The difficulty in visiting Narragansett isn’t getting to the beach, it’s choosing between its many appealing options. Salty Brine Beach in Galilee is a little patch of shore that’s great for families: the sea wall between it and the Block Island Ferry makes for few waves and good visibility in the water. It’s also home to two Rhody food icons, George’s of Galilee and Champlin’s Seafood, that are so close together they share a parking lot. Champlin’s has an attached seafood market and a second floor restaurant where almost all of the seating is outdoors (including an outdoor Channel Bar where you can watch the boats go by) and serves traditional New England clam shack fare. George’s has a walk-up window for beach snacks, and a full restaurant inside. Their upstairs bar and patio has live music in the afternoons and evenings and offers service to your beach chair. George’s: 250 Sand Hill Cove Road. 401-783-2306, GeorgesofGalilee.com. Champlin’s: 256 Great Island Road. 401-783-3152, Champlins.com
Narragansett Town Beach, below the sea wall, is arguably the best maintained of all Narragansett’s beaches, but it’s also the only one that charges for parking and per head admission. But for people watching or getting active, there’s no better place. Gansett Juice, better known as Narragansett Skate & Surf Shop, is home to surfing legend Peter Pan and offers daily lessons on the beach in both surfing and standup paddleboard. (For you brave souls, those lessons are offered year round.) Gansett Rides rents jet skis that launch from Monahan’s Dock, and kayaks. Natural Fitness Yoga leads early morning beach classes on Town Beach. Gansett Juice: 74 Narragansett Avenue. 401-789-7890, NarragansettSurfandSkate.com. Gansett Rides: 145 Boon Street. 401-363-9550, GansettRides.com. Natural Fitness: 76 Narragansett Avenue. 401-783-9229, NaturalFitnessYoga.com
Scarborough Beach offers a lot of great waves, and has tons of space for picnics and campers. With great space, though, comes great groups of people, so if you’re looking for a place to meditate and take long, uninterrupted walks, this isn’t it. Scarborough tends to draw younger crowds with loud stereos and big gatherings of people coming down from northern RI. Wheeler Beach is in a cove, so it has flat sand, little surf and is great for families with young kids. Another bonus is that it’s the closest beach to great restaurants like Spain of Narragansett, and to the other across-the-street clam shack rivalry of Iggy’s and Aunt Carrie’s. Scarborough: 906 Ocean Road. Wheeler: 100 Sand Hill Cove Road. Spain: 1144 Ocean Road. 401-783-9770, SpainRI.com. Iggy’s: 1157 Point Judith Road, 401-783-5608, IggysDoughboys.com. Aunt Carrie’s: 1240 Ocean Road. 401-783-7930, AuntCarriesRI.com
Evening at the Pier
The area around Town Beach is bustling with families enjoying a meal on oceanside patios, surfers fresh off the waves and couples strolling and shopping. When you’re finally ready to tear yourself away from the beach, you don’t have to go far. At Monahan’s Clam Shack, you order from a window and take in the waves as you eat. For sit down service with views for days, The Coast Guard House, directly next to the Narragansett Towers, is your best bet. A beachwear-friendly roof deck offers casual fare, while downstairs (including a patio and some cocktail-ready adirondack chairs) offers upscale lunch and dinner. Monahan’s: 190 Ocean Road. 401-782-2524, MonahansRI.com. The Coast Guard House: 40 Ocean Road. 401-789-0700, TheCoastGuardHouseRI.com
If you’re in the mood to shop, check out Pier Marketplace. The seaside complex is home to shops like the whole living Simply Natural, book and gift shop Curiosity and Mischief, the fashionable KC Shoes and Shades. Polka Dot Panda has cute clothing for kids. Restaurants like Oceanside at the Pier, with its great outdoor bar and water views, and authentically Northern Indian Maharaja will make sure you don’t go hungry. All shops located in Pier Marketplace, directly across from the sea wall on Ocean Road.