Block Island is in Washington County, Rhode Island, initially known as the Manisses or “Manitou’s Little Island.”
In 1524, Giovanni da Verrazzano discovered Block Island, later named after Dutch explorer Adriaen Block.
When the first Massachusetts settlers arrived in 1661, the island was admitted to Rhode Island three years later.
This pear-shaped island is on the Nature Conservancy’s list of “The Last Great Places.”
Almost 40 percent of the island is allotted for conservation.
Block Island is highly popular, particularly for beachgoers.
It is also a good place for hiking, biking, fishing, and nature tripping.
Its economy used to rely heavily on farming and fishing, but the island diversified into tourism and resort activities.
Here are the best things to do in Block Island, Rhode Island:
Take a Day Tour at Southeast Light
Built in 1875, Southeast Light is easily accessible at the southeastern corner of Block Island.
This tower is made of 52-foot brick, and it is also a National Historic Landmark.
Southeast Light stands on top of Mohegan Bluffs, so you’re guaranteed only the best views of the Atlantic Ocean there.
The lighthouse is open all year round, but its little shop only opens during summer.
You can also book an escorted or guided tour at Southeast Light museum.
Relive the Past at Block Island Historical Society Museum, Gallery & Shop
Block Island Historical Society Museum, Gallery & Shop is a museum at the intersection of Old Town Rd. and Ocean Ave.
This museum is inside the Woonsocket House, built in 1871.
Here, you can find a wide selection of artifacts that reflect the rich and essential history of Block Island.
Block Island Historical Society Museum, Gallery & Shop is home to Manissean stone tools, colonial memorabilia, and vintage photographs of the Victorian era.
You may explore its two-story displays of Victorian items, furniture, textile, fishing gear, and others.
See Incredible Wildlife at Block Island National Wildlife Refuge
Block Island National Wildlife Refuge is on New Shoreman, Rhode Island, 12 miles offshore.
This wildlife refuge works closely with other organizations to protect the island and its animals.
Block Island National Wildlife Refuge incorporates natural elements in its habitats, such as beach grass, flowers, and shrubs.
Some facilities are Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge, Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge, and Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge.
This wildlife refuge is also open for hunting, photography, fishing, ranger-led activities, and educational tours.
You will also find the piping plover, night heron, American oystercatcher, and the American burying beetle at Block Island National Wildlife Refuge.
Witness Breathtaking Views at Clay Head Preserve
Clay Head Preserve is on the northern end of Block Island.
This is the best spot to enjoy the majestic views of the Eastern Seaboard.
This privately owned 190-acre preserve is open to the public and is the go-to destination for migratory bird watching.
You can also enjoy Clay Head Preserve’s trail run, measuring about 1/3 of a mile.
While there, you will marvel at the picture-perfect scenery of Littlefield Farm and Clay Head Swamp.
Clay Head Preserve also has direct access to the beach at the trail’s intersection.
Bring Your Beach Towel to Crescent Beach
Crescent Beach is a stretch of white sand beach on the eastern side of Block Island.
It goes from Old Harbor up to Clay Head.
This crescent-shaped beach is one of the island’s most gorgeous and safest destinations.
Bring your family and friends to Crescent Beach to spend the day swimming, sunbathing, or sightseeing.
The sea’s crystal clear and refreshing water is perfect for a humid summer day.
There are pavilions within Crescent Beach with snack bars where you can buy food whenever you get hungry.
Your safety is also guaranteed as this beach has attentive lifeguards.
Surfers also love to ride Crescent Beach’s waves.
Join Art Classes at Historic Spring Street Gallery
Historic Spring Street Gallery is on Spring Street.
It is in an abandoned horse barn that was transformed into an art haven.
Inside, you’ll find several beautiful paintings, photographs, pottery, and other forms of art that reflect that exciting lifestyle on Block Island.
Aside from being a home to artistic creations, Historic Spring Street Gallery also serves as a venue for art shows and other related events for artists and viewers.
This art gallery is also interesting because it offers art classes for children and adults.
If you have little ones who want to explore their creative sides, why not enroll them in Historic Spring Street Gallery’s kid painting classes?
Likewise, try their drum circle and salsa lessons.
Bring Your Kids to Ball O’Brien Park
Ball O’Brien Park is a playground within New Shoreham on Block Island.
You can easily find it across the cemetery near New Harbor.
Ball O’Brien Park has a skate park and tennis and basketball courts.
This is the perfect destination if you want to do outdoor and sporty activities with family and friends.
You can bring your food and use the park’s charcoal grills and covered picnic pavilions.
If the weather permits, you can also play pickleball at the park on Sundays.
Admire the View of the Atlantic Ocean at Mohegan Bluffs
Mohegan Bluffs is a 200-foot cliff on the island’s southern shore.
From there, you can get the best views of the Atlantic Ocean.
You’ll also see the tip of Long Island from Mohegan Bluffs.
It is a challenge reaching the cliff’s peak, but the trek is worth it.
One hundred forty-one steps lead down to the sand so you can take a quick dip in the sea.
Mohegan Bluffs is also a good spot for surfing.
This is the 5th stop of the Block Island bicycle tour.
Walk around the Sacred Labyrinth
The Sacred Labyrinth is a narrow circular walkway on Corn Neck Rd.
It is lined with stones which create a labyrinth-like look.
A visit to this place is like unplugging from the stressors and distractions of everyday life.
Here at Sacred Labyrinth, you can enjoy the peaceful surroundings without tiring yourself from miles and miles of running.
There’s a great spot inside Corn Neck Road where you can enjoy the view of Sachen Pond and North Lighthouse.
The sounds of the birds chirping will surely give you a pleasant and relaxing time at Sacred Labyrinth.
Watch the Sunset at West Beach
West Beach is where you can watch the most beautiful and dramatic sunset on the island.
It is near Corn Hill Road. In the northern part of Block Island.
West Beach is just a few minutes from the North Lighthouse, a perfect spot for sea glass hunting.
This area used to be the town dump, but they have cleaned it up and opened it for locals and tourists who want to feel the sea on their feet.
There is a small parking area near West Beach for your convenience.
Spot Raptors at Lewis-Dickens Farm
Lewis-Dickens Farm is a 120-acre gem on Cooneymus Rd.
It was named after Elizabeth Dickens.
This place offers a magnificent panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean.
You’ll also be serenaded by the sounds of waves crashing on the beach throughout your stay here at Lewis-Dickens Farm.
This farm is also suitable for hiking activities.
If you’re lucky, you’ll see some raptors and fall migrants.
Other wildlife you can spot here at Lewis-Dickens Farm is deer and other bird species like a barn owl, Peregrine falcon, American kestrel, and song sparrow.
Read a Good Book at Island Free Library
Island Free Library is a well-established library on Dodge Street.
It was built on March 6, 1875, and was once the Island Library Association.
This is a favorite destination of locals and visitors, both young and old.
Island Free Library maintains and enriches Block Island residents’ literacy and imagination.
It provides a complete spectrum of library services and promotes digital literacy among locals and tourists.
You can find all kinds of books for all ages here.
If you want to take a quick break from beach tripping and wildlife sightings, then Island Free Library is just around the corner waiting for you.
Go Picnicking at Win Dodge Preserve
Win Dodge Preserve is a 29-acre natural habitat for animals and plants.
It also has a 14-acre trail to stretch your legs and exercise.
You’ll also see an old foundation, the historic Dicken’s homestead, along the Win Dodge Preserve trail.
This popular picnic spot is where you can also spot some beautiful birds.
You can also see the Dicken’s Farm, Lewis Farm, and the island’s southwest point from here.
Win Dodge Preserve’s trail will lead you to a hilly loop.
If you want to access Dicken’s Farm, you can turn left and walk along the 15-foot pedestrian easement.
Visit Exotic Animals at 1661 Inn
1661 Inn is on Spring Street.
It is home to exotic and domesticated animals taken care of by the inn’s owner, Justin Abrams.
Make sure to visit its farm and aviary, where you can find amazing creatures like camels, goats, llamas, pygmy, black swans, and much more.
1661 Inn remains true to its promise of being environmentally friendly and sustainable by recycling its compost for its garden.
You will also enjoy feeding the cure and friendly goats and emus.
1661 Inn is also a favorite venue for special occasions like birthdays and weddings.
You can also dine at their posh restaurants after a day of bonding with animals.
Book a Stay at Ballard’s Beach Resort
Ballard’s Beach Resort is on Water Street.
It is a resort with restaurants and bars within the beautiful Ballard Beach.
Isn’t it nice to order a cocktail or two and enjoy it while lying on the sand and vibing with friends under the night sky?
You’ll also have a great time listening to live band music played at Ballard’s Beach Resort on certain months.
Besides swimming, allot some time in Ballard’s Beach Resort’s restaurants that serve only the freshest seafood you could ever dream of.
You can also play beach volleyball in this premiere destination.
Stretch Your Legs at Greenway Walking Trails
Greenway Walking Trails is situated on High Street.
This 28-mile walking trail is perfect if you want to stretch your legs and enjoy the ocean view.
Greenway Walking Trails covers more than 30 miles of Block Island’s landscape.
You can visit this place any time of the year.
It offers picturesque views that you can’t see from paved roads.
Bring your trail map as you explore Greenway Walking Trails!
Block Island is a must-visit for everyone who loves the beach and other nature activities.
There are plenty of destinations to explore and a rich history to discover.
What are you waiting for?
Start planning your next vacation, whether alone or with friends, and discover the best things to do in Block Island, Rhode Island.