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Block Island is about an hour ferry ride from New London/Connecticut, Point Judith/RI or Montauk, NY. The island is only about 3 miles wide by 7 miles long. It is southwest of Martha's Vineyard and lays claim to being the smallest town (New Shoreham) in the smallest state (RI) .
The main attraction is likely the Mohegan Cliffs and the Southeast Lighthouse. The bluffs rise approximately 220 feet on the southside of the island. There is a long wooden staircase with 144 steps that lead down to the beach below the cliffs. At the bottom of the steps, there is a short climb down a rocky incline to get to the actual beach, so proper footwear is recommended.
There is a lighthouse at the southeastern side of the island (accessible by car, bike or foot). There is another lighthouse at the northern end of the island.(This lighthouse has limited parking and access to the lighthouse is about a 1/2 mile walk along the beach from the small parking area.) Settler's Rock (where the first settler's landed) is situated at this northern parking area. There is a farm with several exotic animals near the 1661 Inn that the children will enjoy. There are many hiking trails including Rodman's Hollow. Kayaking, boating, parasailing, and bumper boats are also available.
Most lodging includes B&B's, historic hotels from the late 1800's, and some cottages for rent. Most of these lodgings don't have air-conditioning. Some rooms with windows on different sides were cool at night, but those that don't get cross-ventilation could get quite hot. Most people get around the island by walking, hiking, biking or moped. Most of the shops are within the first two blocks across from the ferry in the Old Harbor.
To get to other points north, south, or west, involves a thirty minute walk (usually 3 to 4 miles in any direction)--so wear comfortable shoes and bring water to drink.
Taxi's & rental vehicles are widely available and taxi drivers prove to be a good source of island information. The ocean water is very clear and cool. The water is coldest in May and June, warmest in August and September. The nicest beaches are along the three mile stretch of Crescent Beach which has many beach entrances. The center beach, Fred Benson Town Beach, has shower facilities (for a small fee), dressing rooms, restrooms, lifeguards, a concession stand, chair and umbrella rentals and first aid. Ballards Beach, to the south of town, is a sandy beach with lifeguards, food and alcohol service, chair and umbrella rentals and bathrooms with showers. Ballards offers music most days and the atmosphere is more adult than Crescent beach.
Besides the Old Harbor on the east side of the island, the New Harbor on the northwestern side of the island has three marinas, a nice selection of restaurants, Ball-O'Brien Park which has a skate-park, children's playground, public tennis courts, a picnic shelter and a basketball court. There is also a small airport located near the center of the island which is home to two airlines, New England Airlines (year round) and Cape Air (seasonal) as well a rotating gallery of island art and a great local diner, Bethany's Airport Diner.