Our family was lucky enough to have a Sunday this summer when no one had any plans or work to be done- a very rare treat for us. So we decided to play tourist ourselves and take a day trip to Block Island. We brought our whole family- 2 adults, 4 kids (well two are actually adults now but I’m pretty sure I’ll always call them kids) and a couple of their friends- so we had 8 in total.
From Tiverton/ Little Compton there are a couple choices for the ferry depending on what you want to pay for ferry tickets and how much time you would like to spend traveling. We opted for the traditional ferry sailing from Pt Judith. It took us just about and hour to drive there and about an hour on the ferry. The car ride was smooth, although I think if we had taken a late morning ferry we might have had some beach traffic to contend with. Once you get on the boat, it’s kind of like being on vacation already. There are a couple snack bars with food and drinks for sale- starting the day off with a Bloody Mary can certainly set the tone! You are allowed to bring your own food and drink onto the boat, and many do. The tickets were about $23 each (see full breakdown at the bottom of the post). You could also bring your car for about $80 and pre-reservation, although you really don’t need it.
There is a high speed ferry which sails from Fall River which is only a 20 minute drive from our area and the sailing time is about an hour. The high speed ferry also stops in Newport, but I don’t think that would make any sense for us unless you were planning to spend the evening in Newport after. The high speed ferry does not accept cars. This ticket is about $60.
Once you arrive at Block Island you can choose to head right to Ballard’s for breakfast, as we did, or start exploring the streets full of cute shops right at the ferry landing. Ballard’s is the largest restaurant on the island and they have their own part of the beach with chair and umbrella rentals and of course food and drink service. We were totally comfortable bringing our family there to eat, but it is a party scene. They are known for their drinks served in pineapples.
Since we didn’t bring the car, but did bring tons of towels and had heavy bags, we decided on locker rentals for our things we didn’t need right away. This is also right at the ferry landing. You purchase the locker rental as a one time thing, so once you go and retrieve your things you would need to purchase the key again. I think they were a couple dollars each- well worth it!
Mopeds and bikes are the way to get around the island. You can buy a pass for your bike on the ferry or rent one once you arrive. There are many bike rental places, and you can either make reservations or just walk in upon your arrival. We opted for a combination of bikes in the AM and mopeds in the afternoon. The island is quite hilly and would be hard to do the whole thing on just bikes if you are casual riders like we were. The staff was very good at teaching us about the mopeds, and we all did just fine. Some of us took a bit longer than others to get the hang of it (*cough *cough) and they actually traded in my moped for a cute little smart car that I really could drive. Later in the afternoon I gave the moped a shot again and was much better after the pressure was off. We rode out to different parts of the island, including the light house, which is located near the new wind farm.
Block Island is home to America’s first off shore wind farm! It’s a 30 megawatt, 5 turbine wind farm spinning over 600 feet above sea level. On Saturday’s in September you can take a one hour tour of the wind farm, sailing from Block Island at 2 pm, tickets are $20 for adults, $10 kids. Click here to purchase your tickets.
The convenient thing about the traditional ferry is you don’t have to decide your departure time when purchasing your tickets. I think this flexibility would be particularly helpful when traveling with younger children. We opted for the ferry during sunset and were rewarded with some amazing photo opportunities.
There are many beaches on Block Island although we actually ran out of time and didn’t get to relax on any of them. We asked the bike rental folks for suggestions and they were very helpful. Eating, shopping, relaxing on the beach and a little bike riding if you wanted some exercise. It’s an easy relaxing day trip from Tiverton & Little Compton and I would highly recommend it. Please comment below with questions about anything I failed to mention.
High speed ferry from Fall River to Block Island- same day round trip adult $60, child (5-11) $30, infants free of charge. aprox 1 hour, 20 minute travel time Tiverton/Little Compton to Block Island.
Monday through Thursday through August 31st- promotional fare of $45. child ticket prices are not discounted.
Bike $12 round trip
Traditional ferry sailing from Pt. Judith with set departure time and flexible return time- same day round trip $22.90 adult, child $11.50. aprox 2 hour travel time Tiverton/Little Compton to Block Island.
Promotional Monday – Thursday adult ticket $17.15. child ticket prices are not discounted.
Bike $7 round trip
Click here to purchase your Block Island Ferry tickets