Block Island is located in the US state of Rhode Island. It’s 7 miles long, 3 miles wide, and a popular tourist destination during the Summer months.
There are drivable roads running throughout the island, so it makes sense to find out if you can drive there and comfortably access the enjoyable amenities scattered throughout.
Block Island has no land connections and is situated 9 miles (14 km) from the US mainland. To access the island, you’ll need to take a car ferry from Rhode Island, crossing over to Block Island. You’ll need to arrive at least 1 hour early for boarding. There’s a 55-minute crossing time and a 20-30 minute offloading time. When you’ve arrived, bike, moped, and car rentals are available.
Car ferries from Rhode Island to Block Island
To get to Block Island, you’ll need to take a car ferry from Point Judith (Narragansett), Rhode Island, to the Old Harbor on Block Island.
The only Ferry that carries vehicles to Block Island is The Block Island Ferry. In order to travel with this service, you must make a reservation for your vehicle prior to boarding.
The crossing time is 55 minutes, and crossings are limited to 2-3 per day.
For a standard-size vehicle, ticket types include a one-way for $39.60 and a round trip for $79.20. For full size-vehicles such as vans and SUVs, one-way tickets cost $48.70 and a round trip costs $97.40.
Things to note:
- You can’t reserve motorbikes, but they can be transported, so arrive early at the terminal to ensure space is available.
- The optional high-speed ferry service is not available for carrying vehicles.
- The number of cars available for boarding to the island is limited, so it’s best to reserve well in advance, as reservations can fill up fast.
- Arrive at least 1 hour early with your reservation receipt to allow for boarding time. Bring your photo ID and confirmation of your car reservation to the ferry port.
- Up to one week before ferry departure, your reservation can be changed up to two times, and once within seven days prior to travel.
Is it worth bringing a car to Block Island?
If you’re considering taking a well-earned break to Block Island, then it’s important to understand the island itself, alongside your itinerary, and then consider if it’s worth transporting your car there.
Regarding the island’s habitat, Block Island is home to endangered wildlife and plant life, and due to the preservation of the island’s qualities, bringing your car onto the island is generally discouraged, and vehicles allowed onto the island are limited.
Additionally, the main town of New Shoreham and its main tourist amenities are close together.
So, if you’re thinking of taking a relaxing break during the Summer season and plan on going to the beach, visiting a restaurant or two, and staying in a hotel or inn, these spots are located near the ferry dock, so you can comfortably do all of these things without needing to take a car.
If you’re interested in traveling to a less touristy part of the island, there are far-out, scenic parts that are more practical to reach by car. Although another efficient option to travel to further afield places is to hop in a cab.
Finally, the roads on Block Island are slim, winding, and without breakdown lanes, and as biking and walking are encouraged, you’ll encounter many bikers and walkers along the narrow roads.
Renting a vehicle on Block Island
If you do need to venture further afield, then it’s possible to rent a vehicle on the island.
Rental vehicles are available all seasons of the year. These include mopeds, bicycles, cars, and even jeeps that can be rented at different rental shops, such as between the dock and Ballards Beach, located near the ferry dock.
Vehicle rental info:
- To rent a car, you’ll need a valid driver’s license, need to be aged 21 or over, and hold a credit or debit card in your name.
- Reservations are recommended for Summer or Saturday bookings (most rentals begin and end on Saturday) due to a high number of bookings.
- Some roads will be off-limits to all rental vehicles, such as private roads, or driving on beaches.
- Bike rental will cost around $25 per day. The island has many bike trails running through forests and around the coastline. In fact, biking is encouraged, and there are very few places that are off-limits if you have a bike, with bike racks scattered throughout the island.
The best time to drive to Block Island
Block Island is active throughout every month of the year. However, like most places, during the colder months, fewer businesses will be open, and the best time of year to visit is during the peak season of May-October.
This is when you’ll find the best weather conditions, most lodging availability, and general things to do.
If you’re still undecided on what date to plan your drive to the Island or are interested in a spontaneous trip, then check out the dates and times of the island events and attractions.
Places to drive on Block Island
There are some destinations on Block Island that are best driven to. So, let’s take a look at some places that are worth driving to throughout the island.
As can be expected, Block Island is surrounded by beaches, so it’s good to know the best ones to journey to on the island.
- Mohegan Bluffs Beach is renowned for its remarkable scenery, untouched nature, and stunning shoreline beauty. It’s a hilly area to get to, so it is suited to driving, with parking available. Once you arrive, there are 141 steps to ascend/descend, so make sure you’re feeling up to the challenge!
- Mansion Beach is one of the less crowded beaches on the island. It’s great for the whole family to enjoy (including dogs). Parking is available, but try to arrive early, as this can fill up fast! There are portable toilets available, and it’s also located near some well-reviewed restaurants, making for the perfect lazy day spot.
- Scotch Beach is a busy beach and full of life. You’ll encounter boaters, body surfers, boogie boarders, and long stretches of white sand. Also, take a volleyball, as the beach has volleyball nets freely available to use! There’s a small parking area available nearby.
National Wildlife Refuge
Located 12 miles off the State’s southern shore at the North point lighthouse, the wildlife refuge highlights the island’s dedication to preserving its wildlife and is widely praised for its scenic and tranquil setting.
There’s a parking lot available, and from there, you’ll walk past sand dunes and on rocky terrain (wear appropriate footwear) until you reach the lighthouse. You’ll encounter huge flocks of seagulls, swans, and other birds along the way, and maybe even animals such as seals if you’re lucky!
Ball O’Brien Park
Ball O’Brien Park is a great place for the whole family to enjoy some lively action. For the kids, there’s a big playground to enjoy, and for teens and adults, there’s a skatepark, basketball courts, and also a tennis court to play on!
The park is also a popular lunch destination, with sheltered picnic spots and charcoal grills. There is a decent amount of parking available, and in general, you won’t have to worry about finding a parking space.
To drive to Block Island, you’ll need to take a car ferry from Rhode Island. Once on the island, there are road systems running throughout, and to reach the far-out places, diving a car can be a good choice.
If, however, you want to stay in and around the main tourist points, then walking and biking are encouraged, and might be a more practical option.