Explore RI: Beavertail State Park
You wake up on a beautiful, sunny and not-so-humid Rhode Island summer day and decide you want to go out and do something! You can't let this spectacular weather go to waste! Then you remember you are trying really hard to stick to a budget and not spend any money :/ What to do?
I've got your answer here folks - take a trip down to beautiful Jamestown RI and visit Beavertail State Park! You'll find spectacular views, saltwater fishing, rocky beaches to explore, a museum full of information, and vast expanses of fields to picnic and fly kites. Best part of it all? It's FREE!!
My husband recently discovered I had never visited Beavertail. He hasn't been for a visit in well over 15 years, so we decided to take a day of our vacation this week and pay the park a visit.
We we only spent a few hours there, but could have easily spent the entire day. The park spans 153 acres and overlooks Narragansett Bay. It's a family friendly spot, and even includes a small aquarium geared towards children You'll find breathtaking views all around, and you have the option of driving all the way around the park (in 5 minutes or less) to enjoy the sites from your vehicle. Better yet, you could park to explore more thoroughly. We chose option B and explored the park on foot.
I could barely take my eyes off the spectacular ocean views, but was equally as captivated with the park's main attraction: the Beavertail Lighthouse.
The stone lighthouse we see in the park today was constructed in 1856, and is actually the second lighthouse to stand on this site. The original wooden lighthouse was designed by architect Peter Harrison and built in 1749 on a site located slightly closer to the water. The original lighthouse tragically burnt down in 1753, and was replaced by the structure we see today. (source: RI Parks website) The foundation of the original lighthouse still remains, and can be seen just to the left of the new structure.
The stone lighthouse has remained an important beacon since the early days of trade in Newport prior to the Revolutionary war, all the way through World War II and beyond.
Today, you can visit the Beavertail Lighthouse Museum, which is located in the keeper's house attached to the lighthouse. Loaded with history and artifacts, this museum is quite a treat, especially considering that it's free to visit. There was a section of the museum dedicated to shipwrecks in the area that I found quite interesting. The lighthouse even hosts its own Shipwreck Database, which includes a history of Rhode Island shipwrecks and maritime events since Colonial Times.
After our visit to the museum, we spent some time exploring the grounds of the park. The shore around the park was quite rocky, so make sure you wear some good sneakers. There were so many little tide pools to see, and the rock formations were incredible. We had an absolute blast!
When we were done exploring the rocky coast, we took a leisurely stroll around the grassy park area. I wish we had thought ahead and packed a lunch! It would have been a nice day to sit by the water and enjoy a little picnic. Instead, we headed further into Jamestown and had a great meal at Narragansett Cafe.
If you are ever looking for a fun, relaxing and FREE excursion in this beautiful state, I highly recommend a trip out to Beavertail State Park. I know we'll be going again sometime soon!
Do you have a favorite state park in Rhode Island? Share in the comments below! I'm looking for a new spot to visit!