RI’s Best Beaches
Monday, July 19, 2010
Someone had to have the courage to pick the best.
We took a long look at all of our state's public beaches, from far-flung Napatree Point to bayfront stretches in Warwick. And what we decided is that with some beaches being very use-oriented to some highlighting remoteness and lack of services, we sought the beach that was the best for the most. We rewarded natural gifts like quality of sand, clarity of water, and variation in surf; but we also honored a bit of civilization - food, access, the occasional class in ocean sports. And we looked for the zeitgeist that makes a beach a beach - surfing, skimboarding, boogie-boarding - plus just a smidge of honkytonk.
Purists may snort, but we've got a runner-up for them (so pure, in fact, it recently made a national list of one of eight eco-friendly top beaches in the world). Meanwhile, though, let's raise a Del's to our choice for RI's Best Beach:
Grand Prize: Town Beach, Narragansett
It's the perfect blend of everything that makes a beach great, and it's the closet thing to a California beach, and experts in these things know a winner when they skimboard it. The southern end hosts surfers and the attendant hang-out culture (not to mention there are daily surfing lessons), while the center stretch near the pavilions and to-go grill are just broad enough for families to spread out without being miles from the surfline. To the north, the strand opens up for quiet walking toward the private beaches, making it a perfect couples spot as well.
Honorable Mention: Napatree Point, Watch Hill
It's worth getting up early and making the long (in RI terms) drive to Watch Hill to score some good parking and get onto this gorgeous beach (free admission). The farther you walk from the entry point by the famous carousel, the narrower, more peacefully remote your day will be. It's a half mile of bliss, and you've still got the Olympia Tea Room back in civilization for a proper post-beach meal.
Honorable Mention: Mansion Beach, Block Island
Honorable Mention: Goosewing Beach, Little Compton
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