Explore Block Island
Rhode Island › Block Island
Added by Shannon Kalahan
- Block Island is approximately 10 square miles of summertime fun (6 miles long by 3.5 miles wide)
- Duration: All Day
- Difficulty: Easy
- Attractions: Significant amount of natural conservation area, 2 lighthouses, 300+ fresh water ponds, 17 miles of beaches
- Activities: Biking, swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, photography, relaxing
Block Island, a small island off the coast of the Rhode Island mainland, is well-known as a local summer playland. Tourists typically go to the quaint New England island in the summer months for the biking, hiking, sailing, kayaking, fishing and 17 miles of beaches.
Although you can bring a car over on the ferry or rent a moped while on the island, I have always preferred to travel by bike. If you don’t own a bike, there are several rental places right in town when you dock. The island elevation gains are manageable, and it’s a great way to get in some exercise while exploring. Approximately 40% of the land is set aside for conservation, so there is a lot of natural beauty to see as you cruise along the streets and dirt trails that cover the island.
Every fitness level is different, so the amount of biking you do is completely up to you. For me, I am typically able to get through most of the island in a long day, from the Old Harbor where the ferry docks all the way up Corn Neck Rd to the North Lighthouse, then over Pilot Hill Rd to the Mohegan Bluffs and South Light, stopping at beaches along the way. I have also done the Mohegan Trail / Lakeside loop to check out the New Harbor, which is lovely, but mostly inland. My personal preference is the first route to the North Light.
There are places around the island to hike as well. For example, the North Light has some hiking behind it to the ocean. The Bluffs have a 200+ foot decent including both stairs and some rock scrambling with an assist rope. There are several pull off's along Corn Neck Road, and the Greenway can be found off the Lakeside loop. Overall, there are approximately 25 miles of walking trails across the island.
The biggest things, besides the standard exercise precautions, to look out for on Block Island are the ticks (our area of the world is loaded with Lyme Disease), the sunburn (you can’t bring too much sun block) and off the shore, the occasional shark.
If you’re looking for a great mix of relaxing, exercising and fun, put Block Island on your list to visit today.
- So. Much. Sunblock.
- A bike, if you have one
- Swimsuit and towel
- Snacks and water for the trip around the island, as most of the restaurants and stores are closer to the harbors
- Long pants for hiking to keep the ticks off
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Chillin, Cycling, Fishing, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Stand Up Paddle, Swimming
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Bring your bike!
If you only have one day bring your own bike to explore the island. It's the best way to get around. It's well worth the money to bring your own bike on the ferry. I highly recommend eating at The Oar! It is also a lot of fun to rent kayaks for 2 hours and explore The Great Salt Pond.
Great during the winter too
While not good for biking or outdoor water activities, Block Island is really special in the winter, especially if you can catch some snow covered dunes. No one visits during the cold months, so it's just a handful of residents and the island really feels desolate. Obviously a different visit but still worthwhile.
A slice of paradise
Although I was limited to just a few hours on Block Island during my visit, I did get to enjoy the Mohegan Bluffs, the Southeast Lighthouse, a few beaches, and the Old Harbor area. It is a fun getaway that almost has a bit of a tropical vibe despite being off the coast of New England. The views were stunning! It is definitely a place I would want to revisit multiple times to make sure I got to see everything the island has to offer. I had traveled by taxi with my family during my time there, but next time I think I'd certainly consider renting bikes instead.
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