16 Best Things To Do On Block Island

Things to do on Block Island

Block Island, located 12 miles off the Rhode Island coast, is a lesser-known vacation spot compared to celebrity-favored Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.

However, visitors are captivated by its unique charm from Memorial Day to Columbus Day. The island offers beautiful beaches, breathtaking ocean views, extensive hiking trails, towering coastal cliffs, a rich history, and vibrant nightlife.

It also offers a distinctive atmosphere with unique attractions, most of which are free, and amazing food. Often described as a hidden gem, Block Island is among the top New England spots to visit during the summer.

If you’re planning a day trip, weekend getaway or summer vacation on Block Island, let us tell you some of the best things to do. Things that you’ll absolutely enjoy doing and want to keep doing. Here are our 16 Best Things To Do On Block Island list:

How To Get To Block Island?

Before we tell you what to do, let us tell you how you can reach Block Island.

There are a few good ways to reach Block Island. You have the option of taking a boat or a plane. However, the popular choice among people who travel frequently to this Island is the Block Island Ferry from Point Judith on Rhode Island, which gets you there in just 30 minutes.

If you’re thinking of bringing your car on the ferry, it’s important to reserve a spot well in advance. Ferry bookings for the upcoming season open in early January, and the coveted weekend slots get booked fast.

So, if you’re planning a day or weekend trip to Block Island, consider leaving your car behind. Walking, biking, and swimming are the best ways to explore the Island. And if you wonder if a car is necessary for Block Island, the simple answer is – not at all! The Island is only 3×7 miles.

Top Things To Do On Block Island

1. Mansion Beach – Spend A Perfect And Calm Afternoon

Things to do on block Island - Mansion Beach

In contrast to the bustling vibe of Ballard’s Beach, Mansion Beach offers a rather calm island experience for those who prefer some quiet time.

Commonly less populated, this beach is renowned for its larger waves and an expansive stretch of barely touched sandy coast. Located just 3 miles or a brief 10-minute drive from the town center, it offers a serene escape.

Mansion Beach Block Island

However, let us tell you one important thing. Unlike Ballard’s Beach and other popular beaches, Mansion Beach lacks amenities, including restrooms. If you’re planning an extended stay, it’s advisable to bring all essentials.

For those on a tight schedule, a leisurely stroll along Mansion Beach or a quick dip in the ocean remains a top recommendation for a day trip to Block Island. However, if you’re planning a longer trip, you may just get to experience all the goods this beach has to offer.

2. Ballard’s – Best Entertainment Outdoors

Ballards Beach

A stone’s throw away from the Old Harbor ferry landing, Ballard’s stands as a premier spot on Block Island. For many new and repeat visitors, it’s often the first destination they visit during their island day trip, and sometimes even end with it.

Ballard’s offers an all-inclusive beach experience, ensuring guests have everything for an entertaining day outdoors. Their private beach boasts amenities like lounge chairs, umbrella rentals, tiki bars, and beach volleyball.

Add to that the daily live music and dedicated waitress service, ensuring you can relax, eat, and drink without moving an inch from your sandy perch.

Indulge in their signature beverages, served in a carved-out pineapple, offering a tropical vibe right here in the Northeast. And if you’re tempted to extend your stay, Ballard’s also features a comfortable hotel. For those looking for a unique experience, private beach bonfires are available upon request.

3. Dori’s Cove – Best For Sunset

If you love sunsets, you’ll love Block Island. There are several spots where you can sit and watch stunning sunsets. However, if you want to experience the best of them all, ask locals. They’ll point you towards Dori’s Cove.

In fact, this place holds a special place in the hearts of locals as the prime sunset-viewing location.

Nestled on the island’s west side, this quaint cove offers a sense of solitude. While its rocky terrain might not be the best for a swim, it’s undeniably the perfect backdrop to end your beautiful day.

As dusk approaches, the horizon comes alive with an intriguing palette of colors, offering a visual treat as the sun bids farewell.

4. Grace’s Cove – Second Best For Sunset

Grace's Cove

Tucked away on the island’s west side, this hidden gem of a beach offers an unparalleled view of the sun setting over the vast ocean expanse.

Its distance from the town center ensures a relaxed atmosphere, often undisturbed by large crowds.

It’s not uncommon to spot a duo seated on a piece of driftwood, individuals strolling along the rocky shores, or a small gathering basking in the warmth of a beach bonfire.

The beach is accessible via a narrow dirt path, making it unsuitable for mopeds, further preserving its peaceful charm.

5. Orb Hunting – Most Unique Activity On The Island

Glass Orb Hunting, Block Island

One of the most unique and interesting things you can do on Block Island or throughout New England is find the glass orbs. Every year, over 500 exquisite glass orbs, also known as floats, are crafted in Wakefield, RI, as a Glass Float Project.

This artistic endeavor is led by local artist Eben Horton, along with his wife, Jennifer, and their dedicated studio team.

These glass orbs or treasures are then hidden throughout Block Island by devoted volunteers, often referred to as “Orbivores.” They’re strategically placed on beaches and greenway trails, ensuring they don’t disturb the island’s protected areas like sand dunes. So, while on the hunt, it’s essential to respect the island’s natural habitats.

The best part? Everyone, from locals to tourists, is encouraged to join the hunt. If luck favors you and you discover one of these glass marvels during your visit to Block Island, you’ll notice a date and a number carved onto it. As a matter of fact, each glass orb carries a number and date.

When you find an ord, You can register your findings. This is important as it helps keep track of the number of floats found during the season. Once registered, the float is yours to cherish as a special Block Island memento. The entertainment-filled search continues until every single float is discovered and logged.

While we’ve yet to find a float during our visits, we’re quite committed to finding one in the future. But we hope that you find one during yours.

6. Sail To The Block Island

Sail to block island

If you’re planning a trip to Block Island with friends or family and are taking a plane or boat to reach there, think again. Why take the boring way when you can have so much fun by chartering a sailboat?

You can have a really good view and tour of the Island’s coast, offered by none other than the hand-picked crew.

Sailing to block island

The Club warmly suggests bringing along your favorite snacks and beverages to sweeten your sailing experience. Imagine savoring these treats while soaking in the breathtaking views of the bluffs from the vantage point of the water – it promises to be a memory you’ll cherish.

To set sail on this unique adventure, simply reach out to the Club via email, and they’ll guide you through the booking process.

7. Sleep On The Ocean

If staying in homes on land is too boring for you, how about spending a week living on the waters with full facilities? CharterKai’s Catamaran Quest is a unique South African luxury expedition catamaran, custom-made and measuring 57′ x 27′.

This boat sails an impressive 8,000 miles annually between the Caribbean and New England. During the winter, Quest offers week-long all-inclusive sailing trips in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Catamaran Quest

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to live on a catamaran, here’s a rare chance to experience boat life.

It’s a unique opportunity to stay on the water and wake up to the gentle rocking of the waves, with great ocean views all around. Watch sunrise or sunsets, take the boat from remotest of beaches to the most crowded.

8. Payne’s Donut For Breakfast

Payne's Donut

Payne’s Donut is a 50-year-old shop and has become a morning staple for most of the islanders. They open their take-out windows at 7 AM every morning, greeting everyone with their delicious smell of freshly made donuts and coffee.

It is a totally exquisite experience and often fills people with excitement. However, make sure you arrive early, as their donuts sell out really fast, and whoever comes first gets served first.

9. The Incredible Mohegan Bluff

Mohegan Bluffs, Block Island

If you’re on a one-day trip to Block Island, consider making a stop at the Mohegan Bluffs. This place is quite famous and is a representation of the island. It is so famous that you’ll find images of this bluff on postcard stock images and more. Mohegan Bluffs is only a couple of miles away from downtown, and no matter where you are on the island, accessing this bluff is quite easy.

The panoramic views from the bluffs are truly breathtaking. Spend some time taking in the scenery from the top of the 141-step staircase before slowly descending to the beach to walk along the shoreline. Be ready for a bit of a climb on your way back up, and anticipate some speeding towards the staircase’s end near the beach. It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places on this island to spend some quality time.

10. Lighthouse/ and The Museum

Block Island North Light

North Light, one of the island’s two lighthouses, stands as one of the major attractions for a day trip to Block Island. Situated near the Clayhead Trail and a mere 10-minute drive from downtown, it features plenty of parking space.

To reach the northern lighthouse, you’ll have to take a half-mile walk along the beach, so make sure you arrive here on time to witness the lighthouse in its full glory.

To find it, follow Corn Neck Road to its end, leading you to a parking spot by the water just before Cow Cove Beach. Once there, you can see the lighthouse in the distance. At this point, your walk will start to reach it at the far end.

Img Src: Wikipedia

Block Island’s other beacon, Southeast Lighthouse, lives on the opposite side of the island, near Mohegan Bluffs. It offers stunning oceanfront views and has been declared a National Historic Landmark. The lighthouse was constructed in 1873, but it was relocated in 1993 to prevent bluff erosion.

When you reach this lighthouse, you’ll find a Museum attached with a small gift shop. If you visit this spot during the summer, you might find a food truck serving delicious seafood. However, roaming the lighthouse grounds remains complimentary.

11. Find The Secret Beach At Clayhead Trail and Maze

Clayhead Trail and Maze

If you’re on a several-day vacation to Block Island but want to spend a whole day exploring something in particular, the Clay Head Trail & Maze should top your list. This 3.5-mile loop trail offers some of the island’s most stunning scenery and typically takes around 2-3 hours to complete.

The Clayhead Trail is situated about 3 miles from downtown and can be accessible by turning right onto Clayhead Trail Road and following the dirt path to a small parking area.

It takes around 400-500 meters of walk to reach a crossroad. You can either choose to go left, towards a gorgeous bluff, or to the right, where a secluded beach is waiting. This beach is only known amongst the locals, and not many tourists know its whereabouts.

Do not swim near this beach as it is quite rocky, however, you can sit here for hours, taking in the breathtaking views.

The second best part, subjective given your preference, is waiting for you at the trail’s end. You’ll find a maze-like network of paths, often unmarked, giving you the opportunity to explore various areas. You never know where you’ll end up taking the road less travelled.

12. Kayaking The Great Salt Pond of Block Island

The Great Salt Pond holds the distinction of being Block Island’s only estuary, boasting a unique history. Originally a freshwater pond, it transformed into a tidal salt pond in the 1870s when a channel connecting it to Block Island Sound was excavated.

Exploring the pond by kayak or paddleboard is among the top activities on Block Island. Pond & Beyond Kayak promotes this adventure by offering both rentals and guided tours.

Embarking on their “Eco-Tour,” you’ll navigate around the pond, gaining insights into the surrounding ecosystem. The two-hour journey features visits to an oyster farm, sightings of a fiddler crab colony, and much more. Additional unique experiences include tours under the full moon, at sunset, and at sunrise for the early birds.

This is also a good spot to watch the Beautiful Bioluminescence show in the dark. However, the said phenomenon only takes place around August.

13. Enjoy Fulfilling Lunch With Stunning View At The Oar

The Oar, Block Island

If you are looking for a dining experience featuring a relaxed ambience and stunning waterfront views, make your way to The Oar. It is one of the best Block Island restaurants. Situated within the 1661 Inn, The Oar is a mere 5-minute drive or a pleasant 30-minute walk from downtown, offering lovely casual cuisine and refreshing cocktails.

The Oar is an excellent spot for both dining and sipping on cocktails. They offer plenty of outdoor seating on the lawn, complete with wooden chairs, picnic tables, and shaded umbrellas.

The Oar, Sushi

Additionally, they have an indoor seating area that feels breezy and open. The spot is made for all, whether you’re coming with friends or family.

There’s a big lawn where children can play, and sitting arrangements allow everyone to enjoy their meals in the open. For added entertainment, they’ve set up a few cornhole games for guests to enjoy. Their salad with chicken is quite popular and we must say, for a good a reason.

When at the venue, go to the Sushi bar, where you’ll find a wide range of sushi rolls waiting to be eaten. Also, when munching down, ask for their speciality drink, Mudslide, and say Yes 3 times!

14. Go On Breakwater Walks

There are multiple breakwaters that are easily accessible from downtown, and you’ll spot them as soon as you get off the ferry and start exploring. The most convenient one is situated in front of the Block Island Summer House. Just look for a small staircase leading down to the water to begin your walk.

Another famous breakwater is located at Ballard’s Beach, and it is hard to miss once you arrive at the beach. It also serves as a pretty good spot for photography.

Make sure you wear sturdy shoes for a comfortable walk on the breakwater and stick to standard safety measures.

15. Go For The Spooky Night Tour

Night tour, Block Island

If you’re not afraid of ghosts and ghost stories, then one of the most exciting things to do at Block Island is to take a night tour of the island.

The island’s rich history sets the stage for countless ghost stories! The tour is organized locally in the evening, where a guide takes you on a walk, drive and through a haunted pub tour.

Most of the stories are intertwined with the island’s history, adding more eerie and spooky elements to the lore and the tour.

16. Sway On Live Music At Captain Nick’s

Captain Nick's Rock and roll

Captain Nick’s Rock-n-Roll bar is conveniently located on Ocean Avenue, just after passing through the only four-way-stop on the island.

If you fancy great music, lip smacking cocktails, and a night of dancing then this is just the perfect spot for you.

Captain Nick’s one of the very few places that always seems full, making it one of the few places that actually reaches its capacity on some busy nights.

If you have never been to this place before, let us tell you something. There are two stages for live music. During the day, the smaller outdoor stage is typically used, while the larger indoor stage takes the spotlight at night.

The indoor area is only accessible to those who are 21 and over. However, on Sunday afternoons, people of all ages can come still enjoy the live music.

Remember you carry your some ID card with you as often many get carded trying to get in. Also, this place is cash only!

Conclusion

Block Island is a fairly small region surrounded by water, and yet it offers way more. You can do many more things on this island than listed in this blog.

We enjoyed doing many of the things we mentioned above, and that’s why we recommend you indulge in a couple of them.

It doesn’t matter how you arrive at this island or for how long, you will find something interesting regardless. We recommend you spend at least 2-3 days enjoying as many things as you can and then return with loads of good memories.

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