Discover Block Island

Discover Block Island
Block Island

One of New England’s best-known attractions and a staple of Rhode Island is Block Island. Located 13 miles off the state’s coast, the island is small at only 10 square miles. It has a population of just over 1,000, but packs in a ton of attractions for visitors. About half of the area is designated as protected to preserve the island’s natural beauty, making it a lovely place to explore. Two ferries transit to and from Block Island from Point Judith and New London, respectively. A flight can also be taken directly to the island from nearby cities. These include Providence and Worcester, Rhode Island, Hyannis and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, and New Haven, Connecticut.

Block Island | Beaches and Trails

A major attraction of Block Island is its 17 miles of pristine beaches. A suitable one can be found for every purpose, be that water sports, tanning, or fishing. State Beach and Ballards Beach both have on-duty lifeguards for those with young swimmers, and the cliffs north of Mansion Beach are great to search for interesting rocks and shells. Additionally, most of the island is connected by a network of walking roads called the Greenway Trails. These provide an excellent way to leisurely explore the island while enjoying the scenery. The best place to start walking the trails is at Clay Head Preserve, situated at the island’s northern tip. From my own personal experience, the walking trails are the best way to view Block Island, bar none; no other way allows you to enjoy the island’s natural beauty at your own pace.

Discover Block Island

Discover Block Island | Shopping and Markets

If you crave shopping then the island has that as well. Stores range from cute to chotchky and more, including lots of clothing and handmade items. Old Harbor has great tourist shopping, and options include Island Bound for book lovers and Building Blocks for children’s toys. All of the shopkeepers were very friendly to me. Between Old Harbor and New Harbor, one can also visit the seasonal Farmer’s Market (Wednesdays and Saturdays) to see a selection of crafts and herbal mixtures sold by the locals, including the likes of handmade cards and Block Island sea salt.

Discover Block Island | Fauna

Animal lovers can also find major attractions. The 1661 Farm and Gardens animal farm is free, open to the public all year, and hosts a wide variety of exotic animals.  Camels, llamas, pygmy and fainting goats, black swans, a yak, lemurs, and red kangaroos can all be found there. If sports fishing is more your speed, then try your hand at either Point Judith Harbor of Refuge on the Rhode Island coast or the West Wall in the spring. Striped Bass, fluke and flounder, tautog, mackerel, swordfish, and tunas can all be caught. Most of the local fishermen have a catch-and-release policy, but you are free to cook whatever you catch if you so wish.

Discover Block Island | Events

In addition to its usual attractions, Block Island also hosts numerous events throughout the year. The aforementioned Farmer’s Market runs from June 9th to October 6th, while there is a Restaurant Week from June 10-16th. During that same time (June 12-17th) is the Block Island Music Festival, featuring a week of all kinds of different music with free admission and food! The following week, June 17th-22nd is Block Island Race Week. This showcases up to 150 racing sailboats hosted by local yacht clubs including the Block Island Yacht Club. Competitions include One Design racing for all classes capable of participating, mixed fleet racing under PHRF, ORC, and IRC rating rules, classics and multihull racing, and more.

Discover Block Island, New England

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