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Get to Know: South Kingstown

Known for: shopping, central location, historic charm, beaches, entertainment, arts and culture Good for: couples, families, beach-goers, fishermen, sports fansThough it’s rare that anyone …

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Known for: shopping, central location, historic charm, beaches, entertainment, arts and culture

Good for: couples, families, beach-goers, fishermen, sports fans

Though it’s rare that anyone will expressly tell you to go to South Kingstown, very often, someone will tell you to go to South Kingstown. This is because the municipality as a whole is not discussed nearly as often as the individual villages and hamlets it comprises. Wakefield, Peace Dale, Kingston and Matunuck – all of which fall within South Kingstown’s borders – are far more common reference points.

Wakefield is the town’s commercial center, home to basic amenities like
supermarkets, shopping centers and banks. However, its vibrant thoroughfares are also dotted by mom-and-pop stores, family restaurants and sports bars. Wakefield offers much by the way of arts, including galleries, handmade jewelry crafters and a new theatre. It has a historic district in the town center, which built up around the mills on the Saugatucket River. Like much of Rhode Island, Wakefield was once home to a booming textile industry.

Peace Dale is South Kingstown’s more quaint side. Its historic district, the village’s core, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There are charming little shops and boutiques, and plenty of beautiful historic architecture, including the Hazard Memorial Peace Dale Public Library, built in 1890.

Matunuck is a classic New England beach scene, home to several beaches, as well as the acclaimed Theatre By the Sea and two of Rhode Island’s favorite beach bars, Tara’s Tipperary Tavern and the Ocean Mist. Its main drag, Matunuck Beach Road, faces the Block Island Sound, reflecting the village’s name, a Native American word for “look out.”

Kingston and West Kingston are best known for being the home of the University of Rhode Island, which features Division I NCAA athletics (the URI Rams men’s basketball team being the best-known), performing arts and the URI Master Gardeners.

Snug Harbor is an appropriately named fishing hamlet. Sport fishermen are likely to find all they need here, from supplies to charters to tournaments.