Known for: beaches, nature, resort town atmosphere, nightlife
Good for: Families, couples, young singles, beach-goers, bicyclists, nature lovers
Located about 13 miles (or approximately a half-hour ferry ride) from Point Judith in Narragansett, Block Island is the state’s island getaway. This secluded island spends most months as a sleepy rural hideaway with a year-round population of just over 1,000, but in the summer it morphs into a booming New England resort town.
Home to the town of New Shoreham, Block Island’s bustling tourism industry is but one facet of an island that also boasts some of the most unspoiled landscapes found anywhere in the country. Approximately 43 percent of the island is set aside for conservation, but much more of it remains undeveloped. The Nature Conservancy, a national nonprofit environmental organization, has declared the island one of its “Last Great Places,” a list of only 12 nature sites in the entire western hemisphere.
Nature buffs will find miles of unspoiled coastline, along with a National Wildlife Refuge on the northern tip of the island. Mohegan Bluffs are 200-foot clay cliffs that provide an awe-inspiring view of the Atlantic. On a clear day, visitors may be able to see Montauk, New York off in the distance. Bike and moped rentals, a popular mode of transportation on the island, make for easy and scenic travel around its many sights.
Those who prefer a livelier atmosphere will find the town center vibrant and alive with activity. This densely clustered area is home to most of Block Island’s restaurants, shops, entertainment, nightlife and amenities. It’s a short walk from the ferry to just about anything the town has to offer, and visitors will find it easy (and enjoyable) to get around without a car. It’s the jumping off point for anything from nature explorations to great food to live music.
There are two ways onto and off of the island: ferry and airplane. The Block Island Ferry offers a traditional and a high speed option. With several daily departures from Point Judith, and the ability to bring along your vehicle of choice, the ferry offers lots of flexibility. If you haven’t yet developed your sea legs, hop into a plane at New England Airlines in Westerly. The company has been providing service to Block Island since 1970.