Block Island Rhode Island

1. Introduction

Block Island is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately ten miles off the coast of Rhode Island, which it is separated from by Block Island Sound.

In 1524, it was sighted by Giovanni da Verrazano, and in 1614, it was charted by the Dutch explorer Adriaen Block, after whom it is named. At the time of the arrival of the Europeans, it was occupied by a branch of the Narragansett people who called the island “Manisses”. English settlers from the mainland first arrived in 1661, when the island was part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The island became part of the state of Rhode Island in 1672.

Block Island panorama from Wikipedia
Block Island Wikipedia panorama picture

The only town on the island is New Shoreham. The island is a popular summer tourist destination and is known for its excellent bicycling. A historic lighthouse on the northern tip of the island was built in 1872, and a modern lighthouse, Block Island Southeast Light, is on the southeast side of the island. The northern area is an undeveloped natural area and resting stop for birds along the Atlantic flyway. The island is connected by the Block Island ferry year-round to Point Judith, and in summer to New London, Connecticut, Montauk, New York and to Providence, Rhode Island.

Additionally, every other summer the island hosts Block Island Race Week, a highly competitive, week long sailboat racing event where captains and crew compete in various classes, racing to and from the island, as well as around its perimeter. During this time the islands population can triple over the normal summer vacation crowd.

block island map

2. Travelling Traffic

To and from Block Island is possible by the Block Island Ferry. The ferry leaves from Point Judith year round with extended hours in the summer and from Newport in the summer. Travel time from Point Judith to Block Island is about one hour and about two hours.

From Newport to Block Island. The Block Island Ferry is operated by the Interstate Navigation Company. The ferry costs about $15 dults round trip. Group discounts are available by contacting the Interstate Navigation Company at (866) 783-7340.

You can take a bike on the ferry for just a couple of dollars. Biking is a very practical way to get around Block Island. If you would like to take a car on the ferry, it costs about $80 round trip. You must contact the Interstate Navigation Company ahead of time to make a reservation by calling (866) 783-7340.

Parking in Point Judith
There are several parking lots located just down the street from the Block Island Ferry dock in Point Judith. Parking costs about $10 per day. You can also park on the road between Route 1A and Point Judith for free, however it is recommended that you park in a paid location overnight for security reasons.

The Fleet:


Carol Jean

Anna C

Previous boatd:



Directions to Point Judith Ferry Dock

From Route 95 North:
Take exit 92 in Connecticut. Bear right onto North Stonington Rd., Rte 2. Look for right hand turn for Rte. 78.
At the end of Rte. 78, go left onto Rte. 1N. (Look for a sign that says: “Block Island Ferry”). Travel on Rte. 1N until the Galilee, Pt. Judith exit, Rte. 108. Bear right onto Rte. 108S (Pt. Judith Rd.) and travel for approx. 3 miles until a right hand exit for the Block Island Ferry. We are located at the Galilee State Pier, across from the Department of Environmental Management.

From Route 95 South:
Take exit 9 in Rhode Island, (Narragansett exit) to Rte. 4. Stay on Rte. 4 to Rte. 1. On Rte. 1 take the Narragansett, Rte. 108 exit. Continue on Rte. 108S for approx. 3 miles until a right hand exit for the Block Island Ferry. We are located at the Galilee State Pier, across from the Department of Environmental Management.

From Providence:
Take Route 95 South, to Rte. 4 South, to Rte. 138 to Jamestown. Continue on 138 to the Newport Bridge. Immediately after bridge, take the Downtown exit and follow signs to Fort Adams State Park.
(Newport Bridge Toll: Token or $2.00 each way)

3. Lodging on Block Island

lodging on block islandPicture credit: foursquare

Water Street Inn
41 Water St, Block Island, RI 02807
(401) 466-2605

The Seacrest Inn
207 High St, New Shoreham, RI 02807
(401) 466-2882

Ballard’s Inn
42 Water St, New Shoreham, RI 02807
(401) 466-2231
Free Wi-Fi Restaurant

Surf Hotel
32 Dodge St, Block Island, RI 02807
(401) 466-2241

The Gothic Inn
440 Dodge St, Block Island, RI 02807
(401) 466-2918

Sea Breeze Inn
71 Spring St, Block Island, RI 02807
(401) 466-2275
Free parking

Spring House Hotel
52 Spring St, Block Island, RI 02807
(401) 466-5844
Free parking Restaurant

Harborside Inn
213 Water St, New Shoreham

The Narragansett Inn
1 Ocean Ave, Block Island, RI 02807
(401) 466-2626

Hygeia House
213 Water St, New Shoreham, RI 02807
(401) 466-5504

Avonlea, Jewel of the Sea
PO Box 488 597 Corn Neck Rd, New Shoreham, RI 02807
(800) 992-7290
Free Wi-Fi Free parking

Hendrickson House
213 Water Street, C/O Harborside

The Neptune House
64 Connecticut Ave, New Shoreham, RI
(401) 466-2100

4. Map of Block Island

Map of Block Island (from Mapquest)

Map of Block Island (from Google Maps)

This is hard to see, but really cool. There is this north facing peninsula on Block Island, the northern most tip. On the left the water is coming from Long Island Sound, on the right its coming from the Atlantic. Thus at the tip, you have waves crashing across this sandbar area of land from BOTH directions. The result is an incredible magnetic pull of nature’s energy, its palpable… quite awesome.