A beautiful part of Shelter Island to visit is the Ram Island causeway. The nearly pristine coastal barrier, which links Big Ram and Little Ram Islands to the rest of Shelter Island, has been a scenic landmark destination for generations of residents and visitors.
The lonely stretch of roadway straddles Coecles Harbor on one side and Gardiner’s Bay on the other. There are beautiful views on both sides of the causeway, including Hay Beach, Bug Light Lighthouse, Gardiner’s Island, Gardiner’s Bay, Coecles Harbor and on a clear day, even Montauk.
The approximately two mile stretch of Ram Island Drive between Ram Island Road and Little Ram is dotted with long rocky beaches, multiple osprey nests, and tons of prickly pear cactus that grow along the roadside.
You can cycle the entire stretch or walk along the rocky beaches for much of the way, taking the road only when you climb over Little Ram Island. It’s also a great location for local bird watching. Go to www.shelter-island.org for a list of what species of birds can be found on Shelter Island. Bird watchers are encouraged to email that site to inform them of their sightings.
At the very end of the causeway to Big Ram Island is the 86-year old Ram’s Head Inn. The historic inn and restaurant is the perfect place to stop for refreshments, before heading back.