Photo Credit: CommerceRI/Tourism

In a state so small you can drive across the entirety of it in 45 minutes, you would think finding the best beach in Rhode Island would be easy. Not exactly. Inland there’s the East Bay and West Bay, Newport County and South County closer to the Atlantic Ocean, and Rhode Island Sound and Block Island in between. If you do the math, that equals about 400 miles of coastline. For such a tiny state, that’s a whole lot of sandy options.

Rather than single out one beach on location, pick a spot based on the activities you want to pursue. Dividing and conquering will help keep your and your family entertained and you have the added bonus of seeing more of the Ocean State during your stay.

"Point Judith Lighthouse" by Matt Hintsa via Flickr Creative Commons

For a quaint New England day on the water…

The picturesque beach towns on Rhode Island are some of the best highlights of the state. The smooth pebbles lining Little Compton South Shore Beach make for perfect souvenirs, but it’s the “sailing capital of the world” that really has it all. Newport residents embrace their breezy lifestyle to the fullest and help tourists get in on the action with various “sightsailing” tours. Complete with bike trails and shopping, Newport really does have it all.

"Bridge at Night" by Tom McC via Flickr Creative Commons

For top fishing…

Angling isn’t for everyone, but bagging a fresh catch in Narragansett Bay is so easy you’d be crazy not to give it a try. For the best fishing, plan a visit in July when you can find a variety of striped bass and flounder. While virtually anywhere along the Narragansett Bay is a good spot to cast a reel, Bold Point Park and Beavertail State Park each offer quiet, calm settings and a few sightseeing opportunities for a relaxing day on the water.

Photo Credit: CommerceRI-Tourism

For lighthouse tours and boardwalks galore…

The lighthouses on Rhode Island are almost as plentiful as the fish and Rhode Island Bay Cruises can help you see 10 of them, many of which aren’t open to the public, in just 90 minutes. If you’re willing to stretch your sea legs and head into more open water, a trip across the Sound to Block Island will end the day of sightseeing on a high note, especially if you book a room at one of the many bed and breakfasts or little inns on the water.