Jamestown Rhode Island is located on Conanicut Island in Narragansett Bay. It is connected to the mainland by bridges. On the east, the Newport Bridge (connecting to the town of Newport) is nearly two miles long; on the west, the Jamestown Verrazzano Bridge (connecting to the town of North Kingstown) is just over a mile long. From 1675 until 1940, when the first bridge on the west was built, the only transportation to the island was by ferry service. There continued to be ferry service between Jamestown and Newport until 1969, when the first Newport Bridge was built, effectively eliminating he ferries.
The island of Jamestown Rhode Island is quite small—only nine miles long and one mile wide. Nonetheless, there are a number of worthwhile attractions, including one of the state's historic lighthouses. You can even get in some golfing at the island's nine-hole public golf course. In spite of the popularity of Newport across the bay and the island's proximity to Boston (about a one-and-a-half hour's drive) and New York City (about three-and-a-half hours), the island and the compact little commercial area maintain the charm of a small village.
You might start your Jamestown Rhode Island sightseeing at Beavertail Lighthouse, built in 1898 and rebuilt after being destroyed by the 1933 hurricane. Construction to rebuild it revealed the foundations of the first light built in 1749. This is the third oldest lighthouse in North America, and it is located on the rugged point at the far southern tip of the island. It is surrounded by Beavertail State Park, a wonderful spot for scenic picnic and fishing.
You can see more island history at the restored Jamestown Windmill, dating to 1787. Get a look at how a working farm was operated in the late eighteenth century on the two-mile walking trail at Watson Farm. The island's commercial center is located in the several blocks concentrated around Narragansett Avenue, located less than a mile south of the Newport Bridge. Here are three marinas where you can book boats for sailing, fishing, and kayaking. This is also where most of the few Jamestown RI hotels are located.
The first Jamestown RI hotels reflected the boom of the Gilded Age, the post-Civil War era of rapid economic growth that Newport experienced. During this period, the formerly agricultural island became popular with the wealthy as a destination for summer vacations. Large resort hotels were built along the main harbor. Unfortunately, these have since been torn down. At the same time large mansions were built all over the island, particularly on the southern part of the island. Since these were owned primarily by wealthy Quakers who wanted to escape the racier and glitzier social swirl of Newport, they were not as large or opulent as places like The Breakers and Marble House.
Today, Jamestown RI hotels are lower key, with emphasis on the elegant experience of bed and breakfasts and small and mid-sized hotels. You can try the Lionel Champlin Guest House located at 20 Lincoln Street in the heart of town and less than a block from the harbor, shops, and restaurants. One of the largest properties is the Wyndham Bay Voyage Inn at 150 Conanicus Avenue (just south of the Newport Bridge). Nonetheless, it is still small and located in a lovely building with one-bedroom suites. Or you can enjoy camping at Fort Getty Camground on the northwest coast.