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.

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