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Rhode Island


Rhode Island Lighthouses:
Narragansett Bay Western Side
and South Coast

beavertail lighthouse

Narragansett, Westerly, North Kingston, Warwick,
Wickford, and Jamestown

Lighthouse Photos

Conanicut Island and Prudence Island, along with many smaller islands divided Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay into two channels, the East Passage and the West Passage. With so many dangerous ledges and islands along the Narragansett Bay area and with Rhode Island’s rocky coastline, lighthouses were built to guide mariners and shipping traffic from Newport up into Providence. There are currently 21 lighthouses in total within Rhode Island to view.

The areas surrounding Jamestown (and Newport on the eastern side) became places for the extremely rich who made their fortunes in the 19th century, many from the whaling industry, and many as part of the infamous Triangle Trade where African slaves were traded in the West Indies for sugar and molasses, which was used for rum in Newport.

Point Judith, in Narragansett, guided many mariners along one of the most foggiest and dangerous areas on the coast, known as the "Graveyard of the Atlantic". Watch Hill Light, the second oldest lighthouse, located on the most western edge of Rhode Island, guided mariners away from Westerly's treacherous rocky shoreline in stormy weather. Both areas resulted in many shipwrecks and maritime disasters, claiming many lives from those dangerous rocks and ledges.

 

 

Western Shore Rhode Island Lighthouses
Visitors Can Drive Or Hike To

Note: The lighthouses mentioned below that you can drive to can also be viewed from various boat tours offeredbelow.

Click any lighthouse image or link below to find out information about each lighthouse including historic stories, directions, tours, photos, and nearby attractions.

Beavertail lighthouse

Beavertail Light

Watch Hill lighthouse

Watch Hill Light

 

Best Viewed by Boat:
Rhode Island Lighthouses in the Western Region

Click any lighthouse image or link below to find out information about each lighthouse including historic stories, directions, tours, photos, and nearby attractions.

North Conanicut Island lighthouse

Conanicut Island Light

Dutch Island lighthouse

Dutch Island Light

Poplar Point lighthouse

Poplar Point Light

Plum Beach lighthouse

Plum Beach Light

Conimicut lighthouse

Conimicut Shoal Light

Warwick Harbor lighthouse

Warwick Harbor Light

 

Places to Visit
Rhode Island's Western Shores
(heading northeast)

Westerly is a quaint resort area with its beaches and golf courses.

Watch Hill lighthouse along protective seawall

Watch Hill Light

The outer grounds of historic Watch Hill Lighthouse are open to the public.

Narragansett is known as having four of the best beaches in Rhode Island. You can also visit the grounds year round of Point Judith Lighthouse.

Rocky shoreline of Point Judith Lighthouse

Point Judith Light

Jamestown is a quaint island community connected by bridges from the Newport area to Conanicut Island.

The grounds of Beavertail Lighthouse are located in Beavertail State Park.

The park provides lots of space for picnicking and hiking, and visitors can explore the unique rock formations around the lighthouse. rock formations in front of Beavertail lighthouse

Unique Rock Formations
at Beavertail Light

Nearby, Newport across the bridge from Jamestown, has plenty of attractions for tourists to visit and explore, like some of the famous elaborate mansions from America’s 19th and 20th centuries.

Wickford is a small coastal village that provides picturesque waterfront streets.

Gilbert Stuart Museum

Gilbert Stuart Museum
First Colonial Tobacco Mill

In Wickford, there are diverse museums nearby.

They include Smith’s Castle, the Gilbert Stuart Museum, the Seebee Museum, and the Casey Farm.

Warwick provides plenty of recreational activities in its parks to enjoy along its nearly 40 miles of coastline.

As part of Rhode Island's Greenways system of hiking and biking trails, the Coventry Greenway is a 5-mile unpaved hiking trail along a former railway line that extends from Warwick, to Coventry.

Goddard State Park in Warwick, is Rhode Island's most popular "metropolitan" park with trees from all over the world. Goddard park blooming trees

The Warwick Heritage Trail system is where you'll find plenty of examples of Victorian Era architecture.

Warwick harbor lighthouse tower during sunset.

Warwick Harbor Light

In Warwick, visitors can get a backside view of Warwick Harbor lighthouse from Route 117, along the same road as the Aldrich Mansion, a seventy room French chateau.

For more artistic tastes, the Complements Art Gallery is one of the largest art galleries in New England, or visit the Warwick Center for the Arts that provides entertainment in the arts.

 

Ferries and Boat Tours:
Rhode Island's West Side Region

While some cruises below may offer specific lighthouse cruises, some will pass by specific lighthouses as part of charters, narrated wildlife and fishing tours, and other types of excursions.

Rhode Island Fast Ferry;
Offers weekly lighthouse tours in season. Their narrated high-speed ferry cruises cover ten Rhode Island lighthouses in Narragansett Bay. They also provde ferry services to Martha's Vineyard and Block Island. On Martha's Vineyard, they provide a narrated 2.5-hour sightseeing island tour on a scheduled bus.

1347 Roger Williams Way
North Kingstown, RI 02852
Phone: (401) 295-4040
Email: info@fastferry.com

Lighthouses: Beavertail Lighthouse, Poplar Point Light, Plum Beach Lighthouse, Conanicut Light, Dutch Island Lighthouse, Plum Beach Light, Newport Harbor, Ida Lewis Light, Rose Island Light, and Castle Hill Light.

 

Save the Bay Tours
Organization for lighthouse and coastal preservation provides nature and seal watching tours. For those who are not in a hurry, they provide an extensive 7-hour Ultimate Lighthouse Tour covering most of the lighthouses in Narragansett Bay. The cruise includes a stopover lunch to explore the grounds of Rose Isand Lighthouse.
100 Save the Bay Drive, Providence, RI 02905
Phone: (401) 272-3540

Lighthouses:
Beavertail, Castle Hill, Lime Rock (Ida Lewis), Newport Harbor, Rose Island, Prudence Island, Hog Island, Bristol Ferry, Conanicut Point, Poplar Point, Plum Beach, Dutch Island, Nayatt Point, Pomham Rocks, Conimicut, and Warwick Light.

 

Snappa Charters
Offers specific lighthouse tours around Narragansett Bay and to Block Island in addition to other adventure tours like sport fishing, whale watching, and shark tagging.

Mailing Address: 2 Congdon Dr., Wakefield, RI 02816
Boat Location: 33 State Street, Narragansett, RI 02882
Boat/Cell (401) 487-9044
Email: snappacharters@cox.net

Lighthouses: Block Island Southeast, Block Island North, Watch Hill, Point Judith, Beavertail, Castle Hill, Lime Rock (Ida Lewis) Light, Newport Harbor, Rose Island, Prudence Island, Hog Island, Bristol Ferry, Conanicut Point, Poplar Point, Plum Beach, and Dutch Island, Sakonnet, Nayatt Point, Pomham Rocks, Conimicut, and Warwick Lighthouse.

Block Island Ferry
(401) 783-4613
Provides traditional and fast ferries to Block Island from Point Judith and Newport, RI.

Lighthouses: Point Judith, Newport Harbor, Ida lewis, and Castle Hill

 

Block Island Express and Cross Sound Cruises
Leaving out of New London, CT, and Orient Point, NY. From these two locations, they provide a fast ferry to Block Island, and have three lighthouse cruises with Cross Sound Cruises. They include the Classic Lighthouse Cruise, the Lights and Sights Cruise, and the Long Island Lights Cruise. They also promote special bicycle tours around Block Island.
Phone: (860) 444-4624 or (401) 466-2212 (Block Island)
Phone: (860) 444-4620 (Lighthouse Cruises)

Lighthouses: Watch Hill (RI), Avery Point (CT), New London Ledge (CT), New London Harbor (CT), Morgan Point (CT), Race Rock (NY), Little Gull (NY), North Dumpling (NY), Bug (NY), Orient Point (NY), Latimer Reef (NY) and Plum Island (NY)

 

Books to Explore

My book, Lighthouses and Coastal Attractions of Southern New England: Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, provides lots of special human interest stories from each of the 92 lighthouses, along with plenty of additional indoor and outdoor coastal attractions and tours in the area, with contact info to plan your trip.

In the book, with stories from each lighthouse, you'll find a few local special stories, like the two famous maritime disasters and rescues that occurred near Watch Hill lighthouse, the famous steamship Larchmont disaster, and the sinking of the Metis. Both events helped to spark travel safety precautions we use today.

Look inside!

book about lighthouses and local coastal atttractions in southern New England

 

 

 

book of the rise and demise of the largest sailing ships

To order a signed paperback copy:

Available also from bookstores in paperback, hardcover, and as an eBook for all devices.

my ebook on apple books

The Rise and Demise of the Largest Sailing Ships: Stories of the Six and Seven-Masted Coal Schooners of New England

In the early 1900s, New England shipbuilders constructed the world’s largest sailing ships amid social and political reforms. These giants of sail were built to carry massive quantities of coal and building supplies, and measured longer than a football field!

This book, balanced with plenty of color and vintage images, showcases the historical accounts that followed these mighty ships. These true stories include competitions, accidents, battling destructive storms, acts of heroism, and their final voyages.

Click for larger video here.

 

 

New England Lighthouses: Famous Shipwrecks, Rescues & Other Tales

This image-rich book contains over 50 stories of famous shipwrecks and rescues around New England lighthouses, and also tales of hauntings.

You'll find more details and imagery in the stories of the two worst maritime disasters in Rhode Island that occurred by Watch Hill Light. You'll learn details of the heroism of the rescues of the Metis and the collision between the Larchmont and the Harry P. Knowlton.

You'll find this book and my lighthouse tourism books from the publisher Schiffer Books, or in many fine bookstores like Barnes and Noble.

 

 

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