The small coastal town of Westerly is located on the southwestern shores of Rhode Island. A popular summer vacation destination, Westerly offers visitors access to miles of beaches including Misquamicut State Beach and Atlantic Beach Park, to name but two of the most popular beaches. When you are not soaking up the sun or enjoying beach activities you can try hiking the Napatree Point Trail or explore the Dr. John Champlin Glacier Park. There are a number of historic attractions to visit including the Wilcox Public Library and the Babcock-Smith Mansion. When you’ve worked up a good thirst you can make your way to one of the popular local breweries to try a local craft beer or two.
1.Napatree Point Conservation Area
Napatree Point is a long sandy spit which extends 1.5 miles into the ocean from the village of Watch Hill to create a natural protected harbor. The spit forms part of the Napatree Point Conservation Area where you can go for a great hike all around the edge of the spit. The trail is called the Napatree Point Trail and is considered to be moderate to easy, offering great wildlife and birding opportunities along the way. You can stop off here and there to have a quick swim or bring a blanket and a picnic and just enjoy the lovely beach. If you are lucky you may get to see foxes, deer, herons, egrets, falcons and a wide variety of waders.
Napatree Point, Westerly, RI 02891, Phone: 401-315-5399
2.Misquamicut State Beach
© Marianne Campolongo/stock.adobe.com
Misquamicut State Beach is one of the most popular summer meeting places for both visitors and Rhode Island locals. Here you will find a beautiful half-mile stretch of beach with excellent facilities for the whole family. There is a neat pavilion area where you can rinse off under an outdoor shower, use the clean restrooms and buy a drink and snack. Children can enjoy the playground or have fun building sand castles while adults can enjoy near-perfect conditions for body surfing and boogey-boarding. There is a fair amount of parking close to the beach but you will have to compete for your space during the summer months.
Misquamicut State Beach, 257 Atlantic Ave, Westerly, RI 02891
3.Westerly Public Library and Wilcox Park
© Westerly Public Library and Wilcox Park
The historic Westerly Public Library first opened its doors in 1894 and was built as a tribute to Civil War soldiers. After a string of additions through the years, the library has now more than doubled in size. Today you will find two stunning art galleries, one of which houses the Wilcox’s art collection, while the newer Hoxie gallery (which was added in 1928) is one of the most popular galleries in the area, showcasing works by many local artists. The library is open to everyone and offers access to computers, books, magazines, audio-books, CD’s and DVD’s. After your visit you can take a walk through Wilcox Park to admire the impressive plantings and memorials.
Westerly Public Library and Wilcox Park, 44 Broad St, Westerly, RI 02891, Phone: 401-596-2877
4.Atlantic Beach Park
© Atlantic Beach Park
Your visit to Rhode Island would be incomplete if it does not include spending a few hours at the Atlantic Beach Park. Visiting the park to laze on the beach, swim in the warm waters or go for a ride on the historic carousel has been a Rhode Island summer tradition since the 1920’s. Facilities at the beach park include the Windjammer Surf Bar which opens directly onto a lovely sea-facing patio where you can relax with your favorite cocktail while you watch the kids play on the beach. The Windjammer Snack Bar is perfect for light meals and Dusty’s Original Dairy Bar is rumored to serve the best ice-cream on the beach.
Atlantic Beach Park, 321 Atlantic Ave, Westerly, RI 02891
5.Dr. John Champlin Glacier Park
If you would like to see some real evidence of the effects of climate change, the Dr. John Champlin Glacier Park on Rhode Island is a good place for a fun and educational hike. The 134-acre park was formed during the last ice age, when the melting glacier carved some astonishing shapes into the valley. If you know anything about geology you will certainly recognize a few of the dramatic examples of kettle and kame topography, carved canyons, ridges and glacially-smoothed boulders. The various features are well explained on information boards and the short trails through the park are easy and suitable for the whole family.
Dr. John Champlin Glacier Park, 5 Kettle Close, Westerly, RI 02891, Phone: 401-315-2610
6.The Artist’s Cooperative Gallery of Westerly
© The Artist’s Cooperative Gallery of Westerly
Occupying the historic 1912 building which was once the Westerly Railway Station, the Artist’s Cooperative Gallery of Westerly is a must-see attraction for all art enthusiasts.
The gallery is a non-profit organization which has over 50 members who, together with a variety of visiting artists, are responsible for regular monthly art exhibitions. If possible you should try and visit on the 1st Friday of the month (from 5pm to 8pm) when the gallery hosts its monthly Friday Opening, treating visitors to the latest art exhibition, wine and snacks. The gallery is open from Wednesday to Saturday from 11.00 to 7.00 and from 1.00 to 5.00 on Sundays.
The Artist’s Cooperative Gallery of Westerly, 14 Railroad Ave, Westerly, RI 02891, Phone: 401-596-2221
D AVE, WESTERLY RI 02891, Phone: 401-596-2221
7.Babcock Smith House
© Babcock Smith House
Continuously occupied from the mid 18th century until 1972, the historic Babcock Smith House in Granite Street is now operated as a museum which offers visitors a glimpse into the everyday lives of the generations of people who used to live there. Built in 1734 by Dr. Joshua Babcock, the Georgian mansion is filled with elegant antiques which would have been quite at home in the house back in the 1800’s. During your visit your will learn about the thriving granite industry which was brought about when the first lump of granite was discovered in the grounds of the mansion in 1845. The museum is open to the public on Saturdays from 2-5pm from May to October- additional open days are held in July and August.
Babcock Smith House, 124 Granite Street, Westerly, RI 02891, Phone: 401-596-5704
© Westerly Armory
The Westerly Armory is an imposing red-brick edifice which is located on Railroad Avenue and currently hosts the People’s Museum. The armory was built in 1901 after a previous wooden structure burnt down and was used for a wide variety of community events including basket ball matches, bowling, auto-shows and even for annual poultry shows. The historic old building was carefully restored and when you visit today you can see a collection of community and local military memorabilia. You are welcome to visit the Armory and the museum on Mondays and Thursdays from 9-4 and there is no charge to come and admire the nostalgic collection.
Westerly Armory, B#614 Railroad Ave, Westerly, RI 02891, Phone: 401-596-8554
9.The Malted Barley
© The Malted Barley
A shared love of pretzels and craft beer was responsible for the establishment of The Malted Barley in 2011. What started out as a small-scale craft brewery has morphed into a three-story restaurant where all the locals come to enjoy gourmet pretzels (filled and baked to order) and a choice of 38 delicious brews on tap. Besides pretzels, the restaurant serves a good selection of sandwiches, salads, soups and more. If you want to watch a match on the big screen you can opt for the basement level and the restaurant also has an outdoor seating area which is great in summer.
The Malted Barley, 42 High Street, Westerly, RI 02891, Phone: 401-315-2184
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10.Maria’s Seaside Cafe
© Maria’s Seaside Café
Maria’s Seaside Café is perfectly position right on the Misquamicut beach – there simply couldn’t be a more perfect spot to enjoy freshly caught fish and seafood. The café has been pleasing local diners for more than 25 years, offering a very inviting light-filled space where all visitors are treated like visiting family. On the menu you will find a host of delectable Italian favorites including house-made fresh pasta dishes and a full selection of wonderful cocktails and wines to accompany your food. Maria’s also caters for special celebrations and would be a wonderful place to enjoy a beach-front wedding reception.
Maria’s Seaside Café, 132 Atlantic Ave, Westerly, RI 02891, Phone: 401-596-6886
10 Best Things to Do in Westerly, RI
- Napatree Point Conservation Area, Photo: Steven/stock.adobe.com
- Misquamicut State Beach, Photo: Marianne Campolongo/stock.adobe.com
- Westerly Public Library and Wilcox Park, Photo: Westerly Public Library and Wilcox Park
- Atlantic Beach Park, Photo: Atlantic Beach Park
- Dr. John Champlin Glacier Park, Photo: themorningglory/stock.adobe.com
- The Artist’s Cooperative Gallery of Westerly, Photo: The Artist’s Cooperative Gallery of Westerly
- Babcock Smith House, Photo: Babcock Smith House
- Westerly Armory, Photo: Westerly Armory
- The Malted Barley, Photo: The Malted Barley
- Maria’s Seaside Cafe, Photo: Maria’s Seaside Café
- Cover Photo: digidreamgrafix/stock.adobe.com