In the southeast corner of New England sits Rhode Island. The tiny state is a coastal oasis surprise of summertime beach fun. The chilly Atlantic Ocean is ready and waiting for any hardy beachcombers looking to put their toes into the surf and have some sand-focused enjoyment.
No matter where you travel along the pretty coastline of Rhode Island, you will be close to a beautiful sandy beach. I have had the pleasure of enjoying beaches all along the New England coastline and these are my favorite sandy spots in Rhode Island. The beaches below are listed in alphabetical order by location.
1. Ballard’s Beach
Block Island sits between the south mainland of Rhode Island and Long Island’s Montauk Point. It is an enjoyable ferry ride from various Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York ferry points. You can also reach the island by plane or pleasure boat.
Ballard’s Beach sits next to Ballard’s, a hip resort within walking distance of the ferry. The sandy beach with harbor views is perfect if you want a beach party atmosphere. Rent chairs and umbrellas or a cabana for your full day-at-the-beach experience. Ballard’s Tiki Bars and musical entertainment keep this beach rockin’.
2. Charlestown Beach
Charlestown Beach is a secluded beach that is not great for swimming. It’s one of those spots where you want to watch the sunset — it is remote and romantic. Access to the beach is down a dirt road from Coast Guard Road near Champlin’s Marina. There is no parking at the beach; you need to hike in to enjoy the sparsely visited beach.
3. Crescent Beach
Crescent Beach is a long stretch of soft sand on Block Island’s east side. It starts near the ferry dock and runs from Baby Beach on the southern point to Scotch Beach and the northern end. Crescent beach is also known as the town beach. There are lifeguard stations, showers, bathrooms, and beach rentals.
Pro Tip: Staying on Block Island for a quiet beachy getaway is a perfect rejuvenating vacation.
4. Mohegan Bluffs
The view from the top of Mohegan Bluffs is stunning. On a clear day, you can see to the tip of Long Island. To reach the beach, descend the 200-foot-tall bluffs. There is a very long set of steps down to the somewhat rocky beach sprinkled with spots of sandy patches. The pretty beach can be quiet since most beachgoers will not make the steep climb. If you are looking for a little workout to combine with your beach break, Mohegan Bluffs just might be a great choice.
Pro Tip: Visit the beautiful Southeast Lighthouse that sits atop Mohegan Bluffs. Even if you don’t head down to the beach, the panoramic view from the top of the bluffs is worth the drive.
5. East Beach
East Beach is perfect for beach lovers who want to extend their outdoor stay. A Rhode Island State Park, East Beach offers rustic tent campsites. The sites are only accessible using four-wheel-drive vehicles. It is a self-contained pack-in, pack-out nature-loving camping experience.
This no-frills, sandy beach is a pretty spot that isn’t super crowded. Parking is limited; pre-pay parking is recommended.
6. Goosewing Beach Preserve
The 75-acre Goosewing Beach Preserve offers beachgoers a nature-focused setting. A piping plover protected nesting spot, the beach is a barrier beach ecosystem that reflects the preserve’s natural beauty.
The beach is sandy and speckled with rocks and plenty of places to put down your blanket and soak up the gorgeous sunshine.
Pro Tip: Visitor access to Goosewing Beach Preserve is through South Shore Beach.
7. Narragansett Town Beach
Narragansett has historically been a fun vacation destination in Rhode Island. Right in the center of all the action is Narragansett Town Beach, perfectly situated for a day of fun on the beach. There is plenty of parking along the shoreline, but you may have to walk a bit to get to the sandy beach. The beach has a separate surfing area — fun to watch even if you don’t care to “hang ten.” Additionally, there are great places to dine if you didn’t pack a picnic lunch.
Pro Tip: There are lots of fun things to do in Narragansett.
8. Roger W. Wheeler State Beach
Roger Wheeler State Beach, aka Sand Hill Cove, is a family-friendly beach. The soft white sand and gentle surf make it an ideal spot for young children. Having lifeguards, bathrooms, a playground, and a concession stand make this beautiful beach a popular spot for locals and visitors with little children.
Pre-plan and purchase your parking ticket online before venturing out to popular Roger Wheeler State Beach.
9. Scarborough State Beach
Both Scarborough North and Scarborough South State Beaches are popular Rhode Island beach destinations during the summertime. It’s great for the entire family because there are lifeguards, concessions, restrooms, and shaded gazebos. There is a good amount of parking along with an overflow lot and there are even several EV charging stations. Still, it is recommended to pre-book your beach day parking.
10. Easton’s Beach
Known for its sailing history, the beautiful town of Newport is worth more than just a beach day.
The largest Newport beach is Easton’s Beach, aka First Beach. It sits at the start of Newport’s iconic Cliff Walk, a perfect spot to stroll when you need a break from your beach chair.
11. Reject’s Beach
Located at the southern tip of the 3.5-mile Cliff Walk is Reject’s Beach. It’s a small public beach sitting next to the exclusive and private Bailey’s Beach. There is no parking at Reject’s Beach; you need to walk or bike in, but it may feel like your own private beach once you make the effort to get there.
12. East Matunuck State Beach
East Matunuck State Beach, in the coastal town of South Kingstown, is another local beachgoer favorite. With lifeguard coverage, restrooms, and shaded pavilions, it is a popular spot for families with older children. The surf can have strong waves and bigger kids will love dancing in and out of the water.
13. Watch Hill Beach
The beautiful town of Westerly is home to gorgeous beaches, quaint shops, and stunning homes.
It is super easy to spot Watch Hill Beach; just look for the merry-go-round filled with happy kiddos. The pretty sandy beach has seasonal and nominal daily-use fees along with chair and umbrella rentals.
14. East Beach
Not to be confused with East Beach in Charlestown, East Beach in Westerly is a long barrier beach. The soft sandy beach is perfect for beach chairs, summertime novels, and dips in the ocean.
15. Misquamicut State Beach
Another great Rhode Island State Beach is Misquamicut State Beach. This beach also offers all the beachy amenities you want when you are spending the day on the sand with youngsters. A great family beach, it is also perfect for visitors staying in the Westerly area.
Pro Tip: Taking an Uber of Lyft to the beach is a thing! And, it is a great way to avoid the parking crush.
16. Napatree Point Beach
Napatree Point Beach is a beautiful mile-plus-long peninsula that juts out into Block Island Sound. It is easily walkable from the Watch Hill neighborhood harbor area. There are several parking lots near the main shopping and dining area and close to the harbor.
Pro Tip: Even if you don’t plan to find the perfect spot on the beach, a stroll down the shoreline of Napatree Point Beach offers stunning coastline views.