Think you’re a true Rhode Island beach bum? Quick quiz: the state has more than 100 public and private beaches – how many have you visited? How many can you even name? Thought so. This summer, go beyond the beaches you know and explore the many under-appreciated miles of coastline that make this the Ocean State. Here are some faves:
Primarily billed as a fishing area, Narragansett’s Camp Cronin is also popular with bird watchers and boasts breathtaking views of Block Island Sound. Ocean Road, Narragansett. No admission or parking fee.
Westerly’s Sandy Point was once an extension of Napatree Point (which also has a beach that could be considered “secret”), but became an “island” in the Hurricane of ’38. It’s mostly a nature preserve but does offer a public beach. Getting there requires a boat and a permit from Stonington, CT, which claims ownership of five of the island’s 35 acres.
North Kingstown’s Calf Pasture Point Beach is one of the most pristine and deserted in the state. Nestled in the Quonset area, it’s accessible from the Davisville Bike Path and is more popular with wildlife than people. Off the Davisville Bike Path, North Kingstown. No admission or parking fee.
Though it’s mostly home to a private club, Quonochontaug (or “Quonnie”) Beach has a small public parking lot, so get there early. It’s located on a narrow stretch between the salt pond of the same name and the Block Island Sound. It’s remote, but worth the effort. Sand Trail, Charlestown. No admission or parking fee.
Cast off as unwanted by the Newport elites at the private Bailey’s Beach, ”Reject’s Beach” isn’t even an official beach. It’s a small strip of beachfront that’s separated from its ritzy neighbor by a fence and a rope that goes out into the water. There’s no parking, and it’s generally only accessible by foot or bike, but lesser nobility are welcome. Off the Cliff Walk. No admission or parking fee.
Jamestown’s Mackerel Cove Town Beach is located on the “beaver tail” that gives Beavertail State Park its name. Though light on amenities, it’s a relatively tranquil spot popular with families. Beavertail Road, Jamestown. Pay to park, but no admission.
Occupying the same peninsula at the southeastern end of Aquidneck Island as Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge, Middletown’s Third Beach (aka Navy Beach) is small and relatively quiet, with shallow water and minimal waves. Pets welcome after 5pm. Third Beach Road, Middletown. Pay to park, but no admission.
Teddy’s Beach in Portsmouth is one of the few that’s pet friendly, which for some will make up for the lack of amenities. Find it near the northern tip of Aquidneck Island, directly across the water from Tiverton’s Grinnell’s Beach, itself worthy of under appreciated status. Park Avenue, Portsmouth. No admission or parking fee.
Perched out at the end of one of the two extensions of land that enclose Block Island’s Great Salt Pond, Charleston Beach is not easy to get to and has no amenities, but it offers respite from the crowds and peaceful views of the boats entering New Harbor. Bring your own supplies and enjoy one of Rhode Island’s – nay, the world’s – last great unspoiled places. Off Champlin Road, Block Island. No admission or parking fee.
Little Compton’s Goosewing Beach is a narrow spit of land between open ocean and a coastal pond that’s adjacent to South Shore Beach. It’s also a historic landmark and Nature Conservancy preserve for rare birds. Off South Shore Road, Little Compton. Pay to park at South Shore Beach,
but no admission.
Tiverton’s Fogland Beach occupies a small peninsula that juts out into the Sakonnet River, creating a small cove on its north side that’s great for nature lovers or families with children. It also has a nature conservation area. 3 Rod Way off Fogland Road. Pay to park, but no admission.
Warren Town Beach offers shallow water that’s good for kids (as well as a playground) and is right next to Burr’s Hill Park, providing picnicking and recreational opportunities. Off Water Street, Warren. No admission or parking fee.
Almost more of a park than a beach, Union Street Beach is just off the main drag in Downtown Bristol. There’s a grassy plot with benches and picnic tables leading down to a small area for swimming and sunbathing. Bring a cooler and watch the boats go by. Union Street, Bristol. No admission or parking fee.