Jamestown, RI

Beavertail Lighthouse was built in 1749. It was the first lighthouse in Rhode Island and third in the country following the 1716 Boston Harbor light and the 1746 Great Point light on Nantucket.

Although this wooden tower burned to the ground just four years later, the tower that replaced it lasted until the present granite lighthouse was constructed in 1856. The base of the older tower was exposed by the Hurricane of 1938 and now is marked by a granite plaque erected by the Jamestown Historical Society.

Today, the lighthouse is part of a state park that has seen a major increase in visitors, many of whom come to Beavertail to sightsee, whether from the comfort of a vehicle, from one of the four scenic overlooks, or from the rocky coastline. Also, Beavertail boasts some of the best saltwater fishing around, and its rocky shoreline provides fishermen with countless locations to cast into the surf.

1. Spirketing Street

This right-of-way, at the end of Spirketing Street, consists of a path running alongside a neighboring driveway and a set of concrete steps leading down to a cobble beach. This is a great place to watch the sun set with great views of West Passage.

  • CRMC ROW#: G-2

2. Garboard Street

This grassy, 10-foot-wide right-ofway at Pole 32 provides a short walk west from the end of Garboard Street and Seaside Drive. A path through some shrubs allows for access to a cobble beach overlooking the Jamestown Bridge.

  • CRMC ROW#: G-11

3. Seaside Beach

This town property on the west end of Seaside Drive is a multi-use site, including a grassy picnic area, sandy beach, rock jetty for fishing, and a sandy boat ramp. The boat ramp is a great place to hand-launch craft. Onsite parking is available for about 15 cars.

  • Picnic tables/benches, swimming, toilets, trash receptacles

4. Buccaneer Way

When traveling north on Seaside Drive, be on the lookout for this 15- foot-wide, grassy path to the water located between Dory Street and Champlin Way. Scuba diving is popular at this site.

  • CRMC ROW#: G-9

5. Capstan Street

This right-of-way at the end of Capstan Street offers a grassy path down to a cobble shoreline.

  • CRMC ROW#: G-12

6. Broad Street

At the end of Broad Street off East Shore Road, on the northeast end of Conanicut Island, is a right-of-way to a quiet, rocky beach with a spectacular view of upper Narragansett Bay and the entrance to Mount Hope Bay. In the early 1900s, this was the location of a steamboat landing for travel between Providence, Jamestown, and Newport.

  • CRMC ROW#: G-1
  • Fishing, trash receptacles

7. Carr Lane

Where Carr Lane joins East Shore Road is a public right-of-way that may be difficult to spot because there is no sign. A grassy path from East Shore Road leads about 20 yards through a clearing to a cobble beach, which offers a spectacular view of the Newport Bridge to the south and the Mount Hope Bridge to the north. This site is a suitable picnicking area for cyclists or hikers.

  • CRMC ROW#: G-10
  • Fishing

8. Decatur Avenue

A grassy, 20-foot-wide path extends east from the Decatur Avenue road end to a cobble beach overlooking the Newport Bridge.

  • CRMC ROW#: G-13
  • Fishing

Fig: Conanicut Island Sanctuary9. Conanicut Island Sanctuary

Owned by the Conanicut Island Land Trust and located north of the Jamestown Police Station on Canonicus Avenue, this site offers well-maintained wooded trails out to the east side of Marsh Meadows, with scenic views of the marsh and the hills beyond. While there is no parking on site, parking is available with permission at the police station across the street.

10. Potter Cove/Taylor Point

Two different parking areas located just north of the Newport Bridge, off Bayview Drive, provide a very scenic view of the East Passage. A long, narrow beach hugging Potter Cove can be reached by stairs descending from one parking lot. Popular activities include scuba diving, windsurfing, kayaking, fishing, clamming, and picnicking on the shale rock outcrops surrounding the cove and reached from the easternmost parking lot.

  • Trash receptacles

11. East Ferry

In the heart of downtown Jamestown is the site of the old landing for the Newport-Jamestown ferry, with a public fishing pier, a beach, a touchand- go dock, and a boat ramp. The ramp is adequate, but there are “No Trailer Parking” signs posted. This area is close to stores, restaurants, and the commercial district of Jamestown. The town’s harbor bustles with summer boating enthusiasts. There is a grassy commons with access along the waterfront for walking, jogging, or just sitting on the benches and observing the ships passing through the East Passage to the ports of Providence and Fall River. Public parking is available, but fills up quickly in the summer.

  • Trash receptacles

12. RIDEM Fish and Wildlife Marine Fisheries Center

This scenic site, adjacent to Fort Wetherill State Park, offers a path, located in front of the visitor parking area, out to bluffs overlooking cobble beaches. There is a pretty view of Aquidneck Island and lots of boat traffic. On the other side of the fisheries center is an accessible dock area that provides fishing access. Parking is available.

  • Handicap access

Fig: Potter Cove/Taylor Point13. Fort Wetherill State Park

This park is located on Fort Wetherill Road, off Walcott Avenue. In addition to the ruins of Fort Wetherill, much of this state facility consists of a grassy lawn with picnic tables and benches fringed by rock bluffs overlooking sheltered coves and cobble beaches. Several one-way roads wind about the park and lead to small parking lots with panoramic views of Narragansett Bay. Many footpaths lead to rocky outcrops that provide spectacular views from 50-foot-high bluffs. The park has an access point for scuba divers eager to view the outcrops from below sea level. This site also has a steep boat ramp in poor condition. Plenty of on-site parking is available.

  • Handicap access, fishing, toilets

14. Mackerel Cove Beach

Situated at the head of a long cove, there is a sandy cobble beach, while the remainder of the cove has a rocky shore. This well-protected, shallow cove is ideal for family swimming. Boats and windsurfers are allowed only after 5 p.m. and during the offseason. On-site pay parking is available.

  • Picnicking, concessions, toilets, trash receptacles

15. Beavertail State Park

At the end of Beavertail Road, at the southern tip of Conanicut Island, is the site of Rhode Island’s first lighthouse. It offers a spectacular vista of the Atlantic coastline. This peninsula park is bordered by a rocky shore accessible through low brush or by stone stairs in numerous locations. Look out for breaking waves and slippery rocks close to the water. Fishing is good. Educational signs describe coastal habitats and ships that frequent the East Passage. The park is popular throughout the year as a place to observe the sea both in calm and stormy weather from the road that loops through the park. Ample on-site parking is available. The lighthouse museum is open from June to September, Wednesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

  • Handicap access, picnicking, hiking/walking, wildlife observation, toilets, trash receptacles

16. Conanicut Battery on Prospect Hill

This site, located off Beavertail Road on Battery Lane, was the location of an earthen gun battery during the Revolutionary War. In the 20th century, underground observation posts were added to help direct coastal batteries elsewhere in the West Passage of Narragansett Bay during World Wars I and II. Well-kept trails provide an easy walk around the site and out to beautiful views of the West Passage, with interpretive signs providing a self-guided tour. Parking is available.

  • Picnicking, wildlife observation

Fig: Jamestown17. Fort Getty

Located on Fort Getty Road off Beavertail Road, this recreation facility is the site of a World War I and World War II fortification to guard the entrance to Narragansett Bay. It is popular in the summer for camping, boating, fishing, and swimming. A total of 115 campsites are available— 15 for tents, 100 for trailers. Windsurfers and small sailboats frequent this area. The town maintains an outhaul for tying up fishing boats and a boat ramp that is in good condition. There is a fee to use the ramp during the camping season. The outdoor pavilion and grills are available for group picnics with a permit. The rocky shore is inviting to the explorer and rock walker. Ample on-site parking is available. There is an entrance East Ferry RIDEM Marine Fisheries Center Fort Wetherill State Park Beavertail State Park Taylor Point fee in the summer, and advance reservations are recommended for camping and recreational vehicles.

  • Dock, picnic tables/benches, hiking/walking, wildlife observation, toilets, trash receptacles

18. Fox Hill Salt Marsh

At the entrance to Fort Getty Park is an ASRI wildlife refuge of low-lying marshland. There is a good view of the entire refuge from atop the hills and ruins of Fort Getty across the street. Parking is available at Fort Getty (seasonal fee). Entry gained with permission of ASRI. The Kit Wright Nature Trail on the west side of the marsh provides access to the water.

19. Sheffield Cove Marsh

While parked at Mackerel Cove Beach, take a walk across the street and along one of several paths through the marsh grass for a beautiful view of both coves. Although the head of the cove is cobble, it is bordered by low marsh grass and may have many beautiful birds. Owned by ASRI, it is a place for birding, wildlife photography, and painting. No on-site parking is available.

  • Fishing

20. West Ferry

At the end of Narragansett Avenue and adjacent to the Dutch Harbor boatyard, there is a long paved pier extending into Dutch Harbor. The southern side of the pier is accessible to the public by permit. The town provides well-maintained pilings, outhaul stringers, and transient moorings. There is no on-site boat ramp or dock. Sweeping views of Dutch Harbor, Fort Getty, Dutch Island, and the Jamestown Bridge to the north abound. No parking is available.

  • Trash receptacles

21. Marsh Meadows Wildlife Preserve

Surrounding the east end of Great Creek Marsh is a wetland wildlife conservation area, rich in wading birds and ducks, with an osprey nesting pole. The marsh can be seen from North Main Road as it crosses over the marsh. ASRI owns the northern section of the marsh. No parking is available.

22. Watson Farm

Watson Farm, on North Main Road, is an 18th-century working farm, with cattle, sheep, horses, and a large vegetable garden. Run by the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, the 280-acre farm offers self-guided hiking trails through pastures, hayfields, and woodlands out to the western shore of the island; group tours; and special events. Open Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., from June 1 through October 15. There is a small entrance fee. Parking is available.

23. Hull Street

This hard-to-spot right-of-way, situated at Pole 11 in a residential neighborhood, is located off Beach Avenue and is the first street south of the Jamestown Bridge. Look for an open grassy area. There is a very steep decline to a cobble beach that provides a spectacular view of the West Passage and the Jamestown Bridge.

  • CRMC ROW#: G-7
  • Fishing