Known as the “Ocean State,” Rhode Island is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the United States. While it may be the smallest state in the U.S., Rhode Island boasts miles and miles of coastline.
Soft golden sand, crisp blue water, and grassy dunes make up the landscape, unmarred by high rise hotels and noisy boardwalk arcades.
Emblematic of New England’s classic coastal atmosphere, Rhode Island’s beaches also come in many different varieties. From quiet secluded beaches to lively oceanfront resorts, Rhode Island has something for everyone. Here are some of the most popular Rhode Island beaches that we know you’ll love.
Westerly, RI is an upscale coastal community on the south shore of Rhode Island. Westerly is famous for the Ocean House hotel, delicious fresh seafood, and it is also home to some of the most popular beaches in the state.
MISQUAMICUT STATE BEACH
Misquamicut State Beach is a popular spot for families and adults alike.
The hub of the beach area is a pavilion area with equipment rentals, public bathrooms, outdoor showers, snacks, drinks, and gazebo concerts. Nearby, you’ll find batting cages, a carousel, and a playground, making it a popular place for children and families.
NAPATREE POINT BEACH
If you’re looking for something off the beaten path, Napatree Point Beach might be your ideal spot. There is very little parking and no amenities, but that also means it is far less crowded than other beaches nearby.
It’s not the easiest beach to get to — you’ll need to climb a sand path through the dunes — but the ocean views that greet you just beyond the hill are worth it.
Napatree Point is popular with birdwatchers and nature lovers, as its seclusion makes it a peaceful home for wildlife. If you’re hoping for a quiet time in nature, save the Napatree Point Conservation Area as an option.
WATCH HILL BEACH, WESTERLY
Watch Hill Beach was the summertime playground for the elite for a long time. Today, it is more quaint and family-friendly, but still attracts celebrities and the well-to-do.
Just beyond the beach, Watch Hill is also home to Flying Horse Carousel, the oldest continuously operating merry-go-round in the country which was constructed in 1867. The Watch Hill Lighthouse is also here and offers spectacular views.
EAST BEACH, WATCH HILL
Watch Hill’s East Beach is slightly less crowded than Watch Hill Beach and is accessible by parking in the town center and walking to the shore.
Due to the lack of parking, you’re not likely to face much of a crowd at East Beach, so it’s perfect for those who enjoy a little space and privacy. From here, visitors can see views of Taylor Swift’s Rhode Island estate and glimpse Block Island off the coast.
Narragansett, RI is a small town west of Newport that draws thousands of visitors to its shores in the summer months.
NARRAGANSETT TOWN BEACH
Narragansett Town Beach is best known for its surfing; waves here can reach up to four feet high. Experienced surfers can arrive early in the morning to beat the summer crowds, while beginners can rent equipment and get a surfing lesson from a local surf shop. If surfing isn’t your thing, you’ll still enjoy the clean water, soft sand, and ample parking. You’ll also be close to amenities such as a first-aid office, restrooms, and food.
Narragansett Town Beach is a great spot to catch views of the Towers, an iconic Rhode Island landmark that hosts performances by the South Kingstown String Orchestra. From Narragansett Town Beach you can also see the historic Coast Guard House, a former lifesaving station turned restaurant.
ROGER W. WHEELER STATE BEACH
Roger Wheeler State Beach is protected by a breakwater barrier from Block Island Sound, which means the surf never gets too rough. For this reason, Roger Wheeler Beach is particularly popular among families with young children.
There is also a playground nearby and a pavilion with concessions, restrooms, and showers.
SCARBOROUGH STATE BEACH
At Scarborough State Beach in Narragansett, visitors can swim in the salt water or stroll along the boardwalk. There’s also an observation tower near the parking lot where you can climb to the top and take in scenic views of the coast.
Salty’s Burger & Seafood is open daily during the beach season and offers delicious meals and ice cream too!
SALTY BRINE STATE BEACH
Like Scarborough, Salty Brine offers a quiet, calm beach experience. Salty Brine State Beach is a small stretch of sand located close to the Block Island Ferry. It is also called “Galilee Beach” due to its location near the docks of Galilee, RI. Visitors stop at Salty Brine to take a break from the day and watch the boats coming in and out of the harbor.
Salty Brine is also an ideal location for a picnic of local favorites like fried seafood, clam chowder, stuffed clams, lobster rolls, and frozen lemonade.
BLOCK ISLAND BEACHES
A visit to Block Island is one of the best island getaways you can experience without leaving the United States. It’s a walkable island community where many people prefer to get around by bike or by moped. Whether you prefer a family friendly town beach, a party in the sand, or a secluded escape, Block Island has something to fit the bill.
Admission to all public beaches on Block Island is free. Block Island is also home to two lighthouses, North Light and Southeast Light which is near Mohegan Bluffs Beach.
Crescent Beach is located on Block Island’s eastern coast. It’s the perfect first stop on your trip to Block Island as the beach starts right where the ferry docks, and stretches three miles from Old Harbor to Clay Head.
In the heart of Crescent Beach is the Frederick J. Benson Pavilion, also known as “Town Beach.” Here you’ll find all the amenities you could need, including concession stands, restrooms, and chairs, umbrellas, cabanas and more available for rent.
If you love a beach party, Ballard’s Beach is your ideal summer destination. Ballard’s Beach is adjacent to the Ballard’s Beach Resort. The beach boasts “the best summer beach party every day,” with tiki bars, cabanas, and entertainment – all provided by the resort.
Ballard’s has live music every day during the summer months, as well as full-service cocktails, beachfront food, beach volleyball, and more. Beach chairs, umbrellas, and boogie boards are available to rent. You can also book a VIP cabana with table and chairs for 12 people, or keep the party going with a private beach bonfire after dark.
Be aware, private bonfires come with a minimum $1500 spend on food and drink, so they’re ideal for parties and celebrations.
MOHEGAN BLUFFS, BLOCK ISLAND
For those who would rather explore some scenic coastline than sunbathe by the snack bar, Mohegan Bluffs is a ruggedly beautiful beach. The Mohegan Bluffs are located just past the Southeast Lighthouse on Block Island’s southern shore, in New Shoreham, RI.
A set of 140+ stairs lead down the rocky cliffside to the sand. Here you’ll find fewer people, so it’s ideal for people looking to get away from the crowds and enjoy some peaceful time by the cove.
Views from the top of the bluffs, 150 feet up, overlooking the ocean are as spectacular as the views of the bluffs from down on the sand. As you can imagine, the bluffs are especially enchanting at sunrise and sunset.
The small coastal town of Charlestown, RI, has a relaxed atmosphere and is popular with people who enjoy the outdoors. The sandy beaches in Charlestown display the natural beauty of the area and welcome visitors for camping, fishing, bird-watching, and other simple pleasures.
Charlestown’s East Beach is situated between the Atlantic Ocean and Ninigret Pond, a saltwater coastal pond. There is limited parking and facilities, but what it lacks in amenities it makes up for in unspoiled beauty.
As one of the least developed beaches in Rhode Island, this 3-mile-long beach is a great spot to enjoy nature and get away from the crowds. It is also popular for kayaking, fishing, and camping at the nearby 20-unit campground.
Charlestown Breachway Beach is a small beach in South County, RI.
This beach offers views of Block Island Sound, is popular for salt-water fishing, and is also open to camping for self-contained RVs.
EAST MATUNUCK STATE BEACH, SOUTH KINGSTOWN
East Matunuck State Beach in South Kingston is a classic New England beach, complete with soft golden sand and grassy dunes. It is also a popular spot for surfing among experienced surfers and beginners. It’s an ideal location for a sunny picnic, a swim on the ocean, or a stroll along the shoreline.
After an afternoon in the sand and surf, you can whet your appetite at Matunuck Oyster Bar for dinner and a glass of wine. Though famous for their oysters, Matunuck Oyster Bar specializes in all kinds of delicious local seafood, perfect when paired with a glass of wine and the view of Potter’s Pond from their outdoor patio.
GOOSEWING BEACH, LITTLE COMPTON
Little Compton is in eastern Rhode Island close to the Massachusetts border.
Unlike most other beaches in Little Compton, Goosewing Beach is open to the public. A bit off the beaten path, Goosewing Beach is another of Rhode Island’s hidden gems. Goosewing Beach isn’t easy to get to, but that’s part of the appeal. It is only accessible by parking at South Shore Beach and walking down the shoreline, but the pristine views are worth the walk.
This quiet, unspoiled stretch of beach is owned and protected by the Nature Conservancy. Nature lovers can keep an eye out for protected shorebirds like terns and piping plovers, or enjoy a picnic in peace.
EASTON’S BEACH, NEWPORT
Newport is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Rhode Island and all of New England. Easton’s Beach, known locally as “First Beach,” was named one of the Top 10 New England Beaches in an online survey.
The Easton’s Beach Snack Bar is more than your average beach concession stand. Their menu features a variety of delicious seafood and picnic items available for curbside pickup and surfside delivery.
Newport’s famous Cliff Walk runs from Easton’s Beach to Bailey’s Beach. The Cliff Walk offers a look at Newport’s grand estates, including the Vanderbilt property — The Breakers, and sweeping views of the ocean. But there’s more to Easton’s Beach than just the Cliff Walk.
During the summer, Easton’s Beach hosts a series of family events including live music, magic shows, and more. All events are free and open to the public.
Easton’s Beach in Newport has a host of family-friendly activities, including the Save the Bay Exploration Center and Aquarium. Save the Bay is located at the Easton’s Beach Rotunda in Newport. It is home to more than 40 species of wildlife native to the local area. There are dozens of exhibits and three touch tanks allowing children to get up close and personal with many different kinds of sea creatures.
What’s particularly special about Save the Bay is that, with the exception of rescue animals, all specimens at the Center are released back into Rhode Island waters.
Just down the road you’ll find Sachuest Beach, known as Second Beach by the locals. Here you’ll find a 1-mile-long family-friendly beach with concessions, bathrooms, picnic areas, and more.
Read More: 13 THINGS TO DO IN NEWPORT RI EVERYONE WILL LOVE
RHODE ISLAND BEACHES FAQ
Does Rhode Island have nice beaches?
Yes, Rhode Island has really nice beaches. In fact, Rhode Island is known to have some of the best beaches in the United States!
Does Rhode Island have clear water beaches?
If you’re looking for clear ocean water, you’re best bet is to head to Narragansett Beach. All of the beaches in RI are great, but Narragansett Beach is beyond beautiful.
Can you swim in the ocean in Rhode Island?
Absolutely, you can swim in the ocean in Rhode Island! Soft, sandy beaches and the inviting water make the beaches of Rhode Island great for many water activities u002du002d including swimming!
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR TRIP TO RHODE ISLAND
- YOUR RHODE ISLAND VACATION
- PROVIDENCE: 13 Things To Do In Providence RI You’ll Love
- ROMANTIC GETAWAYS: 21 Romantic Getaways In New England You’ll Adore
- WEEKEND GETAWAYS: 18 Spectacular Weekend Getaways In New England
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