Rhode Islanders call the rocky point at the south end of Westerly  one of the best-kept secrets in the state. And no wonder. The village of Watch Hill—so called because it was once used as a Revolutionary War lookout—is a quaint resort community welcoming to families and couples alike.
At the turn of the 20th century, an enterprising local rented out rooms on the lighthouse at the top of the hill; grand old hotels followed, and high society including Clark Gable, Douglas Fairbanks, and Henry Ford came to cool their heels by the sea.
The beachfront resort has an intimate feel, fronted by boutiques and restaurants and home to the country’s oldest carousel, the Flying Horse Carousel (Bay St., 401/348-6007, 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Fri.; 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Sat.–Sun., $1).
Up the hill, surrounded by mansions of the summer folk, Watch Hill Lighthouse (Lighthouse Rd., www.lighthouse.cc/watchhill ) still sends forth its beacon. Built in 1856, the granite tower isn’t the prettiest lighthouse in the world, but its vantage on the top of the hill is spectacular.