If you’re arriving by the Block Island Ferry, you’ll land in Old Harbor, which is the busy “Main Street” area of the island. Dodge, Chapel, and Water streets are full of boutiques, surf shops, and gift retailers, like Blocks of Fudge (459 Chapel St.) for all your sweet treats, Golddiggers (90 Chapel St.) for fine and novelty jewelry, and Island Bound Bookstore (Water St.) to browse for the perfect beach read. Tap into your crafty side with a trip to North Light Fibers (160 Spring St.), a haven of handcrafted artisan yards. The Farmer Florist (Weldon’s Way and High St.) creates colorful arrangements and offers workshops.
With so many options for delicious food, your only boundaries are your stomach and the ferry schedule. Just steps off the dock 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 perfect marriage of thickened fruit-based smoothies with granola. The Beachead (598 Corn Neck Rd.) is not only conveniently located down the street from the town beach, but it’s also crazy delicious. Seafood is a must-order here. Poor People’s Pub (33 Ocean Ave.) serves gastropub fare, and its sister restaurant TigerFish (126 Corn Neck Rd.) is all about creative Asian cuisine. Feel like an islander by grabbing a stool at Old Island Pub (85 Ocean Ave.).
Boater-friendly restaurant The Oar (221 Jobs HI Rd.) has showers on the lower level and a lively dining area with an outdoor bar above, while Payne’s Dock & Mahogany Shoals (133 Ocean Ave.) is vessel-accessible and ideal for cocktails with sunset views. 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 Vic’s (83 West Side Rd.), a rooftop bar where you can watch the boats come in and out of the harbor.
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. Stop by the Block Island Tourism Council (40 Center Rd. #101) for info about island attractions like the Block Island Farmers Market and Movies on the Beach.
One of two lighthouses on the island, the Southeast Light (122 Mohegan Trl.) offers awe-inspiring views of the Atlantic and the Block Island Wind Farm. Abrams Animal Farm (1 Spring St.) at 1661 Exotic Farm And Gardens is home to birds, kangaroos, a camel, lemurs, water buffalo, and a unique zeedonk, with FarmStead Refreshments on the grounds for delicious bites.
Carefully descend 141 rocky steps and be rewarded with spectacular vistas of the 200-foot Mohegan Bluffs and patches of near-perfect beaches. The adventure and unmatched scenery are all worth it.
When it’s time for the beach (and isn’t it always?), – you can try one of the many small, private beaches, or head to Fred Benson Town Beach (7 Corn Neck Rd.), where they rent beach chairs and equipment, and the waves are kid-friendly. Take to the sky and see the island from new heights with Block Island Parasail (1 Old Harbor Dock), or go for a nautical all-day, half-day, or sunset adventure with Serendipity Sailing (book online at SerendipitySails.com). Diamondblue Surf Shop (442 Dodge St.) offers surfing lessons, paddle board rentals, apparel, and much more.
If you’re arriving on the island via New England Airlines or by private boat, you’ll likely land in New Harbor. Nearby Champlin’s Marina & Resort (80 West Side Rd.) is a nine-acre 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.
There’s no form of public transportation, but Block Island is small enough to traverse on foot – though the traditional ferry does allow you to bring your own car if you book in advance. Right off the ferry, find plenty of taxis in the queue to go from point A to point B (note: no Uber or Lyft service). If you prefer two wheels to two feet, rent a bike or a moped from places like Aldo’s Mopeds (130 Chapel St.).
Once you’ve ferried over to the island, you’re going to want to stay for more than a few hours – and we recommend staying more than one night. Find endless lodging choices, each with their own character: harbor views from a wraparound patio at The National Hotel (36 Water St.), peaceful charm at Neptune House (64 Connecticut Ave.), Victorian vibes at The Atlantic Inn (359 Roslyn Rd.), and coastal cottage simplicity at the Sea Breeze Inn (71 Spring St.). Of course, no matter if you’re booking accommodations, entertainment, or rentals, you’ll want to do it through BI Reservations (BlockIslandReservations.com).
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