July 18, 2012 / Issue #15

The Beaches of Block Island Sound

We hope that you are enjoying your summer. This week, we’d like to remind you about summertime in Rhode Island. It’s the state that gave us Narragansett Beer – which somehow manages to taste even better on a hot summer day. It’s home to many wonderful clam shacks worth a pit stop on your weekend roadtrip. And along Block Island Sound, it’s home to a handful of sandy beaches. We’ve highlighted a few of these that you might want to consider adding to your summer itinerary. They’re all located relatively near one another, so pack the car, head south, and figure out your final destination as you get closer.

Watch Hill Beach in Westerly, RI

Photo Credit: Ken Bastura

Photo Credit: Ken Bastura










Less than 2 miles from Misquamicut in Rhode Island’s westernmost town of Westerly is the village of Westerly. Far less crowded and ten times less ridiculous than Misquamicut, the people that go to Watch Hill Beach are mostly people who have summer Victorian homes in the neighborhood and as you might expect, parking at the beach is resident only so you’ll have to find a private lot or score a street spot. If you have little kids with you, definitely take them on the Flying Horse Carousel and consider the little beach right next to it. While the entry fee of $8 per adult and $2 per child may seem steep, this it the beach where your little ones will be happiest due to the lack of waves and the plentiful climbing rocks. Plus, there’s a lifeguard on duty to give you additional peace of mind.

However, if you are baby or toddler free, don’t stop here. If nothing else, walk up the hill from the carousel and down the path for some true coastside beauty. Also consider the coastal walk out to Napatree Point which allows you to truly get away from it all. A walk through the dunes in this area provides opportunities for bird watching and daydreaming of life in a seaside mansion.

Google Map
Parking Fees: Around $20

Misquamicut State Beach, Block Island, RI

Photo Credit: Fjow

Photo Credit: Fjow

Misquamicut has conveniences, that’s for sure. If you like beach scenes where you can go bar hopping, play mini golf or practice your home run swing in a batting cage, head to Misquamicut. If you have teenagers, they’ll probably want to go here for most of those types of distractions. It can be a bit of a boozy party scene especially after dark. If you do go, go early as it definitely gets crowded. In fact, sometimes Misquamicut gets so crowded that authorities stop letting people onto the beach.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, we recommend you steer clear of Misquamicut. Instead head over to nearby Watch Hill Beach.

Google Map
Parking: If you don’t live in Rhode Island, it will cost you $28 on the weekend
Food options: Plenty to choose from.  If you like deep fried stuff, you’re all set
Don’t forget to bring: Quarters if you want to play Ms. Pac-Man
What you really shouldn’t forget to bring: Tolerance for crowds

East Beach, Block Island, RI

Photo Credit: Jeff Robbins

Photo Credit: Jeff Robbins

If space is what you’re after, East Beach in Charlestown, Rhode Island is your best bet. The crowds are kept at manageable levels due to small capacity limits in the beach parking lot. The downside of this approach is that the lot typically fills up around 9 am. So head out early. If you do, you’ll be rewarded with three miles of sandy fun. Head about a half mile from the lot to find your spot, stake your claim of solitude for the day, and enjoy.

While there is a lifeguard on duty during the summer months, the guarded area is only about 100 yards. So beware of rip currents. The waves can be intense and boogie boarders will be pretty happy. But kids under 5, not so much.

Google Map 
Entrance/parking fee: $14
Food and refreshments: None, bring your own
Changing rooms: none
Skimboarding: Prohibited. Thankfully
Don’t forget: Get there early as that lot will fill up on sunny day.