If you want to experience Block Island in a different light, plan to visit during the spring “shoulder season,” before all the tourists arrive. In May and June, the island is less crowded, but plenty of restaurants and inns are open for business, and it’s a lot easier to get around.
And if you want to witness the marine world coming to life after its winter hibernation, paddle a kayak through the Great Salt Pond and the smaller connecting ponds (Tims and Mill). These protected saltponds are ideal for exploring by paddlecraft, which you can rent at Pond & Beyond Kayak Tours and Rentals in New Harbor.
Owner-operator Corrie Heinz will set you up with everything you’ll need for a safe and enjoyable trip. A native Block Islander, she’s also a font of local knowledge about the local ecosystem and birdlife in and around the ponds. Paddlers can expect to see a variety of shorebirds, many recently arrived from southern wintering grounds. Egret, heron, oystercatcher, whimbrel, willet, plover, and sandpipers can be seen stalking and skittering along the water’s edge. Below the surface, crabs, eels, stripers, oysters, and a variety of baitfish are less visible, but no less busy. If you’re lucky, you might even spy a harbor seal, which are plentiful around the island.
Aside from the wildlife, you’ll get to see the Great Salt Pond before it bustles with summer boat traffic and people. It’s a peaceful, scenic time of year, but then again, there’s really no bad time to visit Block Island!
If you are interested in exploring more of Block’s natural side, be sure to check out these other short films and features!