Block Island is an island in the state of Rhode Island located in Block Island Sound approximately 9 miles (14 km) south of the mainland and 14 miles (23 km) east of Montauk Point, Long Island, New York, named after Dutch explorer Adriaen Block. It is part of Washington County and shares the same area as the town of New Shoreham. The Nature Conservancy added Block Island to its list of "The Last Great Places" which consists of 12 sites in the western hemisphere, and about 40 percent of the island is set aside for conservation. It is part of the Outer Lands region, a coastal archipelago.
Block Island is a popular summer tourist destination and is known for its bicycling, hiking, sailing, fishing, and beaches. It is also the location of Block Island North Light on the northern tip of the island and Block Island Southeast Light on the southeastern side, both historic lighthouses. Much of the northwestern tip of the island is an undeveloped natural area and resting stop for birds along the Atlantic flyway.
Popular events include the annual Fourth of July Parade, celebration, and fireworks. The island's population can triple over the normal summer vacation crowd. As of the 2010 Census, the island's population is 1,051 living on a land area of 9.734 square miles (25.211 km2).
Block Island was formed by the same receding glaciers that formed the Outer Lands of Cape Cod, the Hamptons, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket during the end of the last ice age thousands of years ago.
The Niantic people called the island "Manisses" (meaning "Manitou's Little Island"), or just "Little Island". Archaeological sites indicate that these people lived largely by hunting deer, catching fish and shellfish, and growing corn, beans, and squash, presumably with the Three Sisters technique.