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Top 5 Beaches in Rhode Island

Here's what you need to know...
  • Rhode Island has hundreds of miles of coastline and is the ideal destination for a beach getaway
  • Each beach in Rhode Island has a unique appeal and amenities
  • Ensure that you stay safe while driving around Rhode Island touring the beaches

Each year when temperatures warm up and days grow longer, many people’s thoughts turn to spending leisurely days at the beach with family and friends.

Summer is the ideal time to head to a beach, and Rhode Island beaches are an idyllic summer destination to consider. In fact, despite its small size, Rhode Island has more than 400 miles of coastline and more than 100 public and private beaches.

While Rhode Island may not be a state that you commonly think about when you consider a beach getaway, more than 20 million visitors enjoy the pristine shores throughout this state each year. In fact, visiting beaches is one of the most popular outdoor recreational activities in Rhode Island.

These are gorgeous beaches with unspoiled expanses of rolling dunes and coastal vegetation. You can find everything from great amenities to historic lighthouses and abundant wildlife at various beaches throughout the state.

With so many amazing beaches to explore in Rhode Island, you may be wondering which ones you should visit first. A closer look at the top five beaches in the state will help you to make your upcoming beach plans.

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Top 5 Beaches in Rhode Island


#1 – Roger Wheeler State Beach

Known For: A pavilion and concession stand
Must Do Activity: Explore the environmental education area

The Roger Wheeler State Beach is conveniently located in Narragansett, and it was originally known as Sand Hill Cove until its name was changed in 1970 to honor a popular beach safety activist.

This is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike, and you may want to arrive earlier in the day during the summer months to ensure you get a prime spot.

Here, you can enjoy amenities such as a playground, a huge beach area, picnic tables, a concession stand, and more. The environmental education area is a great place to learn more about the local environment and wildlife. A lifeguard is on duty to keep swimmers safe during the peak season.

#2 – Narragansett Beach

Known For: Beach pavilions and cabanas
Must Do Activity: Lounge on pristine beaches

Narragansett Beach is one of the more popular beaches in the state, and as many as 10,000 visitors per day enjoy splashing in the waves and lounging in the sun here during the peak tourist season.

Admission for those who are age 11 or older is $8 per day, and there is an additional parking fee. The beach itself is breathtaking, with clean, blue water and soft sand.

Cabanas are available for local residents to rent, but there is a lengthy waiting list to obtain one. These include shower facilities and the ability to store beach items on-site.

Pavilions for resident-use only are located on the north and south side of the beach as well, and these feature showers, changing rooms, picnic tables, concessions, and other amenities that will make your time at the beach more enjoyable.

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#3 – Sachuest Beach

Known For: Being relatively uncrowded
Must Do Activity: Swim or surf

Situated in Middletown, Sachuest Beach is also known as Second Beach. This is a small beach that is popular with locals, and it has a rocky shoreline and rolling dunes to add to its appeal. Dogs are permitted on a leash during the very early morning hours daily.

The beach itself spans for 1.25 miles, and visitors can enjoy on-site restrooms and outdoor showers. If you are looking for a great place to enjoy a relaxing day at the beach away from crowds, Sachuest Beach may be the ideal destination to consider.

#4 – Mohegan Bluffs

Known For: Clay cliffs, a sandy beach, a historical plaque
Must Do Activity: Admire the views

Mohegan Bluffs is located on Block Island, and it is one of the more unique and beautiful beaches in the state. To access the water, you will need to climb down 141 stairs. While this can be tiring for some people, the effort is well worthwhile. At the bottom of the stairs, you will enjoy a sandy beach that is bordered by towering clay cliffs.

There is a historical plaque on the beach commemorating a famous Native American battle that took place in this location in 1590. You can also enjoy incredible coastal views that include Montauk in the distance.

#5 – Mansion Beach

Known For: Free beach access
Must Do Activity: Surfing

If you are interested in enjoying a quiet day on a relatively uncrowded beach, Mansion Beach in Block Island is an excellent destination to consider. This beach is accessible only by traveling along a somewhere bumpy and narrow road. Parking is limited, so you may consider riding a bike rather than driving.

When you reach the beach, you will be greeted by soft, white sands and several miles of expansive coastal views.

Waves here are generally big and are ideal for surfing. There are no amenities at Mansion Beach, such as restrooms or concessions. Bring a picnic and your own chairs, and enjoy a wonderful day at the beach with family and friends.

Safety Tips While at the Beach in Rhode Island

While trips to the beach are known for being relaxing and fun, they can sometimes become unpleasant and even dangerous. You understandably want to stay safe and have an amazing beach experience, and these tips can help you to accomplish this goal.

  • Pay attention to the warning flags – Flags at each beach indicate the presence of a strong current or undertow, dangerous wildlife, and other issues that you need to be aware of. Learn what each flag color or design means before you head to the beach.
  • Waves and currents are strongly affected by weather conditions – They can change very quickly, so check the weather forecast before you head to the beach, and be observant about changing weather conditions while you are outdoors.
  • Swimming in the ocean can be dangerous – Only skilled, strong swimmers should venture into water that is deeper than their waist. All swimmers should use the buddy system to stay safe in the water.
  • Many beaches in Rhode Island are monitored by lifeguards during peak seasons – It is best to choose a beach that has a lifeguard on duty. You never know what may happen at the beach, and a lifeguard could potentially save your life.
  • You should also be observant while at the beach – Watch out for dangerous currents, and be vigilant about others who may be in distress in the water. Pay attention to wildlife, such as sharks, jellyfish, and other creatures that could harm you and others.
  • Avoid drinking excessively while at the beach – Alcohol can impair your judgment, and this can make it more dangerous for you to splash in the waves. Remember that some waves are huge, and they can easily wash over you or pull you underwater.
  • Wear sunscreen, and reapply it frequently – Sun damage and severe burns are common, and they are entirely preventable. Sweat and salt water can cause your sunscreen to wash off, so ensure that you have enough sunscreen to reapply it several times while you are outdoors. It is also wise to bring an umbrella or canopy so that you have access to shade if you need it.

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While the beach can be a dangerous place at times, it can also be dangerous getting to and from the beach. Accidents and other mishaps can happen, and these issues can ruin a fun outing with family and friends. Car insurance can help you to avoid the financial distress associated with collisions and other issues.

A smart idea is to review and update your car insurance policy approximately every six months, and this is because rates and your own coverage needs can change periodically. Compare up to four different quotes for new car insurance from top providers.

Remember that you are required by Rhode Island state law to maintain a minimum level of car insurance at all times. This includes at least $25,000 for property damage as well as $25,000 per person for bodily injury or $50,000 per accident for bodily injury.

Many drivers in Rhode Island purchase more than the minimum amount of coverage than what is required by the state to enjoy more pronounced benefits.

Driving Tips to Enjoy Your Beach Trip

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There are a few great tips you can follow to enjoy your beach trip more fully. For example, you may consider making plans to drive your car on the beach.

A permit is required to do so, and you must properly outfit your car with required safety items beforehand.

It is also wise to check the condition of your vehicle before heading to the beach. Ensure that your tires are properly inflated, and get a tune-up or oil change as needed to prevent a breakdown.

Now is a great time to explore the different beaches in Rhode Island and to make plans to enjoy time outdoors with family and friends. While making your travel plans, update your insurance, and confirm that your vehicle is in great shape.

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