Rhode Island may be small, but its beautiful beach offerings are mighty. The entire state is just 48 miles long and 37 miles wide, but it boasts over 400 miles of shoreline!
That much shoreline means there’s a bit of beach for everyone. Whether you’re looking for some rest and relaxation, busy family fun, or the adventure of a lifetime, there’s a beach for you. Read on to learn about some of the best beaches in Rhode Island and what each has to offer you.
Best Beaches in Rhode Island for Relaxation
1. Ballard’s Beach
Block Island, RI
At Ballard’s Beach on Block Island, you can enjoy all the amenities and fun of a private beach without the cover charge.
Ballard’s Beach is within walking distance from the ferry. If traveling to and from the beach isn’t something you want to do, you can also book a stay at the hotel right on the beach. It’s an updated building from the late 1800s.
If traveling with a group, you can rent a VIP cabana that will fit up to 12 people. It comes with four regular chairs, four beach chairs, and four lounge chairs. Individual chairs are available to rent, but you’re welcome to bring your own.
This is one of the best beaches in Rhode Island for music lovers because they’ve got live music every single day in the summer. Enjoy a drink from the tiki bar or a meal in the restaurant and go dance the night away after a day relaxing by the beach!
2. Crescent Beach
Block Island, RI
If you’re visiting Block Island and looking for a quieter kind of relaxation, check out Crescent Beach. It’s one of Rhode Island’s best beaches for a simple day of rest by the water.
This beach is wide open with beautiful white sand. The water is quiet and excellent for safe swimming. Lifeguards are on duty daily from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM.
Right in the middle of this stretch of beach, at Fredrick J. Benson Pavilion, you’ll find a concession stand. There, you can rent boogie boards, chairs, or umbrellas for a daily rate.
3. East Beach
Watch Hill, RI
East Beach in Watch Hill is certainly among the best beaches in Rhode Island, just ask Taylor Swift.
That’s right! The Grammy Award winner owns a home that sits prominently on a bluff visible from nearly anywhere on the beach. Swift paid nearly $18 million for the 11,000-square-foot home and has regularly been seen summering there.
But besides catching a glimpse of the Queen of Pop, visitors enjoy a large beach with big, beautiful waves.
A word of caution— the rip currents in the area can be intense at times. If visiting with smaller kids or weak swimmers, it may be best to stick to sandcastle building or skim boarding instead of heading into deeper water.
4. East Mutunuck Beach
South Kingstown, RI
East Muntunuck Beach in South Kingstown has a shore that gently slopes into strong surf. It’s a popular place to sunbathe while watching the Block Island Ferry and various fishing boats pass by.
Many modern amenities are available. Snacks can be purchased at the concession stand. Indoor heated showers are inside the bathroom facilities. Shaded pavilions and picnic tables also stand at ready for shady lunches enjoyed after a day in the sun.
One of the most interesting amenities provided is complimentary natural sunscreen. Stations are spread throughout the park and filled regularly during the summer months!
5. Goosewing Beach
Little Compton, RI
Goosewing Beach in Little Compton is regularly described as “off the beaten path.” This beach is absolutely perfect for visitors who are looking for a place to completely unplug and enjoy nature.
Goosewing Beach is a breeding site for two threatened species of birds: the Least Tern and the Piping Plover. The nearby muddy flats are a critical source of food for the Plovers. Since the early 1900s, the birds have been coming back from near extinction due to overhunting.
This simple beach doesn’t have many amenities, but it does have beautiful seashells and great surf.
Best Beaches in Rhode Island for Families
6. Easton’s Beach
Easton’s Beach in Newport is one of the best beaches in Rhode Island for a family to visit, hands down. They’ve got everything you need for a fantastic day at the ocean.
When I say everything, I literally mean everything. All you need to bring with you is a bathing suit and a towel. Loungers, umbrellas, and boogie boards are all available to rent. There are even beach-worthy wheelchairs handy if a guest needs help getting out on the sand.
Don’t worry about bringing a big bag of food, The Snack Bar is fully stocked with a ton of tasty treats.
But the most unique offering of Easton’s Beach is the Exploration Center and Aquarium. It’s got dozens of exhibits, home to over 40 local species of animals, and professionals ready to teach you anything you’d like to know about them. There are even three touch tanks so visitors can be fully immersed in all that Narragansett Bay has to offer.
7. Misquamicut State Beach
For families with kids who basically turn into fish around water, Misquamicut State Beach in Westerly is the best beach in Rhode Island for you to check out.
The surf here is gentle and there are plenty of lifeguards up and down the half-mile stretch of sand.
If you need a break from the sand and sea, head up to their beachside playground or pick up a snack from Salty’s Burger and Seafood.
This beach is far from a secret among the people of Rhode Island, so make sure you arrive early because parking can become congested in the summer months. You can even pre-purchase a parking pass to get access to the express lane.
8. Roger W. Wheeler State Beach
For a sweet, simple day by the water for your family at one of Rhode Island’s best beaches, look no further than Roger W. Wheeler State Beach in Narragansett.
Because it’s protected by a sea wall, the water is more like a bathtub than a classic ocean, making it perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. Even with its level of calm, there are still plenty of lifeguards to keep the tiny swimmers safe.
This is one of the best beaches in Rhode Island for a day trip because it’s within walking distance of so many other things. It’s a short walk from the Block Island Ferry terminal as well as several restaurants.
Your family can swim all day, wash up in the provided restrooms with showers and then take a stroll to the Galilee Bird Sanctuary to check out local wildlife before heading to dinner. Sounds like the perfect beach day!
9. Sachuest Beach/Second Beach
If you’ve got kids spread out in ages and need somewhere everyone will love, one of the best Rhode Island beaches for you is Sachuest Beach.
Also called Second Beach by the locals, Sachuest Beach is calm enough for young swimmers to be safe and they’ve got something exciting for the older ones— Surfer’s End.
Surfer’s End is one end of the beach where the surf is a little rougher and perfect for learning how to “hang ten”! There are lessons offered during the summer as well as surfboards available to rent.
Regular amenities like restrooms, showers, and a concession stand are also handy for visitors.
Best Beaches in Rhode Island for Adventures
10. East Beach
If you’re looking for a beautiful spot to take your four-wheel drive camper, East Beach in Charlestown is Rhode Island’s best beach for you!
Because it’s further out than other beaches, East Beach is relatively uncrowded most days. There aren’t many modern conveniences, but you can still enjoy the soft sand and salty seawater.
Bring your four-legged family members (dogs are allowed!) and your pre-purchased Barrier Beach Permit and enjoy a couple of days next to the water in your camper at one of ten camping spots to choose from.
But keep in mind that there are no utilities at this campsite, so have your water tanks filled up and ready to go before you arrive.
11. Mohegan Bluffs
Block Island, RI
If your idea of a day at the beach has nothing to do with relaxation and everything to do with adventuring, Mohegan Bluffs on Block Island is the best Rhode Island beach for you.
This beach is only accessible by foot via the Mohegan Bluffs Trailhead. Once you reach the cliffs, head down the 141-step staircase to meander along the coast. Take your shoes off and dip your toes in the water before the trek back to the car.
If you don’t feel like going up and down that many stairs, the view from on top of the 150-foot tall cliffs is still well worth the hike!
Time your visit right and you can continue on the trail down to South East Lighthouse and catch a breathtaking sunset from the top of the nearly 150-year-old lighthouse.
12. Napatree Point Beach
For ornithophiles, or bird lovers, the best beach in Rhode Island is certainly going to be Napatree Point Beach in Westerly.
This secluded beach is actually partly owned and operated by the Audubon Society. It’s got significant bird activity year-round, but summer and fall are especially great times to visit.
In July, bird migrations are in full swing, and this shoreline is a stopping point for all kinds of shorebirds— terns, sandpipers, plovers, and so many more.
In the fall, this is Rhode Island’s best beach for hawk-watching. Both Broad-winged and Sharp-shinned hawks make regular appearances, but you might also see other bird species like Osprey or North Harrier hawks.
Peregrine falcons and snowy owls have been spotted on occasion during the winter at Napatree Point Beach, too.
13. Narragansett Town Beach
With an average of 5,000 visitors per day during the summer, no list of the best beaches in Rhode Island would be complete without Narragansett Town Beach.
This is the best Rhode Island beach for surfers thanks to big daily waves. Some waves can get up to four feet tall!
Most surfers get to the beach early, when they can have the water all to themselves, but there’s a designated surf spot in the water all day long to make sure everyone can have fun and be safe.
If you’re just getting started surfing, visit one of the local pro shops to rent a board and set up some lessons. You’ll be catching waves on your own before you know it!
What to Bring to the Beach
If you’re making plans to visit any of the best beaches in Rhode Island, there are a few things you’re going to want to make sure you pack in your beach bag!
For the perfect mix of practical and beautiful, check out Bay Laurel’s Turkish Beach Towel! There are forty different color options to choose from, each more gorgeous than the last.
Turkish towels are incredibly fast drying, saving time not only at the beach but also at home in your dryer. The included drawstring carrying case also ensures a sand-free beach bag. Simply shake your towel out before rolling it up, getting most of the sand off already, and then put it in the pouch. Any remaining sand will stay in the pouch.
Whether you’re protecting sensitive skin or just looking for a spot to cool off after building sandcastles or swimming, a shade structure is crucial to a great day at the beach.
Sun Ninja’s pop-up shade tent is a great product that anyone can use.
It comes in multiple colors and two different sizes, depending on the size of your beach crew.
Set-up is simple, sand can be used as an anchor weight, and everything you need fits in one small bag that’s included.
Tans are great, skin cancer is not! It’s important to lather up when visiting a beach!
For full coverage, it’s hard to beat Blue Lizard sunscreen. It’s fragrance-free, water-resistant, and a mineral sunscreen, free from chemical active ingredients.
To bring along lunch and ice-cold beverages, look no further than Maelstrom’s soft cooler bag.
It comes in three sizes, from 30 can up to 75 can, and keeps food and drink cold for up to 12 hours. The shoulder strap makes it easy to carry across the beach.
It’s hard to beat a Tommy Bahama beach chair. Carry it folded up like a backpack, use it as a cooler, and lay back and relax in one of its five reclining positions.
Each chair is made of aluminum, making it lightweight and rustproof!
Visit the Best Beaches in Rhode Island!
If you’re looking to relax, a place for your family to enjoy together, or want to explore the great outdoors, there’s a beach for you in Rhode Island. There’s a reason its nickname is “The Ocean State!”
Traveling to another shoreline in the USA? Check out our beaches posts for all our recommendations!
Spending some time in Rhode Island? Then discover more great RI destinations!