Summer Guide

Take a Break on Block Island

Leave your cares on the mainland and hop on the ferry to Rhode Island’s very own island paradise


People come from all over the world to explore our tiny island, which has been named “one of the last great places” by The Nature Conservancy. Lucky for you, Block Island is only a half hour away, and it’s easy to make a day trip there feel like a real getaway.

Explore the Island
The Block Island Ferry drops you in Old Harbor, where there are lots of shops and restaurants. Many daytrippers don’t make it any further than here, but you’re no tourist and you’re not making that rookie mistake. In Old Harbor, there are lots of places close by to rent mopeds and bikes – but be warned, the island is very hilly, so a trip all the way to North Light will work up a major sweat. You’ll probably want to opt for the motorized choice.

On your explorations, make sure to take some time to appreciate the island scenery that makes Block Island such a coveted destination. Nearly half of Block Island is protected from development by organizations like the Block Island Conservancy, which offers resources on exploring hiking trails around the island. The Ocean View Foundation leads guided nature tours daily in the summer. Don’t miss the Sacred Labyrinth, marked by a tiny sign off Corn Neck Road, where there is a walking meditation path, a tranquil sculpture garden and a real spirit of mindfulness. Abrams Animal Farm is home to exotic birds, kangaroos, a camel, lemurs, water buffalo and a zeedonk – which is exactly what you think it is.

Cocktail and Chill
If you’re going for ultimate relaxation, stop by Ballard’s Inn. The restaurant has its own beach and serves food and cocktails – in pineapples, no less – right on the sand. They also have live music every afternoon and evening in the summer, and are hosting some major events like Country Fest on July 6 and Rock Fest on September 9.

For equally gorgeous views and less of a party vibe, park yourself in an Adirondack chair on the lawn of Spring House Hotel or The Atlantic Inn. Both have fine dining restaurants inside, but serve killer cocktails and small bites on the porch and lawn, with significantly relaxed views on attire.

Island Eats
The Oar is a New Harbor restaurant that’s a must-try: their super-fresh menu includes sushi, and there are more tables outside with marina views than there are inside. Poor People’s Pub serves gastropub fare, and its buzzworthy new sister restaurant TigerFish serves creative Asian fare. A great place to wait out those last minutes between the end of your day and your ferry is The National, which has great views of the harbor from its wraparound porch.

A Wagging Good Beach Day
As though you needed more reasons to love the uncrowded beaches on Block Island, here are two: 1) they’re all free admission; and 2) leashed dogs are allowed at any time - not just before and after lifeguard duty. Crescent Beach is the biggest and most accessible of all of the island beaches, and has Benson Pavilion, which rents chairs and boogie boards.