Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Washington County, RI

  • Published 2022/11/08

Washington County, Rhode Island, is a hidden gem on the east coast.

It got its nickname “The Ocean State” because of its gorgeous beaches, pristine waters, and stunning shoreline facing the Atlantic Ocean.

Washington County, known among the locals as South County, is home to several quaint towns worth exploring.

One popular town that can be found in this county is Westerly, which has some of the nicest beaches on the east coast.

Charlestown, Narragansett, and Point Judith are the other towns worth exploring.

Despite its size, Washington County offers a wide variety of fun and exciting activities.

Here are the 15 best things to do in Washington County, Rhode Island:

Soak up Breathtaking Views at Point Judith Lighthouse

Exterior of Point Judith Lighthouse

JJM Photography /

One of Washington County’s most popular landmarks is the Point Judith Lighthouse in Narragansett.

It is situated on what is currently known as Point Judith Coast Guard Station.

The on-duty coast guardsmen perform search and rescue missions and law enforcement, in addition to maintaining the lighthouse.

Point Judith Lighthouse still uses a fourth-order Fresnel lens and is still in operation as a navigational aid.

Aerial view of Point Judith Lighthouse

S.Levin Cinematography /

Aside from serving its purpose, the lighthouse has become one of the most popular spots for tourists as it offers breathtaking views of Narragansett Bay.

While visitors are free to roam the lighthouse grounds, climbing up the tower is forbidden.

Don’t worry, though, because you don’t need to go up the lighthouse to see the picturesque sights surrounding the area.

Don’t forget to take your photos here when visiting Washington County.

Silhouette of Point Judith Lighthouse during sunset

WoodysPhotos /

Go Hiking at Black Point Trailhead

​​Rhode Island may be best known for its beaches, but the state also has a lot of hiking trails.

Black Point Trailhead is one of the best places to hike in Washington County.

North of Scarborough State Beach in Narragansett lies 40 acres of Black Point, which features a rocky coastline, a boardwalk, and magnificent views.

For years, people have found peace and enjoyment from spending time on the natural shoreline’s final section along the western Bay.

The trailhead offers access to several different trails, all of which are well-marked and easy to follow.

Best of all, the views from the trails are simply stunning.

Black Point Trailhead is the perfect spot to enjoy fresh air and scenic views of the bay.

Take a Saltwater Bath at Scarborough State Beach

People at Scarborough State Beach

Adwo /

Scarborough State Beach in Washington County is one of the best spots to spend a relaxing summer day due to its three miles of scenic shoreline.

This 26-acre property in Narragansett, Rhode Island, is one of the state’s most well-known and well-liked beaches and is just 35 miles south of Providence on Ocean Road.

It has more than 2,000 feet of beach frontage, and saltwater bathing is one of the famous things to do here.

Numerous activities are available at the beach, including swimming, tanning, fishing, and picnics.

Additionally, several food stalls are there, so you may get something to eat without leaving the beach.

Hike at the Charlestown Breachway

Jetty at Charlestown Breachway

Mark12211 at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Charlestown Breachway State Beach is a public beachfront recreation area on Block Island Sound in the Rhode Island municipality of Charlestown.

The three-mile-long Charlestown Breachway is a hiking trail that provides breathtaking views of the shore of Rhode Island.

The three miles of beach, sand dunes, salt marshes, and ocean vistas make the walk ideal for anyone who wishes to get some fresh air and enjoy the local natural beauties.

Mudflats dominate Ninigret Pond’s southern region, so you may need the help of local experts to enter and navigate inside.

This place is good for hiking, fishing, and relaxing from the buzz of everyday life in the city.

Play Soccer at Tuckertown Park

There are several different leisure opportunities in Tuckertown Park in South Kingstown.

There are numerous soccer fields at the park, where South Kingstown youth leagues, school practices, and games frequently occur.

Softball fields are available, and the park is the location of South Kingstown’s minor softball and little leagues.

There are two tennis courts and a basketball court that can be divided into two smaller courts, as well as clean facilities.

You can use these facilities to break a sweat as you engage in sports with your friends or family.

A sizable playground with swings where your kids can run around and play is also present.

In addition, there are six compact picnic and grill spaces with views of Tucker Pond to the east of the entrance and a covered picnic pavilion.

There is also a historic cemetery within the premises which stands as the final resting place of some of the locals.

Reconnect with Nature by Camping at Burlingame State Park

Campground of Burlingame State Park

Susilee Dean /

One of Rhode Island’s largest freshwater ponds, Watchaug Pond, serves as the focal point of the picnic area at Burlingame State Park.

Located in Charlestown, Burlingame State Park is a 3,000-acre recreational area that welcomes tourists and locals who want to stay outdoors.

Here, you can spend the day relaxing on the sand reading a book, or having a family picnic.

Boats on Burlingame State Park's water

Susilee Dean /

The picnic area has a sandy beach area with a swimming area, picnic tables, and a sizable pavilion that offers shade from the sun.

There is a boat launch nearby for fishing and boating and a great spot for camping and hiking.

This is the perfect place to visit if you want to escape the city and ground yourself in nature!

Campfire at Burlingame State Park

Susilee Dean /

Shop for Antique Items at the Bay Breeze Interiors

Rob & Harriet Richins founded Bay Breeze Interiors in Watch Hill in 1993, a family-run company that proudly sells a range of antique items.

The store carries regional and well-known brands like Simon Pearce and Mariposa, but at least one new brand debuts every summer.

Rob goes to considerable lengths to obtain antique furniture and one-of-a-kind interior elements to give your home a distinctively New England flavor.

You may purchase nautical gifts and decors aside from the shop’s antique furniture.

Enhance the beauty of your home or office with the one-of-a-kind vintage items you can find at Bay Breeze Interiors!

Pick some gifts for yourself or your friends here at Bay Breeze Interiors.

Catch Some Rays at Misquamicut State Beach

People enjoying the sun at Misquamicut State Beach

Ritu Manoj Jethani /

At Misquamicut State Beach, you’ll have access to a half-mile beachfront, a contemporary beach complex with a playground and restaurants, outdoor showers, and shade gazebos.

If you’re looking for a good beach where you can swim, sunbathe, or relax by the shore, look no further than Misquamicut State Beach.

This beach is nestled in the village of Misquamicut in Westerly.

The beach provides many options for entertainment, such as swimming, tanning, fishing, and picnics.

Additionally, you won’t get hungry as the beach has food stalls where you can buy snacks or meals.

Bring your family and friends and have a fun-filled beach day at this spot!

Learn America’s Shark History in the Living Sharks Museum

America’s first shark history museum, Living Sharks Museum in Downtown Westerly, houses objects from around the globe that illustrate and preserve the tale of shark species.

Keith Cowley is the curator of the Living Sharks Museum, which houses his personal collection as a tool for outreach and education.

There are numerous exhibits ranging from shark fossils and documentation of commercial shark fishing to memorabilia from the 1975 movie “Jaws,” which is commemorated in a modest gallery.

The modest but impressive museum is a must-see, and the curator’s in-depth knowledge enhances the experience.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions about these mighty sea creatures!

If you are interested in the life of sharks, Living Sharks Museum will provide you with tons of knowledge about them.

By visiting this museum, you can deepen your knowledge about sharks and their life in the waters.

Have a Meal at the Coast Guard House Restaurant

Welcome sign of the Coast Guard House Restaurant

RaksyBH /

The Coast Guard House Restaurant in Narragansett, which opened in the 1940s, is renowned for offering fresh seafood caught nearby the restaurant.

In 1979, the restaurant underwent a makeover to become a year-round dining destination.

It has gained national and state recognition as a renowned dining destination over the past 10 years.

The Coast Guard House provides a breathtaking and unmatched perspective of The Pier District’s historic Narragansett Bay and has drawn locals and tourists for years.

Exterior of the Coast Guard House Restaurant

John Phelan, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Enjoy chowing down on some of the freshest seafood dishes you will ever try here at this restaurant!

They also have wines and beers you can enjoy while gazing at the relaxing waters.

If you’re craving fresh seafood dishes, stop by this restaurant!

Enjoy a Fun-Filled Day with the Whole Family at Adventureland Family Fun Park

Adventureland Family Fun Park in Narragansett has been a family-friendly business since it was established in 1985.

The idea for a wet and dry fun park first appeared in the coastal community of Narragansett.

The park’s major attractions for families were The Poppy’s Victorian Carousel and Burdick’s Ice Cream.

More thrills and skill-based pleasure were introduced with the advent of Extreme Big Air Jumper and Bankshot Basketball play.

The “heart” of the park remains the South County community and its occasional visitors, which helps Adventureland Family Fun Park maintain its position as the best place for families to have fun in Southern Rhode Island.

Take your family and friends and enjoy the attractions here!

Go Birdwatching at Napatree Point Conservation Area

Daytime view of Napatree Point Conservation Area

Rhododendrites, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Napatree Point Conservation Area in Westerly is a popular destination for tourists looking to take in its dramatic scenery and amazing fauna.

This coastal nature preserve is a hub for bird breeding and migratory resting.

Longshore drift, a process of the earth’s crust known as geology, produced Napatree Point in Rhode Island, also known as Napatree.

Beach at Napatree Point Conservation Area

Rhododendrites, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Napatree had a 1.3-mile-long northern extension known as Sandy Point and was sickle-shaped before the hurricane of 1938.

Many federally and state-listed endangered species call this place home, including American Oystercatchers, Piping Plovers, Least Terns, and Ospreys.

Bring your binoculars and spot rare birds and other wildlife at the Napatree Point Conservation Area!

Have Some Fun under the Sun at Atlantic Beach Park

The Trefes family has owned and operated Atlantic Beach Park since it was established in 1921.

The business is located in Westerly on Rhode Island’s south shore, with views of Block Island and Long Island.

In the past, family and friends would gather in rocking chairs on the boardwalk to enjoy the sun and go swimming in the Atlantic Ocean’s warm waves, hence the name “Atlantic Beach Casino,” which meant a location to enjoy the lovely surf.

Atlantic Beach Park has been considered a cornerstone in Misquamicut for over 90 years.

The Herschell-Spillman Carousel was and is still the main selling point at the park.

Whether you are a kid or a kid at heart, you’ll have an exciting day when you spend it at this beach park!

Wander around Wilcox Park

Water fountain at Wilcox Park

Daderot., CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Westerly Memorial and Library Association owns and cares for Wilcox Park in Westerly.

In honor of her late husband Stephen Wilcox, Harriet Wilcox gave the original plot of land in 1898.

The area, according to Harriet, should be a walking park that the hardworking people of Westerly and Pawcatuck may enjoy.

A pond at Wilcox Park

Daderot., CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Wilcox Park has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 2004 and is currently regarded by the ASLA as a Medallion Park.

You will also see monuments that have a significant meaning in the park.

If you are a book lover, you can also go to the Westerly Library.

Westerly library at Wilcox Park

Beyond My Ken, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Honor the Country’s Veterans at Westerly Armory

Exterior of the Westerly Armory

Westerlyarmory, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Westerly Band, located in the historic Westerly Armory, is America’s longest-functioning community band.

The armory in Westerly has also been rebuilt to serve as a museum, event space, and the country’s largest memorial for all veterans.

After the wood-framed armory on Main Street was demolished in 1901, The Westerly Armory was built as one of only 18 remaining historic armories in Rhode Island.

The Armory is not only listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated by the U.S. Congress as a Save America’s Treasures Site; it has also seen an increase in interest and use in recent years.

As people learn more about the history of their area, they flock back to the museum housed within the hall.

Furthermore, organizations hosting events like dances, banquets, fundraisers, exhibitions, and wedding receptions find great appeal in using such a historic venue.

Not only does this keep The Armory open for business, allowing it to remain “alive” for its neighborhood, but these rents also provide key funding for its operations.

Remember the veterans who fought bravely for the country and pay them the homage they deserve at this destination.

Final Thoughts

Rhode Island’s Washington County is a fantastic travel destination.

Many activities are available in the county, such as exploring historic homes and art galleries and strolling in parks and gardens.

Washington County offers leisurely and action-packed getaways that tourists will enjoy.

Don’t forget to try these best things to do in Washington County, Rhode Island!

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