Cruising to Block Island
There’s something about boats that appeals to the explorer in all of us. Perhaps all boaters have a taste for adventure, attracted to the alluring idea of leaving land, venturing across the water and coming upon a new place to explore.
Few places in New England reward that inner explorer quite like Block Island. Located roughly 12 miles south of Point Judith, Rhode Island, and 14 miles east of Montauk, Long Island, it’s an oasis that is a journey from the mainland. But the scenic island with miles of beaches, towering majestic cliffs and charming seaside villages is well worth the trip.
Residents of Block Island have made sure the island is largely preserved and protected from overdevelopment, ensuring it keeps its attractive, pastoral setting. It’s a favorite destination for people who enjoy scenic bike rides, gorgeous hikes, or paddling on kayaks or stand-up paddleboards. And when you’re ready to enjoy the fruits of civilization, the island is also home to wonderful eateries and interesting shops.
Block Island has two harbors: Old Harbor and Great Salt Pond, which is the primary port for visiting boaters. In Great Salt Pond, the town of New Harbor maintains 90 transient moorings that are first-come, first-served. The pond also has several marinas with slips and moorings. Champlin’s (800-762-4541; VHF 68) is a hotel, resort and marina with 220 slips. It has a dockside restaurant, plus amenities such as gas and diesel, bike and moped rentals, kayak rentals and much more. Block Island Boat Basin (401-466-2631; VHF 9) has 85 transient slips, and it’s home to the popular Oar Restaurant and Bar. Payne’s New Harbor Dock (401-466-5572) has slip space for 100 boats on fixed piers. Additionally, the town maintains a large anchorage east of the main channel. Contact the New Harbor harbormaster (401-466-3204, VHF 12). Over in Old Harbor, the town maintains dock space for 60 boats. Boaters may also find space to anchor in the far western corner of the harbor. Call the Old Harbor harbormaster (401-466-3235).
Visitors to the island can explore it from the water by kayak or from the land via moped, bike or hiking. Kayak rentals are available at Champlin’s and at Pond and Beyond (401-5780-2773). Mopeds and bikes can be rented at Champlin’s, as well as at Boat Basin Car and Bike Rental (401-466-5811) and Island Bike and Moped (401-466-2700). The island is also home to numerous hiking opportunities, including The Greenway, a network of trails winding more than 30 miles.
Whatever activity you choose, you’ll likely work up an appetite exploring the island. Luckily, Block Island is home to many great restaurants. The Harborview Restaurant at Champlin’s (401-466-7777) offers delicious American cuisine and local seafood. The Oar (401-466-8820) features casual dining and entertainment. And for fine dining, there’s the Atlantic Inn Restaurant (401-466-5883).
To learn more about visiting Block Island.