Traveling in 2021? Please check with each state/destination for its current COVID-19 guidelines, as these are constantly changing and the most accurate, up-to-date information may not be reflected here.
Yes, it’s the smallest state in the USA, but you’ll find nowhere better than the Ocean State for the variety of spectacular beaches on offer. With a coastline of 40 miles and a shoreline of 400 miles, there is something here for everyone – relaxing, water sports, swimming, sunsets, nature – the list is endless! There’s a very good reason why Taylor Swift has her holiday home here!
With pristine sand and surrounded by charming beach towns, it’s no wonder the Rhode Island beaches are among the best in New England! I’ve put together a list of my 10 best beaches in Rhode Island so you can experience them all – enjoy!
Watch Hill Beach & Napatree Point, Westerly, RI
Address: 151 Bay St, Westerly
Extremely bold statement but in my opinion, this is the best place for a beautiful Rhode Island sunset. I may be slightly biased (as it is my local beach!), but the colors are breath-taking.
In the summer, Watch Hill is one of the most popular beaches in the state. It’s located in the southern part of Rhode Island in the upscale neighbourhood of Watch Hill. The Watch Hill lighthouse is a short walk away and you can follow the coastline round to Napatree Point for a slightly longer walk along the narrow peninsula where you can spot a range of wildlife too!
This beach is particularly known for its antique ‘Flying Horse Carousel’ which was built in 1867 and children can still ride today. There are numerous events held throughout the summer and there are public restrooms available. Watch Hill is lined with quaint shops and options for both upscale and casual dining. The impressive Ocean House Hotel & Resort is also situated here where their outdoor terrace is always open to visitors. Parking can be very competitive here, so make sure you plan ahead!
East Beach, Westerly, RI
Address: East Avenue, Westerly
If you’re interested in a bit of celebrity spotting, then this might be the beach for you! Walking up the hill on Larkin Road from the ‘Flying Horse Carousel’ you will naturally veer to the left at the top of the hill onto the street that becomes Bluff Avenue. On your right you’ll eventually see a narrow pathway which leads down to East Beach.
This is a great place to come to escape the crowds of Watch Hill Beach and it’s free to visit! There is paid parking nearby on Larkin Street. Make sure you don’t park near the private houses nearby as you’ll get a ticket! Ocean House is just minutes away if you fancy post beach food and drinks and if you’re really lucky, this beach is right next to Taylor Swift’s summer home, so you might even catch a glimpse of her and her pals! I love this beach in both summer and winter.
Misquamicut Beach, Westerly, RI
Address: 257 Atlantic Avenue, Westerly
For a livelier and action packed beach day, Misquamicut is calling your name! It’s a family friendly beach with so much to do and see. You can rent jet skis, paddle boats and even have surfing lessons. There is a carousel, water slides at ‘Water Wizz’ and as the evening draws in, there are beach concerts that take place, plus karaoke, fun bars, firework displays, and a drive-in movie theatre.
The water here is calm and clean and there are public restrooms available. There is a fee to visit as well. It can get very busy here so it’s advisable to get here early to save yourself a spot!
Easton’s Beach, Newport, RI
Address: 175 Memorial Blvd, Newport
Locally known as ‘First Beach’, this is Newport’s largest beach ideal for families who love soft sand and gentle waves. If you fancy a stroll, there is a boardwalk, as well as a playground, 1950s carousel and the ‘Save The Bay Exploration Center & Aquarium’. There are seasonal facilities such as restrooms, picnic areas and showers and whilst I’ve not been yet, I’ve heard some fantastic things about the lobster rolls at Easton’s Beach Snack Shop! It can become crowded here as it’s popular for Newport residents!
Goosewing Beach, Little Compton, RI
Address: S Shore Road, Little Compton
Considered to be quite a hidden gem in Rhode Island due to not many people being familiar with it, this beach is a great place to visit to escape crazy crowds and have a more peaceful, relaxing day. Parking is at South Shore beach followed by a short walk to Goosewing. The 75 acre preserve is protected under the ‘Nature Conservancy’ and is kept in great condition with some people opting for fishing, clamming and bird watching as an alternative to sunbathing and swimming – whatever floats your boat!
East Matunuck State Beach, South Kingstown, RI
Address: 50 Succotash Road, South Kingstown
Fantastic place for surfers, both beginners and the more advanced, and very popular for boogie boarding and windsurfers too! My partner windsurfs and this was the first place he scoped out when he arrived in Rhode Island!! There’s also plenty of room to relax and unwind if water sports aren’t your thing too! There is limited parking available but you’ll find this beach doesn’t get too overcrowded. After a day at the beach, why not head to the famous Matunuck Oyster Bar for some exquisite seafood or head for more casual dining at nearby Ocean Mist or Jim’s Dock.
East Beach, Charlestown, RI
Address: E Beach Road, Charlestown
There is only one way in and out to access this secluded beach which makes it one of the quieter beaches in Rhode Island. It stretches three miles altogether and has lifeguards during the summer months. There is also a campsite available for those wanting to extend their beach trip for a number of days! Parking is limited but you can find additional options at Blue Shutters Town Beach.
Popular activities here include swimming, fishing, bird watching and paddle boarding. The Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge is here too where you will find over 250 species of birds – get your binoculars out!
Town Beach, Narragansett, RI
Address: 39 Boston Neck Road, Narragansett
Another surfer’s paradise! Narragansett Town Beach hosts the annual Mid-Winter Surfer Championships every February. Surfboards are available to rent and you can even take lessons too. The beach has a surfing-only designated area as well so everyone can enjoy the beach. This is your opportunity to say you learnt how to surf in the Ocean State! Dubbed as one of the best beaches in New England, there is so much going on here! There is plenty of room for sunbathing, swimming and to gaze at those fantastic views.
The beach is easily accessible from the town meaning you can grab lunch and drinks mid-day from the likes of Monahan’s Clam Shack or the more upscale Coast Guard House with its ever so popular roof deck! There are both public restrooms and changing facilities available too. The beach traffic can be heavy and parking spots can get snapped up quickly so if you have a bike, an alternative would be to bike the South County Bike Path to Narragansett (approx. 8 miles).
Sachuest Beach, Middletown, RI
Address: 315 Sachuest Point Road, Middletown
Sometimes referred to as ‘Second Beach’, Sachuest is the perfect place to bring the family for a beach day. This is a good alternative to Newport’s busier Easton Beach too. After exploring the quaint town of Newport, relax and unwind here in Middletown. Offering clear water and powdery sand, it’s no wonder people love returning here.
The nearby gothic chapel of St George’s School attracts many photographers and Surfers End at the northern part of the beach draws in surfers from all parts of Rhode Island. If you fancy a break from swimming and sunbathing, the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge is close by for a dreamy sunset walk to finish a wonderful day.
Address: New Shoreham
Last but not least – Block Island! If you’ve not got this on your list, it needs adding! Each summer we’ve hopped on the ferry from New London (CT) or Point Judith (RI), hired bikes, and cycled around the entire island, beach hopping as we go! I look forward to this trip every year, it’s one of the highlights of the summer!
I recommend hitting up the following ones: Crescent Beach, Mohegan Bluffs, Charlestown Beach, Fred Benson Town Beach and Ballard’s Beach – you’ll love them all! We often break the day up with a few drink stops at the likes of ‘Dead Eye Dicks’ or ‘The Oar’, (highly recommend their famous Mudslide drink!).
You might also like:
- 5 Best Places to Visit in Rhode Island
- 10 of the Best Hikes in Rhode Island
- 10 Must-See Lakes In Rhode Island
Hello! I’m Hannah and I currently live in the smallest state in the US – Rhode Island! I moved here in June 2019 with work from the North West of England near the Lake District and I’ve absolutely loved exploring this beautiful country so far, especially New England! I hope you enjoy my articles and they help inspire you to #travelmoore! Please check out my travel blog, Travel Moore, and Instagram to follow my adventures!