here, but the trade-off in luxury is worth it for the striking beauty of this shoreline. The beach itself is located at the base of the limestone cliffs behind it, and there are no public bathrooms or showers, but it's worth the trip for a few hours of serenity. As opposed to the calm waves of Ballard's, the surf at Mohegan Bluffs is rougher, making it more appropriate for an older crowd.

Visit The Island's Historic Lighthouses

No New England island would be complete with a lighthouse , and Block Island happens to have two that are open to visitors. These are located at both the north and south ends of the island and were used to direct incoming ships from the Atlantic.

  • Block Island North Lighthouse. Although visitors are not permitted to ascend the stairs to the actual light in the North Lighthouse, they are privy to the museum on the first floor. For a fee, guests will be able to learn the history of this lighthouse, and strolling the beach on which it sits is free.
  • Block Island South Lighthouse. Visitors are permitted to enter this lighthouse's tower, and they'll be treated to an up-close look at its Fresnel Lens. The lighthouse itself is located a (very) short walk from the Mohegan Bluffs beach, so it's worth seeing both of these at the same time.

Dining On Block Island

Block Island has a truly impressive variety of restaurants, food trucks, and quick stops for its small size. Some favorites of the locals are The Oar , The National , Eli's , Finn's , Atlantic Inn , Froozies (vegetarian), and The Beachead . For a full list of Block Island restaurants, see here .

Things To Note About Block Island

While there's plenty to do, there are also some things that visitors should be aware of before visiting.

  • As passengers step off the ferry, they'll see numerous options for bike rentals. Those who wish to bike the island are better off doing so during the off-season when the roads are less congested.
  • Anyone planning to drive on Block Island must take the Narragansett ferry, and should be prepared to use caution on its winding roads.
  • New Shoreham is an incredibly walkable town, and visitors have the option to rely on a local cab service for any destinations on the outskirts.

Next: Dock-To-Table: Guide To Newport, Rhode Island's Best Waterfront Eats

  • New England

Search This Blog

Friday, september 11, 2020, a day trip to block island.

block island day trip

Block Island is a popular getaway well known by New England natives.  The island is shaped like a pork chop and is 7 miles long and 3 miles wide.  Rhode Island claims the land that sits in Block Island Sound, nine miles off its coast in the Atlantic Ocean.  Like the Cape, the Hamptons, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, Block was formed from glacial deposits as the glaciers receded during the last ice age.  

block island day trip

If you are looking to get away from home, if you are looking to feel far away without the hassle or a plane ride, Block Island is it.  A one hour jaunt on the high-speed ferries from several New England ports transports you to a charming Island that feels a lot like Bermuda.  

I've spent a week on the island, I've gone out for a  weekend (here is a weekend guide ), and I've gone over just for the day.  Today we are talking about the latter, Block Island in a Day - a guide to seeing the highlights with a round trip same day ferry ticket.  It is perfect for anyone short on time or someone who wants to see Block on a budget because lodging on the island can be pretty pricey.   

To make the most of the day, you need to take the first ferry out and plan to take one of the last ferries back.  We caught the 9am ferry out of Point Judith and we were on the island by 10am.  We decided on the 5pm ferry back, arriving in Point Judith by 6pm in time to wind down and make dinner before ending the day. 

G E T T I N G   T H E R E 

block island day trip

G E T T I N G   A R O U N D 

block island day trip

B R E A K F A S T 

block island day trip

M A N S I O N   B E A C H 

block island day trip

H O U S E   T O U R 

block island day trip

B I K E   T O   T H E   N O R T H E R N   T I P 

block island day trip

H I K E   C L A Y H E A D   T R A I L S 

block island day trip

L U N C H    A T    T H E   O A R 

block island day trip

B R E A K    A T    T H E    B L U F F S

block island day trip

S T O P    A T    T H E    F A R M 

block island day trip

S T O P    A T    T H E    S H O P S 

block island day trip

I C E  C R E A M 

block island day trip

C A T C H    T H E    F E R R Y

block island day trip

B U D G E T / C O S T 

M o r e   a b o u t   b l o c k , no comments :, post a comment.

Let's Chat!

Your browser is not supported for this experience. We recommend using Chrome, Firefox, Edge, or Safari.

  • Privacy Policy

There is so much to learn about Block Island and so many ways to learn about it from locals!  Tours of Block Island are one of the most popular ways to get around the island.  Guided tours are offered by land (Taxi and Bike Tours), air (Helicopter Tours) and sea (Kayak tours, Harbor tours).

Taxi Tours:

Sure, you can read guide books, study maps, download apps and review online travel blogs. But the best way to learn the most about Block Island in the least amount of time is to take in the sights with a narrated taxi tour. And since there are no tour bus or trolley companies on the island, a taxi tour is the way to go.

In just about an hour’s time, you can travel the entire island, from the granite North Light overseeing the Block Island Wildlife Refuge at our northernmost point to the stunning Mohegan Bluffs, rising 150 feet above the sea below.

Many of the drivers are long-time island residents, so you’ll learn the all about the island of today and yesterday, while getting the inside track on where the locals like to eat, drink, shop, fish and enjoy sun and surf.

Most Block Island taxis fit between 8 and 11 people, so no worries about the whole gang fitting in if you’re with a group. Just head down to the Taxi Stand at Old Harbor to grab a cab, or you can call a taxi to pick you up wherever you’re staying.  Links to Taxi's below.

Bike Tours:

Enjoy seeing the island on 2 wheels!  Go at your own pace on the Self Guided tour or get a guide!  Links to both below.

Helicopter Tours:

Seeing Block Island from above is a magical experience.  Tours depart from the Island's only airport, on Center Road. 

Water Tours:

Guided Kayak tours are available in Great Salt Pond, the Block Island Maritime Institute runs a Harbor Tour (from a boat) in the Summer Season, and some Charter boats offer tours as well.  Links below.

Things to Do

Attractions, sports & recreation, arts & theater, health & wellness.

  • Napa Valley
  • San Francisco
  • Grand Junction
  • Pagosa Springs
  • Connecticut
  • Panama City Beach
  • St. Pete / Clearwater
  • Indianapolis
  • Elizabethtown
  • Hopkinsville
  • Northern Kentucky
  • Shepherdsville
  • The Berkshires
  • Mississippi
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • South Padre Island
  • Loudoun County
  • Washington DC
  • West Virginia
  • Guide on the Go
  • High Adventure
  • Hiking & Biking
  • Natural Wonders
  • Water Sports
  • Winter Activities
  • Food & Drink
  • Culture & History
  • Entertainment
  • Sponsored Content
  • Travel Guides
  • Health & Wellness
  • Solo Travelers
  • Travel Diaries
  • Amplify: Louisiana
  • Life’s Rewards
  • Meet My Abuela
  • Venturing Out Park 2 Park
  • Venturing Out: St.Croix

PLACES.TRAVEL

Day Trip to Magical Block Island off the Coast of Rhode Island

If you’re looking for a fabulous east coast getaway that offers plenty of eye candy, beautiful Atlantic beaches and vistas, soaring cliffs, miles of hiking trails and historic lighthouses along with graceful inns, quaint specialty shops, art galleries, delicious restaurants and lively bars, head to Block Island. 

An idyllic retreat located 12 miles off the coast of Rhode Island, Block Island is only accessible by ferry, and although you can bring a car onto the island, not many visitors do. So, if you follow suit, when you’re not lounging on the beach and romping in the ocean surf, you’ll be exploring Block Island’s natural treasures and manmade charms on foot, by bike and moped, or maybe even on horseback.

Whichever way you choose to get around though, you’ll be thinking of times when togetherness, nature and tranquility were the order of the day. With sunning, biking, hiking, fishing, kayaking, lounging, feasting and sea glass hunting being the main activities on Block Island, your vacation will be a throwback to easier times. Whether you go for a day, a weekend or longer, you’ll come away relaxed and full of wonderful memories. Book your spot on the ferry or plane early on ( see How to Get to Block Island below ) and then plan and anticipate. Below is a list of things to do that’ll help you make the most of your island adventure.

First Things First: Go Carless If You Can

If you follow common advice, leave your car on the mainland in the ferry lot. The logic: the ferry charges a steep fee for cars; island roads are narrow, winding and shoulder-less; it’s hard to deal with driving around a multitude of cyclists and moped rider and island taxis can get you anywhere. Among the first things you’ll want to do after arriving is rent a bike or moped. They’re available at a few different spots, including some inns (bear in mind that mopeds aren’t allowed on dirt roads, which lead to many of the island’s beaches). A couple of rental outfits: Old Harbor Bike Shop and Island Moped and Bike Rentals .

Speaking of bicycles, take the Block Island Bicycle Tour during your visit. This self-guided, 16-mile tour was designed for bikes but you can explore the island’s top sites by other methods  as well including on foot, moped or car. The tour comprises 12 stations, each one a singular highlight marked with a QR code at the center of a post that gives you a minute-long video about the spot once you’ve taken a shot of the code with your phone. You can also pick up a map of the route (with descriptions) from a bike rental place should you want to skip the phone routine.

Mohegan Bluffs Beach on Block Island, Rhode Island.

The Amazing Beaches of Block Island: Where to Spend Time Doing Very Little

Block Island, which is a 3-by-7-mile land mass, has 17 miles of beaches and every single one of them is free, public and easily accessed, not to mention special in its own way. Here are a few favorites among the island’s 15 beach options:

Mansion Beach : Located at the north end of Crescent Beach, this is one of the island’s most scenic beaches, and also one of the least crowded. Its waves make it a great spot to body surf and beach comb.

Mohegan Bluffs : You’ll have to work to get to this one—141 steps lead down to the sand—but, whoa, is it worth it. This beach is at the bottom of the 200-ft.-high bluffs and by most accounts, it’s Block Island’s most beautiful beach. It’s secluded and conducive to both swimming and surfing. And the cliffs, composed of clay, provide one of the most spectacular views of the Atlantic in all of Rhode Island.

West Beach : If total seclusion is your thing, this is the beach for you. It’s not ideal for swimming or laying out (it’s quite rocky), but sunsets don’t get much better than the ones you’ll see here. And West Beach is also an ideal location for sea glass and Glass Float hunting ( see Glass Float section below ).

Surf Beach : Just a three-minute walk from the ferry landing, this beach at the south tip of Crescent Beach remains shallow for quite a distance, so it’s a great place for families with kids. Be sure to bring snorkeling gear along because this beach is also the best area for spotting the sea creatures that gather near the breakwater and rock formations. You’ll find that the beach is also a treasure trove of sand dollars and shells. 

Baby Beach : This is another great spot for families, especially those with babies and young kids requiring abundant gear. The beach is sheltered, has fewer rocks than most of the others on Crescent Beach and gentler waves.

Grace’s , Dorry’s and Cooneymus Coves . These coves are the hidden gems of Block Island  — the beaches are secluded, quiet and lesser known because they’re the furthest from town and more difficult to access. Hikers love them for their sunsets and fishermen relish the catches. Walk, beachcomb and picnic, but don’t come to these coves for sunbathing (these are rocky beaches) or swimming (the waves are too rough).

Other Nature Havens to Explore on Block Island

In 1991, The Nature Conservancy designated Block Island one of 12 “Last Great Places” in the western hemisphere, which casts light on the island’s rare animals and plants. About half of Block Island is now permanently protected and it’s a wildlife hotspot.

Clayhead/Trail Maze

One reason anyone goes to Block Island is to soak up its amazing scenery. Clayhead/Trail Maze, a 190-acre area that’s a Nature Conservancy property on the northeast portion of the island, incorporates a beach that’s all but deserted, bluffs with knockout vistas of the ocean 120 feet below and, at the top, the “maze.” Wander around this series of connecting paths to simply enjoy the jaw-dropping scenery that surrounds you. And if you come in the fall, you’ll be in for a birder’s dream: this is one of the top spots on the continent to see migratory songbirds.

Hodge Preserve

Walk around Hodge Preserve, a 25-acre area that links to the Block Island National Wildlife Refuge , to see more migratory songbirds (the northern harrier and the Block Island meadow vole), flowering plants and trees. The vast meadows feature goldenrod and aster among other plants. And highlights of the shrubland include bayberry and black cherry.

Visit the Block Island Lighthouses 

North Light: Head to Cow Cove/North Light Area to see Settler’s Rock (a monument with the names of the island’s first settlers, English families who came in 1661); the historic North Light — a granite and iron lighthouse built in 1867; and the lovely coastal views around the lighthouse. The beach here is a nesting area for numerous rare bird species.  

Southeast Light: Resting atop Mohegan Bluffs is an 1875 lighthouse with a captivating brick-and-granite tower and grounds that afford stunning views of the Atlantic and the Block Island Windfarm, built three miles offshore. This don’t-miss lighthouse is a National Historic Landmark.

Horseback Riding on the Beach

One of the most unique (and unforgettable) things you can do on Block Island is trot along the beach and nature preserve on horseback. Rustic Rides Horse Farm offers guided trail rides for ages 4+ at different paces, during the day and at sunset. No riding experience is required.

Block Island North Light on Block Island, Rhode Island.

What to Do When You’re Not Out in Nature 

When you’re ready to take a break from the water and the nature preserves, head into Old Harbor, the island town.

Shopping and Gallery Hopping

Old Harbor is peppered with shops stocking everything from clothing to books and magnets. Make your way through them to pick up souvenirs and gifts for others, and comb the many galleries for fine artworks that range from photography and paintings to ceramics and jewelry. One popular gallery you’ll want to be sure to check out is Spring Street Gallery . It’s staffed by artists, and your interactions with them will elevate your browsing into visits with makers.

There are numerous eateries on the island, everything from casual cafes to fine, if laid-back, dining establishments (not a single place requires a jacket or tie). They serve a wide range of cuisines, but fresh seafood is, understandably, a specialty; and why wouldn’t you want to sample the daily catches on an island? 

If you opt to make your own meals (some of the places to stay on the island accommodate DIY meals with kitchens and outdoor grills), you can pick up everything you need at a local market. Sweet and coffee shops also abound and make for great snacking and ‘refueling’ stops.

For casual food, The Oar , overlooking Block Island’s Great Salt Pond, is a favorite. Be sure to sit out on the back deck, which has incredible views of the Pond and try the mouthwatering clam chowder, New England lobster rolls or sushi.

For fine dining, head to stately Restaurant 1879 at the Victorian-style Atlantic Inn , a popular destination since 1879.  The menu changes frequently but the dishes span the gamut from surf to turf and rely on ingredients that are sourced locally. Another unique dining spot for adults and children over 12 is The Barn at the Spring House Hotel , which features an open kitchen and wood-fired grill.

Various island taverns and pubs, such as Captain Nick’s Rock-N-Roll Bar and Pier 76 Dock Bar at Champlin’s Resort, offer delicious drinks and nighttime fun, and some bars (and eateries, too) stage live music performances.

Hunting for Glass Floats

Glassmaker, Eben Horton Glass, has created 550 glass floats (small glass orbs that are dated, numbered and stamped with the shape of Block Island) in his ‘The Glass Station’ and hidden them on the island’s beaches and on the Greenway Trails. Most of the floats are made of clear glass but in 2021, 21 of the orbs sport colors. Read more about the Glass Float Project here and have fun searching…

Block Island, Rhode Island.

How to Get to Block Island

Not all the services listed below are offered on a daily basis—check the company websites for more details.

  • Block Island Ferry , based on Point Judith, RI, is the only ferry that takes vehicles to Block Island (by phone reservation only—call 1-866-783-7996, ext. 3).  
  • Block Island Hi-Speed Ferry, which reaches the Old Harbor dock in Block Island in less than 30 minutes, departs from Point Judith, RI as well as from Newport, RI and Fall River, MA .
  • Viking Fast Ferry goes from Montauk, NY to New Harbor in about one hour. 

By Catamaran

  • Block Island Express travels from New London, CT to Old Harbor, Block Island in a little over an hour.
  • New England Airlines flies to Block Island Airport (BID) daily (year round) from Westerly, RI; the flight takes 12 minutes. 

Lubec

Read Next: Edge of the Continent: Take a Road Trip to Lubec, Maine For a Restorative Vacation – ever wonder where the easternmost town on the continental United States is? Or better yet, what there is to do there?

  • bike rentals
  • Block Island
  • horseback riding
  • lighthouses

Enjoying our content?

Subscribe and receive a weekly newsletter packed with awesome stories to inspire you!

Related articles

Sips and sights: 10 rooftop bars in nashville, hill country hopping: three days from san antonio to austin, explore the crooked road – check out virginia’s heritage music trail, celebrate juneteenth at these festivals in colorado, weird and wonderful restaurants in orlando, popular experiences, oregon road trip series: columbia river gorge and mt. hood, 10 of colorado’s best-kept secrets, three days of family fun in boone, north carolina, discover st. john’s shopping scene in the u.s. virgin islands, why people get padre island and south padre island wrong, real travel for real people™.

© 2023 - All Rights Reserved - Places.Travel, an Odyssey Studios venture

[email protected]

  • Advertise with Us
  • Terms of Service
  • Privacy Policy
  • Social Media Sharing Terms of Service

RI has two Narragansett Bays? Here's the secret behind the 'Little Narragansett Bay'

block island day trip

When it's just after lunch on a Sunday afternoon in Providence, Julie Voigt knows it's not too late for one of her favorite summertime options on the coast.

She and her boyfriend can rack her kayak and her paddleboard on a whim.

And within about 90 minutes, they can dip their paddles into the placid waters of a scenic saltwater bay. As they glide, they can feel the cool ocean breeze blowing in from the nearby ocean: Its swells are just beyond the dunes of the outer barrier beach on the other side of the bay.

The 34-year-old's path to this place will easily skirt the traffic on Route 4 and it won't take her anywhere near Narragansett Bay.

Her destination this time is Narragansett Bay's smaller sister to the west, Little Narragansett Bay, a saltwater haven for paddlers and boaters.

The little bay is protected by Westerly's Napatree Beach, which, is part of its allure for more than a few boaters.

For her part, though, Voigt likes to chill out on a sandy island. Her happy place is cleansed by tidal flows, and inhabited by plovers, seagulls and horseshoe crabs.

Offerings of the Narragansett Bay's smaller cousin

The bay and nearby waters give boaters and paddlers an array of venues and choices, including:

  • Of course, the outer barrier beach, Napatree, is a big draw, offering ocean waves on one side of the dunes and much calmer water and lots of space for anchoring on the other, just a short walk away from the shops and restaurants of Watch Hill.
  • A New England seaside village, Stonington Borough, with colonial architecture and restaurants such as Breakwater and Noah's .
  • A river, the Pawcatuck River, that leads into downtown Westerly.
  • Nearby destinations for power boaters, including Fishers Island , Mystic and even Block Island.

With an outboard engine, it's possible to do almost all of it, including either Fisher's Island or Mystic, in a single day.

That's not realistic for non-Olympian paddlers, but with some energy, it's possible to lunch in Stonington, swim in the ocean off Napatree, and even have a stroll along Bay Street and up to the front gates of Taylor Swift's house perched on the bluff.

All this and more in a single day without paying for parking. The geography − for boaters and hearty paddlers − is that friendly.

An aquatic destination molded by hurricanes

The best way to understand the area's geography is to delve into some hurricane history and the best setting for the start of that story is in the 1930s, at Watch Hill, high on the bluff that sits between two pretty beaches: A beach to the east, which hasn't had major influence on Little Narragansett Bay. And a beach to the west, Napatree, which has.

Prior to the 1938 hurricane, a person could look out the windows of Taylor Swift's future vacation home and see the waves of Block Island Sound crashing onto both of the south-facing beaches.

At that time, a leisurely walk along Napatree took a person in front of vacation homes, and in a westerly direction, until the shoreline basically rounded a corner and took a dramatic turn to the north.

The elbow marked the southwest corner of the state of Rhode Island.

Here, just off the shore, rougher ocean waters directly to the south converged with the calmer waters of Long Island Sound to the west.

After the turn, the slender shoreline continued north, projecting toward the Connecticut coast.

It did not rejoin that other coastline, however. It stopped short, ending in a sandy point , which is what the locals called it.

The bay to the east of Sandy Point and north of Napatree was protected on all sides and fed by the Pawcatuck River. It was known as Little Narragansett Bay.

Then, a great hurricane hit.

Little Narragansett meets Long Island Sound

The mighty storm basically erased the slender natural barrier that separated Long Island Sound from the little bay.

It replaced the bay's western shores with sand flats and vast tracts of shallow saltwater that were contiguous with the sound.

Once the storm surge retreated, the former point, reemerged as a small island.

To the south, across the shallow waters, the former elbow in the coastline was now a point.

The vacation homes at Napatree were destroyed or swept away.

The remaining dunes of the outer barrier beach, the sandy shallows on the western fringes of the bay and the overall geography still offered a great deal of protection from ocean turbulence.

Fun on Little Narragansett Bay

As the decades passed, the sands shifted further and the island moved.

It was a sandy island − as granular as the sandy point before it. But its name − Sandy Point − never changed.

Like Sandy Point, much of the nearby coastal terrain is softened by heavy helpings of sand, making the entire area a spectacular playground for boaters, paddlers and anyone in bare feet.

Voigt says she learned about Sandy Point from a friend who lived in Westerly.

They hatched a kayaking plan.

During their adventure, they met people who had visited the island on boats.

"We had a great time," Voigt says.

On another occasion, Voigt, who plays violin, met up with other musicians. They all jammed together out on the bay.

"It's a good day," she says. "Especially, if you have a boat to bring stuff. But if you don't you can definitely bring a cooler and some towels and stuff in a small kayak or paddleboard."

Voigt has both, a Cruiser SUP stand-up paddle board and a recreational kayak that her boyfriend paddles.

A good place to kick off a saltwater day trip

For most people, a trip to Rhode Island's smaller bay during peak season starts at one of the pricy parking lots off Bay Street in Watch Hill.

Paddlers and boaters can do it much differently.

One of the best starting points, which Voigt likes, is the boat ramp at Barn Island in Stonington Connecticut.

A wide array of watercraft, from paddleboards to trailered cigarette boats can launch from the ramp.

To get there, find Route 1, take Greenhaven Road and then take an immediate left onto Palmer Neck Road. Drive to the end.

The parking lot is large. But it can be jammed in the middle of a busy day. Don't fret. Part of the busyness involves people who are leaving, which frees up parking spaces for the latest arrivals.

IMAGES

  1. 10 Fun Things to Do on Block Island For a Day Trip

    block island day trip

  2. Block Island: 7 Top Things To Do

    block island day trip

  3. The Perfect Block Island, RI, Day Trip

    block island day trip

  4. Day Trip to Magical Block Island off the Coast of Rhode Island

    block island day trip

  5. 10+ Ideas For A Block Island Day Trip

    block island day trip

  6. 10+ Ideas For A Block Island Day Trip

    block island day trip

COMMENTS

  1. 17 Incredible Things To Do On A Block Island Day Trip (2024)

    9. Walk Around Downtown And Visit The Shops. The downtown area along Main Street is one of the best things to do on Block Island for a day trip, and is also right where the ferries dock, making it really convenient for you to visit. The downtown is small, but there are some really lovely shops, boutiques and restaurants that will make your day ...

  2. THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Block Island

    62. Bodies of Water. Area of Block Island which holds very large marina. 9. Clayhead Nature Trail. 56. Hiking Trails. By Scenic462613. It was a humid day with stuffy air quality, but the views and the sounds of nature were well worth our time to hike...

  3. Day Trips

    Share. Day Trips. Only on island for the day? While a longer stay is the best way to experience Block Island, you can still experience picturesque scenery, beautiful beaches, and charming town. Whether you're in search of nature & zen, family fun or beauty and romance, we have curated a Block Island Bucket List Adventure just for you to ...

  4. Best Block Island Day Trip: 12 Fun Things to Do on Block Island

    A Block Island Day Trip "Must See" is the 1661 Exotic Animal Farm & Gardens. It doesn't get any better than the 1661 Exotic Animal Farm for fun things to do on Block Island. In addition to kangaroos with babies in their pouches, you'll also find camels, llamas, lemurs, and more. It's thrilling for kids and adults alike.

  5. A Day Trip to Block Island, Rhode Island

    Block Island is a very convenient day trip from Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, or New York. In only about an hour, you can get a completely different state of mind and atmosphere. Block Island is also small enough to explore thoroughly in a short amount of time. Read on to plan your Block Island trip.

  6. Things to do on Block Island, Rhode Island

    Living in Rhode Island, we visit Block Island at least once a summer. Block Island is a convenient day trip from Rhode Island, Connecticut, or New York, and you can get a completely different state of mind and atmosphere in only about an hour. Block Island is also small enough to explore thoroughly in a short amount of time.

  7. 10 Best Things to Do on Block Island

    See Mohegan Bluffs. Kim Knox Beckius. View Map. Address. 121 Mohegan Trail, New Shoreham, RI 02807, USA. Phone +1 401-466-5009. Web Visit website. As dramatic as any scenery in New England, the Mohegan Bluffs are 150-foot clay cliffs on the south side of Block Island.

  8. 21 Wonderful Things to Do on Block Island (2023)

    November 7, 2023. Best Things to Do On Block Island hide. 1. Payne's Donuts First Thing in the Morning (seasonal) 2. An Afternoon at Mansion Beach. 3. A Night of Live Music at Captain Nick's* (seasonal) 4.

  9. 16 Best Things To Do On Block Island

    North Light, one of the island's two lighthouses, stands as one of the major attractions for a day trip to Block Island. Situated near the Clayhead Trail and a mere 10-minute drive from downtown, it features plenty of parking space. To reach the northern lighthouse, you'll have to take a half-mile walk along the beach, so make sure you ...

  10. Spend a Day on Block Island

    Accommodations. Overlooking picturesque Crescent Beach, the Block Island Beach House (formerly Surf Hotel) offers the only beachfront hotel rooms—some with private, ocean-view balconies—on the island. The newly renovated hotel also sports bright, vintage-inspired decor, a lively beach bar and relaxing lounge area that serves good coffee, signature cocktails and food all day long, as well ...

  11. Block Island

    Experience island life with a trip to Block Island, RI! Plan the perfect getaway with our guide to events, beachfront rentals, attractions, and restaurants. Hotel Deals! Read More. Hot Hotel Deals! ... St. Patrick's Day in June. Jul 01 4th of July Fireworks. Jul 04 4th of July Parade.

  12. 10+ Ideas For A Block Island Day Trip

    Here are some of the top things to do on Block Island. 1. Visit the Old Harbor Historic District. You'll want to explore the charming shops and restaurants located just off the ferry area in the Old Harbor Historic District. You can hit this spot as soon as you arrive on the island or right before your departure.

  13. See Block Island on a Day Trip by Bike

    9 a.m. Board the Block Island Ferry in Point Judith and enjoy a breezy view from the top deck. 10 a.m. Arrive on-island. Head over to the Seacrest Inn at the corner of High Street and Weldon's Way (behind the movie theater) for bike rentals. 10:30 a.m.

  14. How to spend 5 hours on Block Island, RI

    Prep: Buy your tickets online at at Viking Fleet it's $40 + tax one way: Montauk to Block Island Ferry. 9:50 am - Get to Viking Fleet Marina, check in at the booth before boarding. 10:00 am - Ferry Departure. On board, you can buy snacks, coffee/tea & drinks. We got hot coffees for $2 & a homemade coffee cake for $3.

  15. How to Visit Block Island, Rhode Island (including tips for visiting in

    Many people do a day trip to Block Island, but I recommend staying overnight on the island so you can experience it with less crowds and also see both sunrise and sunset from the island. The experience of staying overnight on the island allows you to see more of the island. We stayed at The 1661 which we absolutely loved.

  16. A one-day guide to Block Island, Rhode Island

    You just have to understand that your day trip may unexpectedly involve a night, then another day. Block Island sits just off the coast of Rhode Island, southwest of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. It maintains a much more under-the-radar status than its neighbors, which is hard to imagine given the island's wide-open terrain, ranging ...

  17. What to Do

    Twelve miles off the Rhode Island coast lies a vacation destination often overlooked in the region's tourism sweepstakes. But if Block Island lacks the stargazing appeal of the celebrity isles of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, the visitors who swarm off the ferries here from Memorial Day to Columbus Day appear blissfully unconcerned.

  18. A Day On Block Island: Exploring Rhode Island's Most Iconic ...

    Learn how to spend a day on Block Island, a secluded island with pristine beaches, historic lighthouses, and local dining. Find out how to get there by ferry, what to see, and what to note before you go.

  19. Katie Wanders : A Day Trip to Block Island

    A Day Trip to Block Island. Block Island is a popular getaway well known by New England natives. The island is shaped like a pork chop and is 7 miles long and 3 miles wide. Rhode Island claims the land that sits in Block Island Sound, nine miles off its coast in the Atlantic Ocean. Like the Cape, the Hamptons, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket ...

  20. Tours

    Tours of Block Island are one of the most popular ways to get around the island. Guided tours are offered by land (Taxi and Bike Tours), air (Helicopter Tours) and sea (Kayak tours, Harbor tours). Taxi Tours: Sure, you can read guide books, study maps, download apps and review online travel blogs.

  21. 20 Fun Things To Do on Block Island with Kids

    8. Bird Watching at Lewis-Dickens Wildlife Refuge. This 120-acre habitat provides panoramic views of the ocean, easy hiking on flat terrain, and a great opportunity to spot migrating raptors. Owls, falcons, warblers, and harriers have been known to pass through. RELATED: 20 Things To Do in Narragansett, RI, with Kids.

  22. Block Island Day Trip Travel Guide: How To Do It, What To See, Fun

    Block Island off the southern coast of Rhode Island is a great day trip destination. You can reach this quaint island by ferry boat. Here is the link to th...

  23. Day Trip to Magical Block Island off the Coast of Rhode Island

    Block Island Ferry, based on Point Judith, RI, is the only ferry that takes vehicles to Block Island (by phone reservation only—call 1-866-783-7996, ext. 3). Block Island Hi-Speed Ferry, which reaches the Old Harbor dock in Block Island in less than 30 minutes, departs from Point Judith, RI as well as from Newport, RI and Fall River, MA.

  24. An Insider's Look: Traveling to Block Island with a Dog

    Keep reading for a detailed rundown of our trip, complete with photos and a wealth of practical tips to make your visit to Block Island delightful and to avoid the mistakes we made. Block Island, RI If you're unfamiliar with Block Island, it is a small, picturesque island located about 12 miles south of the Rhode Island coast in the United ...

  25. Little Narragansett Bay: A hidden gem in Rhode Island with tranquil waters

    A good place to kick off a saltwater day trip For most people, a trip to Rhode Island's smaller bay during peak season starts at one of the pricy parking lots off Bay Street in Watch Hill ...