The Portable Family: Round the Sound tour

Bikes, ferries, and trains

Browsing the map, an idea sprang to mind as I traced the blue dotted ferry lines that webbed from point to point, island to island between Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York. We could get on our bikes in our own front yard and circle Long Island Sound via boats and trains, hopping between riding destinations.

We loaded up our camping gear and headed for the Point Judith ferry.

First stop: Block Island, where we’d be lucky enough to camp on a friend’s property before taking the boat to New London, CT, for a rail connection to NYC.

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Touring on a quiet island was pleasant, but certainly familiar. As we unloaded from the commuter rail under the city and ascended up into the heart of Grand Central Station, it was time for a whole new family biking experience.

There’s nothing like bike touring to experience a place. Sights, sounds, and smells surround you every minute of the voyage. No exits. No parking. Just stop and look. Stop and listen. Stop and eat.

Riding through the heart of Manhattan was surprisingly not terrifying. While it was out of the ordinary for us, bikes are nothing but ordinary in the city. As long as we followed the bike lanes and obeyed the rules of the road, traffic flowed around us even on the busiest of streets.

Amazingly, there are two National Parks in New York City that almost no one ever goes to. Both afford cheap, safe camping in spots you’d never guess existed.

From the sailing past the Statue of Liberty to riding over the Brooklyn Bridge, this was two days of some very memorable moments.

Contrast is what makes for the best tours. And contrast there was.

Departing the bustle of a station in Queens to emerge into the rural comfort of the Hamptons was almost culture shock. Quiet campgrounds, empty beaches, and more ferries completed the final chapter of our trip.

Our last day involved five ferry trips as we island hopped back to Rhode Island.

We had time for one last meal out on Block Island before making a late night arrival back in Narragansett.

An unforgettable week of adventuring in our own back yard. Another tour we’d recommend to anyone.

Trip planning resources

More questions about this trip or others? Stop by the shop or give us a call. We’ll be happy to talk about bike touring.