“Dr. Beach” recently selected Kauai’s Hanalei Beach as the best beach in the U.S.A. – but since most of us aren’t planning to hit the South Pacific this summer – here are your best beach options on the East Coast in Rhode Island.
A popular vacation and resort spot for families in and around the East Coast, Rhode Island offers great option for families and kids looking for family fun, surfing, boogie boarding, relaxation, boardwalks, patio nightlife, and more.
Best Rhode Island Beaches
Misquamicut State Beach – Westerly
Close to the Connecticut border, Misquamicut State Beach (riparks.com/misquamicut.htm) offers a half-mile of sandy, white beach and clean water with moderate surf. Families can enjoy the amusements nearby at Atlantic Beach Park (atlanticbeachpark.com), including kiddy rides, a carousel, waterslides, batting cages, bumper boats, go-karts, miniature golf, an arcade and seafood restaurants. Misquamicut State Beach offers parking for more than 2,000 cars. The beach has clean restroom facilities and picnic tables.
South County Trio: Narragansett Town Beach, Scarborough State Beach and Roger Wheeler State Beach – Narragansett
Narragansett, a coastal town of 20,000, faces the outer edge of Narragansett Bay and the open waters of the North Atlantic. It is a quintessential beach town that offers some of the best swimming on the East Coast. To the north, Narragansett Town Beach (narragansettri.com/parks/beach.htm) is frequented by families and surfers alike – in fact, the calm waves are perfect for surfing novices and lessons are available. The half-mile stretch offers two pavilions with rental cabanas, shower rooms, picnic areas, concession stands and a boardwalk. Its southern end abuts the famous Narragansett Towers. Three miles south, Scarborough State Beach (riparks.com/scarborough.htm) draws its own fan base, especially those who love to body surf or boogie board. A few miles further, the jetty-protected waters of Roger Wheeler State Beach (riparks.com/wheeler.htm) provide small surf, an ideal spot for kids. There is also a playground and pavilion perfect for a picnic. Beachgoers view the coming and going of the Block Island Ferry.
Ballard’s Beach and Fred Benson Town Beach – Block Island
Visitors can board a ferry to Block Island from New London, Conn.; Montauk, N.Y.; Point Judith (Narragansett, RI) and Fort Adams State Park (Newport, RI). Ballard’s Beach is an island hotspot and just a 5-minute walk from the dock. Open to anyone, Ballard’s Beach Club includes a boutique hotel, restaurant and full service bar. Live music fills the air as staff delivers frozen cocktails to beachgoers on the sand. Minutes north of the ferry dock, Fred Benson Town Beach offers a quarter-mile of shore very popular with families. Chairs, umbrellas, boogie boards and other amenities are available for daily rental. Known as “Crescent Beach” to locals, it combines with Scotch Beach and Mansion Beach to the north to provide a total of two miles of beachfront access. Ballard’s and Fred Benson are the only Block Island beaches with lifeguards.
Easton’s Beach (First Beach) – Newport
On the other side of Narragansett Bay is Newport, dubbed “America’s First Resort.” The days of the Vanderbilts, Astors and Dukes have come and gone, but the Gilded Age “summer cottages” (Newport Mansions) they left behind are a marvel to millions of visitors each year. And just a few blocks away is Easton’s Beach (eastonsbeach.com), Newport’s most popular swimming spot. The ¾-mile strip, located just below Newport’s famed Cliff Walk, offers a playground, skateboard park, carousel and even the Save The Bay’s Exploration Center, with 14 tanks and exhibits featuring more than 150 species of marine life.
Please let me know if you would like further information or images. For a full listing of Rhode Island beaches, visit www.visitrhodeisland.com/what-to-do/beaches.