Block Island

North Light on Block Island

New England has always been one of America's many summer destinations of choice. Every year couples and families flock to the coast looking for seafood, sun, and a strip of sandy beach to call their own. They stay in bed and breakfasts on Martha's Vineyard, rent houses in Cape Cod, and stretch out on Narragansett beaches. But more and more these past few years there has been a new destination for those embarking on their annual summer exodus; Block Island. Located twelve miles off the coast of Rhode Island, Block Island has recently become one of the most appealing New England summer hotspots. This newfound popularity is due in large part to Block Island's easygoing, low-key atmosphere, which benefits from miles of beautiful beaches, numerous bars and restaurants, and consummate natural beauty. Many people go to Block Island for the weekend, and in this short period of time it is all too easy to miss out on some of the best aspects of the Block Island experience. Hopefully this guide will provide prospective visitors with an idea of how to best spend their weekend on Block Island so that they get as much as possible out of their stay. For a detailed itinerary of what to do while visiting Block Island see 3 Days in Block Island.


During the winter months Block Island is the very picture of a sleepy, seaside New England town, with a local population of around nine hundred people. In the summer, the island's population explodes to nearly ten thousand at any given time, and many thousands more on busy weekends or holidays. Now, many people can't strike a balance between "Block Island the quiet hamlet" and "Block Island the wild tourist destination", and quite often their vacations suffer for this. I see too many families getting off the ferry, streaming over to Ballard's for Bud Lite, crab cakes, and three hours in the sand, and then streaming back onto the ferry, perhaps never knowing how much more the island truly has to offer. The real Block Island experience should be a perfect synthesis of lazing on the beach, exploring the town of New Shoreham and some of the incredible natural vistas the island has to offer, and indulging in good food and drink at the best of Block Island's restaurants. As long as you are respectful and manage not to be completely obnoxious, the locals will respond in kind and you will no doubt have an extremely pleasant stay.

Get in

Adult One Way $16

Child One Way $8.75

Adult Same Day Round Trip $29.85

Child Same Day Round Trip $13.50

Adult One Way $11.15

Child One Way $5.45

Senior Citizen $10.65

Adult Same Day Round Trip $18.25 Child Same Day Round Trip $8.65

Senior Citizen Same Day Round Trip $17.25

Adult $22.15

Child $10.90

Senior Citizen $21.15

By air

Get around

Most areas of Block Island are easily within walking distance of each other but there are plenty of other modes of transportation. If you prefer to travel by car you can flag down a taxi or rent one on the island. For a nominal charge, the visitor may bring a bicycle on ferries that serve the island. Bicycles and Mopeds are also available to rent and are so convenient that you may rent one as soon as you walk off the ferry. The "traditional" ferry from Point Judith, RI is the only ferry that takes cars. (For rates and schedule,Interstate Navigation)

By taxi

Bicycle Moped and Car Rental Services


There are many different sights to see around the island during the summer. All you need is a gorgeous summer day and a pair of walking shoes in order to enjoy all of the sights that Block Island has to offer. Here is a list of some of the main attractions on the island:


Although Block Island mainly consists of 17 miles (27 km) of beachy shore there is still plenty to do:

The Empire Theatre- The Empire theatre may be the best and worst place to see a movie, because it is one of the oldest in all of Rhode Island. The theatre is one screen and it shows two films a night, on days that it is raining it will show its “Rainy Day Matinee”. If you are going to the Empire Theatre for a strictly viewing experience than you are going for the wrong reasons. The Empire Theatre is like stepping into a movie theatre time machine, before there was stadium seating and massive screens. Instead the seats are on a flat surface and the screen rolls down over a stage right after the musical entertainment is over, which consists of man or woman playing the piano as viewers file in. Throughout the entire film you really get that “Old School” theatre feel as you watch. It is strongly recommended that you do get there early enough to get a good seat, because the viewing from some areas is pretty poor, but overall the experience is worth it, especially to true theatre buffs.


Lucky for anyone with a love of shopping, Block Island is filled with quaint little gift shops:


Also offering unusual and ethnic giftware,bags and accessories! Reasonable as always.







Many Block Island homes are offered as weekly rentals during the summer months.


Post office

32T Water Street, New Shoreham, RI 02807 - +1 401-466-7733


Landline telephone service is available along with decent reception of cellular phone/data service depending on your carrier. Verizon and Sprint tend to work slightly better than AT&T.


There is Wi-Fi in many shops, cafes, hotels, inns, etc. & there's also broadband DSL via the local telephone service (Verizon) lines.

Stay safe

Block Island is by and large a very safe locale, but as with any place there are certain precautions you can and should take to stay out of harm's way. Far and away the most common causes of injury on Block Island are careless bicycle and moped riders. If you plan on renting bikes or mopeds, make sure that you wear your helmets, follow the rules of the road, and absolutely do not drink while operating them. Otherwise, just be aware that other vacationers might not follow these guidelines, and stay alert when on main roads. When on the beach it's wise to wear sunscreen and exercise care when swimming; Block Island's waters are usually calm, but riptides are not unheard of and swimmers have been known to come across the occasional jellyfish. The only real crime that takes places on the island almost always stems from tourists who have had a bit too much to drink: there are instances of drunk and disorderly conduct every week, accompanied by infrequent bar fights and some petty theft. Thankfully, this is restricted almost entirely to the late night bar scene and major holidays. As long you or your fellow vacationers don't get mixed up in any drunken shenanigans, there shouldn't be a problem.

Go next

There is a ferry service that leaves Block Island and goes to Point Judith every day of the week and throughout the year. There is also a ferry that travels to Newport and New London, CT every Monday through Sunday but only operates between the dates July 1 and September 6. For more information see the get in section.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, January 18, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.