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North America > United States of America > New England > Rhode Island > South County (Rhode Island) > Charlestown (Rhode Island)

Charlestown

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Charlestown is a seacoast town in South County, Rhode Island.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

By car[edit]

  • From I-95 N take exit 92 for Route 2 towards Route 49 / North Stonington. Merge onto CT-78 East. Take a left at Route 1 and follow into Charlestown.
  • From I-95 S take Exit 9 (on the left) in Rhode Island onto Route 4. Follow Route 4 into Route 1, and follow for about 17 miles.

Get around[edit]

Many attractions in Charlestown are spread out, so travel by car is usually the best option. If you are renting a house in one of the many beach suburbs, then beach access is almost always easier by foot. Bicycle travel is also the method of transport favored by many locals, and offers a great experience to view the flora and fauna. There are no real means of obtaining (renting, buying, etc.) a bicycle in town, so it is recommended that any visitors bring their own for the best method of transport to a beach. Water Travel is also very popular. Renting a canoe, or other form of boat is a good way to see the true beauty of Rhode Island. These are easily rentable at many bait and tackle places listed below.

See[edit]

Charlestown’s real main attraction are its beaches, which have all varying levels of surf, but are all amazingly beautiful and are almost certainly some of Rhode Island’s best beaches.

  • East Beach / Ninigret State Beach, East Beach Rd. A 3 mile barrier beach that buffers the Atlantic and Ninigret Pond. Includes parking facilities as well as some camping areas for those with RV’s capable of driving in the dunes. Ninigret Pond, on the inland side, is well known for its excellent windsurfing qualities in addition to being a great “non-surf” alternative to the beach for kids. $12 per car, $14 on weekends / holidays.
  • Charlestown State Breachway, Route 1A, +1 401 364-1208. Opened in 1958, it buffers the Atlanitc and the other half of Ninigret Pond. A Smaller beach that is across the breachway from East Beach. “The Breachway” also has facilities for limited camping, and is one of Charlestown’s well-known areas for saltwater fishing.
  • Blue Shutters Public Beach, East Beach Rd (end of East Beach Road, just before Ninigret State Beach). A small public beach, Blue Shutters features moderate surf. Immediately behind the beach is the Blue Shutters concession stand which includes showering and bathroom facilities. Reduced admission price for seniors.
  • Quonochontaug Beach, Highland Rd. A private beach which restricts access to those owning or renting a house in the vicinity of East Beach Rd. Of note is the small locals’ secret that after about 5PM, the parking guard goes off duty, and access is allowed for the public. If you are within biking or walking distance you can get in at any time, as passes are only required for cars.

Do[edit]

  • Big Apple Circus, Off Route 1 (in Ninigret Park), +1 401 360-0890 (community box office). A great attraction for kids and families, the circus is a Charlestown classic, and truly gives that “going to the circus” feel. Typically held in early July for about a week.
  • Charlestown Seafood Festival, Off Route 1 (in Ninigret Park), +1 401 364-4031. August 7th 12PM-10PM, 8th 11AM-10PM, August 9th 11AM-8PM. Renowned local seafood event that features all things seafood related. There is also music, rides, displayed crafts, and many other continuous amusement events. This event also features camping for a flat $75 dollars for 3 days. If you enjoy seafood, johnny cakes, crafts, or even just a good time with good food at all, this is a must-see event. $7 for adults, kids 12 and under free.
  • [dead link] Ocean State Reggae Festival, Off Route 1 (in Ninigret Park), +1 860 536-9832. A terrific event for any fan of reggae or just a good time. Normally held July 19th and 20th, the festival features a number of great bands, good vibes, food, and all kinds of entertainment. As well as music, there are a number of craft vendors selling all manner of wares, both reggae related and not.
  • Frosty Drew Observatory, 61 Park Ln, +1 401 364-9508. Family friendly evening. Open Year Round. More information available on their website.
  • Vin Gormley Trail (Burlingame State Park). An 8.28 mile long and should take about 3.5-4 hours. The trail takes you around Watchaug Pond. It is a rather easy walking trail. There are many lively little brooks and streams and can be a nice stroll. A recommended starting point is on the east shore of Watchaug pond. You can also swim or have a picnic in this area.

Buy[edit]

Bait and tackle[edit]

  • Breachway Bait and Tackle, 166 Charlestown Beach Rd, +1 401 364-6407. Sells fishing bait, propane, and canoes/kayaks (which it also rents). A good destination for tourists venturing out onto the ponds or ocean.
  • [dead link] Quonny Bait and Tackle, 523B Old Post Rd, +1 401 315-2330, . Tue.-Thurs. 6AM-8PM Fri.-Mon. 5AM-9PM Open thru November. A small shop that specializes in building, repairing, and selling fishing rods; also has live and frozen bait and other fishing supplies plus all licenses. No rentals but may be looking into bringing in kayaks.
  • [dead link] Sam Wyatt’s Olde Country Store, 4202 Old Post Rd, +1 401 213-6883. Stored inside of a 19th century schoolhouse, this store ranges from renting kayaks and canoes, selling fishing bait, fishing rod sales and repair, camping equipment, and beach gear.
  • Captain Don's Bait and Tackle, 5223 Old Post Rd, +1 401 2330. Great Place to pick up everything you need, and get a local friendly advice.

Groceries[edit]

  • Charlestown Mini Super, 4071 Old Post Rd, +1 401 364-6600. A small-town version of a grocery store. Doesn’t stock as many items as bigger supermarkets, so you may need to leave town to get all of your groceries.
  • Peaches Fruit and Produce, 47 Charlestown Beach Rd, +1 401 364-5949. Kind of like a farmer’s market inside of someone’s garage, this shop has fresh fruit and vegetables, baked goods, and cooled drinks. It’s family owned, so it has a friendly atmosphere and is a great place to find freshly grown food.

Specialty shops[edit]

  • Bella Diva Boutique, 5221 Post Rd, +1 401 213-6280. A local beauty salon to fix your hair and nails after a weekend at the beach. Highly themed, you can find it by looking for the giant pink arrows in the driveway and the other pink memorabilia scattered around.
  • Charlestown Package Store, 4625 Old Post Rd, +1 401 364-6626. Specializes in many varieties of wine, beer, and mixings for assorted drinks at moderate prices. It’s the only liquor store in Charlestown. Wine tastings are held every Friday night.
  • Country Corner Yarns, 5000 South County Trail, +1 401 213-6686. A small, cozy building filled with walls of yarn of all different styles and colors. Sit in the armchairs to get a better look at the knitting books and needles after you pick out a skein.
  • Freewheeler, 14 Charlestown Beach Rd, +1 401 364-3851. A little tourist shop, it carries items like t-shirts, beachwear, toys, and other beach specialty items. An ideal location to find souvenirs during the summer.
  • Galapago Boutique, 5193 Old Post Rd, toll-free: +1-800-419-6642. Galapagos Boutique is a hip, upscale womens boutique offering the hotest fashions. Galapagos caters to clients looking for personal service to create an individual fashion statement. You will find top design labels in clothing, shoes, jewelry & accessories, as well as up and coming designers new to the fashion scene.
  • Ocean Health Mart Pharmacy, 3986 Old Post Rd, +1 401 364-0900. A good place to stop at to get medical supplies in case of sunburn or other beach emergencies. Another shop with a friendly, small-town atmosphere.
  • Perfect 4 You Consignments. A one-room thrift shop off of the South County Trail. Specializes in used clothing, shoes, handbags, and other home decorations. It’s surrounded by a chiropractic, animal hospital, and dentist, in case something goes wrong when you’re picking out clothes.
  • Ramblin’ Rose Antiques, 5310 Old Post Rd, +1 401 322-1111. An authentic New England antique shop bursting with Nautical, fine art, furniture, architectural, garden items, pottery and truly unique finds. Well-known by many other antiques dealers in the area. We specialize in service! Call for off season hours. Closed in the winter.
  • Simple Pleasures, 5000 South County Trail, +1 401 364-9852. Another series of shops built in converted barns, this shop has a rustic feel with upscale charm. Make sure you explore the pond and garden features outside after you shop for home decorations inside.
  • The Fantastic Umbrella Factory, 4820 Old Post Rd, +1 401 364-6616. This "factory" is not actually a factory, but is a serene environment that features a wonderful garden and a number of small shops in converted barns with affordable items, a café, and a number of domesticated animals on the grounds that can be fed with feed purchased from one of the stores for $0.35. It has been open since 1968. The shops feature a variety of local wares including toys to crafts. This is a terrific little local spot, not very well known, but a fabulous and interesting piece of the local culture.
  • Galapagos, 5193 Old Post Rd, +1 401 322-3000. Charming shop that caters to body, soul and home
  • Treasure Time, 4810 Old Post Rd, +1 401 364-7792.

Eat[edit]

This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget Under $10
Mid-range $10 - $20
Splurge Over $20

There is an admittedly limited selection for food within Charlestown due to its size, but there is a wide selection along Route 1 in either direction: Narragansett or Westerly.

Budget[edit]

  • Charlestown Famous Pizza, 3986 Old Post Rd, +1 401 364-0020. A definite hangout for local residents, they have some of the best pizza around. A worthwhile stop to quench any hunger pains.
  • Famous Pizza, +1 401-364-0020.
  • Kingston Pizza, 4159 Old Post Rd, +1 401 364-7300. A pizza chain found all around Rhode Island, you can eat in or order out their relatively cheap items. Besides pizza, they have a wide selection of appetizers, calzones, and salads. A favorite on nearby college campuses.
  • Town Pizza, +1 401-364-9530.
  • Sweenor’s Chocolates, 5000 South County Trail, +1 401 364-3339. A Rhode Island native, this sweet store began in Cranston 50 years ago. This location sells the handmade treats next to the Hungry Haven, making it a great place to visit for dessert. Walk around the pond as you enjoy your delicacy.
  • The Chocolate Diva's, 4115 Old Post Rd. 11-6 Th-Sun. Offers many sweet treats covered in chocolate. They also sell gift baskets of all shapes and sizes. Can ship the goods to you. varies.
  • The Bakery, 4 Charlestown Beach Rd, +1 401 364-0070. A quaint shop that serves a wide array of delectable treats and other traditional coffeehouse fare. Another option for the caffeine-deprived—they also serve coffee and other drinks.

Mid-range[edit]

  • Hitching Post Restaurant and Seafood, 5402 Post Rd (on Route 1 in Charlestown between Ninigret Park and Burlingame Campground), +1 401-364-7495. Hitching Post Restaurant is a family oriented and family run restaurant located in the prime beach area of Rhode Island. Enjoy grilled favorites like burgers, hot dogs, and steak sandwiches, and seafood classics including clamcakes and delicious clear "Rhode Island" clam chowder. Beautiful picnic area outside and cozy dining area inside with air conditioning. Take-out is available. Open seasonally from the first weekend in May through Labor Day.
  • The Corner Deli. Deli sandwiches are their specialty, but everything is refreshing and excellent especially on a hot summer day.
  • The Hungry Haven, 5000 South County Trail, +1 401 364-3609. Open daily 6:30AM-2:30PM and for dinner on Fridays, 4PM-9PM A budget-friendly choice for breakfast or lunch, it’s a crowded local favorite.
  • Gentleman Farmer, 4349 South Country Trl, +1 401 364-6202. This small place is a popular local spot. The food is the attraction to this place. It has reasonable prices, and a cozy atmosphere.

Splurge[edit]

  • The Cove, 3963 Old Post Rd, +1 401 364-9222. A classy seafood restaurant, it has been a favorite of visitors for years because of the great food and drinks. Also has live music.
  • The Nordic Lodge, 178 East Pasquiset Trail. Thursdays and Fridays 5-9PM, Saturdays 4-9PM, and Sundays 2-7PM. A well known “all-you-can-eat” buffet, The Nordic Lodge features some of the best buffet dining in all of New England. With food for all types of eaters, the Lodge truly impresses with the lobster included in the buffet and its massive selection. Adults $85, Children 2-5 $15, Children 6-9 $30, Children 10-12 $45.

Drink[edit]

  • Dave’s Coffee, 5193 Old Post Rd, +1 401 322-0006. A local coffee and specialty drink shop, they are active with benefit events and bring a cozy charm to the street. Use one of their computers or bring your own while you enjoy the state’s best cappuccinos and baked goods. View their web site at http://www.davescoffee.com/.
  • The Nightwatch Tavern, 4115 Old Post Rd, +1 401 364-0777. The town’s nightclub, this is a popular place to eat, drink, and dance. You’ll find lots of people from Charlestown in their t-shirts and ripped-off jeans here watching the bands play.
  • The Wilcox Tavern, 5153 Old Post Rd, +1 401 322-1829. A restaurant and lounge, they specialize in red and white wines. Plenty of parking for crowded nights.

Sleep[edit]

Camping[edit]

  • Burlingame State Park, Sactuary Rd, +1 401 322-3083. Burlingame is a great place to stay if your looking for a great camping experience. On a 2,100 acre plot of land, the site features 755 camping sites of ranging accommodations, as well as an excellent camping store and even an arcade. Burlingame is situated on Watchaug pond, and also has many swimming and boating facilities, with lifeguards on duty from 9AM-5PM in season. Campground amenities incude: children's activities, grill, picnic area, restroom, telephone, waterfront, attractions of interest to children, park, public beach, firewood, pets allowed, boat ramp, canoeing, freshwater fishing, kayaking, playground, freshwater swimming, wildlife viewing. No alcohol is allowed. $14 for residents, $20 for non-residents.
  • Ninigret State Beach, East Beach Rd, +1 401 322-0450. A truly wonderful place to pitch camp, Ninigret offers a limited number of campgrounds in the dunes behind the beach. Note that you have to have an RV capable of four wheel drive to actually get out to the camping areas. Non-resident fee is $20 a night. $20 a night.
  • Charlestown State Breachway, Route 1A, +1 401 322-1208. A kind of “counterpart” to Ninigret’s camping areas, the Breachway offers some excellent saltwater fishing. It is required to have an RV to camp. The Breachway also offers a boat launch, and some of the best bird watching in the area. Non-resident fee is $20 a night. $20 a night.

Bed and breakfast[edit]

Stay safe[edit]

Emergency contact numbers[edit]

  • Emergency Operations Center Phone: +1 401 364-1212
  • Fire Phone: +1 401 364-7711
  • Police 4901 Old Post Road Charlestown, RI 02813 Phone: +1 401 364-1214

If you are not sure of these numbers, calling 911 will always work in this town and in its surrounding neighborhoods.

Safety tips[edit]

  • Pack water—there are plenty of shops in town, but if you’re going to be vacationing on the beach or in the parks for a day or two, you need to make sure you don’t get dehydrated.
  • Follow the buddy system—as a tourist beach community, you should be pretty safe walking around by yourself at night, but it’s best to keep a phone with you and go with friends just in case.
  • Be careful of ticks-check yourself and family regularly. If you are unfamiliar with ticks, this website can give you some more information. http://www.tickencounter.org/

Go next[edit]

Day trips[edit]

  • Block Island is a small island about a dozen miles off the mainland. Take a ferry there for the day to see the National Wildlife Refuge, take a tour, swim in the ocean, or just wander through the shops.
  • The University of Rhode Island is only twenty minutes away (follow Route 1 east then connect to 108 north). Sporting events, home shows, and concerts occur often at the Ryan Center and elsewhere on campus, so be sure to check out the school’s website to find out how to get tickets. http://www.uri.edu/.
  • Mystic is a 30 minute ride, Route 1 South to 95 South. aquarium, historic sightings, and shopping.

Onward[edit]

  • Newport is a famous city on another island nearby. To get there, you’ll need to follow Route 138 over the bridge; there is a toll both ways, so bring some change. The main road is tourist-centered, so find a place to park and just walk your way up the strip. There are plenty of budget-friendly motels around, but also some hotels and timeshares; get a room and wake up next to the beach.
  • Providence, the state capital, is a fun place to visit for shopping and entertainment. You can drive or take the RIPTA bus.
Routes through Charlestown
ProvidenceSouth Kingstown  N US 1.svg S  WesterlyNew Haven


This city travel guide to Charlestown is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.