After a cold, wet winter, there’s finally sunshine and warmth. We can all breathe a sigh of relief, open those car windows and enjoy the warm sun. One of the most wonderful things about the region is the diversity of activities and attractions available. Rainy day, sunny hot day, there’s always something to do.
We’ve put together a list of the top things to do in South County. It’s not exhaustive by any means, but if you’re looking for something fun and unique to do, we’ve got some great suggestions. Check some of these off your summer bucket list and you’re sure to have a fantastic summer!
1-Climb up the Hannah Robinson Tower: You haven’t spent a summer in South County unless you’ve climbed the Hannah Robinson Tower at the intersection of Routes 1 and 138 at least once. Get ready for your legs to burn as you climb the four stories up to the top. Fun fact: the structure is named for a young 18th-century woman who was estranged from her family for years before returning to her community of Boston Neck. Shortly before she died, she asked that she be brought to McSparran Hill, where she viewed her homeland. Open 24 hours. Tower Hill Rd, South Kingstown.
2-See a Performance at Courthouse Center for the Arts: The former Washington County Courthouse, which is now a non-profit community-based arts organization, offers all kinds of great programs and events from live music to theater programs to gallery openings and everything in between. Support local art! Hours vary, based on events. 3481 Kingstown Rd, West Kingston.
3-Enjoy homemade ice cream at Brickley’s: With 45 flavors varying from peppermint stick to ginger to cake batter to Heath bar, Brickley’s ice cream is legendary. You might wait in line for a while, but the pay off is well worth it. The family-owned and operated ice cream shop is beloved in the community. Many a summer afternoon or evening are spent enjoying a cone at Brickley’s. Open 12-9 p.m. daily at both locations. 921 Boston Neck Rd, Narragansett & 322 Main St, Wakefield.
4-Try your hand at 18 holes of mini golf at Adventureland: This Narragansett mainstay is kind of hidden, and you might drive by it a half dozen times before you figure out where to turn, but it’s by far the best mini golf course in the state. With its nautical theme, you can be sure your putting game will be challenged, no matter what age or skill level. Open 10 a.m-10 p.m. daily in July and August. Weekends 10 a.m.-6 p.m. from Labor Day through Columbus Day. 112 Point Judith Road, Narragansett.
5-Visit the Umbrella Factory gardens: Bring your little ones to experience the oasis that is the Umbrella Factory. Between the greenhouses filled with plants (all for sale), the moody emus that you can feed (from behind a fence), the bamboo forest and all the fun boutiques and stores, there’s fun for all. Open daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 4820 Old Post Rd, Charlestown.
6-Visit the South County Museum: Learn about the region’s coastal legacy on the eight-acre campus that was the 19th-century estate of RI’s Civil War-era governor and postwar senator, William Sprague. The campus includes a one-room schoolhouse, carriage barn, carpentry shop and stable ruins, along with farm animals, flower and herb gardens. The property is great fun to explore as it’s surrounded by woods, meadows and salt marshes accessible on marked walking trails. Spring and fall: Fridays and Saturdays 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; July and August: Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 115 Strathmore St, Narragansett.
7-Take a sunset/sunrise selfie on the beach: For a beautiful sunrise, head to Narragansett town beach on Boston Neck Road. Walk down the seawall to see the reflection of the sunrise in the windows of Coast Guard House. The best beach for sunset gazing is the Point Judith Fisherman’s Memorial and Camp Cronin Fishing Area at the end of Ocean Road. Talk about a breathtaking view! Don’t forget to take a picture! Locations and hours vary.
8-Rent a kayak or paddleboard from Narrow River Kayaks: Enjoy the calm waters of Narrow River from a kayak or paddleboard as you glide along. Head north and you’ll see meadows and marshlands off to the right - paddle through the waterways between the grassy patches. Follow Narrow River to the south far enough and you’ll end up at the end of Narragansett Town Beach. Either direction is a good choice - maybe rent for enough time to do both! Open Monday-Friday 9 a.m-6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 94 Middlebridge Rd, Narragansett.
9-Have a doughboy at Iggy’s: Yum! Grab a doughboy and some “chowda” and then drive down to the Point Judith Lighthouse for dinner with a view. This year marks 20 years since Iggy’s Doughboys and Chowder House got its start. For most in the area, a visit to Iggy’s marks the start of summer. Open Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.-7 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-8 p.m. 1151 Point Judith Rd, Narragansett.
10-Visit Frosty Drew Observatory to see stars, planets: Head to Ninigret Park on a clear Friday night to see the night sky up close and personal through one of their telescopes and to hear from astronomers who know exactly what you’re looking at. During cloudy or rainy conditions, they offer presentations in the Sky Theatre with astronomers on hand to answer questions and give tours of the observatory and astronomical equipment. Memorial Day to Labor Day, Frosty Drew opens at 6 p.m. for solar observation and then at sunset, the observatory telescopes turn to the night sky for stargazing.
11-Have a picnic in Wilcox Park: Head to McQuade’s to pick up some food for a picnic and then head to Wilcox Park for a lovely picnic in the soft grass next to the pond or amongst the trees. “The people shall have a park” - so said Harriet Wilcox in 1898 when she purchased and donated the seven-acre Rowse Babcock estate to the library and established it as a memorial to her husband Stephen Wilcox. Open daily dusk till 9 p.m. 44 Broad Street, Westerly.
12-Visit the “ruins” of Scarborough Beach: The iconic stone ruins between Black Point and Scarborough Beach are all that remain of the Windswept property that the Davis family built with the profits from their product, the first nationally advertised medicine for chronic pain - a mixture of opium and alcohol. Over the years, the property changed hands many times and endured many fires. Visit the ruins, take a photo, but please, don’t leave garbage as so many others do. Open daily.
13-Visit Laurel Lane Country Club’s Driving range: Who needs private golf courses when you’ve got Laurel Lane Country Club with its driving range, 18-hole, par 71, 6128-yard course and restaurant? It’s the perfect driving range for golfers of all levels - plus it’s affordable and located in a secluded nook of West Kingston. Open daily 6 a.m.-9 p.m. 309 Laurel Lane, West Kingston.
14-Stroll down Main Street in Wickford: It’s hard to pick a favorite architectural gem as you wander through Wickford’s welcoming streets. Head down Main Street to see authentic colonial-era homes. Zigzagging around the roads off of Main Street offers a great view into the coastal community’s historic homes and shops. Open 24 hours. Main Street, Wickford.
15- Visit a local brewery: For being a pretty small community, South County sure has a lot of great breweries. IPAs, stouts, wheat beers, sours - you name a variety of beer, they’ve got it. Bring some snacks or a picnic meal or enjoy the food trucks that are often parked outside to make a night of it! Hours and locations vary.
16-Walk to the end of the jetty in Jerusalem: Enjoy the walk out to the end of the jetty in Jerusalem. Sit a while, it’s very peaceful. Just across the water, you can see Narragansett’s Galilee community and can watch the Block Island ferry come and go every hour throughout the day. 950 Succotash Rd, South Kingstown.
17-Visit Stepstone Falls in West Greenwich: Stepstone Falls is best accessed on the 2.7-mile round trip Ben Utter trail, which can be accessed on Austin Farm Road in West Greenwich. The falls cascade gracefully over low stone ledges. While many of the “steps” that make up the falls were formed naturally, others are granite blocks left over from an old quarry that operated nearby. Use one of the flat ledges to enjoy a picnic lunch or to listen to the water cascading down the falls. Trail access off Austin Farm Road, West Greenwich.
18-Take a surfing lesson with Narragansett Surf & Skate: Looking to take surf lessons? Look no further than Narragansett Surf and Skate. They offer year-round surf and stand-up paddle surfing lessons for individuals and groups up to 100 people. The shop’s owner, Peter Pan, a local surfing legend, has been surfing and working in the industry for more than 50 years. You’ll learn from the best! Open Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.- 7 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. 74 Narragansett Avenue, Narragansett.
19- Lighthouse tour on the RI Fast Ferry: Rhode Island’s lighthouses are pretty iconic. And they’re spread out so you probably couldn’t see them all by boat or car on your own in one afternoon. So jump on the fast ferry and jet around to 10 lighthouses: Whale Rock, Poplar Point, Plum Beach, Goat Island, Beavertail and more. On the same 95-minute ride, you’ll be introduced to 10 islands and view 60 miles of coastline. Hours vary. 1347 Roger Williams Way, North Kingstown.
20-See a Broadway quality show at Theater by the Sea Broadway in South County? You bet! Head toward Matunuck, make a right at Cards Pond Road and you’ll soon find yourself at a small converted 1800s barn, a theater, quite literally, by the sea. The talent is astonishing! Be prepared for some of the best small-town theater you’ve ever experienced. Hours based on show times. 364 Cards Pond Rd, Wakefield.
21-Take up some target practice at Elite Gun Range: As one of the most recommended indoor target shooting ranges in the state, Elite Gun Range doesn’t disappoint. With 16 climate-controlled lanes rated for handguns and rifles, Elite has the capacity to host shooters with abilities ranging from beginner to military and law enforcement organizations. Open Monday to Saturday 9 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m.-7 p.m.. 371 Rose Hill Rd, South Kingstown.
22-Visit the Fayerweather Craft Guild: The Fayerweather Craft Guild, located in the restored Fayerweather House, is dedicated to preserving old crafts and showcasing and promoting new ones. Between their craft demonstrations, hands-on workshops and special events, the guild is a great place to take the family on any day but especially on a rainy day. Open Tuesday to Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. 1859 Mooresfield Rd, Kingston.
23-Have a drink on the beach at Windjammer Surf Bar: Take in the sights and sounds of the Atlantic Avenue strip in Misquamicut as you have a drink oceanside at the Windjammer Surf Bar. If you’re lucky, you’ll enjoy some live music and maybe even a dip in the ocean in between drinks! Open daily 11 - 1 a.m. 321 Atlantic Ave, Westerly.
24- Have clam cakes at George’s of Galilee: Overlooking the Block Island Sound in the fishing port of Galilee, George’s of Galilee is the perfect place to enjoy some clam cakes as you take in the sights and sounds of summer. It’s been around since 1948 so they certainly know what they’re doing when it comes to making world-class clam cakes. Open daily 11 a.m. 250 Sand Hill Cove Road, Narragansett.
25-Hike Napatree Point to an old fort: It’s a long and beautiful walk (about two miles out and back), but the views and the history of Fort Mansfield, the military fort built at the end of the barrier beach in the early 1900s are worth it. Today, it’s very overgrown and the fire department put a fence around the structure to prevent access to the lower level of the site. Take in the views and enjoy the long sandy spit that juts off Westerly’s southern tip, nearing the Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York border. Accessed from Bay Street, Watch Hill.