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Road Trip: Point Judith, Rhode Island

June 14, 2012 11:06 AM

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Point Judith Light WBZ

(WBZ photo)

Point Judith Light WBZ

(WBZ photo)

Point Judith, Rhode Island is best known as a passageway to Block Island. Those who make the mistake of passing straight through without pausing in this picturesque, bustling peninsula don’t know what they are missing. Visitors to Point Judith enjoy lounging on the beach, digging for clams, playing Frisbee in the park, fishing from the piers, and dining on fresh seafood.

Less than two hours south of Boston in the town of Narragansett, the village of Point Judith lies on the western side of Narragansett Bay where it opens to Rhode Island Sound.

GETTING THERE

Distance (round trip from Boston): About 93 miles
Travel time: About 1 hour and 50 minutes

Rose Nulman State Park

(WBZ photo)

POINT JUDITH LIGHT

Established in 1810 and rebuilt twice since, the Point Judith Light is a working lighthouse operated by the United States Coast Guard. Visitors may enter and tour the grounds via a pedestrian gate. This striking landmark appears on the National Register of Historic Places and the tall octagonal structure with its surrounding grassy lawns is pure New England. From its grounds, visitors enjoy a sparkling 270 degree water view.

Next to the lighthouse is the Rose Nulman Memorial Park with a number of picnic tables and benches. From a cliff-top gazebo overlooking the water, it is possible to catch sight of the soaring Newport Bridge to the north.

Roger Wheeler Beach Pavillion

(WBZ photo)

THE BEACHES

Point Judith marks the eastern point of a string of mostly sandy beaches stretching nearly twenty miles along the Rhode Island coastline – all the way to Watch Hill in the town of Westerly.

The Roger W. Wheeler State Beach is the easternmost of these. This wide, sandy beach is perfect for family swimming because of its calm waters. In season there are lifeguards on duty. Across the street is ample parking that is central to most of the attractions in the vicinity including the lighthouse, restaurants, ferry dock and beaches at Galilee. Parking fees are under $15 for the entire day, which also covers access to the beach and beach facilities.

A pair of long rugged rock jetties, which are home to lobster, crabs and other sea life, protects Salty Brine State Beach within the Point Judith Harbor of Refuge. This makes Salty Brine a favorite of divers. Crabbing from atop the jetties is also a favorite pastime although it requires a little courage and a lot of sure-footedness.

Close by, Narragansett Town Beach features morning fitness classes on the beach. For an $12 cash fee, you can join in an hour-long yoga class in the salt air, the perfect way to start a day by the sea.

Commercial Fishing Fleet

(WBZ photo)

FISHING

Life by the sea means fishermen and fresh seafood. If you want to catch some of your own, there are plenty of charter companies that will take you out for a day of deep-sea fishing.

Search: Fishing Charters

If you have your own fishing gear, bring it along and ask the locals the best spot to drop your line.

DINING

Dining choices for visitors to Point Judith range from grilling your own seafood bought fresh from the boats at the town docks to upscale dining at popular Spain in nearby Narragansett.

One very popular choice since it opened its doors in 1948 is George’s Waterfront Seafood Restaurant. Visitors come here for the views, which are spectacular regardless of where you are seated. They return for the food. George’s features weekly specials which are published on its website. Baked Stuffed Quahogs (two for $6) are a Rhode Island delicacy. George’s also serves oysters on the half shell, lobster, and another Rhody classic of clam cakes and chowder. Entrees range from $10 to $30.

For the more budget conscious, Jim’s Dock in Jerusalem is a typical dockside food shack with a comfortable patio that features lobster rolls, and clam cakes. At Jim’s, you bring your own beer or wine.

The Block Island Ferry

(WBZ photo)

BLOCK ISLAND EXCURSIONS

Once you’ve taken in the casual and relaxing atmosphere of Point Judith, hop a ferry for a side trip to Block Island. Same day round trip fares are $20.75 for adults ($35.85 for Hi-speed ferry) and $10.70 for children. Take bikes along for an extra $6.40 each and you will be able to explore the entire tiny island. Otherwise, browse the quaint downtown area and walk to the sprawling grounds of the Spring House for lunch on the veranda.

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