25 Things to Do in Narragansett, RI with Kids
Occasionally referred to as Newport’s little cousin, Narragansett offers families a four-seasons getaway minus the touristy hustle and bustle of Rhode Island’s more celebrated destination a few miles to the east. And we've got you covered with tips on the best things to do in Narragansett with kids once you get there.
Narragansett is more intimate than Newport, whose trendy shops and stately mansions attract visitors from New England to the New York metropolitan area and beyond. But if you’re eager for some fun with the kids at less than Newport prices, pay a visit to Narrangansett, accessible in less than 90 minutes from Boston and less than an hour from the New London ferries that connect to Long Island.
In 2018, readers of the Boston Globe named Narragansett the best beach town in New England. One visit and you will understand why: Narragansett is home to some of the
finest oceanfronts in the region, friendly locals, brilliant sunrises and sunsets, and, of course, surfing. The waves here are perfect for beginners and experts alike and the season can extend
well into the autumn with the benefit of a wetsuit.
So pack up the car, make a ferry reservation, and get Narragansett on your radar. And here's what to do when you get there.
Things to Do with Kids in Narragansett, Rhode Island
Digging in the sand will always please the young crowd! Photo by Brian Birke(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
1. Hit the Beach
Rhode Island is not nicknamed the Ocean State for nothing. If your kids prefer to avoid the commotion of mega-popular Town Beach, relax at Salty Brine State Beach. A newer pavilion with solar-powered warm showers adds to this laid-back venue. There's also Scarborough State Beach and kid-friendly Roger W. Wheeler State Beach.
2. See the Light
The areas near Point Judith Light offer some of the best sunsets in all of New England. You can't get too close to the classic lighthouse these days, but you can delight in a late-day picnic on this kid- and dog-friendly beach.
3. Gather Some Shellfish
There's no need to visit the fish market for dinner if you know what you're doing at Salt Pond. Bring a bucket and trowel a few hours before low tide and muck around amid the abundance of clams. Kids love squelching through the mud to find these shellfish. Just be sure to read up on collecting rules before you go.
Narragansett's waves are great for learning to surf. Photo courtesy of Warm Winds Surf Shop
4. Catch a Wave
Of all of New England's beach towns, few are better known for surfing than Narragansett. Learn-to-surf companes including Peter Pan Surfing Academy, Warm Winds, and Narragansett Surf and Skate offer all-ages lessons throughout the summertime.
5. More Water Fun
For a peaceful afternoon, rent a kayak from Narrow River Kayaks and take a guided tour of the Narragansett coast. The company rents all the equipment and safety gear needed for a kid-friendly good time.
6. Drop a Line
Rhode Island is famous for its fishing. Introduce your kids to the sport at one of Narragansett's top fishing spots; locals favor the Point Judith Pond waterfront at the intersection of Galilee Escape Road and Great Island Road.
Don't miss the bumper boats at Adventurerland. Photo courtesy of Adventureland
7. Hit the Rides at Adventureland
Eager for some family fun away from the water? Enjoy Adventureland's bumper boats, mini-golf, go-karts, and more at this popular spot on Point Judith Road. The season traditionally begins in mid-April and continues through the end of September.
Black Point tide pool is full of sea life to discover. Photo by Anarnold via Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0
8. Take a Hike ...
Your kids will love walking around the Black Point Tide Pools at low tide. Head to Ocean Road, north of Scarborough State Beach, and bear left down the beach path to find a rocky point with treasures, including periwinkle snails, sea stars, and sea urchins.
9. ... Or Ride a Bike
The popular William C. O'Neill Bicycle Trail begins (or ends, depending on your direction) at Mumford Road and Riverside Drive in Narragansett. The seven-mile trail is scenic, largely flat, and ideal for young legs. Leaf-peepers will love autumn's colors in October. The trail ends in West Kingston, on the approach to the University of Rhode Island.
10. Go People Watching
With more than 5,000 visitors a day during peak season, who knows who or what you'll see at Narragansett Town Beach? Even if visitors are on their best behavior, and they usually are, it's always fun socializing near the beach and surfing area. The $12 daily fee is more than reasonable.
11. Hit the Park
Kids can run, climb, and play at Sprague Park, a 14-acre facility that features a neat Native American statue, ballfields, tennis courts, and a great playground.
Get a feel for the Gilded Age at Narragansett's Towers.
12. Take In the Towers
The iconic "Towers" are actually what remains of the former Narragansett Pier Casino, built in the 1880s. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1969, the Towers attract tourists young and old eager for a glimpse into Narragansett's Gilded Age past.
Narragansett is a great spot for outdoor movie night! Photo courtesy of Naragansett Parks and Recreation
13. Catch a Flick
The Clubhouse at North Beach opens up its deck for FREE family movies at sunset throughout the summer.
14. Enjoy Some Outdoor Music
The Clubhouse also hosts a Monday evening concert series at the Gazebo. Grab a chair and pack a picnic for FREE outdoor music throughout the summer.
15. Celebrate the Fourth
If you're in Narragansett over the holiday weekend, you won't want to miss Family Beach Day, which includes an Independence Day fireworks celebration. Beach games, music, and more make the North Beach Clubhouse a great holiday destination.
16. Go for a Skate
If the beaches are too crowded, why not go for a glide at Narragansett's new synthetic four-season ice rink? The Parks and Recreation department property on Clarke Road opened May 23, 2021.
17. Visit a Museum
Because not every day in Narragansett is perfect, you might need to take the kids indoors. Narragansett has several museums worth a visit, including South County Museum, which, among other things, tells the story of Rhode Island's indigenous peoples; and the Colonial-era Gilbert Stuart Museum and Birthplace.
18. Take a Trip to Block
To see Rhode Island at its most rustic, catch a ferry in nearby Galilee to Block Island. There are 17 miles of beaches to explore on Block, and Crescent Beach is in walking distance of the ferry terminal. Explore the lighthouses, walk the bluffs, and visit the wildlife refuge.
South County Balloon Festival offers families some magical moments. Photo by Hillary Gillinder
19. Visit URI
The University of Rhode Island, 7 miles from Narragansett, is more than just a classic New England college campus. It's also home to the South County Balloon Festival, the Rhode Island State Barbecue Championship, and more. Take in a college football game in the fall or a Division I basketball game in the winter.
20. Ring In the Holidays
Few places in New England come alive at the holidays better than Narragansett. The comunity's annual Holiday Lights Festival traditionally begins on the first weekend of December and continues throughout the holiday season. Visitors can see charming displays at the Towers, Narragansett Community Center, Gazebo Park, the local library, and elsewhere. It's worth noting: The celebration went on as planned in 2021 despite the COVID omicron surge.
Where to Eat With Kids in Narragansett, Rhode Island
You've explored all of Narragansett's sights. Now it's time for a good, family meal. Here are some great options right in downtown Narragansett.
Stunning food and views make the Coast Guard House a must. Photo courtesy of Coast Guard House
21. Upscale Options
If you want to treat the crew to dinner, consider the Coast Guard House. It's a bit fancier than most Narragansett bistros, but it's oceanfront and a great spot from which to view the Towers. Elsewhere, Trio, across Ocean Road from the Coast Guard House, offers sociable Italian food.
Nothing says Narragansett cuisine like shellfish. Photo courtesy of Aunt Carrie's
22. Affordable and Fun
If you're looking for a wakeup, try breakfast at T's. Kids will delight in its over-the-top waffles and pancakes and parents will appreciate the endless coffee refills. Otherwise, pay a visit to Crazy Burger. The burgers at this pierside favorite are delightful, but the real treat on a hot day is one of its trademark smoothies. For a beachside lunch, consider laid-back Buster Krab's, Aunt Carrie's, or Iggys. The Bike Stop Cafe offers fresh pizza, fish tacos, and more in a bicycle theme.
23. And, of course, Ice Cream
What trip to Narragansett is complete without an ice cream treat? Narragansett has a number of ice cream shops, led by Brickley's Homemade on Boston Neck Road. But there is also The Sweet Spot on Great Island Road, and Dad's Deli and Ice Cream near Scarborough State Beach. Gelato fans will appreciate Nana's Ice and Gelato Bar with locations downtown and near Salty Brine Beach.
Where to Stay With Kids in Narragansett, Rhode Island
Accommodations in Narragansett range from the affordable to the upscale. Here are a few suggestions.
24. Affordable Accommodations
Families on a budget can drop anchor at the Anchor Motel. It's clean, affordable, mini-fridge-equipped, and steps from the beach. The Scarborough Beach Motel is across the street from the ocean and kids younger than 11 stay free with an adult.
Treat the family to beachside accommodations in Narragansett. Photo courtesy of Aqua Blue
25. On the Upscale Side
Aqua Blue sits right on Beach Street across from the gazebo and is the closest hotel to the ocean. Amenities include a pool, hot tub, and rooftop lounge. The Break is a 16-room boutique hotel with a chic ocean vibe. The Shore House on Ocean Road exudes Victorian charm amid Narragansett's row of captain's houses.