Block Island is one of the most beautiful hidden treasures on the East Coast. This small island, only 13 miles from the state of Rhode Island, is a ferry ride away from Point Judith, Newport, and Providence. The island itself is relatively small in size, being less than 10 square miles and has a population of around 1,000 people. But don’t let its size trick you. Block Island is home to a wide variety of beautiful state beaches, shops (mainly souvenir, but some boutiques mixed in), lavish neighborhoods, and exquisite restaurants.
The best way to get across the island is to rent a bicycle (or a moped or smart car if you have low mobility). A small shop beside the ferry dock, called the Old Harbor Bike Shop, rents these vehicles for relatively cheap prices. They house several hundred bikes, a good variety of mopeds, and four-wheeled smart cars and jeeps for visitors to use to explore the wonders of the island. It is very safe to use bikes, as there are many bikers traveling around the island, and the speed limit on all roads is set at 25 mph.
While visiting Block Island, my family and I all rented bikes (all 10 of us, with a smart car for my grandmother, and my cousin and her one-year old son). The bike rides were mostly flat, with some hills but nothing too steep. The bikes were the best way for us to get around, while still seeing the island in a new way (other than through a car window.)
My family and I visited the Southeast Lighthouse Foundation first, which is the highest point on the island. The ride from the bike rental shop to the lighthouse was a little intense (mostly being uphill and all), but it was a very brief ride. From there, we travelled to a beach that was just down the road, and then biked through the main shopping area. In addition to the lighthouse, the island offers miles and miles of beaches and shops, an animal farm, a nature conservatory, a farmer’s market, and several spas and salons.
If you’re visiting in the summer, remember to pack for the beach (towel, swimsuit, etc.), and bring a day bag (backpacks work best, because they can be worn while riding a bike or put in the bike basket if you choose to have one). Always remember sunscreen and water, since there is very little shade. But if you want to go away for the day (or the weekend), and are close to Rhode Island, I highly suggest visiting Block Island. It’s a memorable trip, and a beautiful place to see.
Every summer I vacation with my core and extended family (which is around 20 people now). For the past few years, we’ve been renting a large house in Narragansett, Rhode Island, right along the northern end of Scarborough Beach.
Rhode Island is also great because it allowed me to destress after a busy summer. Everything seems less imminent when you’re just watching the tide roll in, or a cousin’s son play in the sand. It almost makes me believe that I can handle all of the huge life choices I’ll have to inevitably make down the road (graduate school, starting a career, how many dogs I should adopt when I’m living on my own (all of the dogs (every single dog)))
One of the reasons we choose to return to Rhode Island, and Narragansett in particular, is because of the beaches. Rhode Island is home to some of the most beautiful, and well kept public beaches that I've seen in the northeast . For instance, Scarborough Beach has a massive expanse of easily-accessible parking for visitors, a clean indoor bathroom facility, a snack bar, and lifeguarding services. And these features aren’t exclusive to Scarborough, nearly every Rhode Island beach incorporates these.
I’m especially impressed with the parking lots and the maintenance of the beaches. The lots are big enough to hold everyone necessary, while still being within sight of the beach entrances. Sometimes when visiting the beach, you have to walk quite a ways from where you parked to the actual beach, but not in here. Everything is very conveniently located.
Secondly, the beach maintenance is unlike any other. The beaches are clean of trash and debris. Large waves create beautiful landscapes and add character to the beaches, and there’s always room for more people to pile down and enjoy a fun-filled day.
I would recommend anyone visit Narragansett. There are movie complexes and restaurants and shops just like anywhere else you could vacation, but the beaches and scenery are really one-of-a-kind.
Places we've gone, things we've seen, stories worth telling