Small coastal towns, like Charlestown, RI, are the perfect place to go for relaxation. Whether driving to the coast for a quick getaway or flying in for a lengthy vacation, you’ll find plenty to do while in Charlestown. The small population of around 8,000 keeps the town friendly, relaxed, and quaint. Enjoy shopping around town, checking out local artists’ wares, or spend some time outdoors in parks and nature centers. Of course, be sure to get your hands on the freshest seafood the area can offer.

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1.The Fantastic Umbrella Factory

The Fantastic Umbrella Factory
© The Fantastic Umbrella Factory

For a truly unique shopping experience, the Fantastic Umbrella Factory will fit the bill. They describe themselves as “a 19th-century farmyard shoppers paradise,” though this is so much more than a historic landmark. While the property does seem right out of the 1800s, with beautiful gardens, old buildings, and wandering goats and chickens, this is a quaint store and café. The Fantastic Umbrella Factors includes local and international artwork and includes stores like The Purple Shell, which features Native American jewelry and crafts. When you’re ready for a bite to eat, the Small Axe Café or the General Store are great stops, while other artist’s shops, like the Henna Body Art tent, can be explored through the gardens.

4820 Old Post Road, Charlestown, RI 02813, Phone: 401-364-1060

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2.East Beach

East Beach
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East Beach is the place to go to Charlestown when you want some time on the water. This 3-mile beach is mostly untouched, with only some development marring the natural beauty of the area. That development is essential for human usage, including composting toilets, limited parking, and only a few dressing rooms. There are 20 campsites available on the property, but special equipment is required. No animals or fires are allowed on the beach, and lifeguards on duty are limited. However, you’ll have the perfect chance to enjoy the water, clean sands, and peacefulness of the beach during your visit.

East Beach Road, Charlestown, RI 02813, Phone: 401-322-8910

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3.Frosty Drew Nature Center and Observatory

Frosty Drew Nature Center and Observatory
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With some of the darkest skies between Boston and New York City, Charlestown is a perfect spot for the Frosty Drew Nature Center and Observatory. Along with a nature center that gets kids actively involved in learning about the forests and local outdoor life, the observatory is the spot to learn more about the universe and the surrounding galaxies. The observatory is open year-round, with hours shifting with the seasons. While at the observatory, you may get the chance to view the Sky Theater, which projects the things that the observatory can see, but the naked eye cannot. This is commonly used when there is poor weather for viewing at the observatory.

61 Park Lane, Charlestown, RI 02813, Phone: 401-859-1450

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4.Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge

Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge
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With over 858 acres of land and wetland habitats sanctioned off as one of the five wildlife refuges in Rhode Island, Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge is a good place to take part in outdoor activities while learning about the natural environment. While many of the birds and animals at the refuge are protected, white-tail deer can be hunted on the grounds. Those interested in learning can take part in bird walks, seine netting, fishing, or canoeing. Visitors are encouraged to enjoy the four trails that weave throughout the refuge and lead right to the Kettle Pond Visitor Center, a comfortable indoor retreat where classes can be held.

50 Bend Road, Charlestown, RI 02813, Phone: 401-364-9124

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5.Burlingame State Park and Campground

Burlingame State Park and Campground
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Another lovely place to find camping in Charlestown is at Burlingame State Park and Campground. Here, visitors will find 700 campsites and 20 cabins for rent. When you’re ready to go camping, you’ll find excellent camping amenities – such as showers, bathrooms, and a freshwater beach. There are, however, no utility hookups for RVs. When you’re ready to get active, you can canoe, go to the arcade, or let the kids enjoy the onsite playground. Those who wish to set up campfires are asked to purchase the specially treated firewood from the camp store to prevent the spread of pests.

1 Burlingame State Park Road, Charlestown, RI 02813, Phone: 401-322-8910

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6.401 Oyster Company

401 Oyster Company
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When on the coast, there is nothing like fresh seafood. At 401 Oyster Company, you’ll be able to visit and tour an active oyster farm. Opened in 2014, the owner of 401 Oyster Company, Brian Pinsky, earned a Bachelor of Science before learning even more about commercial fishing. If you choose to take the 1.5-hour tour, you’ll be treated to a boat ride across the pond, where you’ll see several stages of the oysters’ growth. You’ll learn all about oyster farming, and on the boat ride back, you’ll be treated to freshly shucked oysters and refreshments.

60 Sportsman Road, Charlestown, RI 02813, Phone: 413-250-2861

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7.Breachway Grill

Breachway Grill
© Breachway Grill

Hungry? Head over the Breachway Grill for some fresh, delicious seafood, NY-style pizza, and burgers. Opened in 2010, the Breachway Grill has expanded to include unique eats to the area, including fish tacos, lobster rolls, and coconut cake. This restaurant doesn’t stop at simple grill fare, you can help yourself to some New England clam chowder (made with local clams), dayboat scallops, whole belly clams, P.E.I. mussels, or the catch of the day. One delicious pizza that shouldn’t be ignored is the Jammin’ Clams Casino pizza, which includes fresh clams, bacon, and scallions. Of course, no day out would be complete without a glass of wine or a cold brew.

1 Charlestown Beach Road, Charlestown, RI 02813, Phone: 401-213-6615

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7 Best Things to Do in Charlestown, RI