Don't overlook Rhode Island's best beaches!

15 Best Rhode Island Beaches 2023: Misquamicut, Newport and Beyond

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Looking for the best Rhode Island beaches?

Rhode Island is known for its breathtaking ocean views, quaint towns, and numerous oceanside activities. While Rhode Island is one of the smallest U.S. states, it has an impressive 400 miles of coastline which has earned the state the official name of The Ocean State.

While Rhode Island’s beaches are stunning and clear, they are considered a well-kept travel secret as the beaches often stay out of the limelight compared to the Hamptons or Cape Cod. The beach towns largely avoid out-of-area tourists and are able to keep their local charm. 

Best Rhode Island Beach coast

Best Rhode Island Beaches

Rhode Island’s beaches have everything to satisfy a variety of interests and abilities. Surfers, sun soakers, beachcombers, or even ice cream aficionados, will find a Rhode Island beach for them!

Grab some sunblock and let’s kick off beach season in Rhode Island!

1. Misquamicut State Beach, Westerly

Misquamicut State Beach oceanview

Misquamicut State Beach is a half-mile stretch of sand that offers soft sands, and waves for beginner swimmers. Between the gradual drop-off in the water and countless amenities nearby, it is the perfect spot for your next beach day. Bring the whole family!

The amenities include restrooms, changing areas, outdoor showers, a playground, shady picnic areas, pavilion access, and snack shacks. The summer months also bring lots of activities such as fireworks, or live music.

Walk up to Westerly Town Beach to see the historic carousel or visit Bayview Fun Park and Westerly Water Wiz across the street for go-carts, mini-golf, or sand-free water fun. Misquamicut State Beach also hosts fairs in September.

Parking for non-seasonal pass holders costs $12 on weekdays and $30 on weekends but seasonal passes can be purchased online. The beach has wheelchair accessibility and lifeguards will be present from 9-6 in the summer months. No dogs or camping is allowed at the beach.

2. Easton Beach (First Beach), Newport

Sunset over Newport Bridge

Known locally as First Beach, Easton Beach is 3/4 a mile of soft sands located conveniently near downtown Newport by the famous Mansion Cliff Walk. In contrast to quieter Sachuest Beach, Easton offers loads of nearby activities and entertainment for families.

Enjoy the playground, skate park, and vintage carousel, and see Save the Bay Exploration Center and Aquarium to learn about the local ecosystem and experience the touch tanks with turtles, sea urchins, and crabs. The Exploration Center has tons of events such as scavenger hunts, animal presentations and interactive storytelling.

Adults would enjoy taking a walk on the 3.5 mile cliff walk to see the historic mansions and explore downtown Newport full of boutiques and fresh seafood.

There are plenty of amenities near the beach such as showers, restrooms, grills, picnic areas, as well as a rental shop and general store. Beach wheelchairs are available as well as rentals for umbrellas, chairs, and boogie boards.

3. East Beach, Charlestown

Marshy grass at Rhode Island Beach East Beach

Looking to escape the crowds? East Beach in Charlestown offers a quiet beachside experience with soft white sand and rolling turquoise waves. It is a bit farther of a drive for Rhode Islanders but the fewer crowds make the trip worth it!

It is situated next to the salt marshes of Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge and is considered one of the most untouched beaches in New England. If you get tired of lounging on East Beach, you can venture to the Ninigret Refuge for kayaking or bird-watching.

East Beach is ideal for adventurers or campers as you are able to rent campsites along the 3 miles of undeveloped coast or even drive on the beach with an ATV with a permit.

  • Tip: There is quite limited parking near the beach so be sure to arrive early.

4. East Mutunuck State Beach, South Kingston

East Matunuck's beach grass and soft sand

East Mutunuck State Beach is known for its 144 acres of wide, public beach and great surf. This Atlantic-facing coast is very popular as it’s less than a 15-minute drive from Kingston, RI- very convenient for day-trippers! Mutunuck is open 9-6 in the summer with gates closing at sunset. As always there is limited parking so arrive early.

It is known for its big waves that are perfect for surfers as well as body surfers or boogie boarders. While the beach is open to swimming and has seasonal lifeguards, families should be aware that the surf is strong and not suitable for small children or novice swimmers.

If you aren’t looking to surf or swim, there are plenty of seashells and space on the beach to lie down a towel and dive into a good book.

East Mutunuck Beach has all of the classic amenities including outdoor showers, bathrooms and snack vendors. Sally’s Burger, the concession stand on site, has everything from breakfast food to burgers to ice cream.

5. Sachuest Beach (Second Beach), Middletown

Rhode Island Beach Sachuest's boats by water

Located just 10 minutes from Newport, Sachuest Beach, also known as Second Beach, is a mile long family and surfer friendly beach. Much less crowded than nearby beaches, Sachuest Beach offers a full range of amenities from restrooms, showers and changing areas as well as snack vendors, grills and picnic areas.

Be sure to grab Italian Ice from Dell’s Lemonade!

Surfing is great at Sachuest! The west side of the beach is known as “Surfer’s End” where most of the surfers will ride. There are rentals available as well. Parking is $20-30 during the summer, but free in the off-season.

6. Goosewing Beach, Little Compton

Goosewing Beach sandy shores

Considered a hidden gem by locals, Goosewing Beach is a quiet, wide beach away from the crowds, lined with sea grass, tidal pools, sand dunes, and migratory birds. One of the only public beaches in Little Compton, Goosewing is perfect for nature lovers and those who want an idyllic sunbathing spot.

The beach is part of the Goosewing Beach Preserve which is a 75-acre conservation area with numerous bird species, including the endangered Piping Plover. Visit the Benjamin Family Environmental Center to explore facts about the local ecosystem and take one of their guided nature walks.

The Beach is rather secluded but can be a bit hard to get to. Park in the popular lot for South Shore Beach and then take a 10-minute walk to the end of the beach, cross a small stream to reach Goosewing Beach. The peaceful waves and beach grass waving in the wind will make the trip worth it!

7. Narragansett Town Beach, Narragansett

Surfers at Narragansett Beach in Rhode Island.

Narragansett Town Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Rhode Island and extends for about a mile along the coast with a total of 19 acres. Known for its surfing, the beach also is great for swimmers and sunbathers.

It has amenities such as snack shacks, a pavilion, restrooms, and lifeguard stations. The beach is close to the town center with easy access to shops, and other food stops for ice cream, lobster rolls, or happy hour drinks.

The beach attracts surfers as the waves can reach over 4 feet- ideal for beginners. Utilize the surfer-only beach area and rent some equipment from local surf shops Narragansett Surf & Skate and Warm Winds two blocks away.

The local surfers know to arrive early in the morning to avoid the crowds, but even those who arrive later still benefit from the surfer-only area.

It costs $12 per person to enter the beach, but those under 11 years old are free. Narragansett Town Beach is very popular and attracts up to 10,000 visitors per day on summer weekends!

8. Roger W. Wheeler State Beach, Narragansett

Homes on Rhode Island's beach

The Roger Wheeler State Beach is a 27-acre beach on the southern tip of Point Judith that offers super soft sands and calm waves. Protected by a three-mile seawall, the waters are gentle and the dropoff is gradual.

Besides the calm waves, this beach is also great for families due to the numerous amenities and activities. There is a playground and pavilion with an educational sea life area as well as concession stands, restrooms, and showers. There is plenty of parking within close proximity of the pavilion.

9. Watch Hill Beach, Westerly

View from porch of Rhode Island's Watch Hill beach

Watch Hill is an upscale, picturesque neighborhood that offers untouched sands and relaxing waves as well as high-end restaurants, spas, and shopping. Watch Hill is quintessential New England and attracts celebrity guests including Taylor Swift who owns a mansion nearby.

Come for the beaches, but stay for the quintessential, charming New England atmosphere!

Watch Hill Beach, also known as Carousel Beach, is located in the upscale neighborhood Westerly and offers visitors pristine, wide beaches with soft surf- perfect for a day of relaxation soaking up the sun!

Take a walk to the Watch Hill Lighthouse and continue along the beautiful coastline for miles. Adjoining Napatree Point Conservation Area offers many trails and opportunities for birdwatching.

There are amenities at Watch Hill Beach including restrooms, changing rooms, and umbrella/chair rentals. Located right near the historic 1876 Carousel, there are numerous summer events along the beach as well as quick access to restaurants and shopping.

10. East Beach, Westerly

Westerly Beach with umbrella

East Beach is another Westerly option for those who don’t mind parking in the main town and walking over. The upside is that the lack of nearby parking keeps the crowds at bay! This 3 mile long barrier beach separates the Atlantic Ocean and Ninigret Pond and offers gentle waves and untouched beaches.

Enjoy the view of Block Island or rent out one of the nearby camping spots. Imagine waking up to the sound of ocean waves!

This beach also has close proximity to the Watch Hill towncenter so make sure to stop by for some icecream or a lobster roll after your day on the beach.

11. Napatree Point Beach, Westerly

Napatree Beach and Rhode Island birds

Just east of Watch Hill Beach, you will find Napatree Point Beach at the entrance of Napatree Point Conservation Area. If you are looking to escape the Watch Hill Beach crowds, Napatree Point Beach would be a great alternative. The beach does not attract the same crowds as the Watch Hill area beaches as there are no facilities or amenities.

Napatree Point Beach is ideal for nature lovers as there is plenty of birdwatching! Be sure to bring your binoculars to see the numerous migratory birds running among the dunes or spot the hawks that arrive in late summer. It is also a nesting area for birds like osprey, egrets, and falcons.

You can also start your day hiking at the Nappatree Point Conservation area and end up on the beach. There is a 2.75-mile hike that has marshes, boulder scrambles, and walking along the sand.

12. Charleston Beach, Block Island

Charleston Beach with gazebo

Block Island is off the southwestern coast of Rhode Island that offers numerous miles of soft, sandy beaches and premier access to nature preserves and stunning landscapes.

Block Island is only accessible by ferry. Take a ferry from Point Judith or Newport Rhode Island, New London, Connecticut, or Long Island, NY. The ferries take about one hour depending on the speed of your ferry selection. Please note that car reservations need to be made in advance if you plan on bringing your vehicle.

It may take a bit of effort to head out to Block Island but the beaches are worth it!

Charleston Beach is an untouched, hidden rocky gem ideal for photographers, snorkelers, or beachcombers. Located on the Western side of Block Island, Charleston Beach stretches from the inlet to New Harbor South. It is a great place to enjoy the sunsets, walk along the sands or snorkel and see some marine life.

The beach isn’t ideal for swimming as it’s full of pebbles and the sand isn’t as soft as other Rhode Island beaches. Definitely bring your swim shoes if you plan on wading in the water.

The beach is reachable by way of Champlin Road past Champlin’s Marina via bike or car. There are no facilities by the beach so be sure to bring your own picnic lunch!

13. Mohegan Bluffs Beach, Block Island

Mohegan Bluffs and view of ocean

Mohegan Bluffs Beach is not ideal for those seeking your classic beach bum experience but would be perfect for visitors with a bit of adventure! The Mohegan Bluffs are 150-foot tall cliffs that offer gorgeous expansive (yet steep!) views of the ocean. On clear days you can even see Long Island!

Before you head down to the beach, be sure to take the trail to the historic South East Lighthouse. Built-in 1875, the lighthouse offers spectacular views and is a popular spot for sunrise/sunset viewing.

If you are done snapping your pics from the top of the cliffs, head down the 141-step staircase to the Mohegan Bluffs Beach. Only reachable by foot, Mohegan Bluffs Beach is a bit rocky but is a cool place to hang out and enjoy the secluded waves. Dogs are welcome!

14. Crescent Beach, Block Island

Pebbles at Crescent Beach Rhode Island

Crescent Beach is located on the Eastern side of Block Island and is 2.5 miles starting from the ferry port at Old Harbor to Clay Head. One of the most photographed in Rhode Island, Crescent Beach is a long stretch of white soft sand with gentle waves.

There are many amenities along the beach at the Benson Pavilion, known as Town Beach halfway up the beach, including umbrellas, chairs, cabanas, and boogie board rentals as well as showers/changing facilities and snack shacks.

Bonus- dogs are always welcome!

  • Tip: Arrive early for a spot in the lifeguarded area.

15. Ballard’s Beach, Block Island

Ballard's Beach Resort

Ballard’s Beach is one of the best beaches in Rhode Island as it has gorgeous white sands, tons of amenities as well as close proximity to the harbor drop-off!

The beach has premium amenities and beach access provided by Ballard’s Hotel. You don’t have to be a guest of Ballard Hotel to take advantage of the amenities. Day visitors can utilize their chair rentals or, if you’re feeling luxurious, you can rent a cabana with private restaurant service and tiki bar access.

There are numerous summer events, and sports along the beach as well as late-night bonfires. Ballard’s Beach is perfect for those who want an all-inclusive beach feel and quick access to restaurants and drinks.

Map of Rhode Island’s Best Beaches

Where to Stay Near Rhode Island’s Best Beaches

No matter where you go in Rhode Island you won’t be more than 30 minutes from a beach!

Where to stay in Watch Hill (Westerly)?

Watch Hill Cottage is walkable to the beach in less than 5 minutes. Perfect for larger groups who want quick restaurants, shopping, and beach access.

Click here for rates and availability at Watch Hill Cottage!

Where to stay in Newport?

Serenity Inn is situated in a historic hill neighborhood, occupying a Victorian house constructed in 1855. It is conveniently located just a few blocks away from downtown Newport, where you can explore numerous shops and restaurants.

Within a 10-minute drive from the inn, you can find the 450-acre Norman Bird Sanctuary, boasting 7 miles of scenic hiking trails. Newport State Airport is a little over 5 minutes away, and the city center of Newport can be reached within a 4-minute drive.

Click here to book Serenity Inn Newport now!

Where do I stay on Block Island?

Ballard’s Resort and Ballard’s Inn offer guests an unforgettable island experience with its oceanside inn and hotel. Ballard’s Hotel features spacious rooms equipped with all the classic amenities like air conditioning for a comfortable stay.

Guests can enjoy views of the harbor from their King Deluxe room balconies or relax by the waterfront in rocking chairs. A variety of beach amenities are available for rent, including umbrellas and lounge chairs. The inn is also within walking distance of all the local attractions and just moments away from the ferry.

Book your stay at Ballard’s and click here. Space is extremely limited!

Frequently Asked Questions: Rhode Island Beaches

What is the least crowded RI beach?

East Beach in Charlestown lesser crowded beachside experience with soft white sand and rolling turquoise waves. It is a bit farther of a drive for Rhode Islanders but the fewer crowds make the trip worth it!

What is the cleanest beach water in RI?

While all the beaches in Rhode Island are known for their clear water, the beaches in Narragansett are renowned for their clean sands and crystal clear waters.

Where can I purchase a RI beach parking pass?

For all of Rhode Island’s state public beaches you can purchase a parking pass here.

The following beaches are including in the parking pass: Charlestown Breachway, East Beach in Charlestown, East Matunuck in South Kingstown, Misquamicut in Westerly, Roger Wheeler, Scarborough North and South, and Salty Brine in Narragansett.

Wrap-Up: Best Beaches in Rhode Island

Rhode Island beaches are absolutely worth a trip to the Ocean State! They are known for being clean, and easily accessible to the public. There is such a great variety on Rhode Island’s coast from grassy dunes and salt marshes to pebbles and large waves.

Explore the Rhode Island ecosystem through the beaches on nature preserves, or explore some quintessential New England town centers. No matter your goal- beach combing, surfing, swimming, or exploring- Rhode Island has a beach for you! Come explore these hidden gems for a great summer day.