South County

We’ve compiled the best of the best in South County - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. East Matunuck State Beach

    Vigorous waves, white sands, and views of Block Island on crystal-clear days account for the popularity of this 144-acre beach. Crabs, mussels, and starfish populate the rock reef that extends to the right of the strand, inspiring visitors to channel their inner marine biologist. A wind turbine provides power for the Daniel L. O'Brien Pavilion, named for a police officer killed in the line of duty while rescuing people stranded in this area during Hurricane Carol in 1954. Currents can be strong, so keep an eye on kids Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; parking (fee); showers; toilets. Best for: swimming; walking.

    950 Succotash Rd., South Kingstown, Rhode Island, 02881, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: nonresident parking $12
  • 2. Frosty Drew Observatory and Science Center

    In Ninigret Park but independently operated by a nonprofit, the observatory offers the state's best views of the night sky. Frosty Drew opens every Friday around sunset for stargazing and stays open until 10 pm or later if the skies are clear and visitors keep coming. It's also open on nights when meteor showers and other astronomical events are forecast. On cloudy nights, astronomers give presentations and offer tours. The place isn't heated, so dress for the season.

    61 Park La., Charlestown, Rhode Island, 02813, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 3. Adventureland Narragansett

    Kids love the two kinds of bumper boats, nautical-theme miniature golf course, batting cages, carousel, go-kart track, and other carnival-like attractions, which all add up to great fun.

    112 Point Judith Rd. (Rte. 108), Narragansett, Rhode Island, 02882, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Admission is free; attractions from $4, Closed mid-Oct.–mid-Apr.
  • 4. Atlantic Beach Park

    The largest and busiest of the kid-oriented amusements along Misquamicut Beach, this century-old facility offers nostalgic fun for the entire family, including an antique (1915) carousel, bumper cars, a dragon roller coaster, ice-cream parlor, and a large arcade with games that spout tickets you can redeem for prizes. The Windjammer Surf Bar has live music in the summer and an oceanfront deck for drinks and snacks; unlike the amusement park, the bar is open year-round.

    321 Atlantic Ave., Misquamicut, Rhode Island, 02891, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free entry, $2 per ride; parking from $20, Closed late Oct.–Apr.; bar stays open on off-season weekends
  • 5. Block Island Ferry

    Transportation Site (Airport, Bus, Ferry, Train)

    If you're headed to Block Island, the Interstate Navigation Company offers two types of ferry service from Point Judith. Year-round, there's regular service, which takes 55 minutes and costs about $26 round-trip; late May–mid-October, there's high-speed service, which takes 30 minutes and costs $36 round-trip. Cars—which require an advance reservation—and bikes are only allowed on the regular service. A Block Island Ferry Bloody Mary is a favorite beverage for some riders, but it's not recommended for the easily seasick.

    Galilee State Pier, 304 Great Island Rd., Narragansett, Rhode Island, 02882, USA
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  • 6. Blue Shutters Town Beach

    With wonderful views of Block Island Sound, Blue Shutters is a popular escape for beachcombers and quietude seekers who don't mind paying a bit extra for soft sand, sea, and serenity. Beachgoers can see Block Island and Long Island from the shaded deck of the pavilion. Beach-accessible wheelchairs are available at no cost. Amenities: lifeguards; showers; toilets; parking (fee). Best for: walking; sunsets.

    469 East Beach Rd., Charlestown, Rhode Island, 02813, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Nonresident parking $20 on weekdays, $40 on weekends
  • 7. Burlingame State Park & Campground

    This 3,100-acre state park attracts many campers to its 731 rustic campsites and shelters, nature trails, picnic and swimming areas, and boating and fishing opportunities on crystal clear Watchaug Pond.

    1 Burlingame State Park Rd., Charlestown, Rhode Island, 02813, USA
  • 8. Casey Farm

    In the 18th century, this Saunderstown farmstead overlooking Narragansett Bay was the summer residence of the Casey family, who leased the land to tenant farmers. Today, this community-supported farm, managed by Historic New England, is operated by resident managers who raise organic vegetables. More than 10 miles of stone walls divide the 300-acre farmstead's fields. Guided tours are offered on Saturdays from mid-May through October. Hiking trails offer access to the wooded back end of the property along the Narrow River. A weekly farmers' market takes place on Saturday, May–October.

    2325 Boston Neck Rd., Saunderstown, Rhode Island, 02874, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $10
  • 9. East Beach

    Across the street from Blue Shutters Town Beach, this tranquil and unspoiled barrier beach spans 3 narrow miles of shoreline that separates Ninigret Pond from the ocean, dead-ending at the Charlestown Breachway. East Beach stands in stark contrast to Narragansett's bustling Scarborough Beach, and it's a rare East Coast beach that permits beach camping and four-wheel drive vehicles on the sand. Parking is limited, and the lot fills up quickly. Be careful when swimming: the ocean side is known for riptides. Amenities: lifeguards; parking (fee); toilets. Best for: solitude; walking, camping.

    East Beach Rd., Charlestown, Rhode Island, 02813, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: RI Resident parking $6; nonresident parking $12
  • 10. Flying Horse Carousel

    At the beach end of Bay Street twirls one of the oldest carousels in America, built by the Charles W. F. Dare Company of New York City and part of a traveling carnival that came to Watch Hill before 1883. The carved wooden horses with real horsehair manes and leather saddles are suspended from chains attached to the ceiling, creating the impression the horses are flying. Riders must be under 13. Grab the brass ring from one of the outside horses to win a free ride.

    151 Bay St., Watch Hill, Rhode Island, 02891, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $1 inside horse, $4 outside horse, Closed mid-Sept.--mid-May
  • 11. Gilbert Stuart Birthplace and Museum

    Built in 1750, the authentically restored childhood home of one of America's foremost portrait artists—his image of George Washington graces the $1 bill—is set on 23 woodsy acres in Saunderstown containing a scenic millpond and stream, Colonial herb gardens, nature trails, and a fish ladder. The fully restored gristmill here has the original granite millstones used to grind local whitecap flint corn into cornmeal. Inside the Stuart home is a snuff mill, used to grind tobacco and still turned by water power. Stuart painted more than 1,000 portraits, including those of the first six U.S. presidents. The Welcome Center and Bell Art Gallery exhibits the works of Stuart and his daughter, also a painter, along with works by local and other artists. Guided tours take place at 11 am and 1 pm; self-guided tours are also available.

    815 Gilbert Stuart Rd., Saunderstown, Rhode Island, 02874, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $12, Closed mid-Oct.–mid-Apr.; closed dates vary in the spring, summer, and fall, check website for details
  • 12. Kenyon's Grist Mill

    On the banks of the Queen's River, this circa 1886 mill still grinds cornmeal for johnnycakes the old-fashioned way, with enormous granite millstones quarried in Westerly. You can arrange group tours lasting up to 90 minutes, or wait until the weekend and request an individual tour. Special tour weekends in the summer and fall are combined with kayaking and a clam cake and chowder festival, respectively. Products may be purchased in the mill shop during business hours.

    21 Glen Rock Rd., West Kingston, Rhode Island, 02892, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tour $6
  • 13. Misquamicut State Beach

    Part of the several-mile-long stretch of sandy beach that makes up Misquamicut, this ½-mile state-run portion is exceedingly popular. Expect the 2,100-space parking lot to fill up on sunny summer weekends. Bring your own chairs or blankets. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards (seasonal); parking (fee); showers; toilets. Best for: sunset; swimming; family fun.

    257 Atlantic Ave., Misquamicut, Rhode Island, 02891, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Admission is free; parking is $20 for nonresidents
  • 14. Narragansett Town Beach

    This beloved and lively beach is perfect for surfing, sunbathing, people-watching, sandcastle making, crab hunting, and strolling its half-mile length; it also has seven ADA surf chairs, offered on a first-come, first-served basis. A sea wall (with free on-street parking) stretches along Ocean Road and attracts an eclectic crowd, including guitarists and motorcyclists. Covering approximately 19 acres, Narragansett Town Beach has a beautiful sandy beachfront, but it is the only beach in the state that you can't walk onto for free: the town charges (rather hefty) fees for admission (ages 12 and up) and parking. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; parking (fee); showers; toilets. Best for: surfing; swimming; nostalgic views.

    39 Boston Neck Rd., Narragansett, Rhode Island, 02882, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $12; parking from $10
  • 15. Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge

    Spring brings opportunities to view the male American woodcock's mating ritual at this 858-acre refuge, but bird-watchers flock here year-round to commune with nature among 4 miles of hiking trails and diverse upland and wetland habitats, including grasslands, shrublands, wooded swamps, and freshwater ponds. There's an abandoned naval air station on Ninigret Pond, the state's largest coastal salt pond, and a fine place to watch the sunset. Wear blaze orange while hiking between November and January, when permitted hunters are allowed to cull white-tailed deer. Explore an impressive collection of wildlife and natural history displays at the Kettle Pond Visitor Center on the southbound side of U.S. 1 at 50 Bend Road.

    Ninigret Entrance Rd., Charlestown, Rhode Island, 02813, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 16. Ninigret Park

    This 227-acre park off Old Post Road, formerly a World War II–era naval air training base, now features picnic grounds, ball fields, a playground, a bike path, tennis and basketball courts, a criterium bicycle course, nature trails, a disc-golf course, and a 3-acre spring-fed swimming pond (with lifeguards on duty in the summer). The Charlestown Seafood Festival is held here in August, and the excellent Rhythm & Roots concert festival rolls into the park every Labor Day weekend.

    5 Park La., Charlestown, Rhode Island, 02813, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 17. Point Judith Lighthouse

    From the Port of Galilee, it's a short drive to this 1857 lighthouse and a beautiful ocean view. Because the lighthouse is an active Coast Guard Station, only the grounds are open to the public. At times when the grounds are closed, head back out Ocean Road and watch for a tiny white sign on the left for the Fisherman's Memorial. A dirt road drive leads to this elevated park, from which you'll have a spectacular view of the 65-foot lighthouse, as well as to Camp Cronin, a secret beach and fishing area.

    1460 Ocean Rd., Narragansett, Rhode Island, 02882, USA
    401-789–0444-U.S. Coast Guard Station Point Judith

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 18. Port of Galilee

    This little corner of Narragansett is a working fishing village, where you can eat lobster on a deck overlooking the wharf, go for a swim at one of two state beaches, or watch fishermen unload their catch and sometimes even buy from them right on the docks. This is also the location of the mainland terminal for the ferry service to Block Island.

    Great Island Rd., Narragansett, Rhode Island, 02882, USA
  • 19. Roger W. Wheeler State Beach

    This breakwater-sheltered beach—which some locals still call Sand Hill Cove, even though the name changed decades ago—has calm, warm water and fine white sand that slopes gently into the water. It's a perennial favorite for parents with young children, thanks in part to the playground situated right in the sand. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; playground; parking (fee); showers; toilets. Best for: classic vibe; family time; swimming; walking.

    100 Sand Hill Cove Rd., Narragansett, Rhode Island, 02882, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Parking: from $12
  • 20. Salty Brine State Beach

    Formerly known as Galilee State Beach, Salty Brine was renamed in 1990 for a Rhode Island radio legend. It's a small but popular destination, especially for foodies. Located near the state's largest commercial fishing port of Galilee, Salty Brine is permeated with the sights, sounds, and scents of Rhode Island's daily fishing culture. The 100-yard-long beach, near bustling seafood restaurants, provides the best seat in the state for viewing the steady parade of ferries, fishing boats, and charters moving in and out of the channel while noshing on a lobster roll or fried clams. People flock here for the annual Blessing of the Fleet parade of vessels on the last weekend in July. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; parking (fee); showers; toilets. Best for: saltwater fishing; sunset; swimming; walking.

    254 Great Island Rd., Narragansett, Rhode Island, 02882, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Parking: from $12

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