Our Recommendations: Rhode Island Beaches

Welcome to our roundup of the many excellent Rhode Island Beaches that you can experience while you’re visiting Providence. Rhode Island, although only 37 miles wide and 48 miles long, boasts 400 miles of shoreline. The smallest state certainly lives up to its nickname “The Ocean State,” with a plethora of beautiful sandy beaches frequented by locals and tourists alike. With so many beaches to choose from, those circling the Narragansett Bay to open Atlantic Ocean beaches, it’s no wonder that Rhode Island attracts visitors from all over the world.

Take a look at our recommendations for the beautiful Rhode Island beaches to find your perfect fit!

*Local Tip! – Make sure you have CASH on you when making your way to the beach. Most beaches only accept payment for parking and admission in the form of cash!!*

Newport County Beaches

Just over the Pell Bridge lies historic Newport, Rhode Island. One of the world’s oldest vacation spots for the rich and powerful, including the Vanderbilts, Astors, Kennedys, and even Dwight Eisenhower. And it’s no wonder the city attracts visitors from all over the world. With its stretch of beaches spanning Aquidneck Island, all of which are just a short drive (or even walk!) away from bustling downtown Newport’s Thames Street and the prestigious Newport Mansions on Bellevue Avenue.

First Beach (Easton Beach), Newport, RI

Easton's Beach, Photo from City of Newport
Easton’s Beach, photo from City of Newport

Just a 15 minute walk from downtown, First Beach (or Easton Beach) draws many visitors who are looking to bounce between the water, shopping, and dining. The beach is just steps away from the famous Newport Cliff Walk, where visitors can soak in the beauty of the ocean-front Newport Mansions. With a playground, snack bar, and even a carousel, First Beach is a great option for families to get a full Newport experience.

Travel Time from Providence: 55 minutes
Entry: Free
Parking: $10 weekdays/$20 weekends and holidays

Second Beach (Sachuest Beach), Middletown, RI

Second Beach (or Sachuest Beach), while farther away from downtown Newport, boasts many of the same amenities as First Beach- a snack bar, a family-friendly environment, and a gorgeous view of St. George’s Tower. A little farther from downtown means that Second is much more secluded and therefore more of a locals’ beach.

Sachuest Beach, photo from TravelLogged
Sachuest Beach, photo from TravelLogged

However, Second is one of the largest with 1.5 miles of shore line. Take a surf lesson with Rhody Surf down at “Surfer’s End,” bring your paddle board for a workout, hop over to Purgatory Chasm, or simply lay out with your family and friends to enjoy a fantastic beach day.

Travel Time from Providence: 50 minutes
Entry: Free
Parking: $10 weekdays/$20 weekends and holidays 

*Local Tip! – I love coming to Second with my friends because there’s no charge to get onto the beach, only to park. If you go with a few of your friends, your beach day ends up costing less than $5. This beach is also great for larger families so you don’t have to pay high prices to enjoy a gorgeous beach.*

Third Beach, Middletown, RI

Third Beach, photo from Destination Newport
Third Beach, photo from Destination Newport

Just a little further down the road from Second Beach is calmer Third Beach. It’s great for families with small children as it is usually less populated, has smaller waves, and is right next to “Crab Town,” where kids can spot tiny crustaceans and sea creatures. You can also take a walk to Peabody Beach’s snack stand for lunch and other treats.

Travel Time from Providence: 50 minutes
Entry: Free
Parking: $10 weekday/$20 weekends and holidays

Gooseberry Beach, Newport, RI

Gooseberry Beach, photo from TripAdvisor

Visit one of Newport’s most famous attractions, Ocean Drive, on your way to Gooseberry Beach! Located right on the mansion-lined street, Gooseberry is tucked into a cove meaning the waves are small and the beach is quiet. Relax on Gooseberry Beach with your family and friends. The Gooseberry Beach Club, which you need a membership to access, is attached to the public area. But if you get hungry, you can grab a bite at The Gooseberry Café which is open to the public!

Travel Time from Providence: 1 hour
Entry: Free
Parking: $20 daily

Reject’s Beach, Newport, RI

Reject's Beach, photo from Newport Discovery Guide
Reject’s Beach, photo from Newport Discovery Guide

Reject’s Beach obtained its name as it is quite literally the reject part of Bailey’s Beach Club, one of the most exclusive beach clubs on the east coast. Reject’s was for “common folk” who were left without access to Bailey’s when high society created the club during the Gilded Age. Today, it is still roped off from Bailey’s, but it’s a great place to hang out as it is a bit of a local secret.

Travel Time from Providence: 57 minutes
Entry: Free

Parking: No parking, walking only

*Local Tip! – If you drive down Ocean Drive and the surrounding areas, you can actually find a bunch of secluded beaches with no admission price. Right near Brenton Point State Park is Secret Beach, a great local secret.*

South County

Looking to get out of the cities? Head into southern Rhode Island for more great beaches on the bay and on the Atlantic! Take a drive down to Westerly to visit the town beaches as well as famous Watch Hill. Charleston, Narragansett, Wakefield, and South Kingstown all await exploration as you drive through gardens, farms, and quaint downtowns while making your way to the beach.

East Matunuck State Beach, South Kingstown, RI

East Matunuck State Beach, photo from Pintrest
East Matunuck State Beach, photo from Pintrest

East Matunuck State Beach is known for it’s strong surf and amazing views of the Block Island Sound. The sand is a little rockier, but the pavilion area is one of the best in Rhode Island with ample space for picnics and beach recreation. You can watch boats pull out of the Point Judith Harbor and make their way around the Sound. This beach has a great family atmosphere for families of all ages. Matunuck is also home to the Matunuck Oyster Bar and Farm, a farm-to-table operation with amazing seafood and raw bar located on Potter’s Pond. After the beach, head to Matunuck Oyster Bar for their amazing food and philosophy, and while you’re dining you can catch the sunset at their sandbar.

Travel Time from Providence: 45 minutes
Entry: $10 weekday/$14 weekends and holidays
Parking: $20 weekdays/ $28 weekends and holidays

Narragansett Town Beach, Narragansett, RI

Narragansett Town Beach, photo from Pintrest
Narragansett Town Beach, photo from Pintrest

Narragansett Town Beach (or simply “Gansett Beach,” as locals call it) is arguably one of the most popular beaches in Rhode Island. Just steps away from local shops and food, Narragansett is the namesake of Narragansett Bay. The beach has some of the best surfing conditions in the state and surf lessons are available. Pettaquamscutt River (known as “Narrow River” to locals) is located at the end of the beach. It’s a great place to bring your kayak or paddle board and opens up into the Bay. But make sure you get here early- you’d be shocked by how quickly the beach fills up!

Travel Time from Providence: 45 minutes
Entry: $10 weekday/$15 weekends and holidays
Parking: $8 daily

*Local Tip! – Taking the Scenic Route 1A, while it may be a little longer, could save you time in traffic. Also, the snack bar at Gansett has great food, but I highly recommend The Picnic Basket, which is a short walk from the beach. The famous Iggy’s Doughboys is also located a short drive from the beach, but Monahan’s Clam Shack is walking distance from the beach and also has great clamcakes and chowder!

Salty Brine State Beach, Narragansett, RI

Salty Brine Beach, photo from Trip Advisor
Salty Brine Beach, photo from Trip Advisor

The Salty Brine beach is a small beach located in Galilee, RI. It is right near the Point Judith Block Island Ferry location. There’s a bunch of awesome seafood restaurants located right near the beach, so it’s perfect for a short beach day or after-dinner walk. It’s also great for families as there is a sea wall that breaks the surf.

Travel Time from Providence: 45 minutes
Entry: $10 weekday/$14 weekends and holidays
Parking: $20 weekday/$28 weekends and holidays

Scarborough State Beach, Narragansett, RI

Scarborough State Beach, photo from Cozy Beach
Scarborough State Beach, photo from Cozy Beach

Scarborough State Beach is the most visited beach in Rhode Island. This beach includes two modern pavilions with concessions, picnic areas, observation decks, and a boardwalk. Be sure to arrive early to Scarborough as the beach gets flooded with visitors starting early in the morning!

Travel Time from Providence: 45 minutes
Entry: Free
Parking: $14 weekdays/$28 weekends and holidays

Charlestown Town Beach, Charlestown, RI

Charlestown Town Beach, photo from Progressive Charlestown
Charlestown Town Beach, photo from Progressive Charlestown

Charlestown Town Beach is a small, family-oriented beach with modest surf. It is secluded and features great conditions for swimming. Amenities include concessions and a picnic area. Charlestown is a quaint little area to explore with a bunch of beach houses lining the shore!

Travel Time from Providence: 53 minutes
Entry: $10 daily
Parking: $20 daily

*Local Tip! – If you’re headed to Charlestown, check out The Umbrella Factory while you’re there! It has really cool, funky stores and an awesome green house. There’s a bunch of animals roaming around the place as well.

Westerly Town Beach, Westerly, RI

Westerly Town Beach, photo from Destination 360
Westerly Town Beach, photo from Destination 360

Westerly Town Beach, although larger, is a quiet, family-oriented beach. It is a great place to spend the day with family and friends, with a long shore line great for walks. The currents are pretty strong here with decent waves. The pavilion has a plethora of food items to choose from, but the area around the beach also boasts a slew of restaurants. Surrounding Westerly Town Beach is a little arcade area, a waterslide park, go-karts, mini golf, and shopping. It is also just a short drive from Misquamicut Beach and Watch Hill!

Travel Time from Providence: 1 hour
Entry: $10 daily
Parking: Parking nearby for $15-$20

*Local Tip! – If you’re facing the ocean and look to your right, the really, really large white house all the way down the shore is Taylor Swift’s oceanfront mansion!*

Watch Hill Beach, Westerly, RI

Watch Hill Beach, photo from Gonomad
Watch Hill Beach, photo from Gonomad

The Watch Hill Beach is located right behind the historic Watch Hill Carousel. Here, you have a bunch of great little shops, ice cream parlors, restaurants, and beautiful buildings surrounding you. This smaller beach offers an escape from downtown Watch Hill which is always swarming with visitors. Make sure to get into downtown during your visit and take a ride on the carousel!

Travel Time from Providence: 1 hour
Entry: $2-$8 daily
Parking: No parking, must find a spot near by

Misquamicut State Beach, Westerly, RI

Misquamicut State Beach, photo from Clivus
Misquamicut State Beach, photo from Clivus

Misquamicut is one of the largest beaches in Rhode Island and is right around the corner from Westerly Town Beach and Watch Hill. The modest surf and gradual drop-off make it a great place to swim. There is a new, state-of-the-art pavilion located right on the beach. Head into town for amenities and check out the surrounding areas for some family fun.

Travel Time from Providence: 1 hour
Entry: $10 daily
Parking: $20 weekdays, $28 weekends and holidays (out of state)

Block Island

Block Island is a small island located off the coast of RI. It is only accessible by boat or The Block Island Ferry. With 17 miles of shoreline and over 43% of the island reserved as national park, Block Island is a truly unique place to visit for Rhode Islanders and tourists alike. Called “The Bermuda of the North,” Block Island’s main modes of transportation are mopeds and bicycles. Its breathtaking beaches and outdoor activities are sure to keep you busy all day!

Travel Time from Providence: 45 minutes to Pt. Judith, 1 hour ferry ride. Ferries are also available from Fall River and Newport. More info here.

Town Beach, New Shoreham, RI

Town Beach, photo from Block Island
Town Beach, photo from Block Island

“Town Beach” (The Frederick J.Benson Beach) is a short walk from the shops and restaurants in New Shoreham. This beach features a snack pavilion and visitors may rent chairs, cabanas, boogie boards, and more. After your beach day, head back to town for some dinner, shopping, and ice cream!

Entry: Free
Parking: Free

Ballard’s Beach, New Shoreham, RI

Ballard's Beach, photo from Yelp
Ballard’s Beach, photo from Trip Advisor

Visible from the Ferry’s landing, Ballard’s beach is literally just steps away! Head to Ballard’s for a sprawling outside deck, tiki bar, live music, and fantastic seafood in the Pavilion! You can rent chairs and umbrellas through Ballard’s.

Entry: Free
Parking: Free

Mohegan Bluffs, New Shoreham, RI

Mohegan Bluffs Beach, photo from Yelp
Mohegan Bluffs Beach, photo from Yelp

Looking for something more secluded? Rent a bike or moped and head south to Mohegan Bluffs. A beautiful, off-the-beaten-path beach, many miss out on Mohegan because of its somewhat hidden location. Although farther away from town, it’s just a short ride away so you can easily get back for lunch or shopping! If you’re looking for a relaxing day away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, make the trip to Mohegan Bluffs.

Entry: Free
Parking: Free

*Local Tip – While Town Beach and Mohegan Bluffs are more family friendly, Ballard’s is an amazing spot for those looking to spend the day relaxing on the beach with cocktails, music, and food!*

For more information about pricing for The Block Island Ferry, to buy your ticket in advance, and to see all of their locations, click here.

My Recommendations:

As a native Rhode Islander, I was born a natural beach-goer. With so many beautiful beaches with all different vibes, it’s hard to choose just one as my favorite. If I want to quickly jet down to the beach, get a few hours in the sun and water, grab lunch and go home, I’ll head to Narragansett Town Beach. However, if I’m looking for a full beach day, I usually will make my way to Second Beach in Newport. There, I can get hours in at the beach, grab lunch at the pavilion and relax all day, then hit Thames Street for dinner. Westerly Town beach is where I usually go with my family, it’s quieter than Gansett/Second Beach and you can still go into Watch Hill or the surrounding areas to get a bite to eat. Block Island is definitely a special trip as you have to take the ferry to get there, but I love heading to Town Beach during the day, hitting the shops, and ending the day at Ballard’s.

Follow this link to Rhode Island’s Tourism website for a full list of all the beaches our beautiful state has to offer!

Did we miss your favorite RI beach? Let us know in the comments.
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Intern, optimist, beach bum.

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