Day Trips in New England: Block Island, Rhode Island

the beach at block island, rhode island

Block Island is a quaint little piece of New England paradise situated approximately twelve miles off the coast of the state of Rhode Island. It is the perfect place for a day trip, easily accessible by ferry boat from the shores of Rhode Island, Massachusetts or Connecticut.

The island itself is three miles wide and seven miles long, and has seventeen miles of beautiful beaches free to visitors. Block Island is not the place to go for people looking for adventures and thrills, but it is a perfect place to escape for a relaxing day of exploring, shopping, eating and leaving your troubles behind.

Accessible by plane and ferry boat, most visitors see it by foot, bicycle or moped. I have to say from personal experience though that if you are going bike riding on Block Island in the summer, bring a bottle of water as it can get pretty hot and staying hydrated will help you enjoy the island much more. There are plenty of rental shops near the ferry dock from which to rent either of the latter two forms of transportation. Ferries do allow cars and personal bicycles but there is a fee for both.

Tap & Grille Restaurant at National Hotel, Block Island

Tap And Grille Restaurant at the National Hotel

Along the street directly in front of the ferry dock there are plenty of cute shops offering the typical tacky tourist items as well as hand made New England crafts and antiques. If you get parched on a hot summer day while shopping, stop in at one of the four ice cream shops, one of which just happens to be a New England favorite, “Ben and Jerry’s.” Or have a brew or glass of wine on the front porch of the National Hotel which overlooks the harbor. A recent dinner there, at the Tap and Grille restaurant brought a huge smile to this seafood enthusiast’s face as I enjoyed a delicious hot lobster roll with large chunks of fresh lobster, cole slaw and sweet potato fries. According to TripAdvisor, there are 51 restaurants in which to partake of delicious meals on Block Island. Most of them have sea food specialties due to the accessibility of fresh seafood from the Atlantic Ocean surrounding this island. Many of these restaurants have a water view. Water views range from a beautiful seaside scene to a harbor scene where one can watch a variety of boats and ferries come and go.

One of the best days to take a day trip to Block Island is the fourth of July. Each fourth of July the island hosts an old-fashioned home town parade with many of the locals going all out with crazy costumes and floats. It is the absolutely most patriotic fourth of July parade I have ever seen and anywhere you look there are smiles to be found.

the author on block island

The author relaxing and enjoying the sights on Block Island

Photographers, both amateur and professional love Block Island for its natural beauty. Beaches, light houses, colorful wildflowers, old New England salt box homes, and sailboats all make perfect subjects for photographers. Not only are the beaches beautiful, but there are freshwater ponds salt and peppered along the inside of the island where plenty of wild life can be found taking a drink. Often native birds can be seen landing or wading through the weeds on the side of the ponds for a meal of freshwater fish. Block Island is especially beautiful at sunset, which one can usually catch just before the last ferry leaves the dock.

Because of the relaxed pace and laid back activities on the island, Block Island may not be a place one wants to stay for a week, but it’s a perfect getaway for a New England day trip for an individual wanting an escape from a harried world, couples looking for romance, or a family looking for a fun day on a beautiful beach.

Photos and text by Karen Hellier.  Visit the author at her blog: