Rusnė was first mentioned in historical sources in 14th century. In 1419 the first church was built in Rusnė, and in 1553 a Lithuanian parish school was established. In 1863 the Rusnė synagogue opened.
In 1946 Rusnė received municipal rights, and in 1967 the whole Island of Rusnė was given this status.
Some parts of the town of Rusnė near Lake Dumblė are located below the sea level and are the lowest in Lithuania.
Rusnė is on the Russian border, which is marked by the Skirvytė river.
Rusnė town and Rusnė island is very popular place for angling, as Nemunas delta is rich in various kinds of fish, and tourism infrastructure is built up in recent years. It is also a popular place for birdwatching.