|Beaches on Block Island, Rhode Island|
|Bordered nearly all around by fine white sand, Block Island is beachgoers' heaven. You can walk from Old Harbor and the ferry dock to a good beach in a few minutes. Most others are within a fun bike ride.|
On Block Island you're never far from a beach—you can debark from the ferry in Old Harbor and be on the beach in two minutes—but each beach has its advantages and disadvantages.
There's no shade on any of the beaches, so bring your own shelter. Lifeguards? Only at Fred Benson Town Beach.
The wide crescent that forms most of the eastern shore of the island is all beach, mostly broad and sandy, with some surf. The western and southern shores can be stony both in and out of the water, but they are uncrowded and more private.
Crescent Beach is the colloquial name for the entire long crescent of sand stretching northward several miles from Old Harbor on Block Island's eastern shore, on the eastern side of Corn Neck Road (map). This long beach is popularly divided into several sections named Kid Beach, Fred Benson Town Beach, Scotch Beach, Mansion Beach, etc.
Right in Old Harbor
The harbor is framed by Ballard's and Kid beaches, right there in the middle of town.
Just east of the Old Harbor breakwater, behind Ballard's Restaurant (map), Ballard's Beach has drinks served by restaurant staff, organized games like beach volleyball, and a lively crowd of regulars.
Kid (Baby) Beach
At the very southern end of Fred Benson Town Beach, Kid Beach (or Baby Beach) is only a short stroll north from Old Harbor, with gentle waves, an easy slope, and moderate water temperatures: perfect for little kids.
The most popular beach on Block Island, sometimes called by its former name of State Beach, has fine white sand, gentle surf, all beach services, lifeguards, and is walking and biking distance from Old and New harbors. More...
The northward extension of Fred Benson Town Beach is farther from the services, but quieter and more popular with tranquil couples and small families.
Even farther north than Scotch Beach, Mansion Beach is good for getting away from the crowds while still enjoying the fine sand and other beauties of Block Island's eastern shore. Mopeds are not allowed on the unpaved beach access road, but bikes and cars are fine.
These beaches lie at the foot of Mohegan Bluffs, the sandy cliffs along the island's southern shore (map). To reach them, you must descend 150 stairs (at Payne's Overlook) or clamber down rough paths. The beaches tend to be rocky onshore and off, so caution is necessary when entering the water.
A few hundred yards west of Southeast Lighthouse is Payne's Overlook, with a parking area, bike rack, overlook point, and a stairway descending 150 steps to a small beach that's never crowded.
Black Rock Beach
Reached by rough trail through Rodman's Hollow, this beach is named for a sinister black rock offshore, covered by water, that is a deadly danger to ships. Backed by cliffs, the beach is rocky and surfy, for adventurers only.
Dorry's Cove Beach
On Block Island's western shore, Dorry's Cove is a small dark-sand beach reached via Dorrys' Cove Road. Good for swimmers, snorkelers and picnickers.
Coast Guard Beach
At the northern end of Charlestown Beach, this fine sand beach borders the inlet to New Harbor next to the decommissioned Coast Guard station. (See Charlestown Beach for more.)
Reached by West Beach Road off Corn Hill Road in the north of the island, this beach was once the town dump, though it's been mostly cleaned up. Now it leads to a modern transfer station (waste processing facility), a walking trail, and the stony beach.
The unpaved access road is often busy with residents driving their trash to the transfer station, which makes it dusty and unpleasant for biking, although it's not a long ride.
There's very little parking space for cars at the end of the road, and no bike rack.
Nature Walk to North Lighthouse
Those wanting a fine long (3.5-mile/5.6-km, 1.5-hour) nature walk start from the southwestern end of West Beach Road and follow the trail north along the beach skirting the Block Island National Wildlife Refuge to North Lighthouse and Settlers' Rock near the northern tip of Block Island.