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.
Places we've gone, things we've seen, stories worth telling