When it comes to vacation destinations in Rhode Island, many travelers flock to the bustling streets of Newport or the vibrant culture of Providence. However, just a stone’s throw away from these well-known spots lies Jamestown, a charming and peaceful retreat that is sometimes overlooked. Jamestown, nestled on Conanicut Island, offers a serene escape for those seeking a tranquil and picturesque getaway. With its beautiful beaches, excellent restaurants, access to boating, and family-friendly activities, Jamestown provides a compelling alternative to the more crowded and bustling cities of Newport and Providence. In this article, we will explore why Jamestown, RI, is the perfect destination for your next vacation.
Jamestown, though a small town, boasts a variety of local attractions that offer unique experiences for visitors. One such gem is Beavertail State Park (pictured), where you can witness breathtaking ocean vistas and explore the historic Beavertail Lighthouse. The park’s well-maintained trails make it an ideal spot for hiking, picnicking, and wildlife observation. As you stroll along the coastal paths, you may spot seals, seabirds, and even migrating whales, adding an element of excitement to your outdoor adventure.
For history enthusiasts, the Jamestown Windmill, dating back to the 18th century, is a must-visit. This iconic landmark offers guided tours, giving you a glimpse into the area’s rich history and the technology of the past. The nearby Conanicut Battery Historic Park showcases military history with its preserved artillery and bunkers.
Don’t miss the Jamestown Arts Center, which features local art exhibitions and workshops. It’s an excellent place to immerse yourself in the creative spirit of the island and perhaps even try your hand at a new artistic endeavor.
One of the biggest draws of Jamestown is its stunning beaches. Unlike some of the more crowded shores in Newport, Jamestown offers pristine and less congested beachfronts, perfect for relaxation and water activities. Three of the most notable beaches in the area are Mackerel Cove, East Ferry Beach and Potter’s Cove.
Mackerel Cove, a popular family-friendly beach, is ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking. It’s just a 10 minute walk from The Waves to Mackerel Cove Beach. The calm waters make it a safe spot for children to play and build sandcastles, while the picturesque views of the Newport Bridge add a touch of magic to your beach day.
Family-Friendly Activities and Romantic Restaurants
Jamestown is a fantastic destination for families, offering a range of activities that both parents and kids can enjoy. One such activity is exploring Fort Wetherill State Park, which is not only rich in history but also provides ample opportunities for hiking, snorkeling, and picnicking. It’s a great way to combine education and outdoor fun.
Jamestown has three working farms open to visitors: Watson Farm is a 265-acre historic gem dating back to 1789 and owned by Historic New England. Heritage cattle and sheep graze its expansive pastures. On open days, visitors can pack a picnic and hike to the West Passage of Narragansett Bay, or take a guided tour of the house, Sheep sheering is a seasonal favorite. The farm sells grass-fed beef and lamb as well as wool blankets from its own sheep. Windmist Farm, visible from the Newport Pell bridge, raises iconic Belted Galway cows, sheep and chickens as well as hydroponic veggies all year long. At Windmist’s farmer’s market, shop for grass-fed beef and lamb, plus local goat pork, eggs and seasonal vegetables. A weekend favorite is Windmist’s homemade apple cider and cider donuts. Hodgkiss Farm is season al farm stand offering homegrown veggies, fruit, flowers, pumpkins and Chase Farm corn. Owners Gail and Harry Chase still use the self-serve “karma honor system” for payment.
Fort Getty Park is another family-friendly destination. Here, you can camp, fish, and take in beautiful sunsets. It’s an excellent spot for bonding over a campfire or simply enjoying the great outdoors.
For a dose of adventure, consider renting kayaks or paddleboards at one of the local rental shops. Paddling around the island’s coastline allows you to discover hidden coves, enjoy up-close encounters with local wildlife, and create lasting family memories.
Vacationing in Jamestown vs Newport and Providence
While Newport and Providence have their own unique charm, vacationing in Jamestown offers distinct advantages that set it apart as a peaceful and relaxing destination.
Tranquility: Jamestown offers a much quieter and more relaxed atmosphere compared to the bustling streets of Newport and the urban hustle and bustle of Providence. For those seeking a peaceful escape, the island is the perfect antidote to city life.
Pristine Beaches: Jamestown’s beaches are often less crowded than those in Newport. You can enjoy the natural beauty of the shoreline without the distractions of larger crowds, making your beach experience more serene and enjoyable.
Natural Beauty: The island’s lush landscapes, scenic coastal views, and well-preserved parks create an ideal setting for nature enthusiasts. Whether you’re hiking, birdwatching, or simply enjoying the scenic beauty, Jamestown’s natural wonders are hard to match.
Historic Charm: Jamestown’s historic sites, such as the Jamestown Windmill and Beavertail Lighthouse, offer a glimpse into the region’s rich history without the crowds you might find in more touristy locations.
Family-Friendly Atmosphere: Jamestown’s small-town ambiance is perfect for families. It’s easy to navigate, and its family-friendly activities make it an ideal destination for parents and children alike.
Proximity to Newport and Providence: Should you wish to explore the nearby cities, both Newport and Providence are just a short drive away. This allows you to enjoy the best of both worlds—quiet island life and city attractions.
Jamestown, Rhode Island, offers a vacation experience like no other. With its local attractions, pristine beaches, family-friendly activities, and numerous benefits over more popular destinations like Newport and Providence, it is a hidden gem in the Ocean State. So, the next time you plan a vacation, consider escaping to the tranquil beauty of Jamestown, where you can create lasting memories in a peaceful and picturesque setting.own