Rhode Island Beaches

This tiny state, with the nickname of "The Ocean State," has only 1,545 square miles of land area, but more than 400 miles of coastline, one of the highest proportions of land to coast in the US. This means that water sports, rock and shore fishing, and Rhode Island beaches are major state attractions. You'll find scores of beaches in Rhode Island all along the coast, in the sheltered waters of Narragansett Bay, along the Blackstone River Valley that spreads northwest from Pawtucket, and in inland state parks elsewhere in the state. Most of the beaches in Rhode Island are open to the public, some for a nominal entry fee.

Narragansett Bay, New England's largest river estuary, undoubtedly has the most sheltered Rhode Island beaches because of its breakwater barrier protection. There are numerous beaches in this sheltered bay, including on its more than thirty islands. They are excellent for novice swimmers and families with children. Narragansett Beach lies at the southern end of the bay, and benefits both from its location on the bay as well as its location on the scenic coastal Route 1A. The lovely mansions of Newport are just a short boat ride away, and just down the road is the historic nineteenth-century octagonal Point Judith Lighthouse that played such an important role in the state's maritime history. Narragansett Beach also features a more varied and fluctuating surf, unlike the beaches directly facing the ocean. This is a half-mile long public beach with two full-service pavilions, lifeguards, dining concessions, restrooms and changing rooms, and rental cabanas. Narragansett Beach also has picnic areas and a beach access boardwalk. Surfing lessons are available and a number of events are held here, including musical concerts, sand sculpting contests, and a kite festival.

Along the coast, on the western part of the state, are miles and miles of Rhode Island beaches that continue on to the Connecticut coastline. Charlestown Beach and Westerly Beach are two of these. There are numerous vacation rentals available along this stretch of coastline, as well as golfing resorts.

Charlestown Beach is about halfway between Narragansett and Misquamicut Beach, which is near the Connecticut border. Charlestown Beach actually consists of two adjacent stretches of sand—the town beach, which is actually on Ninigret Pond, and Charlestown Breachway State Beach and Campground, located on the ocean. Between the two, you have long stretches of fine white sand, a boat ramp for fishing, and 75 camping sites. You're also near some of the state's wildlife refuges, with wonderful marine bird life including the magnificent fish-eating osprey.

The town of Westerly is so named because of its location on the state's western border with Connecticut. Its Westerly Beach is a public town beach encompassing three acres, and with 300 feet of beach frontage. It adjoins the seven-mile long Misquamicut Beach, and is in close proximity to a number of local golfing resorts and several coastal fishing ponds. Westerly Beach is also within two miles of the only one of the airports in the state with flights to nearby Block Island.

Virtually no state or town beaches in Rhode Island allow pets. If you're bringing a pet on your Rhode Island vacations and want it to accompany you to the beach, you will need to find pet friendly lodging with access to a private beach.

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