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Best Beach Town in New England
If you are looking for a great place to vacation this summer, I have discovered the perfect beach town in New England. It is Westerly, RI and it is only two and a half hour drive from NYC. The beach is as good as any beaches in the Northeast. I use to think Sandy Hook, NJ was pretty good. Misquamicut State Beach is by far the best in the Northeast. The town is friendly and with lots of charm. It is also historic for the history buffs. Five Stars.
The Misquamicut Beach Park is located in Westerly, RI, a small historic town on the border between Connecticut and Rhode Island. It is clean and flat and open to the public. Parking is limited due to its size but the facility is top notch. It is one of those places that can be enjoyed on a day trip, a weekend get away or a full week of family vacation. It is centrally located and close to numerous places of interest and family activities. Most places are within 30 or 40 minutes by car.
If you love beaches, this is a great place to visit. It is clean and flat and has soothing waves. The beach is not so large and not too commercialized such as Ocean City. There is no boardwalk just sand and ocean and sun.
Westerly Post Office
Downtown Westerly Park
The Town of Westerly
The town is historic going back to 1669 when it was founded by John Babcock. In the early years, the town folks made their living building whaling ships. Later on, they discovered granite nearby and they supplied a large portions of the headstones during the civil war periods. The downtown main street has several historic buildings that are very unique. The public Library and a large park adjacent. I was told by a local merchant that the Boston Pop Orchestra performs outdoor one evening during the summer season. All the people come out and lounge on blanks and enjoy the music. Check out the post office building. It has marble columns and incredible details. The store we found very interesting is a herbal tea shop called Herbwise Naturals. They have a variety of herbs and teas in jars sold by the ounce. They are very reasonable in price and may be a cure for all sorts of ills. Another store is LiL'Bit of Everything, an antique store with assorted collectibles. There are also numerous restaurants downtown and a craft beer store called the Malted Barley. Westerly is just a charming New England town.
Foxwoods Cinco de Mayo
Here are some nearby activities and point of interests. Check individual links for specific schedules.
- Glass blowing demonstration and artworks (free)
- Mystic Aquarium and Seaport
- Mohegan Sun Casino
- Farmer's Daughter nursery
- Antique stores and consignment shops
- Sunset view at Watch Hill (free)
- Cliff Walk in Newport
- Concert on the Lawn in Downtown Westerly (free) Boston Pop Orchestra
- Movies on the beach (free)
- Drive In Movie - one of the last few drive in theater.
- Springfest and Fallfest - annual celebration in the first week of May and mid September .
- Hermit crab race. (free)
- Foxwoods Casino and Museum
Foxwoods Cinco de Mayo celebration on May 5. For $10, you get a sombrero, a T-shirt, some beads and a wristband which entitles you to get discount drinks throughout the casino.
Farmer's Daughter Nursery
Sunset at Watch Hill
Iggy's Doughboys & Chowder House
Great Places to Eat
Best Lobster Rolls - Iggy's located in Point Judith is where many of the locals eat.
Great Pizza - Mystic Pizza in downtown Mystic is a landmark famous for the movie "Mystic Pizza" with Julia Roberts. Their pizza is really good and the potato skins makes a great appetizer.
Best deal on Lobster Roll is in Newport Easton's Beach - twin lobster roll for under $17.
Other Nearby Towns
If you are planning a week long stay, here are some other nearby towns worth checking out.
- Newport, RI - Checkout the Midtown Oyster Bar, the Black Pearl (best New England clam chowder).
- Jamestown, RI
- Wickford, RI
- Mystic, CT
- Stonington, CT
Suggested Trip Itinerary
There are many ways to enjoy the beach depending on your schedule and budget.
Day Trip - For a day trip, you can leave NYC around 9am and drive to Misquamicut beach park about 3 hours from NYC. I recommend a break mid way at Madison, Ct. It is a quaint town just off Exit 61 on Route 95. They have some shopping on main street and a great book store with a cafe. Spend a few hours on the beach. You can pack a cooler or get food and drinks at the concession stand. Afterwards, drive to Watch Hill and walk along the point for a great 270 degree view of the ocean. You will drive past the famous Ocean House Hotel (one of the few 5 star hotel in the US). There are some local shops there as well. On the way home, stop by Mystic, Ct. and have dinner at Mystic Pizza. You can make it home by 10pm.
Weekend Getaway - For a long weekend, there are many places to stay including Inns on and off the beach and various Bed and Breakfast. I recommend spending the day on the beach and various activities around town. The evenings can be filled with an exciting visit to the nearby casinos. Make a day trip to Newport, RI which is only 40 minutes away. The Cliff Walk is a must to see the mansions from the back side and also great views of the ocean. Downtown Newport has many shops to browse and excellent seafood restaurants. If you have time, you can drive through Jamestown on the way back. It is located on an island just over the suspension Bridge. Make sure you check out Watch Hill around sunset. You will see an incredible sunset from a 270 degree vantage point.
Full week vacation - If you have a full week to stay, in addition to the trips mentioned above, I recommend taking daily side trips to the surrounding towns. There are numerous stores and antiques and consignment shops to browse. There are also many nurseries with a variety of plants and flowers. My favorite is The Farmer's Daughter in South Kingston. Mystic Seaport and Aquarium is worth a day and check out the Village shopping center.
I liked this beach town and plan to visit again. I recommend you check with the local chamber of commerce to see what specific activities is available on the days you are visiting. Let me know if you find this information helpful. If you come across other notable places nearby, please append to the comment area. Below is a poster I saw in a window display downtown - "Memories you will treasure for the rest of your life." Enjoy your vacation.
Some Related Information
- Westerly, RI | Official Website
- Events Calendar - The Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Chamber of Commerce
Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Area Chamber of Commerce is the best place to find an event in the Westerly RI area.
- La Quinta Inn & Suites Stonington (Pawcatuck, CT) - Jun 2016 Hotel Reviews - TripAdvisor
Book La Quinta Inn & Suites Stonington, Pawcatuck on TripAdvisor: See 272 traveler reviews, 33 candid photos, and great deals for La Quinta Inn & Suites Stonington, ranked #1 of 1 hotel in Pawcatuck and rated 4 of 5 at TripAdvisor.