Rhode Island’s South County is home to 100 miles of shoreline, but this area offers so much more than just the ocean. It’s also home to some noteworthy restaurants and some of the most beautiful hotels and inns, and these things combined make it a must-visit destination on the U.S. East Coast.
This particular trip with Visit Rhode Island, was my first time to the state and it definitely will not be my last. Below, I’ve put together my Rhode Island, South County Travel Guide, sharing what to do, where to stay and of course, where to eat and drink.
What to Do in Rhode Island’s South County
East Matunuck State Beach
Located only a 25-minute drive from Westerly, East Matunuck State Beach offers scenic views of the beautiful beach front houses and on a good day, you can just make out the shoreline of the beautiful Block Island. This was the perfect spot to spend our first day in Rhode Island. Despite the gloomy weather, people were posted up for the day in their beach chairs, sitting and taking in the sounds and feels of the ocean.
Close to the town of Westerly, Misquamicut Beach is a local favorite, and rightly so – the beach is clean, the views are beautiful and it has a lot to offer in terms of restaurants and bars if you need a quick bite or an afternoon pick-me-up. We had a great time lounging on the beach and even made the walk on the beach from Andrea’s Beach Bar to the town of Watch Hill, rewarding ourselves with a glass of wine at the Ocean House.
Only about a 35-minute drive from Westerly, Narragansett is a must-visit spot if you’re in the area. While there, we visited the Point Judith Lighthouse, the Narragansett Town Beach, 1230 Ocean Bistro and then ended our day at the Roger W. Wheeler State Beach. It’s the perfect town to stop in for a day trip, or even just for the afternoon.
Located in the town of Watch Hill, the Ocean House is an impressive luxury hotel propped up on a hill overlooking Misquamicut Beach. The hotel grounds are beautiful and the outdoor bar offers impressive views of the ocean. I highly recommend stopping by for an afternoon drink – it’s truly a sight to be seen.
A 15-minute drive from Narragansett, Wakefield is another quaint little town located along the Saugatucket River. We spent our time here browsing the local shops and watching the town prepare for the Summer Solstice RiverFire that they put together every summer.
This coastal village located right in Westerly, gives off the ultimate beach town vibes. Full of quaint little shops with everything from jewelry to beach towels, this is a great area for families and the waterfront there is the perfect place to catch some epic sunset views.
Our homebase for the week, Westerly is a charming old town full of unique restaurants and bars, like The Bridge, The Malted Barley and The Shallows, and is conveniently located within easy traveling distance from Watch Hill and Narragansett. Our hotel was only minutes walking from downtown Westerly, so we had a great time exploring the area during our stay.
Where to Stay in Rhode Island’s South County
Margin Street Inn
Located only a short walk from the town of Westerly, RI, the Margin Street Inn is a quaint bed & breakfast with two lovely inn keepers that will make you feel right at home. The property itself is decked out with cozy decor, beautiful grounds and an appetizing breakfast that will keep you coming back for more. I’ve truly never felt more at home while traveling than I have here. Everything was picture perfect – from the location to the amenities and finally, the hospitality, there truly is nothing like this place. We spent many a nights sipping wine on the deck, while snacking on homemade cookies, enjoying the peacefulness of the grounds. This will definitely not be our last time here.
Where to Eat and Drink in Rhode Island’s South County
1230 Ocean Bistro
The 1230 Ocean Bistro is a hidden gem tucked away in Narragansett, with the most beautiful views of the ocean and some seriously delicious food. From the atmosphere, to the food and finally, the staff, it was the kind of local spot that you keep coming back to. For our meal, we started out with the thai chili calamari and the seared scallops and ended with the seared ahi tuna and the stuffed sole – all of which were fresh, unique and tasty.
Andrea’s Beach Bar
When presented with a cloudy morning at Misquamicut Beach, there’s no better place to go than Andrea’s. We spent the morning lounging on their Adirondack chairs facing the water, sipping on mimosas and waiting for the clouds to pass. It was the perfect place to relax and take in the scenery, with a few drinks of course.
Located in Kingstown, Back Forty is a rustic restaurant serving some seriously good American comfort food. To kick off our meal, we ordered the buffalo cauliflower and were extremely impressed – the cauliflower was lightly fried and extremely tasty. Then, we moved on to the the baked mac & cheese and the meatloaf & mashed, and let me tell you, we both wanted to lick our plates dry despite the fact that we were stuffed to the brim with food. I highly recommend checking out this spot if you’re in the area, and if you’re lucky, you might also get a peek at co-owner, Olivia Culpo!
Mantunuck Oyster Bar
Situated right on the water and located only about a 5-minute walk from East Matunuck State Beach, the Matunuck Oyster Bar is the perfect spot for an afternoon seafood lunch. Serving up Calamari that’s voted the best in Rhode Island for the past two years, the food here really leaves an impression. Even the house bread & olive oil, which was made with parmesean, lavender and parsley, was quite a dish. After this, we enjoyed the oyster trio, the calamari with picked jalapeños and the oyster stew. I could have sat here for hours enjoying this meal and taking in the relaxing views.
Conveniently located right on the river in downtown Westerly, and only about a 10-minute walk from the Margin Street Inn, we stopped in The Bridge for dinner one night and were pleasantly surprised by our meals. After a quite a few days of seafood, we were in the mood for some veggies so we opted for the Buddha Bowl and the Grilled Squash Sandwich, and let me tell you, it was exactly what we needed.
The Malted Barley
Also located within the town of Westerly, The Malted Barley is a craft beer bar specializing in pretzel sandwiches. We paired the Captain Jack beer from Grey Sail Brewing and the Flying Jenny beer with a roast beef pretzel sandwich and the westerly pretzel sandwich. We had a great time taking in the casual, fun atmosphere of this local beer bar.
Another fun spot located in downtown Westerly, The Shallows is the ideal place to sit and enjoy a glass of wine while taking in the serene river views.
Overall, our trip to Rhode Island’s South County was a memorable one. The area is full of the most beautiful beaches, the cutest little towns and a plethora of restaurants and bars that offer some of the best seafood and drinks that I’ve had in quite some time. If you’ve never been here before, it’s time to add it to your list.
Thank you to Visit Rhode Island for sponsoring this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.5