18 Family-Friendly Things to Do on Block Island

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Block Island, Rhode Island, is perfect for families looking to unwind and enjoy something different from the norm. There are many things to do on Block Island with kids, such as swimming, kayaking, visiting one or all of the three lighthouses, or enjoying the wildlife and natural beauty.

Things to do with kids on Block Island

Being surrounded by the ocean makes Block Island one of the best examples of the Rhode Island nickname, the Ocean State. The island is small, which ensures that you can see ocean views from almost all points on the island.

Block Island is a great place to visit for active families who love the outdoors as well as families who simply want to relax. There are plenty of hiking trails, water activities, or places to ride a bike. 

You will never get bored while on Block Island, that’s for sure.

Where is Block Island and How Do You Get There?

Block Island is a small island off the coast of Rhode Island. It is only accessible by ferry, boat, or airplane, which means getting to Block Island is a big part of the adventure.

Block Island is about an hour’s ferry ride from the mainland, so it’s a great place to get away from it all. You can find a Block Island ferry in several places in southern New England, such as Point Judith, RI, Newport, RI, New London, CT, and also Long Island, NY.

How to Get Around Block Island

Block Island is a popular destination during the summer months, so planning your visit ahead of time is key to get the most out of your stay.

Block Island has taxis, but they don’t have any other public transportation. The only way to get around on Block Island is by a taxi, private car, moped, or bicycle, which you can rent when you get to the Island if you didn’t bring your own bike on the ferry.

When is the Best Time to Visit Block Island?

Summer is one of Block Island’s best times to visit, even though it gets crowded. We love summer on Block Island because there are a variety of beaches to choose from.

If you want to avoid the crowds, you should visit during the off-season. May and September are beautiful on Block Island, with plenty to do but far fewer tourists. 

The water might be too chilly for swimming, but the weather will be perfect for any other adventure.

Rent a Bicycle on Block Island

You can bring your bike on the ferry for an added charge, but if you would rather rent a bike on Block Island, several places offer bike rentals. 

Things to do on Block Island with kids

What to Do with Kids on Block Island

Go to the Beach

Block Island might be small, but when you’re surrounded by water, you can expect many beaches. There are plenty of beaches on this small island; if you have the time, you can explore them all. 

Play at Crescent Beach

Crescent Beach is a white sand beach that stretches along the Island’s east coast from Old Harbor (where the ferries dock) to Clay Head. This is a great beach for families because there is a concession stand, umbrella and chair rentals, and a lifeguard on duty.

Bring your shovels and pails and have a relaxing beach day overlooking Block Island Sound. 

Spend the Day at Fred Benson Town Beach 

The Fred Benson Town Beach is perfect for families. Not only do you have a beautiful beach to build sandcastles and play in the water. There is also a lifeguard, bathroom facilities, concession stands, and even ice cream. 

If you don’t have everything you need for the perfect beach day, you can rent it. Chairs, umbrellas, and boogie boards are available for rental to make your beach day perfect. 

Relax in the Sand at Ballard’s Beach 

Ballard’s is one of the most popular destinations on Block Island because it’s a beautiful and fun beach to explore. Look for horseshoe crab shells, build sandcastles, and more. 

During your visit to Ballard’s Beach, take a walk across the sand from Ballard Bay to Schoolhouse Pond to see the historic schoolhouse tower.

Ride the Waves at Mansion Beach 

Mansion Beach is built on the site where a mansion owned by Edward F. Searles once stood. The mansion burned down, and now the beach is one of the most picturesque places on Block Island.

Mansion Beach has larger waves than the town beaches and is perfect for body surfing if you have older kids. 

The beach runs for about 1/2 mile, and at the western end of the Island, there are small cliffs with a wide plateau area that overlooks the ocean. There are some great trails to explore here as well.

What to do with kids on Block Island

Take in the View at Mohegan Bluffs 

Located near the southern end of the Island, there is no better view on Block Island than the Mohegan Bluffs. Look out over the ocean and see the wind turbines or catch a glimpse of the Southeast Lighthouse.

Walk down the stairs to the beach if you want to look for shells or just relax. This is one of the prettiest beaches on the Island. 

See the Animals at 1661 Exotic Farm & Garden 

The 1661 Exotic Farm is home to many types of animals such as sheep, camels, kangaroos, goats, geese, and so many more. 

The garden is home to rows and rows of beautiful flowers. 1661 Farm & Garden is the most popular destination on the Island for families, and for good reason. 

Go Birdwatching at the Block Island National Wildlife Refuge 

Part of the Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex, the Block Island Wildlife Refuge was established in 1985. It is a refuge for migratory waterfowl, nesting birds, shorebirds, songbirds, and numerous small animals. 

Block Island Refuge consists of 2,093 acres and encompasses the southern half of Block Island and also features a variety of bird habitats such as salt marshes and vernal pools, which provide feeding grounds for sanderlings, willet sandpipers, and several species of herons. 

Go Horseback Riding at Rustic Rides Farm

Horseback riding is available on the Island, allowing you to explore the island from a unique vantage point.

Rustic Rides offers easy trail rides down to the beach, pony rides, and sunset beach rides. 

Hike Along the Clayhead Nature Trail 

The Clayhead Nature Trail is a fantastic place to visit if you want to see wildlife and enjoy nature on Block Island. It’s located in Noyack and takes approximately 45 minutes to walk one way and is worth the hike because the view at the end is breathtaking! 

Things to do on Block Island for families

Take in the View at the Southeast Lighthouse

The Southeast Light is the last of Block Island’s three lighthouses. It was built in 1870 by Nathaniel Ray Thomas and sits on the southeastern tip of the Island overlooking the Mohegan Bluffs.

The Southeast Light guides boats into Quonset Point Harbor and is one of the most beautiful views on Block Island. 

Tours are available for anyone who wants to tour this beautiful lighthouse, or you can go on your own.

Be One with Nature at Rodman’s Hollow 

Rodman’s Hollow is a gorgeous 230-acre glacial outwash plain with spectacular views of the ocean. Take a walk to Black Rock Beach or have a picnic at this beautiful nature preserve.

Walk the Greenway Trail 

Covering over 30 miles of the Island, these walking trails include views that can’t be seen from driving on the road. The Greenway Trail is perfect for families with children because none of the trails are classified as difficult.

Stop by the Block Island Historical Society Museum

Located on North Block Island, the Block Island Historical Society Museum is one of the best attractions for those with kids. The museum has exhibits that showcase the history of Block Island, including fossil remains and other island artifacts. 

Join one of the Block Island History Tours to get a real feel of the Island’s history.

Rent a Kayak at Pond and Beyond Kayak 

Pond and Beyond Kayak offers Block Island kayak rentals, tours, and instruction for all your exploring needs. They offer various boat sizes suitable for families or adults. Rentals also include a lifejacket, perfect for families traveling with children. 

Rentals are on a first-come, first-served basis, so plan to book ahead of time, especially if you’re planning a trip with a larger group.

Enjoy Nature at Lewis-Dickens Farm Wildlife Refuge 

This 120-acre refuge provides easy hiking through coastal meadows and is a great spot for birdwatching. It houses a variety of habitats, including salt marshes, sand dunes, the forested western shoreline, and vernal pools located in the central part of the island.

Block Island, RI with kids

Catch the Sunset at Block Island North Light 

The North Light is an octagonal granite tower that was built in 1824. It sits on the northernmost edge of the Island and has been an active aid to navigation for over 157 years. 

The lighthouse is open for tours throughout the year and includes a guided tour of the lighthouse tower which introduces visitors to its history and architecture.

Leading up to the North Light is a rocky shore where children will love to climb and build rock towers.

Cruise Around on the Great Salt Pond 

The Great Salt Pond is a popular place to visit for the whole family. The pond offers amazing ocean views and has many great activities you can do with the kids, such as shellfishing, sailing, or renting a paddleboard or kayak.

Final Thoughts

Block Island might be small, but there is always something new to explore, making it a popular location for families.

If you’re looking for a summer adventure destination in Rhode Island that’s as exciting for adults as it is for children, Block Island is a great choice.

There isn’t a shortage of fun, family-friendly things to do on Block Island with kids. Whether you are visiting for the day, the weekend, or longer, or if you want to relax or be more active, your family will always find something to do here. 

More Things to Do with Kids Near Block Island, RI

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