10 Best Beaches In Rhode Island

Updated On October 4, 2023
Rhode Island

Jutting out into the waters of the Atlantic and nestled between Massachusetts and New York, lies the smallest state in the union.

Rhode Island may be tiny, but it’s a place that’s loaded with history, culture, and plenty of outdoor activities.

The coastlines of the Narragansett and Atlantic combine to make over 384 miles of natural playground.

No wonder this New England hamlet, with a population of just over 1 million, is nicknamed The Ocean State.

When visiting the capital city of Providence, you’ll be treated to everything a big city has to offer, but with a small-town feel.

From an Ivy League university to museums and a theater, Providence has all you need for a big-city excursion.

Amateur and professional sailors can delight in the waters as Rhode Island is known as the sailing capital of the world.

Famous for its calamari, johnnycakes, oysters, and clam cakes, The Ocean State is worth a visit if you’re into seafood.

Fans of the Gilded Age (the period and the HBO series) will relish visiting Newport to observe the mansions once belonging to tycoon families like the Vanderbilts and the Astors.

But what are the best beaches for us regular folk to visit in Rhode Island? Read on for the top 10. 

10 Best Beaches In Rhode Island

Mohegan Bluffs
Mohegan Bluffs

10. Mohegan Bluffs – Block Island, Rhode Island

With its 200-foot cliffs, you’ll have stunning, panoramic views of the open Atlantic.

On a clear day, you can see Long Island.

While this alone is enough to land the Bluffs in our top 10, there’s more.

The waves make for some of the best surfing and boogie boardings in Rhode Island.

They are often calm enough for a great swim as well.

There’s even a section for those who like to sunbathe au natural.

It’s a great place to stop and relax.

There are no facilities or food stands, so bring plenty of water and snacks if you plan to stay for a while.

Reject's Beach
Reject’s Beach

9. Reject’s Beach – Newport, Rhode Island

As the name suggests, Rejects Beach is literally the unwanted portion of the beach where the uber-wealthy folks that inhabit neighboring Bailey’s Beach catch their rays.

It’s even separated by a fence and rope that extends far out into the ocean, to ensure people stay at the Reject’s beach.

The good part is, it’s a small, secluded, free beach.

There is no parking, so you’ll need to walk or bike.

But you won’t be crowded and the water is just as beautiful as it is on the rich side.

You can also see the end of Newport’s iconic cliff walk, where the former vacation homes of many Gilded Age tycoons still rest behind.

Watch Hill Beach
Watch Hill Beach

8. Watch Hill Beach – Westerly, Rhode Island

Fair warning.

Taylor Swift recently bought a house here, and residents and visitors alike say prices have gone up as a result.

Other than that, Watch Hill Beach is a beautiful spot with great waves and soft sand. 

Beach chairs and umbrellas are available for rent.

There are restrooms and showers, and nearby restaurants and bars.

But the best part of this beach, (at least for the kids), is the 135-year-old carousel.

Older kids can sit on the outer portion and play the ring game.

It’s one of the highlights of the day for the younger crowd.

The beach is open daily from 9 AM until 6 PM. 

Roger W. Wheeler Beach
Roger W. Wheeler Beach

7. Roger W. Wheeler Beach – Narragansett, Rhode Island

Located inside the 27-acre state park of the same name, this beach offers a picnic area, concessions, shops, and toilets.

There’s also a brand-new pavilion, a nature area, and a playground.

The park offers free beach wheelchairs and complimentary sunscreen.

Visitors adore this pristinely clean beach, with soft sand and calm waters.

This is a great choice for families with smaller children.

The beach is open each day from 9 AM to 6 PM from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Crescent Beach
Crescent Beach

6. Crescent Beach – Block Island, Rhode Island

The magnificent sunrises and sunsets are just part of what makes this 2-mile, crescent-shaped beach the most popular on Block Island.

Adjacent to the beach, visitors can tour the Clay Head Nature Preserve.

Feel free to head out on the pier and do some fishing, swim, and play some volleyball.

Crescent is touted as one of the safest swimming beaches in the state.

The flat sand and lack of seaweed and shells make the water easy to enjoy.

A snack bar, restrooms, and chair rentals are available at the covered pavilion.

East Matunuck Beach
East Matunuck Beach

5. East Matunuck Beach – South Kingston, Rhode Island

The strong waves, and miles of beach that have remained unchanged, will delight beachcombers and tranquility seekers.

Watch the ferry come and go on its way to the island, or kick back and catch some sun.

Restrooms, showers, and concession stands are available.

There are also beach wheelchairs available at the lifeguard tower, and EV charging stations in the parking lot.

If you’re looking to make a weekend of it, there are plenty of inns and hotels in the area.

Goosewing Beach
Goosewing Beach

4. Goosewing Beach – Little Compton, Rhode Island

Goosewing is part of a 75-acre nature preserve that is accessible from South Shore Beach.

Once you’ve taken the short walk to the preserve, you’ll find a coastal pond, barrier beach, and a dune system.

The spot also manages the breeding populations of the rare piping plover and tern sea birds.

You’re invited to go to the large salt pond but are required to respect the fenced areas.

The beach is rustic and the water is warmer than other places in Rhode Island.

During the summer, you’ll find food trucks at the South Shore entrance.

Narragansett Town Beach
Narragansett Town Beach

3. Narragansett Town Beach – Narragansett, Rhode Island

Narragansett is a classic saltwater, New England coast beach.

It’s so picturesque, that tons of movies have used it as a location, including The Great Gatsby, Mystic Pizza, and There’s Something About Mary.

It’s also one of the cleanest and most accessible beaches on Rhode Island.

With 19 acres of long, flat beach, there’s plenty of room for everyone.

A ton of parking is available, along with ADA surf chairs, cabanas, restrooms, food concessions, and a first aid station.

Separate areas of the water are designated to accommodate swimming, surfing, and fishing.

If it’s your thing, yoga on the beach is free each morning in the summer.

Easton's Beach/First Beach
Easton’s Beach/First Beach

2. Easton’s Beach/First Beach – Newport, Rhode Island

Another beach that’s open to everyone in the once-exclusive resort town of Newport is Easton’s Beach, also known as First Beach.

It’s the oldest incorporated beach in Rhode Island and was once the site of a huge amusement park.

Unfortunately, that was wiped out during a hurricane in 1938.

But the beautiful beach remains one of the best in the state.

The area is 3/4 miles long and has a lovely boardwalk for strolls and watching sunsets.

There’s a snack bar with tasty lobster rolls, an aquarium, a carousel, a beach bounce, and bathhouses.

The beach also hosts free concerts and a weekly children’s night.

Restrooms, showers, and beach rentals are available.

Misquamicut Beach
Misquamicut Beach

1. Misquamicut Beach – Westerly, Rhode Island

This gorgeous beach is 3 miles long and is part of The Misquamicut State Park.

There’s a modest surf, so it’s great for swimming, wading, and boogie boarding.

The water is clean and warmer than other areas of Rhode Island.

A brand-new pavilion sits on top of the dunes and provides concessions, gift shops, and beach rentals (like umbrellas and chairs).

There are also a few bars where adults can grab a cocktail and watch the sunset.

It’s not overly crowded and laden with attractions, but there’s just the right balance to give everyone a great day at the beach.

The beach is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day each day, from 9 AM to 6 PM.

Rhode Island Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Rhode Island Safety Review

Safety Index:
Rhode Island

Frequently Asked Questions

Are sharks a problem near Rhode Island beaches?

While sharks like Mako, Blue, Tiger, and Hammerhead are very common in the waters off Rhode Island, shark attacks are not.

In fact, there have been only 2 recorded attacks since 1837.

The sharks do pass through though, making it a great place for fishermen.

However, there are many regulations to follow.

What is the Red Tide on Rhode Island beaches?

The Red Tide is actually red seaweed that can contain little bugs and smells like rotten eggs.

It harms the habitat as it chokes out oxygen and nutrients that marine life relies upon.

A combination of the coastal shape, water temperature, and coastal pollution causes it.

What are the best places to surf in Rhode Island?

Narragansett and Newport have the best surfing spots in Rhode Island.

What beaches allow surf fishing?

Misquamicat, Block Island, and Newport allow fishing in select areas of the beaches.

Leave a Comment

Facebook Pinterest