Watch Hill in Rhode Island is just a hop, skip and a jump over the Connecticut border. Visiting Watch Hill and it’s beaches is a perfect way to spend a Summer day. You don’t have to be rich or even have money to enjoy a visit at the public beaches of Watch Hill. Parking may be your own real expense, especially if you bring your own picnic basket of food.
Watch Hill is tiny so be prepared to drive around the small town until a spot opens up because there is no parking on the side streets. If you do go for the entire day you might want to shell out the $20 it costs to park in the main parking lot but if you get lucky you can pay $10 and park next to the restaurant near the row of stores. Here’s a Secret to save on parking. Parking along the road and in the public parking lot is free but it will only give you two hours. Parking is monitored and you will get a ticket if you park in those free spots longer than two hours. Just make sure you come back and move your car every two hours and you don’t even have to pay to park.
You most definitely don’t have to be rich to enjoy Watch Hill. It didn’t cost us a thing – well, except for the frozen Del’s lemonade that we had to try. You will find Del’s at the end of the main road, near the carousel. While you are visiting Watch Hill, check out the completely renovated Ocean House, sit on the beach, browse the many small boutiques, watch the people go by, the yacht as they sail out to the ocean and just enjoy the day.
Once you park you will want to figure out where the beach is located so you can optimize your time in Watch Hill. Walk to the end of the row of stores until you see the carousel. Take a left and walk up the hill. At the top of the hill you will see the sign to enter the public beach. Make sure you take all of your trash when you leave because there are no trashcans on the beach.
This is what the path looks like to go to the public beach. It is so pretty with flowering shrubbery on either side. The public beach is free to access. This walk to the beach is just as fun as being at the beach. The waves are great for a little light surfing and the water is clear enough to swim. Make sure you spend some time sinking your tootsies in the sand. Nothing feels better than sand between your toes.
Another thing you might want to do when you visit Watch Hill is to walk around The Ocean House. It has totally been restored and is just gorgeous. You can almost imagine ladies with parasols and men wearing striped pants walking along the perfectly manicured lawn that is trimmed with wild roses and lavender. You may see a group of people playing croquet on the lawn.
You can see the Watch Hill lighthouse from the beach and the exquisite Ocean House that sits on the hill. If you can’t afford to stay overnight at the Ocean House or even eat, make sure you walk through the main floor and have a seat in a rocking chair along the outside deck. It’s free to sit outside and enjoy the view.
Walk along the path on the side of The Ocean House and it will take you all of the way down to the gate where guests and residents can go on the private boardwalk to the cabanas on the private beach area. The paths behind the Ocean House are open to the public. Take a walk behind it and see the beautiful gardens and perfectly manicured lawns.
If you want to avoid the crowds altogether don’t go to the main beach but walk to the right of the shops where it says private Misquamicut club beach. Walk all of the way around to the right and you can get on that beach for free without being a member. You will have to walk up on the sand dunes to get over to the beach. Once there you will find it much more private and so far we have never been asked to leave for not having a membership.
If you like people watching, Watch Hill is the perfect place to do it. You might even see Taylor Swift walking along the sidewalk or popping in one of the small shops. Since she owns a house in Watch Hill she has been known to be a frequent visitor.
You can definitely find enough to do for a day trip to Watch Hill and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg.