Boating to Block Island

Close enough to the mainland to be accessible to most cruising boaters, but far enough away to make it feel like a world all its own, Rhode Island’s Block Island is a beloved boating destination known for its pastoral scenery, impressive cliffs and charming villages.

Block Island is located 12 miles south of Port Judith, Rhode Island, and 14 miles east of Montauk, Long Island. The island’s residents have worked to keep the island largely preserved and protected from overdevelopment, ensuring it maintains its attractive natural setting. It’s a favorite destination for people who enjoy scenic bike rides, gorgeous hikes, or paddling on kayaks or stand-up paddleboards. It’s also home to wonderful eateries and interesting shops.

The island has two harbors: Old Harbor and Great Salt Pond, which is the primary port for visiting boaters. In Great Salt Pond, the town of New Harbor maintains 90 transient moorings that are first come, first served. The pond also has several marinas with slips and moorings. Champlin’s (800-762-4541; VHF 68) is a hotel, resort and marina with 220 slips. It has a dockside restaurant, plus amenities such as gas and diesel, bike and moped rentals, kayak rentals and much more. Block Island Boat Basin (401-466-2631; VHF 9) has 85 transient slips, and it’s home to the popular Oar Restaurant and Bar. Payne’s New Harbor Dock (401-466-5572) has slip space for 100 boats on fixed piers. Additionally, the town maintains a large anchorage east of the main channel. Contact the New Harbor harbormaster (401-466-3204, VHF 12). Over in Old Harbor, the town maintains dock space for 60 boats. Boaters may also find space to anchor in the far western corner of the harbor. Call the Old Harbor harbormaster (401-466-3235).

Visitors to the island can explore it from the water by kayak or from the land via moped, bike or hiking. Kayak rentals are available at Pond and Beyond Kayak (401-578-2773). You can also rent kayaks, plus mopeds and bikes, at Champlin’s. Mopeds and bikes are also available at Boat Basin Car and Bike Rental (401-466-5811) and Island Bike and Moped (401-466-2700). And there are numerous hiking opportunities, including The Greenway, a network of trails winding more than 30 miles.

The island also has many great restaurants. The Harborview Restaurant at Champlin’s (401-466-7777) offers delicious American cuisine and local seafood. The Oar (401-466-8820) features casual dining and entertainment. And for fine dining, there’s the Atlantic Inn Restaurant (401-466-5883).

To learn more about visiting Block Island, visit