Known for: shopping, arts and culture, connivence
Good for: beach-goers, couples, families, fishermen
People don’t often consider South Kingstown a destination unto itself, but that’s because the sprawling town encompasses so much: namely, the villages of Wakefield, Peace Dale, Kingston and Matunuck.
One of South County’s hubs, Wakefield has necessary vacation amenities like grocery stores, banks, pharmacies and big box stores in the Wakefield Mall. Its Main Street, though, is a cultural center worth spending some time exploring.
Art And Culture
Watch artist Eben Horton blow one-of-a-kind glass art at The Glass Station, or learn to do it yourself at a class. 318 Main St. 401-788-2500.
The Hera Gallery has been around for decades, but focuses on fresh, contemporary, challenging art exhibits. 10 High St. 401-789-1488.
The Contemporary Theater Company stages a rotating roster of engaging, entertaining plays and also offers daytime children’s programming. 327 Main St. 401-218-0282.
Waves of Creation sells all handmade jewelry, most of which is made in Rhode Island and New England. 271 Main St. 401-284-3844.
Basketcase (343 Main St. 401-284-1551) and Verdigris (355 Main St. 401-783-3700) offer unique finds for the home, including Basketcase’s unparalleled selection of high-end tableware and Verdigris’ antique furniture gallery.
A district on the National Register of Historic Places, Peace Dale has beautiful open spaces and a handful of stores and restaurants, including the gourmet bakery Sweet Cakes. 1227 Kingstown Rd. 401-789-5420.
A classic New England beach scene, Matunuck is home to several beaches and oceanfront watering holes where you can go directly from the sand, namely the Ocean Mist. 895 Matunuck Beach Rd. 401-782-3740.
Matunuck Oyster Bar serves up delicious, locally-sourced seafood inside or on their expansive outdoor patio and bar. The main attraction, though, are the Matunuck Oys- ters, raised just outside the restaurant at its own farm. 629 Succotash Rd. 401-783-4202.
Rhode Island’s summerstock happens at Theatre by the Sea, a historic barn-cum-theatre that has seen the likes of Marlon Brando and Mae West cross its stage. See big-ticket musicals all summer long. 364 Cards Pond Rd. 401-782-8587.
Home to an Amtrak station and historic destinations like the Fayerweather Craft Guild, Kingston is best known as the home to the University of Rhode Island. Its major concerts at the Ryan Center, Division 1 NCAA athletics (namely the men’s basketball Rhody Rams), Master Gardeners program and performing arts all regularly draw crowds.
Also in South Kingstown
South County Commons is a major shopping destination that also has a movie theatre, gym, spa and several restaurants like Shogun for hibachi and sushi and Trattoria Romana for impeccable Italian.
South County’s only distillery, Sons of Liberty has made a big splash with its Uprising American Whiskey. Visit the distillery to taste their new releases (like Cucumber Mint Vodka) or to barrel-age your own Manhattans and take them home with you. 1425 Kingstown Rd. 401-284-4006.