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The Best Rhode Island Beaches for Every Occasion

The Ocean State lives up to its name.

When it comes to beaches, it’s hard to beat the variety of those in Rhode Island. Despite its tiny size, the state is home to 40 miles of coastline that offer something for every kind of beach lover: big surf, small surf, peace and quiet, entertainment for the kids, celebrity cachet, and/or all the requisite New England summer food staples (clam cakes, doughboys, Del’s frozen lemonade). To do it like a local, bring some beach chairs, a buzzy summer read, a cooler of Narragansett Lagers, a fringed umbrella, and tons of SPF. It won’t take long to understand why they call Rhode Island the Ocean State.

1) Goosewing Beach, Little Compton


One of the few Little Compton beaches open to the public, and under the protection of the Nature Conservancy, Goosewing is a pristine, crescent-shaped alcove with grassy dunes, tidal pools for clamming, a host of protected shore birds, and families who arrive toting bags full of goods from local farm stands. It’s subdued, but the scene goes on well past sunset, when the pebbly shore becomes dotted with campfires.

2) Misquamicut State Beach, Westerly


The most action packed 7-mile stretch of sand in the state. With paddle boats and jet skis available to rent, surf lessons on offer, and nearby bumper boats, batting cages, a carousel, and water slides, Misquamicut is a lively locale particularly enjoyed by the young—and the youngish.

3) East Beach, Watch Hill


Right in the shadow of Taylor Swift’s summer retreat (if you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of singer and any number of her famous pals sprawled out on her massive lawn), and nestled adjacent to the grand dame Ocean House’s private beach, East Beach is a windy, old money-meets-new money hangout with a view of Block Island.

4) Narragansett Town Beach, Narragansett


With swells up to four feet, especially in the early morning, this beach is the surfer’s go-to. Rent a board (and take a lesson) from Narragansett Surf & Skate. If you really want to work on your tan, book a few nights at The Break, a 16-room hotel with a roof deck that turned Narragansett into a weekend destination with its arrival a few years back. It’s no wonder this is one of the best New England beaches to visit.

5) Easton’s Beach, Newport


Newport’s only ocean beach is ideal for families, with a playground and on-site Save the Bay Exploration Center (aka a perfect place to drop off the kids), plus cabanas, chairs, and boards to rent. Leave the packed lunch at home and pick up lobster rolls from Easton’s Beach Snack Bar.

6) East Mutunuck Beach, South Kingstown


East Matunuck’s 102 acres of saltwater beach has limited parking, which means limited crowds. The bliss continues with low-stress waves, relatively warm water, an abundance of seashells, and—huzzah!—on-site showers. (There’s also the occasional morning yoga class). Afterwards, head to the Matunuck Oyster Bar, where all oysters—and most everything else on offer, aside from the wine—are local.

7) Napatree Point Beach, Westerly


Located within the Napatree Point Conservation Area in Watch Hill, what this slice of beach lacks in amenities or facilities it more than makes up for in wildlife sightings (and a lack of crowds). Keep an eye out for the many migratory birds that use Napatree as a rest stop.

8) East Beach, Charlestown


Nestled on a thin barrier island that separates Block Island Sound and Ninigret Pond, this 3-mile-long beach is next to the Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge, which is home to salt marshes, kettle ponds, wetlands, and 250 species of birds. This prime location means there is plenty to do aside from lounging about on East Beach’s pristine sand, such as kayaking in the pond, salt-water fishing, bird-watching, and even camping overnight (there is a seasonal 20-unit campground).

9) Mohegan Bluffs, Block Island


For those who want something more active than beach bumming all afternoon, venture out to the more rugged Mohegan Bluffs located on the south end of Block Island. The view from the top of the 150-foot cliffs are absolutely stunning, and a 141-step staircase will lead you down to the rocky beach.

Source by Alyssa Giacobbe and Lee Kim:

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