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Block Island – Dog Friendly Things To Do and Places to Eat

On a recent trip to Newport, Rhode Island with our dog, we decided to check out nearby Block Island to see if it was dog friendly too.

As it turns out Block Island is a very dog friendly vacation spot.

Block Island sits about 12 miles off the mainland of Rhode Island. You can get there from the Newport area via a ferry that departs from either Newport RI or Point Judith, Narragansett, RI.

The trip takes between 30 to 60 minutes, depending on where you leave from and which ferry to take.

So, it’s an easy day trip if you are already planning on being in the area. Block Island also can make a nice relaxing dog friendly longer vacation if that is what you are looking for.

By the way, Newport, RI is another dog friendly vacation spot you should check out. You can read more about it in our posts Newport, RI: Dog Friendly Things to Do and Is the Newport, Rhode Island Cliff Walk Dog Friendly?

Block Island - Dog Friendly Things To Do - Happyoodles.com Pic of Block Island and Bella at beach

But Block Island has something many other dog friendly vacation spots do not.

That is, most of the island’s beaches allow dogs. And I don’t mean rocky beaches with pebbles instead of sand. Though, there are some of those too.

I mean beaches with soft sand that feels good on your feet. The kind you want to dig in and make sand castles. They are allowed on these beaches even in the summer months.

So if you are looking for a beach vacation spot you can take your dog to, Block Island, RI should be on the list.

About Block Island

Block Island offers something for everyone, even your dog. The Island is well known for its miles of free public beaches, cool, sparkling clear waters, bluffs and friendly people.

A large portion of the island is managed by the Nature Conservancy Program. The program encompasses over 2,000 acres of wildlife habitat. Thus making nearly half of the island permanently protected.

With all this in mind, it’s not a surprise that in 1991 the Nature Conservancy named Block Island “One of the 12 last great places in the Western Hemisphere.”

As I mentioned earlier, Block Island is located approximately 12 miles from the southern tip of Rhode Island and it is only 14 miles east of Montauk Point on Long Island in the Atlantic Ocean.

You can catch a ferry ride to the island from Montauk too. But I will tell you more about that in a minute.

The Island is only about 7 miles long and 3 miles wide, making it fairly small and easy to see in a day. It also has about 17 miles of coastline ranging from soft, sandy beaches to rocky shorelines with dramatic bluffs and clear, cool waters.

Block Island is flat in areas but does have its fair share of hills, which may be an issue if you are planning to bike around the island as many people do.

Dog Friendly Block Island

Note: Please confirm with the venue that dogs are still allowed prior to going to any of the places or using any of the services listed here. Information listed here is subject to change without notice. While we strive to insure accuracy on Happyoodles.com accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Also the mentioning of a business on this page should not be viewed as an endorsement for the business. This information is provided for your convenience, but you should do your own research.

How to Get to Dog Friendly Block Island

Getting to Block Island is fairly easy but not really quick. You can choose to fly, or take a ferry or private boat. There are no bridges that go to Block Island.

By Air

If traveling by air, New England Airlines provides daily scheduled flights to Block Island from Westerly, RI. It only takes 12 minutes to fly from the Westerly Airport to the Block Island State Airport.

Pet dogs that are in a Kennel are allowed to fly but you must make your reservations in advance. Additional fees may apply. Please contact the airline for additional information and restrictions.

You can park your car at the airport for free. You can also get to Westerly Airport via the Amtrak daily trains that run between Washington, New York and Boston. Pets up to 20 pounds (total including carrier) are allowed on most trains for up to seven hours. Pets must be in a carrier.

Private charter flights are also available. For more information on commuter and private flights please visit  www.blockislandsairline.com or call (800) 243-2460.

By Private Boat

If you are lucky enough to have your own boat that can cruise to the Island, Block Island maintains two harbors. New Harbor and Old Harbor.

New Harbor is on the west side of the island in Great Salt Pond. It has 3 large marinas, 90 town moorings and a 75 acre anchorage for vessels. Mooring can be rented per night.

Old Harbor is on the east side of the island which is also where most of the ferries dock. There is limited space for anchoring here.

For more information on docking at either harbor, contact the Block Island Harbors Department

By Ferry

If you are not that lucky you will need to ride the ferry like the rest of us. But it is a fun ride on its own. Especially if you like being on the water. Ferries to Block Island can be found at Point Judith in Narragansett, RI, Newport RI, New London, CT and Montauk, NY.

Getting to Block Island from

Point Judith, Narragansett, RIThe Block Island Ferry Co. offers an hi-speed ferry and a traditional ferry from this location.

Traditional Ferry

  • The traditional ferry runs year round and can take cars over.
  • The crossing takes about 55 minutes.
  • Well behaved dogs are permitted on board the traditional ferry but must remain on a leash or in a carrier at all times.
  • Pets are not permitted on the seats or benches inside the cabins.
  • Bikes and pet trailers can also be transported on this ferry for an additional fee.

Hi-Speed Ferry

  • It takes 30 minutes to reach Block Island.
  • Pets are permitted in the cabin in a pet carrier only. Pets that are not in a pet carrier must be on a leash and remain on the outside decks.
  • Bikes and pet trailers can also be transported on this ferry for an additional fee.
  • Cars are not permitted on this ferry

Both ferries land in Old Harbor, Block Island which is close to shopping, beaches and places to eat.

Newport, RIThe Block Island Ferry also offers a Hi-speed ferry from downtown Newport.

  • It takes approximately 60 minutes to get to Block Island
  • Pets are permitted in the cabin in a pet carrier only. Pets that are not in a pet carrier must be on a leash and remain on the outside decks.
  • Cars are not permitted on this ferry
  • Bikes and pet trailers can also be transported on this ferry for an additional fee.

Ferries from other states

New London, CT Block Island Express operates a hi-speed ferry from New London Ct. to Block Island. While they do allow dogs on board, it is only in approved pet carriers. They do not allow leashed dogs, which will be an issue for most medium to large sized dogs. Pets must remain in their carriers for the duration of the trip.

  • The trip to Old Harbor takes approximately 1.5 hours depending on the ferry used.
  • Bikes and trailers can be transported on this ferry but each requires an additional fee.

Montauk, NYViking Fleet offers daily service to Block Island during the summer.

  • They allow leashed dogs on the outside decks. Only small dogs in a carrier can be brought inside the vessel.
  • The trip takes approximately one hour and fifteen (15) minutes.
  • Bikes are allowed for an additional fee
  • No cars allowed
  • This ferry docks at New Harbor in Great Salt Pond.

What we did

We chose to take the traditional ferry from Point Judith, because it offered more return times than the hi-speed ferry allowing us to have flexibility in our schedule.

That turned out to be a good thing since we ended up staying on the island for longer than originally planned. Plus, since we were staying outside of Newport, finding parking at Point Judith was easier than finding it in downtown Newport.

How did Bella Like the Ferry?

Bella didn’t mind the ferry ride at all. We stayed outside on the front deck. The ride was smooth. We also saw other mini doodles, including a mini Bernedoodle that was sitting on their human’s lap and a mini Goldendoodle and a black Labradoodle chilling in the sun.

Dog Friendly Block Island - rock Pile

Getting Around Block Island In a Dog Friendly Way

You have a few options for getting around Block Island.

  1. Walk – You will find an assortment of stores and places to eat within a half of mile from the ferry terminal. The town beach is a little over a mile away.
  2. Rent a Jeep – Aldo’s Jeep Rentals is located right next to the ferry terminal making it easy to pick up and drop off the jeep. This was the option we chose. They also didn’t seem to care that we had a dog with us.
  3. Bikes – The majority of people choose to bike around the island. You can bring your own bike or rent one from the many shops near the ferry terminals. If you chose to ride, consider bringing a pet trailer to carry your pup.
  4. Personal vehicle – You can bring your own car or SUV over on the traditional Block Island Ferry from Narragansett, RI, but you will need to make your reservations far in advance of your trip. I might consider this in the future. The ferry ticket for the car was much less expensive than the cost to rent the Jeep. To learn more go to The Block Island Ferry Vehicle Reservations

If you are looking for dog friendly vacation ideas check out our post Dog Friendly Island Vacation Ideas in the USA

Block Island - Dog Friendly Things To Do - North Light
North Light – Block Island

6 Dog Friendly Things To Do On Block Island

Since Block Island is all about being outside in the fresh air, it makes the perfect vacation spot for you and your dog. Here are a few ways to spend your day with your dog by your side.

Southeast Light - Block Island - Happyoodles.com
Southeast Light – Block Island

1. Visit The Southeast Lighthouse

The Southeast Lighthouse is the closest lighthouse to the Old Harbor Ferry terminal. It’s also the highest lighthouse in New England.

To get there take Spring Road at the circle and follow it for about 1.8 miles. You will see the parking area and sign on the left hand side of the road.

If you choose to walk or bike there be prepared for an uphill climb on narrow roads. There are no shoulders or bike lanes. But the speed limit is only 25 mph island wide and most drivers are careful around people walking or riding bikes on the streets.

Southeast Lighthouse Museum

When we went, the lighthouse museum was closed. Though it is generally open from late June to Labor day, daily from 10-4.

I highly doubt dogs are allowed in the museum, but views from the grounds make the trip worth it.

This lighthouse sits above the Mohegan Bluffs. From the bluffs you can see the beach below and the wind farm off the coast. But the beach is worth a closer look.

Staircase at Mohegan Bluffs - Happyoodles.com
Staircase at Mohegan Bluffs

You can get to the beach by the Mohegan Bluffs stairs located about a third of a mile further down Spring Road. However be warned the staircase down to the beach is long and steep. The picture above only shows part of the staircase. The total staircase is supposed to be 140 steps. I didn’t count them though.

Once you get to the end of the stairs you still need to climb down rocks and a sandy hill to get to the beach. There is a rope to hold onto to keep you from falling and help you get back up.

While the trip down was easy the return trip takes some effort, but there are platforms to stop and enjoy the view while you rest a few minutes.

2. See the Mohegan Bluffs

Looking up at the Mohegan Bluffs - Happyoodles.com
Looking up at Mohegan Bluffs

Why go to Mohegan Bluffs? How about almost two hundred foot high cliffs and a beautiful beach that is lined with colorful rocks and pebbles. This picture does not do it justice. In the distance you can see the wind turbines that help power the island.

While there is some sand near the base of the bluffs, most of the beach is pebbles or larger rocks. The water however was very clear on the day we went. Plus the cool water was quite refreshing to dip your feet in.

Beach on Block Island

Here is Bella cooling off on the cool, wet pebbles that line the shore.

3. Head over to the North Lighthouse

If you are a lighthouse enthusiast you may want to head over to the north side of Block Island to see the North Lighthouse. The lighthouse, which is mainly built using granite, was built in 1867 on Sandy Point. It is the only other lighthouse on the island.

You can get to the lighthouse by following Corn Neck Road to the end. Parking is at the Settlers rock Monument. It is then approximately a half mile walk along the beach to the Lighthouse.

It is not an easy walk though. The beach is a mix of sand and rocks making it harder to get across. On the day we went the sand was super hot, which made trying to get across even more unpleasant. Me and the dog quit about halfway to the lighthouse. Some of the others in our party did make it to the lighthouse, but it was closed.

However, if you make it to the light you may be able to catch some seals sunbathing on the beach or swimming nearby. There is nothing else around. The location is rather remote. I am told the views were serene.

4. Hodge Family Wildlife Preserve

The Hodge Family Wildlife Reserve is just one of the many areas you can take a stroll with your dog on Block Island. The preserve is a 25 acre parcel that connects to the Block Island National Wildlife Area. The trail is fairly short. Less than a half of a mile. It wanders through open meadows and ends at Middle Pond. Along the way you can enjoy ocean breezes and local wildlife.

5. Go to the Beach

Did I mention yet that Block Island has almost 17 miles of coastline? And they are free. Beaches range from soft sand to rocky shores. Some are easy walks from the car, while others you need to hike to.

Not all of the beaches are safe to swim in. Some have deadly riptides or rocks. Make sure to read all signs and stay safe.

You can find two-and-one-half miles of some of New England’s finest beach front at Crescent Beach. Crescent Beach stretches along the Island’s east coast from Old Harbor (where the ferries dock) to Clay Head. Along this stretch of beach you will find Surf beach and Baby beach to the south with Scotch and Mansion beaches, to the north.

However, Fred Benson Town Beach which sits in the middle is the only beach in this area with lifeguards and facilities but they don’t allow dogs.

Fred Benson Town Beach Sign

Since we wanted to be near the concession stand we simply picked a spot that was just outside of the official town beach area. There are ropes and signs that mark the guarded beach area vs where dogs can hang out.

Bella loved her first time at the beach. We also ran across a friendly adopted Goldendoodle, at the beach as they were walking by.

For more pet dog friendly beaches near Rhode Island, visit our posts: Dog Friendly Beaches in Massachusetts (MA) and Dog Friendly Beaches on Cape Cod.

6. Meander along the Greenway Trails of Block Island

Block Island and the Nature Conservancy offer 28 miles of walking trails on over 2,000 acres. Trails offer views of the Clay Head Bluffs, ponds, meadows and the ocean. You can find a trail map at the Block Island Nature Conservancy.

A full color map of the trails is available at the tourist Information center in Old Harbor for a fee. Leashed dogs are permitted on the trails.

If you have a small dog like us here are a few tips on hiking with a small dog

Dog Friendly Places to Eat on Block Island

There is a wide range of restaurants in the area to choose from, many within a short walk from the ferry terminals.

Near Old Harbor Terminal

Aldo’s Restaurant and Pizzeria – Located at 130 Chapel Street just a few blocks from the ferry terminal. We tried eating lunch here but on the day we went they didn’t open until 2:pm. They did confirm that our pup could hang out with us on the outside patio though.

Ballard’s – is located just a few steps away from the Old Harbor Terminal at 42 Water Street. Ballard’s offers outdoor seating in season and food service right to your beach chair. Plus they supposedly have a beach area for dogs.

Block Island Pizza Pie Co. – located at 442 Corn Neck Road. We chose to have lunch here. The pizza was more of a Chicago style pizza. Their outside seating was on the front lawn, with metal patio chairs, tables and umbrellas.

They also had Adirondack chairs up on a small hill so you could chill out. A small parking lot is in the back.

Poor People’s Pub – Located at 33 Ocean Ave. Dogs are allowed at any of their dog friendly outdoor tables. They serve an assortment of casual foods, like burgers, local seafood and pizza.

The Beachhead Restaurant – located at 596 Corn Neck Rd serves lunch and dinner to dogs and their people on the outdoor patio which has beautiful views of the beach across the street.

The National Hotel Tap and Grill – Located at 36 Water Street. Seating for people and their dogs is on the back patio.

The Surf – located at 32 Dodge Street, The Surf offers seating on the lower level by the beach for families with dogs. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Tigerfish – located at 126 Corn Neck Rd, TigerFish offers an eclectic menu of pan Asian foods, and sushi. Dogs and their families can sit on their outdoor patio.

Near New Harbor

Dead Eye Dick’s – Located at 218 Ocean Ave. Dead Eye Dick’s serves Lunch and dinner at Payne’s Dock. Dogs and their humans can eat on the lawn at dog friendly dining tables.

The Oar – is located at 221 Jobs Hill Rd. Seating for dogs and their people is outside at the tables or the Adirondack chairs with service. They serve lunch and dinner daily

Dog Friendly Accommodations on Block Island

You can find an assortment of dog friendly accommodations from small hotels to Bed & Breakfasts’ to home rentals on Block Island, but you will not find large hotel chains. Here are just a few of the accommodations you can find.

The Block Island Inn offers multiple accommodations. They have a dog friendly B&B named The Blue Dory. The Blue Dory is a turn of the century Victorian Bed & Breakfast.

They also offer 7 guest cottages that are dog friendly and have air conditioning. The Block Island Inn is located at 61 Dodge St, New Shoreham, RI.

Ballard’s Beach House – in addition to being a dog friendly restaurant and private beach, Ballard’s Beach House is also a full service hotel.

Hotel Manisses is a boutique hotel located at 251 Spring Street, Block Island. It’s a fairly short walk from the Old Harbor Ferry terminal. They do allow up to two small dogs in rooms that offer private entrances. Please contact them directly to learn more.

Champlin’s Marina & Resort is located at the Great Salt Pond. They allow dogs on their property.

If you are looking to stay for a week or more then you may want to rent a home. Phillips Real Estate offers a number of dog friendly rental homes. But make sure to book your house early. There are a limited number of dog friendly homes on the island. Actually there are a limited number of homes in general.

Block Island - Dog Friendly Things To Do - Gray dog sleeping
Bella sleeping on my lap for the ferry ride back to the mainland. She was very tired after her first time going to a beach.

If you are looking for more dog friendly travel ideas check out our posts on Dog Friendly Guide to Cape Cod, Saratoga Springs – Dog Friendly Things to Do and Lake George NY: 14 Dog Friendly Things to Do

More Dog Friendly Ideas for Block Island?

Please help me keep this information up to date. If you know of dog friendly opportunities on Block Island that are not already listed here please add them to the comments. Thanks!!

Dog Friendly Block Island Resources

For more dog friendly travel ideas near Block Island check out Historic Wickford Village: A Dog Friendly Trip To The Past