Shopping small has many perks. The friendly smile of a local business owner. The serendipitous run-in with an old friend in the check-out line. The sweet reminder that community is still out there and that you helping it thrive. On top of it all, Southern Rhode Island’s shop-small scene offers an additional, lesser-known benefit, depending on which route you take. In addition to over a hundred shops and restaurants, Rhode Island Route 1A (more appropriately “Scenic 1A”) brings you past beach and ocean views, scenic farm lookouts, nature trails, and quintessential small-town neighborhoods. Just 45 minutes of total drive time through five Washington County towns – Westerly, Charlestown, South Kingstown, Narragansett, and North Kingstown – it's the perfect route for a day of shopping, eating, and enjoying the views.
Follow our itinerary for one of many ways to enjoy a full day of shopping small. Better yet, use it as a guide to build your own unique adventure, supporting small businesses along the way!
Total Distance: 33.3 miles
Total Driving Time: 45 minutes
Starting Location: Beach Street, Westerly
Ending Location: W Main Street, East Greenwich
Park at 49 Beach Street, where you’ll have easy access to two delicious restaurants for a full breakfast (Amanda’s Pantry and 55 Beach Street Cafe), plus Junk and Java for a coffee, protein shake, or a health drink. From there, review your shopping list and plan your priorities for the day ahead. After breakfast, get your spending juices flowing at Anther, a warm and relaxing shop and floral studio filled with candles, jewelry, and all things bath and beauty. As you continue your journey through Westerly, you’ll end up on Watch Hill Road to find The Gray Goose Cookery – a welcoming spot for a meal – and its across-the-street neighbor, OMO Jewels & Gifts, stocked with jewelry, kitchen supplies, and a lovely marina view. Closing your Westerly tour on Shore Road, discover more food options, a winery, a few beautiful farm overlooks, and Audubon's 86-acre Lathrop Wildlife Refuge.
11-11:30am: Nature Walk
After a short ride on US 1, you’re now on Old Post Road in Charlestown with Ninigret Park at your very first right. This is the perfect place to jump out and stretch your legs. Walk over to Little “Nini” Pond, or explore part of the 900-acre National Wildlife Refuge, both great places to see birds and other wildlife. Afterwards, get back on Scenic 1A for a one-minute drive over to the Fantastic Umbrella Factory, an old farm homestead turned eclectic shopping destination; from clothing and jewelry to candy and games, there are many unique treasures to be found. Just don’t forget to leave time for Mill’s Creek Natural Market to peruse their extensive selection of locally made, earth-inspired gifts, many Rhode Island themed!
After another quick drive on US 1, you’ll pull onto Post Road, connecting you to Main Street in South Kingstown. By this time, there’s a good chance the hunger will have set in, making this the perfect destination for lunch. In addition to the popular Mews Tavern, Main Street offers a wide range of dining options, including the recently opened New Wave Kitchen, which serves eclectic comfort foods (buns, soups, and bowls) made with local ingredients. From there, you can easily walk to a dozen stores and boutiques, filled with clothes, jewelry, books, rugs, CBD, hand-blown glass, candy, and more. Once you’re ready to leave Main Street, plug “Quo Vadis Shopping Center” into your GPS for another hub of shops (records, cool gifts, cupcakes!). But be on the lookout as you drive, as you’ll find The Purple Cow gift store amongst a few others along the way.
2:45-3pm: Coffee & Snacks
Your first stop in this seaside town is bound to be Narragansett Surf and Skate on Narragansett Road – a fun place for Gansett Juice beanies, sweatshirts, and tees. The rest of your journey will be along Boston Neck Road, which will be ocean-side the entire ride, so be sure to roll the windows down. If you’re in need of a pick-me-up, finding a coffee late in the afternoon can be tricky, so try to make it to Fuel Coffee Bar before 3pm. Carolena’s Bakery, which offers a range of sweet and savory pastries (including gluten-free!), also closes at 3pm, so keep an eye on the time. Close out this leg of the journey at 1175 Boston Neck Road, where you’ll have access to Crosswynds Traders for goods with a beachy vibe, and SunStruck Gift Boutique for accessories and local-inspired gifts.
5:00 - 6:30 pm: Dinner
Your last stop will be North Kingstown’s Historic Wickford, which is packed with a range of family-owned and -operated shops. Expect to find pottery, children’s clothing, woven items, RI-made gifts, art, jewelry, housewares, and more. If you’re looking to sit down for a cozy dinner once you’re done, take a quick break to put your name in at Tavern by the Sea or Wickford on the Water. Or if you prefer a quicker bite, plan to grab a sandwich at Shayna’s Place before 5pm. As you close out your trip, don’t forget to take a stroll by the water, the perfect place to watch the boats float past in the harbor.
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