Block Island boasts some of the best beaches in the country — on either coast. With 17 miles of unspoiled shoreline, all with our own unique, genuine, laid-back aura. Whether you’re in search of soft sand, clear blue water, or rocky shores to explore, you’ll find all of it along Block Island’s coasts.
Ranked among Coastal Living’s “21 Best Beach Vacations in the United States,” Fred Benson Town Beach provides a sandy shoreline and beach amenities. With the only beach pavilion on the island, it’s the perfect place to grab lunch from their concession stand, with a menu provided by Rebecca’s on the Beach. If you’re in need of beach chairs, umbrellas, or boogie boards, rentals are available. It is also our only beach with lifeguard patrol and bathroom facilities.
If you’re looking for a quieter atmosphere, just north of Fred Benson you’ll find Scotch Beach. With generally fewer people than Fred Benson, its shoreline is perfect for skim boarding or body surfing, and you’ll also find a volleyball net that’s set up for your convenience.
Even further north of Scotch is Mansion Beach. One of the most popular beaches on the island, it boasts clear waters, soft sand and is a favorite of island visitors. With waves slightly bigger than along the beaches just south, Mansion is ideal for boogie boarding and body surfing. On calm days provides a perfect setting for skim boarding. However, being the farthest from town, you might want to take a bike or car.
Beaches on the western coast of the island grace you with some of the most breathtaking sunsets you’ll ever see, and their rocky shores make for perfect outdoors adventures for kids. Gracie’s and Dorie’s Coves both can be found down winding dirt roads, offering unobstructed views to the ocean and stony beaches to explore. They’re also perfect for roasting marshmallows over a beach fire as you watch the sunset. (Know that all beach fires require a fire permit from the Police Station.)
To the north, along the inlet to the Great Salt Pond, is secluded Coast Guard Beach. A mile down the winding dirt road you’ll find the small beach, tucked behind a wooded trail that opens up to the channel. Although swimming is not permitted, Coast Guard is known for its fishing, and is also where you can watch the boats come in and out of the harbor or watch the sunset.
Regardless of what beaches you choose to spend your time at, Block Island has long been renowned for its pristine shorelines. It is an element of the island that we are proud of, and ask that you care for them the way we do!
BLOCK ISLAND BEACHES
- Cow Cove is near Settlers’ Rock. Although the shoreline is rocky, it offers some of the best coastal views and also sports the historic North Light. This is not a place for swimming because of a strong riptide. Be careful where you walk too: the beach is a nesting area for many rare birds.
- Mansion Beach lies at the end of a dirt road with the same name. The island’s most stately mansion once sat here until fire destroyed the house and it was never rebuilt. However, the beach fits the name by being one of the island’s grandest. Mansion marks the north end of what’s known as Crescent Beach.
- Scotch Beach is a quarter mile north of Fred Benson Town Beach. Scotch is a sandbox for kids and the place boaters end up when they cross Corn Neck Road from Dinghy Beach. A small parking lot sits between the road and the dunes.
- Fred Benson Town Beach is home to Block Island’s fully equipped bathhouse. In addition to showers, lockers, food, and rental items, the beach is staffed with lifeguards in the summer months. The small parking lot fills up fast.
- Baby Beach is a well-sheltered beachfront at the south end of what’s known as Crescent Beach (Mansion marks the north end), where children can easily play in the shallow waters.
- Surf Beach, named for The Surf Hotel above it, is an ideal place to snorkel and check out the abundant sea life, such as small crabs and starfish, and to hunt for shells and sand dollars. Surf Beach marks the south end of what’s known as Crescent Beach.
- Ballard’s Beach is located on the south side of the Old Harbor breakwater adjacent to Ballard’s restaurant. Staffed with lifeguards throughout the summer months, it is also a popular destination for sunbathing, swimming, and volleyball.
- Mohegan Bluffs beachfront is found at the bottom of a steep set of stairs, 141 steps to be exact. The payoff is a secluded and spectacularly beautiful, if rocky, place to swim and surf.
- Vaill Beach is a large beach at the bottom of a hollow. The path to it is located at the bend in Snake Hole Road. At the base of the bend turn left and walk for approximately 50 yards. The surf here is rough and rocks line the shallows, so swimmers should exercise caution.
- Black Rock boasts expanses of sand and a series of coves at the base of a cliff. Swimming is difficult because of the large number of rocks, but it’s a perfect place for an oceanside hike. The area takes its name from a large, dark rock that rests offshore in about 15 feet of water and has spelled the end for many ships. Located a pace off the main road, it’s best to walk or bike to get there.
- Mosquito Beach, also known as “Dinghy Beach,” is located just across the road from Scotch Beach, providing a place for boaters in New Harbor to tie up their rafts and dinghies. There are majestic views of Great Salt Pond, making it a good backdrop for photos.
- Andy’s Way is the island’s premiere clamming spot. Standing at the end of a dirt road that bears the same name, it’s a good place to take a stroll. Just north is Beane Point, U.S. Fish and Wildlife property that is home to many rare birds.
- West Beach is narrow, but it’s lightly trafficked and has gentle surf and stupendous views of the North Light.
- Coast Guard Beach is at the end of Champlin Road and derives its name from the decomissioned Coast Guard station there. Don’t swim here, but it’s a good place for clamming and fishing.
- Charlestown Beach is popular with fishermen because it has a long jetty at its end. Typically uncrowded, it’s a nice spot to watch the boats come into New Harbor.
- Grace’s, Dorrie’s, and Cooneymous coves are secluded beaches on the west side of the island. Perfect for hikers and those looking for an out-of-the-way spot to catch a sunset.