- Where to Go
- The Best of Vermont
- Rumblings of Revolution
- New, New England Dining
- Boston’s Artistic Expression
- Vermont Leaf Peeping
- Into the Wild
- Vermont Skiing at Its Best
- Visit Vermont’s Maple Sugar Shacks
- Connecticut for Kids
- Vermont’s Covered Bridges
- A Shore Thing
- Vermont with Kids
- Portland Maine Art Galleries
- Small-Town Flavor
- Connecticut’s Wine Trails
- New Hampshire’s Farmers Markets
- A Weekend of Vermont Art
- Family Matters
- Maine Wilderness Camps
- Vermont Cheddar Houses
- Connecticut Spas
The most popular beaches on the South Coast are Narragansett Town Beach (Ocean Ave., Narragansett), known for its surfing and summer crowds, and Misquamicut Beach (257 Atlantic Ave., Misquamicut, 401/596-9097, www.misquamicut.org), which attracts a Baywatch-like beach scene of randy college students.
Quieter Charlestown Town Beach (557 Charlestown Beach Rd., Charlestown, 401/364-1208) has a wide swath of yellow sand and crashing surf, while Roger Wheeler State Beach (Rte. 108, Narragansett, 401/789-3563), overlooking the fishing boat traffic around Point Judith, is one of the prettiest spots of sand in the state.
Family-friendly Watch Hill Beach (Bay St., Watch Hill, 401/348-6007) includes restrooms and changing facilities; from there, it is also possible to walk out to Napatree Point, known for its quiet seclusion and bird- watching.
Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge
The wilderness jewel of the south coast, Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge occupies the former home of a naval base (Charlestown, 401/364-9124, www.fws.gov) with more than 3,000 acres of unspoiled tidal bays full of shore birds and bioluminescent sea organisms behind a protective barrier beach.
Next door, the town-owned Ninigret Park is home to the Frosty Drew Nature Center and Observatory (61 Park Ln., Charlestown, 401/364-9508, www.frostydrew.org), which provides nightly displays of some of the darkest skies in Southern New England.
A linear trail running the length of western Rhode Island, the unimaginatively named North–South Trail (www.rigreenways.org) takes in 75 miles of streambeds, rocky hillsides, and abandoned foundations of 17th- and 18th-century homes. The trail starts at Ninigret Pond; maps are available from the Greenways Alliance of Rhode Island or the state department of transportation (Two Capitol Hill, Providence, 401/222-2450, www.dot.state.ri.us).
Boating and Fishing
The Kayak Center of Rhode Island (9 Phillips St., Wickford, 401/295-4400, www.kayakcentre.com) runs kayak rentals and tours into Narragansett Bay from its waterfront location in Wickford; it also has an outlet in Charlestown (562 Charlestown Beach Rd., 401/364-8000). For deep-sea fishing, the Frances Fleet (401/783-4988, www.francesfleet.com) runs boats out of Galilee. Anglers engage in surf-fishing right off of Charlestown Beachway State Beach; stop by Breachway Bait & Tackle (166 Charlestown Beach Rd., Charlestown, 401/364-6407) for supplies.
More than 750 campsites are available at Burlingame State Park (Rte. 1, Charlestown, 401/322-7994, www.riparks.com/burlgmcamp.htm), which also has five cabins and a yurt, and facilities for boating and swimming on Watchaug Pond.
© Michael Blanding and Alexandra Hall from Moon New England, 2nd Edition