If you’re arriving on the island by the Block Island Ferry, you’ll land in Old Harbor, which is the busy “Main Street” of the island. Dodge and Water streets are full of boutiques, surf shops, and novelty souvenirs and apparel retailers like the Glass Onion (241 Water St.), which is celebrating 50 years of eclectic home goods. Nearby check out Golddiggers (90 Chapel St.) for fine and novelty jewelry.
There are so many options for delicious food on Block Island – your only boundaries are your stomach and your ferry time. Just steps off of the ferry in Old Harbor, Mohegan Cafe (213 Water St.) brews its own beer. Head over to Persephone’s Kitchen (235 Dodge St.) for egg and avocado sandwiches, gluten-free banana bread, and their signature smoothie bowls. The Beachead (598 Corn Neck Rd.) is not only conveniently located down the street from the town beach, but it’s also crazy delicious. Payne’s Donuts is an island tradition, served hot and fresh from their food truck all summer. Poor People’s Pub (33 Ocean Ave.) serves gastropub fare, and its sister restaurant TigerFish (126 Corn Neck Rd.) serves creative Asian cuisine.
Boater-friendly restaurant The Oar (off West Side Rd.) has showers on the lower level and a lively dining area with an outdoor bar above. The National (36 Water St.) has great views of the harbor from its wraparound porch. Kimberly’s (238 Ocean Ave.) offers Italian and American favorites. Ballard’s Inn (42 Water St.) has its own beach and traditionally serves food and cocktails – in pineapples, no less – right on the sand. Speaking of cocktails, The Beach Bar at the Block Island Beach House (32 Dodge St.) promises to entice guests with refined pub food and spectacular views. Take a walk on the dock at New Harbor and reward yourself with a mudslide at Trader Dock’s, a rooftop bar where you can watch the boats come in and out of the harbor. Or grab a quick bite overlooking the Great Salt Pond at Block Island Oyster Bar (79 West Side Rd.) at Champlin’s Marina.
Nearly half of Block Island is protected from development by organizations like the Block Island Conservancy (234 Weldon’s Way), which offers resources on exploring hiking trails around the island. The Block Island Maritime Institute (216 Ocean Ave.) gives kids and families opportunities to explore the ocean and sea life and is hoping to open late summer with exciting new developments. The Ocean View Foundation typically leads guided nature tours daily in the summer. Stop by the Block Island Tourism Council (40 Center Rd.) for more information.
One of two lighthouses on the island, Southeast Light offers awe-inspiring views of the Atlantic and the Block Island Wind Farm. Abrams Animal Farm (1 Spring St.) is home to exotic birds, kangaroos, a camel, lemurs, water buffalo, and a zeedonk.
Spectacular vistas of the 200-foot Mohegan Bluffs and patches of near-perfect beaches can be had – but with a catch. You need to carefully descend 141 rocky steps to get there. The adventure and unmatched scenery are all worth it.
When it’s time for the beach – and isn’t it always time for the beach? – you can try your luck at one of the many small, private beaches, or head to Fred Benson Town Beach, where they rent beach chairs and equipment, and the waves are kid-friendly. Nearby Diamondblue Surf Shop (442 Dodge St.) offers surfing lessons.
If you’re arriving on the island via New England Airlines or by private boat, you’ll likely land in New Harbor. Champlin’s Hotel, Marina & Resort (80 West Side Rd.) is a large resort that houses BI’s largest marina, several dining and drinking options, and a boatload of water activities. Kayaks, paddleboards, and bumper boats can be rented for the day or by the hour. Pick the watercraft of your choice, and go explore Great Salt Pond for a few hours.
Block Island only has a few main roads, and nothing is out of reach without a car – though the traditional ferry does allow them if you book in advance. Disembark from the ferry, and you’ve got transportation options right in front of you: taxis in the queue that will take you from point A to point B. If you’d prefer two wheels to two feet, rent a bike or a moped – you’ll see a lot of these on the island – from Aldo’s Mopeds (130 Chapel St.). It’s good to note that there is no form of public transportation on Block Island.
Find accommodations through Block Island Reservations (213 Water St.) with the largest selection of rental properties, plus special deals on things to do. Neptune House (64 Connecticut Ave.) offers a resort feel with a heated outdoor pool, tennis courts, and patio with fire pits, while Atlantic Inn (359 High St.) brings you Victorian charm in a tranquil setting.