LAW AND ORDER PARTY
SUMMER GUIDE 2017
HOW THIS GUIDE WORKS Here’s a list of 101 things to do this summer, along with a list of roughly 70 spots to check out the water. This year there’s also a bar and restaurant guide for the state’s 20 coastal cities and towns. Events (sorted by date) make up the first section of the guide, and the second half is a list of beaches, parks, nature preserves, and other places to swim, picnic, surf, fish, eat, drink, and so on. The guide also features vintage postcards from the digital collections of Providence Public Library (provlibdigital.org)
WHAT’S WITH THE COLOR CODING?
Events are roughly divided into categories. Arts festivals are red, cultural festivals are olive, nature events are dark green, plays and movies are purple, and so on. You can figure it out pretty easily, or not bother. If something falls into more than one category I just picked one.
WHAT’S GOING ON WITH THE TICKET PRICING?
All prices listed are for adults on the day of the event unless otherwise noted. If there’s no price listed then it’s free, just like with the weekly Law And Order Party newsletters. For spatial reasons, and to minimize any chance of error, discounted ticket prices weren’t included. Sometimes tickets are cheaper if you get them ahead of time, or if you’re a child, or if you’re a member of whatever organization is throwing the event. It can’t hurt to ask.
LAW AND ORDER PARTY
SUMMER GUIDE 2017 101 Events // 70 Beaches
Matthew Lawrence www.lawandorder.party Instagram: @lawandorderparty Twitter: @lawandorderRI
May 22 - May 29
It’s too hard to resist heat-related puns this Memorial Day weekend, especially with R&B crooner Keith Sweat getting hot and steamy at Twin River. There’s lots to do Saturday and Sunday: a bird watch, an herb festival, a big loud show with a dozen bands, and a performance in Goddard Park by the Warwick Symphony Orchestra. This weekend also marks the annual opening of Spring Lake, a freshwater beach where you can also play century-old arcade games and wooden pinball machines. Monday’s pretty quiet, but the Gaspee Arts and Crafts Festival is happening in Pawtuxet Village.
5/26: Keith Sweat (8pm) Twin River Event Center – 100 Twin River Road, Lincoln $35-$75 5/27: Birding on the Blackstone (8am-10am) River Bend Farm – 287 Oak Street, Uxbridge 5/27: 23rd Annual Garden & Herb Festival (10am-4pm) Tiverton Four Corners Arts Center 3852 Main Road, Tiverton 5/27-5/29: Gaspee Arts and Crafts Festival (10am-5pm) Narragansett Parkway, Warwick 5/27: Spring Lake Arcade Opens (10am-6pm) Spring Lake Beach – 50 Old Hillside Drive, Burrillville 5/27: Parking Lot Mega Show (2pm-11pm) The Scurvy Dog – 1718 Westminster Street, Providence 5/28: Warwick Symphony Orchestra (2pm) Goddard Park Carousel – 1095 Ives Road, Warwick $10
This weekend’s big event is PVDFest. Also in the city: Providence Preservation Society’s Festival of Historic Houses, which this year focuses along tony Princeton Avenue in the city’s Elmwood neighborhood. If you’re headed south, there’s an open studio tour in North Kingstown and a wine festival over the border in North Stonington. The two-week Music on the Hill festival kicks off this week and includes a lawn performance by the Narragansett Symphony Orchestra. (It’s BYOBlanket.) Finally, Newport’s Rough Point opens up Wednesday for a sketching session. Bring a notebook and draw some of the mansion’s crazy gothic tapestries. 5/31: Beyond the Tour: Nature Tamed (5-7pm) Rough Point – 680 Bellevue Avenue, Newport $10 6/1-6/4: PVDFest Visit pvdfest.org for full schedule 6/3: Festival of Historic Houses (10am-4pm) Knight Memorial Library (check-in) 275 Elmwood Avenue, Providence $35-$55 6/4: Music on the Hill presents Narragansett Brass Quintet (4pm) Clouds Hill Victorian House Museum 4157 Post Road, Warwick $25 6/3-6/4: Spring Wine Festival (12-6pm) Jonathan Edwards Winery 74 Chester Maine Road, North Stonington $25-$30 6/3: Shady Lea Open Studio Tour (1-5pm) The Mill at Shady Lea – 215 Shady Lea Road, North Kingstown
Bettye Lavette plays the FirstWorks Stage at PVDFest // photo: Marina Chavez
May 30 - June 4
May 31 - June 5
June 5 - June 11 Street Science star Kevin Delaney appears at the Science Fairthemed fundraiser for youth theater group Manton Avenue Project. Later in the week, you can choose between the musket-heavy Gaspee Days parade; the kilt-wearing anvil flingers at the Scottish Highland Festival; and the SVF Foundation Visitors Day, where rare livestock breeds are on display in a replica Swiss village. Also worth checking out: strawberry festivals in Saunderstown and Exeter. In Bristol, meanwhile, Anglophiles line up antique Jags, Rollses, and Aston Martins at the annual British Motorcar Festival.
Strawberry Jam at Casey Farm
(Mad) Science Fair Bash (6-9pm) Pell Chafee Performance Center 87 Empire Street, Providence $40-$70 6/10: Strawberry Jam (8:30am-12:30pm) Casey Farm â€“ 2325 Boston Neck Road, Saunderstown 6/10: SVF Foundation Visitors Day (9am-3pm) Park at Fort Adams State Park, Newport 6/10: RI Scottish Highland Festival (9am-5pm) Washington County Fairgrounds 78 Richmond Townhouse Road, Richmond $20 6/10: Strawberry Thanksgiving (10am-2pm) Tomaquag Museum - 390 Summit Road, Exeter $6 6/10: Gaspee Days Parade (10am) Pawtuxet Village, Cranston/Warwick 6/11-6/12: British Motorcar Festival (9am-5pm Sat; 9am-3pm Sun) Colt State Park â€“ Route 114, Bristol $10-$15
June 12 - June 18
6/13-6/18: Block Island Music Festival (5pm-1am) Captain Nick’s Rock n Roll Bar 34 Ocean Avenue, New Shoreham 6/15: Taste of the Bay (7-9pm) Save The Bay Center – 100 Save The Bay Drive, Providence $45 6/16: Dance Party: Luminous (7-11pm) RISD Museum – 20 North Main Street, Providence $60-$100 6/16: Big Freedia (9pm-2am) Dark Lady / Alley Cat – 17 Snow Street, Providence 6/17: Pridefest (12pm-12am) South Water Street, Providence 6/17: Pierre Cardin Fashion Runway Show (4:30pm) The Breakers 44 Ochre Point Avenue, Newport $250-$500 6/18: Oh My Goddard! Olympic & Sprint Triathlons (6:30am) Goddard State Park – 1095 Ives Road, Warwick $105-$190
Pierre Cardin Runway Fashion Show at The Breakers
If you’re on Block Island, you’ll have no trouble finding the town’s week-long Music Festival. The RISD Museum is throwing its second annual dance party; go pre-party before wandering downtown to hear Big Freedia on Snow Street. Or, if you’re in Newport, you can see fashion designer Pierre Cardin; the 94-year old icon will be in attendance for a retrospective runway show at The Breakers. Foodies can go to Save the Bay’s annual Taste of the Bay fundraiser, while more athletic types can go to Goddard Park for the cleverly titled Oh My Goddard! triathlon.
June 19 - June 25
Dyer Memorial, Roger Williams Park, postcard circa 1901
The Roger Williams Park Conservancy is having talks all month about different aspects of the park. Thursday it’s all about the waterways in the park. Saturday the Chorus of Westerly performs in Wilcox Park, while two different events are happening in the gardens of Bristol and Warren. Meanwhile in Newport there’s a pirate-themed booze cruise sponsored by local rum manufacturer Thomas Tew. The German Club in Pawtucket is throwing a summer festival headlined by the Tubafrau Hofbräu Band, while Stages of Freedom throw a 1920s rent party on the East Side. 6/22: Waterways and Landscape in Roger Williams Park (5:30pm) Dalrymple Boathouse – Roger Williams Park, Providence 6/24: The Chorus of Westerly 2017 Summer Pops (8-10pm) Wilcox Park – 71 High Street, Westerly 6/24: Art in the Garden (10am-4pm) Bristol Art Museum – 10 Wardwell Street, Bristol $30 6/24: 1st Annual Sommerfest! (1-11pm) German American Cultural Society 78 Carter Avenue, Pawtucket $10 6/24: Behind Closed Doors: House, Garden, & Studio Tour (10am-4pm) United Methodist Church – 27 Church Street, Warren $25 6/24: Third Annual Newport Pirate Invasion (10am-8pm) Schooner Aurora – Goat Island, Newport $25-$49 6/25: Stages of Freedom’s Harlem Rent Party (4-6pm) Bishop Mansion – 72 Waterman Street, Providence $55
Two good movie options this week: the Jane Pickens is throwing a five-year anniversary event for Moonrise Kingdom, while Movies on the Block continues its weekly experiment in patriotism with an outdoor screening of Dr. Strangelove. Meanwhile, Central Falls shuts down the Roosevelt Avenue Bridge for the first of four monthly outdoor salsa dance parties. There’s an art opening at the Little Compton Historical Society, while the Jamestown Arts Center and the Newport Art Museum both throw their big summer shindigs.
6/28: Moonrise Kingdom 5th Anniversary Party (8pm) Jane Pickens Theater – 49 Touro Street, Newport $10 6/29: Dr. Strangelove: or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (8:24pm) Grant’s Block – 260 Westminster Street, Providence 6/30: Little Compton’s 20th Century Artists (6-8pm) Little Compton Historical Society 548 West Main Road, Little Compton 6/30: 7th Annual Summer Soirée (7-10pm) Jamestown Arts Center – 18 Valley Street, Jamestown $150-$225 6/30: Central Falls Salsa Night (8-11pm) Roosevelt Avenue Bridge 7/1: Artists’ Ball (6pm) Newport Art Museum – 76 Bellevue Avenue, Newport $150-$1000
Dr. Strangelove: or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb
June 26 - July 2
Ju July 3 - July 9
Revival Fest // photo: James Lastowski
The 4th of July Parade in Bristol is the country’s oldest, but it’s not the only one. Southern New England has a history of Ancients and Horribles parades, where people make floats and costumes commenting on contemporary politics. That sounds terrifying, frankly. If parades aren’t your thing, you can look at baby chickens in Narragansett or hear roughly two dozen bands at Revival Fest. Later in the week, watch Jaws on the beach or celebrate Cape Verdean Independence Day in the park. You can also catch The Music Man, the most promising of this summer’s four offerings at Theatre-By-the-Sea.
6/21-7/15: The Music Man Theatre-By-the-Sea - 364 Cards Pond Road, Wakefield $49-$72 7/4: Rhode Island Red Chick Hatch (10am-2pm) South County Museum - Strathmore Street, Narragansett $2 7/4: Arnold Mills Parade and Road Race (11am) 50 Arnold Mills Road, Cumberland 7/4: Revival Fest (1pm-2am) Dusk – 301 Harris Avenue, Providence 7/6: Jaws (9pm) Wuskenau Town Beach – 316 Atlantic Avenue, Westerly $12 per carload 7/10: Cape Verdean Independence Day Festival(11am-7pm) India Point Park, Providence $3
July 10 - July 16
7/14: Sunrise Concert (5:24am) Chinese Tea House at Marble House 596 Bellevue Avenue, Newport $30 7/15: Rhode Island Lacrosse Classic (8am-5pm) The Glen – 715 East Main Road, Portsmouth 7/15: Run with the Beavers (9am) Casimir Pulaski State Park – 151 Pulaski Road, Chepachet $15-$20 7/15: Westerly Library & Wilcox Park 125th Anniversary Gala (6-10pm) Wilcox Park – 44 Broad Street, Westerly $150 7/15-7/16: Southeast Asian Water Festival (9am-8pm) Cold Spring Park, Woonsocket 7/16: Colombian Indepdendence Day Festival (11am-7pm) 11am parade begins at 286 Main St, Pawtucket festival follows at Higginson Park, Central Falls 7/16: Ice Cream Throwdown (1-4pm) Rhode Island Eye Institute 150 East Manning Street, Providence $20
Colombian Independence Day Parade
The Newport Music Festival is in full swing. The annual Friday Sunrise Concert takes place at the Chinese Tea House on the grounds of Marble House. Westerly’s library celebrates its quasquicentennial – that’s 125 years – in Wilcox Park. Colombians and Southeast Asians are celebrating in Central Falls and Woonsocket, respectively, while in Providence there’s RI Food Fights’ big ice cream taste-off.
July 17 - July 23
Great Friends Dance Festival
Pro wrestling! Tennis! A kayaking event at a johnnycake factory! There’s something for everyone this week, including ballet, a sausage and peppers extravaganza, and an unusually specific tribute to the 1904 Saint Louis World’s Fair. Andy Roddick and Belgian star Kim Clijsters are this year’s inductees into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, along with Dutch wheelchair tennis champion Monique Kalkman-van den Bosch.
7/19-7/23: Great Friends Dance Festival Great Friends Meeting House 30 Marlborough Street, Newport $23-$27 7/19-7/23: Saint Mary’s Feast (fireworks Sunday at 10pm) Phenix Avenue at Cranston Street, Cranston 7/22: Tennis Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (12pm) International Tennis Hall of Fame 194 Bellevue Avenue, Newport $110-$140 7/22: RWA Legacy 10 (7-10pm) Thayer Arena – 975 Sandy Lane, Warwick $10-$15 7/23: Tribute to the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair Hearthside House – 677 Great Road, Lincoln 7/22-7/23: Summer Tour Weekend and Kayaking Event (10am-5pm) Kenyon’s Grist Mill - 21 Glen Rock Road, Usqueheagh
July 24 - July 30 Theatre lovers should block out this week for the latest iteration of the Providence Fringe Festival, while Shakespeare enthusiasts can check out Twelfth Night in Wilcox Park. Folks on Block Island can take part in the annual swim across the Great Salt Pond, while boaters can saddle up for an afternoon of leisurely fun on Prudence Island. The two-week Kingston Chamber Music Festival concludes this week, too, if that’s not enough culture for you, while Tiverton’s Cultural Survival Bazaar showcases work handmade by indigenous communities from around the world.
7/19-7/30: Kingston Chamber Music Festival URI Fine Arts Center – Upper College Road, Kingston $25-$30 7/24-7/29: Providence Fringe Festival check fringepvd.com for full schedule $0-$15 7/26-8/13: Twelfth Night (or what you will) (Tues-Sun, 8pm) Wilcox Park – 71 1/2 High Street, Westerly 7/29-7/29: Great Salt Pond Swim (11am) Andy’s Way Beach, Block Island 7/29-7/30: Cultural Survival Bazaar (10am-5pm) Tiverton Four Corners Art Center 3852 Main Road, Tiverton 7/29: Aquapalooza (1-4pm) Potter’s Cove, Prudence Island
Sports fans have lots of choices this week, including a mountain bike endurance race through Snake Den State Park, as well as the final home game of the Providence Hurling Club’s 2017 season. The state’s large Dominican community will gather for a parade and festival at the Temple To Music in Roger Williams Park, while antiques aficionados will be at the Little Compton Antiques Festival.
8/5: Little Compton Antiques Festival and Classic Car Show 10am-4pm Little Compton Historical Society 548 West Main Road, Little Compton $10 8/6: 6 Hours in The Snake Den! Mountain Bike Endurance Event & Trail Run (8am-4pm) Snake Den State Park – 2321 Hartford Avenue, Johnston $20-$45 8/6: Dominican Parade and Festival (10am-7:30pm) 10am parade begins at Thurbers Avenue & Broad Street, Providence; festival follows at Roger Williams Park 8/6: Providence Hurling Club v. Hartford GAA (12pm) Pleasant View Recreation Center 50 Obadiah Brown Road, Providence 8/6: Monster Truck Meltdown (5pm) Seekonk Speedway – 1782 Fall River Avenue, Seekonk, MA $20- $25
Monster Truck Meltdown at Seekonk Speedway // photo by Jillian Dion & Michael Smith
July 31 - August 6
August 1 - August 7
August 7 - August 14
Virgen de Urkupiña Festival and Parade
The Rhode Island International Film Festival will keep you busy during the week, then the weekend is all about festivals: the Portuguese feast in Fox Point, the 342nd (!) Annual Pow Wow on Narragansett land, and the Bolivian parade through Smith Hill to Kennedy Plaza. There’s also lots of music between Foo Fest and the Waterfront Reggae Festival, which this year moves to a brand new Live Nation venue in East Providence. 8/9-8/14: Rhode Island International Film Festival visit film-festival.org for schedule 8/11-8/13: Our Lady of the Rosary Feast Fri & Sat: 6pm-12am; Sun: 1pm-10pm Our Lady of the Rosary Church 21 Traverse Street, Providence 8/11: Perseid Meteor Shower (7:30pm-dawn) Frosty Drew Observatory & Sky Theatre 61 Park Lane, Charlestown $1 (suggested) 8/12-8/13: 342nd Annual Narragansett Tribe August Meeting Pow Wow Indian Church Road, Charlestown $6 8/12: Foo Fest (1pm-1am) AS220 – Empire Street, Providence $15 8/13: Waterfront Reggae Festival (12pm) Bold Point Park – 15 Pier Road, East Providence $51 8/12-8/13: Virgen de Urkupiña Festival (12pm) Alex and Ani City Center - 2 Kennedy Plaza, Providence
August 15 - August 20 There’s a free screening of Disney classic Lilo & Stitch on Misquamicut Beach, while Head Trick Theatre does what might be the only al fresco play of the summer that wasn’t written by Shakespeare. Newport Polo presents its annual USA v. Jamaica match, while Pawtucket celebrates the state’s Greek population. Washington County native Billy Gilman headlines the 51st Washington County Fair, while the Lovecraft conference Necronomicon revives itself for another year – don’t be surprised if downtown seems a little bit gothier than usual.
8/11-8/27: The Knight of the Burning Pestle (8pm) Blackstone Field – 2 River Road, Providence $15 (suggested) 8/15: Lilo & Stitch (8:30pm) Misquamicut Beach – 321 Atlantic Avenue, Westerly 8/16-8/20: Washington County Fair Washington County Fairgrounds 78 Richmond Townhouse Road, Richmond visit washingtoncountyfair-ri.com for schedule 8/17-8/20: Necronomicon Providence Biltmore & Omni Hotel, Providence $80-$400 for full passes 8/17-8/20: Greek Festival RI Assumption of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church 97 Walcott Street, Pawtucket 8/19: USA v. Jamaica (5pm - gates open at 1pm) Newport Polo Grounds - 250 Linden Lane, Portsmouth $12-$20
The New England Quahog Festival has a slightly misleading name, since the bivalves actually play second fiddle to a Sea Creature Parade that runs through Wickford Village. Monday there’s a solar eclipse and theatre company Strange Attractor is organizing a Sea Pageant on Easton’s Beach that will feature a chorus of 100. The Paw Sox are playing at McCoy on Saturday against the hilariously named Lehigh Valley IronPigs; Saturday games this season are all followed by fireworks.
Did you know that RIPTA has an express PawSox shuttle? It departs from Broadway in Providence and runs before all weekend home games between June 17 and August 27. 8/21: The Sea Pageant (1:28pm) Easton’s Beach – 175 Memorial Boulevard, Newport 8/24-8/25: Panerai Herreshoff Classic Yacht Regatta (Thu: 5pm Living Boat Show; Fri: 12pm Race) Herreshoff Marine Museum – One Burnside Street, Bristol 8/26: Pawtucket Red Sox v. Lehigh Valley IronPigs (6:15pm) McCoy Stadium – Columbus Avenue, Pawtucket $9-$14 8/27: Greenvale Vineyards Wine Run (3pm) Greenvale Vineyards – 582 Wapping Road, Portsmouth $65 8/27: New England Quahog Festival (12pm-7pm) North Kingstown Town Beach – 10 Beach Street, Wickford
2017 Queen of the Sea Tuni Schartner at New England Quahog Festival and Sea Creature Parade
August 21 - August 27
August 28 - September 4
Providence Paddle Battle
The 20th Annual Rhythm & Roots Festival expands to three full days of bands this year. Highlights include The Mavericks, Rosanne Cash, and Squirrel Nut Zippers. If that’s not your scene, go see dancehall legend Yellowman on Misquamicut. It’s Central Falls Restaurant Week, which will surely feature lots of Colombian and Portuguese options. It would also be a shame if you finished summer without stopping by the Sankofa World Market, an African-focused farmers market featuring some produce you won’t likely find anywhere else. The Providence Paddle Battle runs from East Providence Yacht Club into downtown Providence.
7/5-10/25: Sankofa World Market (Wednesdays, 2pm-6pm) Knight Memorial Library – 275 Elmwood Avenue, Providence 8/28-9/3: Central Falls Restaurant Week visit centralfallsri.us for full schedule 9/1: Providence Paddle Battle (9am-4pm) East Providence Yacht Club – 9 Pier Road, East Providence 9/3: Yellowman (9pm) Paddy’s Beach Club – 159 Atlantic Avenue, Westerly $25 9/1-9/3: 20th Annual Rhythm & Roots Festival (12pm-12am daily) Ninigret Park, Charlestown $75-$250
September 5 - September 10 Summer unofficially ends on Labor Day, but why? The ocean’s warmer now than it is in July, and the calendar says there’s still three more weeks to go. So there. Predatory birds will tear you apart with their razor sharp talons, but that’s no reason not to enjoy the Audobon Society’s Raptor Weekend in Bristol. Pawtucket celebrates Taiwan Day with dragon boat races, while Newport properties open up for the twice-annual Secret Garden Tours. Runners can head to Block Island for the 15K Run Around The Block, which is conveniently timed so you can ferry out for the day without having to get a room.
9/8-9/10: Fall Secret Garden Tour (10am-5pm) Kingscote – 253 Bellevue Avenue, Newport $25 9/9: Dragon Boat Races & Taiwan Day Festival (9am-4pm) Festival Pier – 98 Tim Healey Way, Pawtucket 9/9-9/10: Raptor Weekend (10am-4pm) Audubon Environmental Education Center 1401 Hope Street, Bristol $16 (1 day) / $25 (2 day) 9/9: 40th Annual Rhode Island Heritage Festival (12pm-5:30pm) Rhode Island State House – 82 Smith Street, Providence 9/9: Run Around The Block (1:30-5pm) Isaac’s Corner – Center Road, Block Island $25
September 11 - September 17 Does anyone know what barrel racing is? It’s got something to do with horses, and it’s happening on the 17th at Gold Dust Farm in Chepachet. Maybe that’s fun? Among the other kooky things you can sign up for this weekend, a ride down the Woonasquatucket River and a raw wine tasting with lots of organic offerings to choose from. (Those are both fundraisers so they’re not free... Check closer to September for ticket prices.) There’s also the International Coastal Cleanup, taking place on beaches throughout the state. Finally, wrap things up with the Fireman’s Muster on Misquamicut. What’s a Fireman’s Muster? Glad you asked. It’s when a bunch of firefighters come together to see whose hose shoots the farthest.
9/16: International Coastal Cleanup statewide - visit savebay.org/icc for locations 9/17: Woony River Ride (8am) Waterplace Park – 12 Financial Plaza, Providence 9/16: Raw Wine (6pm) The Steel Yard – 27 Sims Avenue, Providence 9/17: NBHA Pointed Run (11am) Gold Dust Farm – 97 Reservoir Road, Chepachet 9/17: Fireman’s Muster (12pm) Misquamicut Beach – 275 Atlantic Avenue, Westerly
COASTAL GUIDE Rhode Island’s coast is something to behold, and there’s something for literally everyone to be found on its shores. 20 of Rhode Island’s 39 cities and towns border the bay, and every one of those municipalities offers a variety of options for waterfront activity. Here are 70 of the best options, along with options for where to eat and drink while you’re there.
ISN’T 70 KIND OF A HUGE NUMBER?
People use the coast for different reasons: swimming, boating, sunbathing, birdwatching, fishing, photography, surfing, and all kinds of other things. The ideal beach to take your toddler is not the ideal beach to take someone on a romantic date. Some people like the safety of lifeguards on a sunny afternoon, and some people want a quiet place to read a book after work. So yes, “70 of the best” is correct.
ARE ALL OF THESE BEACHES OPEN TO THE PUBLIC? SOME OF THEM SOUND WEIRD.
All but two of these beaches are open to the public for free. You’ll have to pay to get on Narragansett Town Beach and Roy Carpenter’s Beach, but that’s about it.
WAIT, WHAT DO YOU MEAN? YOU HAVE TO PAY $15 TO PARK AT SOME OF THESE PLACES! Yes, that is true. It’s free to access state-owned beaches but you’ll have to pay to park, unless you take the RIPTA bus for the 19 days that it’s actually running. Prices vary by beach and sometimes by day, but bring $20 per carload and you’ll definitely be fine wherever you go. You’ll probably even have money left over for snacks.
SO ALL OF THESE PLACES HAVE PARKING? EVEN THE WEIRD DIRT PATHS AT THE END OF SIDE STREETS THAT YOU KEEP RECOMMENDING?
All except for Moonstone Beach, yes, but many people have said you can even park on Moonstone Beach Road in the late afternoon. (Don’t come complaining if you get towed, though.)
HOW CAN I GET MORE INFO ABOUT SPECIFIC BEACHES?
Ha! That’s a good one. Some of these are city owned, some are town owned, and some are run by nature preserves and non-profit organizations and, as a result, there’s no one central place to get that kind of info. Your best bet is shoreline-ri.com, a very handy website managed by the Rhode Island Sea Grant at URI. Their 2004 guide to the coast is slightly dated now but also extremely useful.
WESTERLY There’s a lot to like about Westerly. The historic downtown boasts a stunning park attached to (and maintained by) the town library – look out for Shakespeare in the park – while just blocks away the old Savoy hotel has been repurposed as the state’s newest (and maybe loveliest) bookstore.
The Olympia Tea Room (74 Bay Street) is fussy Watch Hill at its fussiest, which can be great if you’re in the mood for that. Outside of downtown, Noodle Revolution (81 Oak Street) and Sumner Company (76 Oak Street) are hidden gems for pan-Asian and seafood, respectively.
The Andrea (89 Atlantic Avenue) is a bar and restaurant right on Misquamicut Beach. Flip Side (1 Railroad Avenue) is a craft beer bar with a bunch of pinball machines.
The Chorus of Westerly 2017 Summer Pops (June) Jaws (July) Westerly Library & Wilcox Park 125th Anniversary Gala (July) Twelfth Night (or what you will) (July) Lilo & Stitch (August) Yellowman (September) Fireman’s Muster (September)
WESTERLY TOP 5 1. Napatree Point Conservation Area
The Watch Hill Fire District owns Rhode Island’s southwestern tip, a mile-long stretch that’s like a busy airport for birds. You can also swim.
2. Misquamicut State Beach
Though it’s not for everyone, Westerly’s mini Jersey Shore is great for people watching. It’s also the beach that feels the most like an affordable resort, with a water park that’s inexplicably called Water Wizz and a number of rickety bars where you can drink headache-inducing frozen cocktails out of plastic cups.
3. Bluff Avenue
You have to park down the road a ways, and forget it on weekend afternoons, but one of the state’s best public beaches is hidden in between Taylor Swift’s Watch Hill summer place and the fancy Ocean House.
4. Wuskenau Town Beach
A town-owned beach that runs down both sides of Atlantic Avenue, Wuskenau is similar to Misquamicut but the waves are better for surfing, and there’s weekly movie screenings on the beach.
5. River Bend Cemetery
It would be rude to don your bathing suit and plunge into the Pawcatuck River with all those dead people watching, but this 19th century riverside cemetery is worth a stroll.
CHARLESTOWN Charlestown is a sleepy town with a unique coastline, thanks to Rhode Island’s abundance of coastal salt ponds. Ninigret Pond, the largest, runs parallel to the ocean, so the state’s longest beach (East Beach) is surrounded by water on both sides. A pair of breachways (Charlestown and Quonochontaug) lead from ponds into the ocean. If you need an art fix, there’s rotating monthly exhibits in Ninigret’s Kettle Pond Visitors Center.
The Nordic Lodge (178 East $96 will get you two hours shrimp, and prime rib. For of-the-way diner breakfast County Trail).
Pasquiset Trail) is an experience: of all-you-can-eat lobster, scallops, something more low-key, get an outat Phil’s Hungry Haven (5000 South
The Rathskeller (489A Old Coach Road) is an unassuming little restaurant until you’re actually there and realize it’s a huge complex of bars and outdoor activities, from bocce to beach volleyball, with a stage and a big bonfire. The one downside is the trash: tables are so hard to get sometimes that crafty locals order food to go, then sit there eating it out of styrofoam containers.
Perseid Meteor Shower (August) Narragansett Pow Wow (August) Rhythm & Roots Festival (September)
CHARLESTOWN TOP 5 1. East Beach
The finest of Rhode Island’s seven state-run beaches, East Beach is a mile-long stretch of sand that bordering a salt pond and a nature preserve. Decent waves and relatively few lifeguard chairs make for a relatively kid-free scene, while a teensy parking lot ensures everyone gets plenty of space to stretch out. Late afternoons are your best best of getting a spot on the weekend.
2. Quonochontaug Breachway
Fox Mulder’s mom had a place in Quonochontaug, but even native Rhode Islanders could be forgiven for thinking that X-Files writers invented the coastal village. The state-owned breachway features a boat ramp and wetlands full of quahoggers.
3. Charlestown Breachway
The parking lot fills up quickly – a recurring theme, you’ll notice – but this breachway contains a nice beach, an RV camping area, a boat ramp, and actual wetlands. Follow a path through some tall grass to access the wetland, but be sure to check for ticks afterwards.
4. Charlestown Town Beach
Right up the road from the breachway, the town beach is like East Beach’s more mainstream sister. The waves are big but not that big, and the people are a little more densely packed. Their environmentally friendly changing rooms are relatively fancy.
5. Ninigret Park
Ninigret Park is heavily programmed, with volleyball nets and basketball courts and hiking trails and swimming in a small freshwater pond. The park hosts a number of large festivals.
SOUTH KINGSTOWN South Kingstown plays the big spoon around little Narragansett, bordering it on three sides. South Kingstown (with a W) includes Wakefield and Peacedale, as well as the village of Kingston (no W), where URI is located. They’re all linked by a pleasant bike path. Wakefield has some solid arts venues (Hera Gallery, Contemporary Theatre Company) and decent shopping.
If you’re in Wakefield, get breakfast at Phil’s (323 Main Street) or a quick taco at El Fuego (344 Main Street). Matunuck Oyster Bar (629 Succotash Road) is the area’s go-to for locally harvested seafood with a waterfront view.
The Ocean Mist (895 Matunuck Beach Road) has brunch and live rock and reggae on the weekends. The Pump House (1464 Kingstown Road) has live music, too, though lineups skew a little folkier.
The Music Man (June-July) Kenyon’s Grist Mill Summer Tour Weekend (July) Kingston Chamber Music Festival (July)
SOUTH KINGSTOWN TOP 5 1. Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge
Trustom Pond is one of nine salt ponds dotting Rhode Island’s south coast. This national wildlife refuge also features observation towers for checking out the fauna.
2. Moonstone Beach
Nudity is forbidden on all Rhode Island beaches, but many years ago Moonstone Beach allowed nude sunbathing. That was before the beach was closed to the public, in a measure to protect endangered piping plovers. It’s open again, sort of, or at least part of it is, if you aren’t afraid to walk or bike there. There’s no parking anywhere remotely nearby.
3. East Matunuck Beach
East Matunuck is a state-operated beach located off of Succotash Road. Don’t confuse it with South Kingstown Town Beach, which most people call Matunuck. (In bar terms, this is the beach by the Matunuck Oyster Bar, not the one by the Ocean Mist.)
4. Pettaquamscutt Park
Located above the Narrow River, Pettaquamscutt Park is where the British originally “bought” the area from the Narragansetts in 1657. The park features trails and makes a good place for a slightly inland picnic.
5. Roy Carpenter’s Beach
Carpenter’s Beach is a private beach off Card’s Pond Road. Surrounded by 377 private summer cottages, the old-timey resort was built after the hurricane of 1938.
NARRAGANSETT If there’s one beach to avoid at all costs, it’s Scarborough State Beach. Between the huge crowds and the loud soundsystem announcing misplaced children every few minutes, it’s just disappointing all around, especially when there are many better options around.
If you’re hungry, skip the wildly overrated Crazy Burger, which is like the Scarborough of restaurants. Monahan’s Clam Shack (190 Ocean Road) has huge lines for a good reason. Galilee favorite Champlin’s (256 Great Island Road) is a go-to for lobster, while The Picnic Basket (20 Kingstown Road) has to-go sandwiches that almost justify the prices.
Chair 5 (1208 Ocean Road) is a fourth-story roof bar in the boutique Break Hotel. The Coast Guard House (40 Ocean Road) is a town staple with several bars and chairs that face the bay.
Rhode Island Red Chick Hatch (July)
The RIPTA Express Beach Bus runs for eight weekends (June 17 - August 14) but RIPTA hasn’t announced the actual route yet. Last year it picked up at North Providence Town Hall and Cranston City Hall, taking beachgoers to three Narragansett beaches. The $2 bus ticket is all you have to pay to access the beach.
NARRAGANSETT TOP 5 1. Point Judith State Park (Camp Cronin)
Take the road between Aunt Carrie’s and Iggy’s to reach this unassuming state park, featuring a long rock wall that’s a favorite for fishermen. Parking is free, which is nice, although the lot suffered considerably after superstorm Sandy.
2. Hazard Avenue
A residential street with a few parking spots at the end, Hazard Avenue leads down to a majestic view of waves pounding against big rocks. There’s no sand, but this hidden gem is an ideal place to bring a blanket and a book.
3. Point Judith Lighthouse
Another rocky outpost where you can’t swim, but that’s not the point. When the waves are right, you can scamper down to watch some of the region’s best surfing.
4. Salty Brine State Beach
Newcomers might assume that this beach is named after the water quality, but Salty Brine was actually a beloved local television personality. Located in Galilee, this beach is where you can sit and wave to all the people on the Block Island Ferry. (It’s also the best of the three stops on the RIPTA Express Beach Bus.)
5. Narragansett Town Beach
Located right by the town’s iconic towers, the beach is a crowded but pleasant alternative to Scarborough. Non-residents have to pay to get on the beach during the day.
NORTH KINGSTOWN North Kingstown is a nice enough town, but industrial Quonset hogs a big chunk of its shoreline. Oddly enough, the massive Quonset complex actually has public beaches – like Blue Beach – if you’re looking to tan with a view of an industrial park. For something completely different, follow the trails down to the bay at Chafee Nature Preserve. This spot is actually very popular in the winter, when folks spy on the harbor seals that hang out there.
North Kingstown has a handful of nice outdoor spots to eat. The casual Beach Rose Cafe (85 Brown Street) is located in Wickford. Further south, crowded Plum Point Bistro (1814 Boston Neck Road) is a hit with folks from ritzy Saunderstown.
The Tavern By The Sea (16 West Main Street) is located right in the middle of Wickford, basically across the street from the Beach Rose Cafe, and has a big patio.
Shady Lea Open Studio Tour (June) Strawberry Jam (June) New England Quahog Festival (August)
EAST GREENWICH East Greenwich has a couple of rights-of-way if you want access to the water, including a public boat ramp, but that’s about it. There’s also Sandy Point Beach on the Warwick line – it looks like it should be East Greenwich on a map, but it’s not.
East Greenwich has a ton of great dining options away from the water and a couple of so-so places with great views on the water. Best solution: eat up the street and then head down for a drink later. You can sit outside at Besos (378 Main Street), or for something really trendy visit Kai (232 Main Street), which was opened over the winter by award-winning bartender Jason Kindness.
The town’s bar scene is something: dude bands play covers of hits from the 70s, 80s, 90s, nothings, and today, while young adults drink watery beers with their parents’ generation in a way you rarely see outside of boating communities. The three Water Street bars – BLU, Nautika, and Finn’s Harborside – are equally good for people watching and drinking vodka lemonades.
Oh My Goddard! Olympic & Sprint Triathlons (June)
Wrapping around Greenwich Bay, Warwick actually has a pretty extensive shoreline, which you might forget if you only go there to shop at the Target or the other Target. The Warwick Center for the Arts has stepped up their programming in recent months, too. Unfortunately, the water’s not so great this far up the bay: Oakland Beach and the Goddard Park beach close sometimes because the water isn’t safe. Still, there’s some interesting points worth checking out.
Some people swear by the seafood at the Crows Nest (288 Arnolds Neck Road), but be aware that most of those people are quite elderly. The Shanty (3854 Post Road) is a hidden farm-to-table restaurant located near (but not on) the water.
County Cork Irish Pub (50 Water Front Drive) is a waterfront beer destination in Brewer’s Marina.
Warwick Symphony Orchestra (May) Music On the Hill (June) RWA Legacy 10 (July)
WARWICK TOP 5 1. Rocky Point State Park Rhode Island’s newest state park is located on the grounds of a beloved old amusement park. This is a passive use park, meaning you won’t find any amenities or fancy activities. 2. Warwick City Park This beach doesn’t reliably have safe water, so check DEM reports before you go. Afterwards, drive five minutes across Buttonwoods cove to check out a historic neighborhood on the site of a nineteenth-century Baptist summer colony.
3. Gaspee Point
You have to take a staircase through an empty yard to access this beach, where the British HMS Gaspee was burned in 1772. It’s located within a fascinating cottage community owned by city historian Henry Brown.
4. Salter Grove
The water is gross and the cats are feral, but it’s fun to promenade along the long rock wall just beyond Pawtuxet village.
5. Sandy Point
Take Ives Street past Goddard Park and follow it to the end, for a small beach where you can also launch a boat.
CRANSTON According to the City of Cranston website, the city’s official slogan is “We’re On The Move!” Who knew? East of Roger Williams Park, coastal Edgewood only makes up a small section of the city, but the bayside neighborhood is popular with families. Folksy Pawtuxet Village straddles Cranston and Warwick, with a waterfall dividing the two. Don’t go in the water, but park on Broad Street and meander over to the small park at the end of hook-shaped Seaview Avenue.
Pawtuxet Village is Cranston’s coast, though the outdoor options are relatively minimal. You can grab tacos from Poco Loco (2005 Broad Street) and eat them in the park, or you can get Thai and admire the views at Rim Nahm (2212 Broad Street).
O’Rourkes (23 Peck Lane) is an Irish bar with a big, popular patio outside and somebody singing U2 covers inside. Jacky Boy Publik House (27 Aborn Street) is a little bar that has live acoustic karaoke sometimes, should you want to sing your own U2 covers.
Gaspee Arts and Crafts Festival (May) Gaspee Days Parade (June) St. Mary’s Feast (July)
PROVIDENCE Resting at the tippy top of Narragansett Bay, Providence has a surprising shortage of waterfront options. There’s plenty of other stuff to do – the cultural scene shifts in the summer but it doesn’t go away – but you’re forgiven if you want to take off for the beach at every possible opportunity. But if you’re stuck in the city, India Point Park is a popular, heavily programmed park that also marks the start of the East Bay Bike Path. Tucked behind the Johnson and Wales Harborside Campus, the Save The Bay headquarters features a visitors center and nice campus to look out towards the hurricane barrier.
There’s a serious shortage of waterfront dining in Providence, considering that it’s a foodie city on a body of water. Waterman Grille (4 Richmond Square) has the best view of the Seekonk River. A few places offer outdoor patios – Loie Fuller, The Village, The Slow Rhode – but the Italian restaurants in touristy DePasquale Square (Atwells Avenue) are ideal for people watching.
DRINK The Rooftop at the G (100 Dorrance Street) – the city’s only rooftop bar – became an instant hit when it opened two years ago. Then there’s the perenially popular Hot Club (575 South Water Street), where you can hang out at any given moment with bikers, politicians, grad students, and any number of other disparate groups; Monday is karaoke night.
EVENTS PVDfest (June) Festival of Historic Houses (June) (Mad) Science Fair Bash (June) Taste of the Bay (June) PrideFest (June) Waterways and Landscape in Roger Williams Park (June) Stages of Freedomâ€™s Harlem Rent Party (June) Dr. Strangelove (June) Revival Fest (July) 42nd Cape Verdean Independence Day Festival (July) Ice Cream Throwdown (July) FringePVD (July) Dominican Parade & Festival (August) Providence Hurling Club vs. Hartford GAA (August) Rhode Island International Film Festival (August) Virgen de UrkupiĂąa Festival (August) Foo Fest (August) Necronomicon (August) The Knight of the Burning Pestle (August) Sankofa World Market (August) 40th Annual Rhode Island Heritage Festival (September) Woony River Ride (September) Raw Wine (September)
EAST PROVIDENCE The bay isn’t safe or clean here for swimming, but if you’re in desperate need to look at some water there’s a few options: the East Bay Bike Path winds along the shoreline, Crescent Park has a carousel that’s run continuously since 1905, and there’s even a public beach located at the end of Beach Road, if you’re pressed for time and desperate for sand beneath your toes.
Blount Clam Shack (684 Bullocks Point Avenue) is a popular outdoor window located right by the Crescent Park Carousel and Beach Road. Across the water from India Point Park, Al’s Waterfront Restaurant (28 Water Street) has an oddly scenic view of Route 195.
A stone’s throw from Al’s is East Providence Yacht Club. Despite the name, the EPYC is like a divier, livelier Hot Club, one where you’re definitely less likely to find yourself surrounded by politicians.
Waterfront Reggae Festival (August) Providence Paddle Battle (September)
There’s not a ton to do in Barrington, and that’s largely by design. The town isn’t super welcoming to outsiders. Barrington has plenty of places to see the water, but most of them don’t have parking, and the town beach and nature preserve are both restricted to residents only. Hmmph. RISD owns a beach there, Tillinghast Farm, although that’s technically private and not especially nice. If you must, there’s Haines Memorial Park, which you can access via the East Bay Bicycle Path.
Table (8 Anoka Avenue) is a small continental restaurant, the kind where you might go to impress a date. Tong-D (156 County Road) is Thai from the same folks with the place in South Kingstown.
The town opened its first liquor store in 2012, so it’s not exactly a hopping scene. There’s not a single bar to speak of, but if you’re thirsty head to Bluewater Bar + Grill (32 Barton Street) for a wine on their outdoor patio.
Warren’s three rivers – the Warren, Palmer, and Kickemuit – give the low-lying town a real seaside feel, even if the beaches themselves aren’t so exciting. For something to do, 2nd Story Theatre does productions all summer, while the Galactic Theatre has live music and movie events. (They also have a liquor license!) After the show, cross over into Massachusetts for ice cream at Eskimo King or the popular Ice Cream Barn. Fishing is possible from the end of Barker Road, located at the top of the Kickemuit River.
At some point all the foodies moved to Warren, so there are lots of great dining options. Eli’s (40 Market Street) and Metacom Kitchen (322 Metacom Kitchen) are both great, and bywater (54 State Street) lives up to its name. It’s by the water; get it? Tapas/wine bar Merienda (125 Water Street) is the latest addition to the town’s restaurant scene.
The town’s more food-centric and less heavy on bars, but Revival Craft Kitchen (50 Miller Street) has fancy cocktail options. The drinks are better than the food at Wharf Tavern (215 Water Street).
Behind Closed Doors: House, Garden, & Studio Tour (June)
Home of the country’s oldest 4th of July Parade, quaint Bristol is surrounded on three sides by water. The town is home to sprawling Colt State Park as well as wildlife refuge that houses the local Audubon Society. For culture, the Bristol Art Museum at Linden Place is your best bet.
Start your day at the don’t be disappointed it moves quickly. The describes itself as a that what you will.
Beehive Cafe (10 Franklin Street) and if you see the line going down the street; Bristol Oyster Bar (448 Hope Street) “fisherman to table” restaurant. Make of
The Judge Roy Bean Saloon (1 State Street) is the kind of bar that puts candied bacon in their sangria. Maybe you like that? The DeWolf Tavern (259 Thames Street) has a historic New England vibe – it’s located in a stone warehouse – and an outdoor patio.
British Motorcar Festival (June) Art In The Garden (June) Panerai Herreshoff Classic Yacht Regatta (August) Audubon’s Raptor Weekend (September)
BRISTOL TOP 5 1. Bristol Town Beach
Located at the edge of Colt State Park, Bristol Town Beach has made concerted efforts recently to minimize runoff from parking lots. The complex also features tennis and basketball courts, as well as a skate park.
2. Platt Street
The Kickemuit River runs along Bristol’s east side, and a staircase at the end of Platt Street leads to a park that overlooks Mount Hope Bay and, in the distance, Fall River. Below that you can descend to a small rocky beach and look at the cooling towers across the way.
3. Independence Park
The end point of the East Bay Bike Path, the beach at Independence Park is popular with fishermen. On street parking can get dicey on sunny weekend afternoons.
4. Coggeshall Farm
Located on the grounds of Colt State Park, Coggeshall farm is a working farm that hearkens back to the 18th century. You can look at the water here, but can’t access it directly from the farm.
5. ASRI Environmental Education Center
Located on a 28-acre wildlife refuge, the Audobon Society’s Visitors Center offers access to a number of different fresh and salt water marshes.
Most of New England is overrun with Dunkin Donuts franchises, but Tiverton is the heart of Sip’n Dip country, where you can get sloppy caçoila sandwiches with your coffee. It’s a slightly bipolar town, with gritty Portuguese Fall River on one side and bucolic WASP-y Little Compton on the other. Tiverton Four Corners has some interesting galleries, while the Sandywoods Center For The Arts has a robustt folk music program and intriguing shows at Van Vessem Gallery. For views of the Sakonnet River, try the Emily Ruecker Nature Refuge, and for swimming skip crowded Grinnell’s for the more appealing Fogland Beach.
The Boat House (227 Schooner Drive) is known for its view as much as for its food, which is on the pricy side. The Red Dory (1848 Main Road) is also a hit with locals, while Evelyn’s Drive-In (2335 Main Road) is a little more casual. This summer, look out for a three-part concert series at Evelyn’s in conjunction with local non-profit Singing Out Against Hunger.
The Atlantic Sports Bar (70 Shove Street) has a Portugueseinspired bar food menu, but if you’re looking for a view cross into Massachusetts and booze it up on a floating dock at the wonderfully named Tipsy Seagull (1 Ferry Street, Fall River).
23rd Annual Garden and Herb Festival (May) Cultural Survival Bazaar (July)
LITTLE COMPTON The lovely drive down Little Compton’s Route 77 is rambling and scenic. Unfortunately, the town shuts up like a clam in the summer – beautiful Sakonnet Point is open only to residents, leaving just a few options for beachgoers: Taylor’s Lane ends with a dirt path leading to a small, sandy beach. With its westerly view, this is a pleasantly off the grid place to watch a sunset. Then there’s South Shore Beach, Little Compton’s town beach, and just beyond it the Nature Conservancy’s Goosewing Beach. (They share a parking lot. Actually, the divide is unmarked, though a brook separates the two.) Goosewing is lovely, though summer afternoons can get surprisingly windy. Call the town to reserve a firepit at South Shore Beach.
The Barn (13 Main Street) is known for breakfast. Crowther’s (90 Pottersville Road) is a fuss-free local favorite.
The wine is passable at Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyard (162 West Main Road) but the rustic adirondacks on the lawn are the real highlight. The Tap Room (122 Sakonnet Point Road) is a year-old bar located in the historic Stone House Inn.
Little Compton’s 20th Century Artists Little Compton Antiques Festival and Classic Auto Show
PORTSMOUTH The northern third of Aquidneck Island features nearly two dozen points to access the water, though they’re mainly fishing spots. Head to the end of Mount Hope View Road and follow a dirt path to a quiet beach with an unusual northern view of the bay. Alternatively, you can take Tallman Avenue to a set of stairs leading to a cobble beach on the Sakonnet. If you’re looking for an actual beach with changing rooms and picnic tables and stuff, try Sandy Point Beach. Oh, and don’t forget Prudence Island. The bay’s third largest island is 70% nature preserves. The island (Pop. 125) is maintained by the town of Portsmouth, though the ferry to get there departs from Church Street Pier in Bristol. Just watch out for the deer ticks.
Flo’s Drive-In (Island Beach Park) is a sister restaurant to Middletown’s famous clam shack. Cindy’s Country Cafe (1324 West Main Road) is known for their breakfast, while 15 Point Road has upscale seafood options.
Rhode Island Lacrosse Classic (July) Aquapalooza (July) Newport Polo: USA v Jamaica (August) Greenvale Vineyards Wine Run (August)
MIDDLETOWN Aquidneck Island’s central section only has coastal access on its eastern side. For hikers and bird watchers, the most interesting places of note are Norman Bird Sanctuary, which overlooks the beaches, and Sachuest Point Wildlife Refuge, adjacent to popular Second Beach. To watch surfers, head to Hanging Rock Road Parking Area, where you can also access the cliff views from Purgatory Chasm. And if you’re really desperate to escape the summer throngs, follow an obscure dirt path off Tuckerman Avenue, just to the left of the exclusive Clambake Club, for a great view.
Anthony’s (963 Aquidneck Avenue) is no frills but hugely popular seafood place known for large portions. For a different sort of seafood, New Seashai (747 Aquidneck Avenue) has sushi. Flo’s Clam Shack (4 Wave Avenue) is Famous For Clams, which you’ll know right away because they have a sign out front that says so.
Middletown is a lot less glamorous than Newport, bar-wise. Try the waterfront Easton’s Point (116 Aquidneck Avenue), known for their lobster rolls, or the marginally divier Brewski’s (390 West Main Road).
Touristy Newport can be great, but it can also be awful if you’re not in the mood. The galleries aren’t much to write home about, but the art museum has some good shows this summer including exhibitions from Caleb Cole and Henry Horenstein. The NewportFILM documentary festival takes place on the island’s fabulous lawns every Thursday from June through September, while dance and music festivals take over in July. If books are your thing, the Redwood Athenaeum & Library has a pretty robust event schedule, or you can shop for used titles at Spring Street Books.
The Providence-Newport ferry runs four times a day for $10 each way. They start June 16 and run through October 1. A fifth evening ferry runs on Fridays and Saturdays. (If you miss the last ferry home and don’t want to stay over, RIPTA’s also a perfectly valid option. Busses are only $2 each way, the trip’s roughly the same amount of time, and they run hourly until 12:45am.
Jason Smith, from The Boys of Summer at Newport Art Museum
NEWPORT (CONTINUED) EAT
Perro Salado (19 Charles Street) offers great Mexican in an unlikely setting. Fluke Wine, Bar & Kitchen (41 Bowens Wharf) is a favorite with seafood lovers (despite that strange comma in the middle of its name). Vasca (515 Thames Street) opened over the winter and their tapas are getting rave reviews.
Fancy cocktails with opulent views are best experienced from hotels: The Lawn at Castle Hill Inn (590 Ocean Avenue), the Chanler Hotelâ€™s Spiced Pear (117 Memorial Boulevard), and the roof bar at the Vanderbilt Grace (41 Mary Street) are three of the best. For something less highbrow, head to Broadway: Pour Judgment (32 Broadway) for beer, Caleb & Broad (162 Broadway) for cocktails, or Parlor Bar (200 Broadway), a music club that occasionally pulls in random touring acts like Shonen Knife and the Ataris.
Beyond the Tour: Nature Tamed (May) SVF Foundation Annual Visitors Day (June) Pierre Cardin: 70 Years of Innovation (June) Third Annual Newport Pirate Invasion (June) Moonrise Kingdom 5th Anniversary Party (June) Artistsâ€™ Ball (July) The Sea Pageant (August) Fall Secret Garden Tour (September)
NEWPORT TOP 5 1. 40 Steps / Cliff Walk
Narragansett Avenue ends with a dramatic granite staircase that’s been dubbed a national historic landmark. At the bottom of the steps, you can access the great 3.5-mile long Cliff Walk, located above the eastern bay.
2. Reject’s Beach
The private club that owns super-exclusive Bailey’s Beach was founded over a hundred years ago, but the southeastern top of the beach, located by where Bellevue Avenue ends, is known among locals as Reject’s Beach.
3. Fort Adams
Newport’s sprawling Fort Adams hosts the city’s historic Folk Festival every July, but if you can’t get tickets to that pick any other weekend of the year to check out the giant seaside park.
4. Brenton Point State Park
The island’s southwestern tip features a grassy park on the grounds of a former estate. It’s got a beach area that’s popular with mussel and lobster fishermen.
5. Easton’s (First) Beach
Beginning at the start of the Cliff Walk, this beach is very, very popular, so you may not even want to try it on the weekend unless you go late or have a friend with a driveway you can park in.
JAMESTOWN Conanicut Island is home to one of Rhode Island’s smallest and most insular communities, full of families that have inhabited the island for centuries. It’s a very quiet town – the Jamestown Arts Center does interesting programs, but that’s about it for culture. The library across the street has a pretty solid film program, though, but there’s no nightlife whatsoever. Public beaches are few and far between, though the real draws are the parks and old forts on the southern end of the island.
Tallulah’s Taqueria has a seasonal outpost at The Shack in Dutch Harbor (252 Narragansett Avenue). Down the street, Pink Pig BBQ (35 Narragansett Avenue) is another low-key option. For something fancy, sit outside at Simpatico (13 Narragansett Avenue).
The big outdoor bar at Simpatico can be quite the scene with the post-beach crowd. A few doors down, Narragansett Cafe (25 Narragansett Avenue) offers the closest the island has to any sort of nightlife.
7th Annual Summer Soirée (June)
JAMESTOWN TOP 5 1. Beavertail State Park
If youâ€™re not put off by signs warning about deer ticks, meander through the trails to find a number of isolated coves that are great for sunning and swimming. The lighthouse is also open for tours. Just be careful not to intrude on any of the young couples taking advantage of the privacy. The lighthouse also offers tours.
2. Watson Farm
Cows and sheep graze on the 265-acre beachfront property, maintained by the organization Historic New England. Visitors are welcome to take self-guided tours along paths leading to the shore. (On certain days, the farm also sells beef, lamb, and wool blankets. Bring a cooler.)
3. Fort Wetherill
A former Coast Guard fort, this state park offers great views of Newport. Itâ€™s not good for swimming, though the area is popular with scuba divers.
4. Fort Getty
You can still see remnants of the military fortifications at Fort Getty, a town-owned park with a rocky public beach.
5. Broad Street
The only easy shore access on the north side of the island, a tiny parking lot leads to a quiet, rocky beach on the site of an old ferry landing.
The island municipality of New Shoreham has a population around 1,000 for most of the year, but in the summer months Block Island’s population swells to twelve times that. There’s decent art at the airport, which is kind of like the airport from the TV show Wings. Also, stop at the Empire Theater, an old movie house restored a few years ago to its full glory.
You can ferry to Block Island from Galilee, Newport, Fall River, New London or Montauk. For something different, take the 12-minute flight over from Westerly.
The food is great at Eli’s (456 Chapel Street), which is more than one step above the island’s other options. Other than that, it’s a lot of fried seafood everywhere you look.
It’s a seafaring town so there’s plenty of drinking options. Most bars are within walking distance of one another, but two spots further afield are The Oar (221 Jobs Hill Road) – go during the day for the view – and Club Soda (35 Connecticut Avenue).
Block Island Music Festival (June) Great Salt Pond Swim (July) Run Around The Block (September)
BLOCK ISLAND TOP 5 1. Mansion Road
Take Mansion Road to the end and you can find a right-of-way leading to a beach. There’s plenty of parking if you need it, and it’s safe to swim (although there aren’t lifeguards).
2. Mohegan Bluffs
The southeastern corner of the island plunges rather abruptly into the ocean, but a long wooden stairway leads beachgoers 150 feet down from the parking area to the beach. The views are dramatic and the surf is intense.
3. Block Island National Wildlife Refuge
The island’s northern tip includes a sandy cobble beach that’s ideal for watching the seagulls who roost in the tall dunes. (Just don’t go in the dunes – they’re fragile and legally protected). And don’t swim there either; those currents are serious.
4. Charlestown Beach
This beach on Audobon Society property faces west, meaning it’s perfect to watch the sun set over the water. You can’t drive there, but you can ride your bike and take the path off Coast Guard Road.
5. Coast Guard Station / Coast Guard Road
Take Champlin Way to the end, just to the west of the Coast Guard Station, and you’ll find a small but popular swimming beach at the edge of Great Salt Pond.
VISIT LAWANDORDER.PARTY FOR WEEKLY GUIDES TO WHATâ€™S HAPPENING IN RHODE ISLAND.
101 events, 70 beaches, plus a bar and restaurant guide to happenings in coastal Rhode Island.