Visiting Block Island has been a summer favorite of ours for years now. Although, trying to cover the basics such as transportation, food and housing on Block Island can be ridiculously expensive and intimidating. The last thing you want to think about during a summer trip is your budget. While it’s seemingly impossible, we have listed our 10 sure-fire ways to visit Block Island on the cheap for you today.
Book the traditional (slow) ferry.
The cheapest way to Block Island is with the traditional ferry from Point Judith, RI. This ferry is typically on-time. Just keep in mind that the traditional ferry is essentially the slow ferry, which will take 55-75 minutes to get to the island. Meanwhile, the high-speed ferry only takes 30 minutes. If you’re nervous about getting seasick, the non-drowsy version of Dramamine has worked for me.
Leave your car behind.
Not only is the cost of bringing your car on the ferry astronomical, but you have to book far in advance. Luckily, Block Island is small enough where you don’t need to bring your car. In fact, parking on the island is scarce, so do yourself a favor and leave your car parked on the mainland.
Take a day trip.
Hotel prices on Block Island are through the roof, so why not take a day trip? While it’s impossible to see everything in one day, you’ll still come home satisfied having tasted what Block Island has to offer. Typically, the ferry departs for Block Island as early as 6:30am and the last ferry leaves Block Island around 7:30pm. Times vary throughout the season so be sure to check the ferry schedule online beforehand.
Bring your own bike.
Most of Block Island can be reached by bike. There are several bike stands available at every location since biking is so popular on the island. If you own a road bike, you can bring it onto the ferry for a small fee, which ends up being cheaper than renting a bike on the island! While theft has never been a problem for us, you should remember your bike lock, just in case.
OR Opt for a bike rental.
For those who don’t own bikes, there are plenty of bike rentals on the island. If you’re fit and capable enough to tackle the rolling hills of Block Island, then renting a bike for the day beats walking! There’s a handful of vendors to choose from and prices vary, so you should shop around. Also, Block Island offers taxi tours and mopeds, which are super convenient. Keep in mind, those options are priced much higher than bike rentals for obvious reasons.
Block Island has beautiful sights to see and best of all, they’re free! Some of my favorites are the Southeast Lighthouse, Mohegan Bluffs, Rodman’s Hollow, and Abram’s Petting Zoo, all of which are close enough to visit by bike. Together, these free attractions make for an excellent day trip.
Sunbathe at the beach.
Block Island is best known for their 17 miles of pristine beach. Admission to the town beach and its facilities are free. The water is clear, the sand is soft and there’s no sign of pollution, seaweed, or pointy seashells to bother you if you have sensitive feet like me! Although, like most beaches, there will be a small fee if you want to rent umbrellas, chairs, cabanas or boogie boards.
Visit local art studios.
As you walk off the ferry you’ll be greeted by the many shops and galleries of Old Harbor. Block Island has more than enough stores for window shopping and a handful of local art studios to venture into for a day. While its tempting to buy all the trinkets and souvenirs, you should be satisfied after admiring some of the best coastal and nautical art in New England for free.
Pack your own lunch.
If your budget calls for $ but all the restaurants are $$$$, you should consider packing your own lunch. You gain certain freedoms that make it worth the effort. Rather than worrying about crowded restaurants, you can set out a picnic and enjoy lunch with a peaceful view. Block Island has natural beauty around every corner making it easy to find that perfect picnic spot. By avoiding the long wait for a table, you can focus on exploring different parts of the island.
Consider Airbnb or VRBO.
If you’re aching to stay overnight, it doesn’t hurt to check the rooms and house rentals on airbnb.com or vrbo.com for cheaper rates than the brand name hotels. Keep in mind, some accommodations require a minimum stay of 3 – 7 nights on Block Island.
We’re currently offering $40 off your first stay at airbnb if you sign up using our link!
Block Island has been our favorite summer spot for years, yet we make new discoveries every time we visit. We hope our tips encourage you to take your own affordable trip to Block Island this summer. Trust me, you’ll have to see the beauty of this island yourself!
More on Block Island
How to Visit Block Island on a Budget
A Day on Block Island: Mohegan Bluffs and Southeast Lighthouse
A Guide to Visiting Block Island’s North Lighthouse
Kayaking at the Great Salt Pond on Block Island
Where to Find the Prettiest Flowers on Block Island
Celebrating our Anniversary on Block Island