Summer in South County offers the perfect balance of densely populated town centers full of amenities and unspoiled nature to explore – plus, you’re never more than a few miles from the water. Here are some of the best options for fresh air activity around Southern Rhode Island.
Kayaking & Watersports
Kayak Centre of Rhode Island
With locations in Wickford and Charlestown, the Kayak Centre o!ers gear for sale or rent, plus lessons, demos, guided tours and group events. 9 Phillips St., Wickford. 562 Charlestown Beach Rd., Charlestown 888-SEA-KAYAK,
Peter Pan Surfing Academy
Learn from the pros with daily lessons at Narragansett Town Beach. The academy also offers instruction in stand-uppaddleboarding. 401-575-0003.
Narrow River Kayaks
Explore the peaceful Narrow (aka Pettaquamscutt) River as it winds its way towards the bay with kayak or paddleboard gear from this shop right on the banks. 94B Middlebridge Rd., Narragansett. 401-789-0334.
Warm Winds Surf Shop
Warm Winds Surf Shop Stock up on gear or get lessons from the experienced staff at this shop, just a short walk from Narragansett Town Beach, or check the conditions with their surf report hotline (401-789-7020). 26 Kingstown Rd., Narragansett. 401-789-9040.
Hiking & nature Walks
Big river Management Area
Covering over 8,300 acres located mainly in West Greenwich, only some of Big River’s trails have been mapped and named, which makes it difficult to navigate, but there are a lot more trails waiting out there to be discovered. Off Rt. 3, West Greenwich. 401-789-0281.
Arcadia Management Area
As the state’s largest recreational area (14,000 acres), Arcadia Management area features plenty of trails, including the Ben Utter Trail, a 3.4-mile hike that ends at a small waterfall, and Breakheart Loop, a 6.3-mile trail that winds around a pond. 260 Arcadia Rd., Hope Valley. 401-539-2356.
Burlingame State Campground
This campground’s 3100 acres boast 755 campsites, 11 cabins and the Vin Gormley Trail, an 8.5-mile loop running around a pond. In addition, the audubon Society’s nearby Kimball Wildlife Sanctuary, a 29- acre property, has trails connecting to the campground. Rt. 1, Charlestown. 401-322- 7994.
John H. Chafee Nature Preserve
This 230-acre state-owned conservation area features undeveloped stretches of shoreline, a seasonal seal population and a 2.5-mile hike that ends at a beach looking toward the Jamestown Bridge. Boston Neck Rd., North Kingstown. 401-884-2010.
For the truly ambitious, this 77-mile trail starts at the atlantic Ocean in southernmost Westerly and runs the entire length of the state to the Massachusetts border, passing through eight state wildlife management areas along the way.
A ski area in the winter, Yawgoo Valley has plenty to offer in the summer too. Its water park has pools and water slides along with volleyball and horseshoes. 160 Yawgoo Valley Road, Exeter. 401-294-3802.
Operating out of Newport airport (which is actually in Middletown), Skydive Newport offers tandem skydives with experienced instructors – the only way to jump out of a plane in Rhode Island and live to tell the tale. 211 Airport Access Road, Middletown. 401-845-0393.
This family fun complex in Narragansett boasts a carousel, batting cages, mini-golf, an arcade, bumper boats and go-karts. When it’s time for a break, cool off with Burdick’s Ice Cream. 112 Point Judith Road, Narragansett. 401-789-0030.
This water park along Westerly’s Misquamicut Beach has six waterslides offering varying degrees of thrill, from the giant waterslides to the little dipper. Misquamicut Beach, Westerly. 401-322-0520.
Bird’s Eye View Helicopters
Take in the sights of Rhode Island from above – way above. Bird’s Eye View Helicopters offers sunset tours, lighthouse tours, views of the Newport Mansions and more. 211 Airport Access Road, Middletown. 401-843-8687.
This shop offers bikes and other gear for rentals, plus organized tours and rides through scenic Westerly and nearby Connecticut. 9 Branch St., Westerly. 401-348- 6317.
Offering a top selection of gear, as well as rentals, this centrally located shop also maintains a full calendar of group rides and classes. 922 Boston Neck Rd. 401-782-4444.
South County Bike Path
Officially named the William C. O’Neill Bike Path, it currently runs six miles (with plans for two more) from the Kingston train station, along the old railroad through Peace Dale and Wakefield, ending in Narragansett.
Quonset Bike Path
Traversing 2.5 miles through the old military base that is now the state’s largest industrial park, this off-road path runs from Rt. 1 to the Calf Pasture Point nature area, and allows for additional riding along the old roadway network.
Fishing, Charters & Boat Tours
Running four vessels out of the fishing hamlet of Galilee (Narragansett), Frances Fleet offers half-day, full-day, night and overnight extended trips, as well as whale watching. 33 State St., Narragansett. 401-783-4988.
Seven B’s V
Also operating out of Galilee, Seven B’s V offers daily (and year-round) deep sea fishing aboard an 80’ custom fishing yacht with a full galley serving breakfast and lunch. Dock RR, Port of Galilee, Narragansett. 401-789-9250.
Snug Harbor Marina
This full-service tackle shop does it all, from selling gear and bait, to booking charter boats, to running fishing competitions, including its July 6-7 Shark Tournament, in which $25,000 were awarded last year. 410 Gooseberry Rd., Wakefield. 401-783-7766.
This camping area and beach between Ninigret Pond and the Block Island Sound is also one of the most popular saltwater fishing spots in South County, with RV parking and a boat launch. Charlestown Beach Rd., Charlestown. 401-364-7000.
Royal Crustacean Charters
The 42’ sailboat Victoria offers guests a variety of options, including full-day cruises, a sunset dinner cruise, and a weekend sail to Block Island for two. Norton’s Marina, 3 Division St., East Greenwich. 401-742-3978.
Rhode island Bay Cruises
The 400-passenger Millennium takes guests on a 90-minute, 30-mile scenic cruise past 10 lighthouses, through Newport Harbor and under both the Jamestown and Newport Bridges. 1347 Roger Williams Way, North Kingstown (Quonset Point). 401-295-4040.