Best Boating in Rhode Island

Sailboats anchored in a cove in Rhode Island.
Shaman Mountain is reader-supported. We may earn a small commission on certain links, at no additional cost to you. Learn more.

Situated along the picturesque New England coastline, Rhode Island, aptly nicknamed the “Ocean State,” presents a cornucopia of the finest boating experiences in the northeastern United States. With a rich maritime heritage and a diverse range of natural landscapes, this state has become a sanctuary for boaters of all types. Whether you’re an adept sailor, a dedicated kayaker seeking peaceful waterways, or simply an enthusiast captivated by all things nautical, Rhode Island’s immaculate waters and an array of destinations offer unique and exceptional opportunities. In this comprehensive guide, we embark on a journey to uncover the most exceptional boating experiences this captivating state has to offer. From the tranquility of Greenwich Bay to the bustling fishing hub of Point Judith, Rhode Island promises a wealth of distinctive and unforgettable boating adventures, each revealing an aspect of the state’s rich maritime culture and breathtaking natural beauty.



Narragansett Bay

Narragansett Bay, often referred to as the “Jewel of New England,” is a captivating destination for boaters seeking scenic beauty and maritime exploration. With its breathtaking views of the Rhode Island coastline and a wealth of coves and harbors to uncover, this bay provides an alluring playground for water enthusiasts. Whether you’re drawn to the rich sailing culture, waterfront dining, or the diverse water sports opportunities, Narragansett Bay promises an unforgettable boating experience in the heart of Rhode Island.

Reasons to Boat in Narragansett Bay:

  • Scenic beauty: Narragansett Bay is renowned for its captivating scenery, providing stunning views of the Rhode Island coastline. Its serene waters create the perfect backdrop for a day of boating, with unforgettable sunsets over the bay.
  • Varied exploration: Boaters will find an array of coves, inlets, and harbors within Narragansett Bay, making it a versatile destination for exploration. Whether you’re seeking secluded anchorages or vibrant marinas, the bay offers diverse options.
  • Sailing culture: Narragansett Bay has a rich maritime history and is a hub for sailing culture. You can witness majestic sailboats and partake in the region’s cherished sailing traditions, adding to the allure of this location.
  • Waterfront dining: The bay is lined with charming waterfront restaurants and cafes. After a day of boating, you can pull up to one of these establishments and savor fresh seafood while enjoying the coastal ambiance.
  • Water sports: Narragansett Bay caters to water sports enthusiasts with opportunities for fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and more. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced water sports enthusiast, you’ll find plenty to enjoy.

Recommended Gear: Life Jackets, Compass, Anchor, Tarps, Marine Radio, Cooler, Swim Bag


Block Island

Block Island, a serene and unspoiled haven, beckons boaters with its pristine beaches and charming New England ambiance. This idyllic island, surrounded by the sparkling waters of the Atlantic, offers abundant anchorages, making it an enticing destination for those seeking solace by the sea. From its unique wildlife and nature to the ability to easily hop to neighboring islands, Block Island presents a complete boating paradise where adventure and relaxation seamlessly coexist.

Reasons to Boat in Block Island:

  • Pristine beaches: Block Island is known for its unspoiled, sandy beaches, making it an ideal destination for beach lovers. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, swimming, or sunbathing, the island’s shores offer a tranquil escape.
  • Charming atmosphere: The island exudes the quintessential charm of a New England village. Strolling through town, exploring quaint shops, and savoring the island’s unique ambiance create a delightful experience for visitors.
  • Abundant anchorages: Boaters will appreciate the ample anchorages around Block Island, providing safe and picturesque spots to anchor their vessels while they explore the island’s natural and cultural attractions.
  • Wildlife and nature: Block Island is a sanctuary for diverse wildlife and natural beauty. It offers opportunities for birdwatching, hiking, and the exploration of nature reserves, allowing visitors to connect with the island’s natural wonders.
  • Island hopping: The island’s strategic location allows for convenient island hopping to neighboring destinations, extending your boating adventure and broadening your exploration.

Recommended Gear: Sunscreen, Cooler, Paddle, Sunglasses, Marine Radio, Waterproof Phone Case, Dry Box


Newport Harbor

Newport Harbor, steeped in history and opulence, is a beacon for boaters, exuding an air of timeless elegance. As you enter this harbor, you’re welcomed by historic sites like the famed Newport Mansions, showcasing architectural marvels from a bygone era. But Newport is not just about the past; it’s also a thriving sailing paradise with regattas and vibrant nightlife that make it a hub for water enthusiasts. The harbor’s festivals and waterfront shopping offer added layers of enjoyment, creating an experience that seamlessly blends history and modern-day charm.

Reasons to Boat in Newport Harbor:

  • Historic sites: Newport boasts a treasure trove of historic sites, including the famed Newport Mansions. Boaters can anchor or dock their vessels to explore these architectural marvels, offering insights into Newport’s opulent past and the Gilded Age.
  • Sailing paradise: Newport is a renowned sailing destination, hosting regattas and events throughout the year. This makes the harbor a hub for sailing enthusiasts and an ideal spot to experience the excitement of sailing traditions.
  • Vibrant nightlife: Newport’s waterfront comes alive after the sun sets, offering a vibrant nightlife scene. You can enjoy waterfront bars, live music, and entertaining activities, making Newport an excellent destination for those seeking evening excitement.
  • Harbor festivals: Throughout the year, Newport Harbor hosts a variety of events and festivals. From seafood festivals to maritime celebrations, these events add an extra layer of enjoyment to your boating experience, allowing you to immerse yourself in local culture and traditions.
  • Waterfront shopping: The waterfront area in Newport is lined with shops and boutiques, making it an ideal place to explore and shop for nautical-themed souvenirs, unique gifts, and coastal fashion.

Recommended Gear: Anchor, Dry Box, Sunscreen, Marine Radio, Paddle , Compass, Rope


Watch Hill

Watch Hill, a picturesque seaside town nestled along the coast, exudes a quaint charm that’s irresistible to boaters. Its beautiful harbor, sheltered and serene, provides a safe haven for those seeking a peaceful escape by the water. The iconic Watch Hill Lighthouse and sandy shores invite exploration, while beachcombing and nature walks offer opportunities to reconnect with the natural world. In this coastal gem, time seems to stand still, offering a tranquil respite for those in search of simplicity and beauty.

Reasons to Boat in Watch Hill:

  • Quaint seaside town: Watch Hill is a picturesque coastal village with a relaxed and charming atmosphere. The quaint streets are lined with boutique shops, welcoming cafes, and restaurants, offering a delightful experience for visitors to explore and enjoy.
  • Beautiful harbor: The harbor at Watch Hill provides well-protected and serene waters, making it an excellent choice for boaters. It’s a safe and tranquil place to anchor your boat while you take in the scenic beauty and coastal charm.
  • Scenic lighthouse: One of the iconic features of Watch Hill is its historic lighthouse, which stands as a beacon to sailors. Visiting the Watch Hill Lighthouse and the surrounding beaches allows you to enjoy the beauty of the coast from a unique vantage point.
  • Beachcombing: The sandy shores of Watch Hill are a beachcomber’s dream. You can spend hours collecting seashells, searching for unique treasures, and enjoying the sun and surf, making it an ideal location for a relaxing day on the beach.
  • Nature walks: For those who love to explore the outdoors, Watch Hill offers access to nearby conservation areas and nature trails. These trails wind through beautiful natural landscapes, providing opportunities for hiking and wildlife observation, allowing you to connect with the area’s natural wonders.

Recommended Gear: Rope, Compass, Paddle, Cooler, Sunglasses, Snacks, Anchor


Greenwich Bay

Greenwich Bay is a tranquil oasis for boaters, characterized by its calm waters and picturesque surroundings. This hidden gem of Rhode Island provides a serene atmosphere, perfect for escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With access to nature reserves, birdwatching, and water-based activities like sailing and kayaking, Greenwich Bay offers a soothing retreat for those looking to embrace the gentle rhythm of the sea.

Reasons to Boat in Greenwich Bay:

  • Tranquil waters: Boating in Greenwich Bay is characterized by calm and sheltered conditions, which provide a peaceful and relaxing experience on the water. It’s an ideal location for those who prefer a leisurely boating experience.
  • Nature reserves: Surrounding areas near Greenwich Bay are home to nature reserves and parks, which offer opportunities for birdwatching, nature walks, and a closer connection to the local ecosystem.
  • Peaceful atmosphere: Escape the hustle and bustle of daily life and immerse yourself in the serene and tranquil atmosphere of Greenwich Bay. It’s a place where you can unwind and enjoy the soothing rhythms of the water.
  • Sailing and kayaking: With its calm waters and favorable conditions, Greenwich Bay is a great spot for sailing and kayaking. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing sail or a peaceful paddle, the bay has the right conditions for these activities.
  • Sunset views: As the day comes to an end, Greenwich Bay offers beautiful sunset views over the water. It’s a perfect setting for those looking to witness the sun dipping below the horizon, casting a warm and picturesque glow over the bay, creating a memorable experience.

Recommended Gear: Life Jackets, Compass, Anchor, Tarps, Marine Radio, Cooler, Sunscreen


Sakonnet River

The Sakonnet River, a true Rhode Island gem, is a boater’s paradise that unveils a world of natural wonder and scenic splendor. As you embark on a journey down its tranquil waters, you’ll be captivated by the serene charm of this picturesque river. With a backdrop of lush landscapes, captivating coastlines, and breathtaking sunsets, the Sakonnet River invites boating enthusiasts to experience the essence of coastal beauty. In this guide, we invite you to embark on a voyage of discovery through the Sakonnet River, where we’ll unveil the reasons why it’s celebrated as one of Rhode Island’s most cherished boating destinations.

Reasons to Boat in Sakonnet River:

  • Scenic Beauty: The Sakonnet River is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty. As you navigate its waters, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the surrounding coastline, lush landscapes, and picturesque sunsets, making it a photographer’s dream.
  • Peaceful Exploration: Sakonnet River provides a tranquil and serene environment for boating. Its calm waters are ideal for leisurely cruising, kayaking, and paddleboarding, creating a peaceful escape for those seeking relaxation.
  • Fishing Paradise: Anglers will appreciate the abundant fishing opportunities in the river. It’s a prime spot for casting a line and trying your luck at catching a variety of local fish species, adding an exciting dimension to your boating experience.
  • Historic Sites: Along the Sakonnet River, you’ll encounter various historic sites and landmarks. These include the Tiverton Four Corners, a charming historic district with boutique shops and eateries, adding cultural and historical depth to your journey.
  • Local Marina Access: The river is lined with marinas and docking facilities, ensuring easy access for boaters. These marinas often provide amenities such as fuel, dining options, and more, enhancing your overall boating experience.

Recommended Gear: Compass, Anchor, Cooler, Rope, Tarp, Snacks, Sunscreen


Ninigret Pond

Nestled amidst the pristine landscapes of Charlestown, Rhode Island, Ninigret Pond stands as a tranquil sanctuary for boating enthusiasts seeking an escape into the natural world. This serene pond, surrounded by nature reserves, offers a haven of peaceful reflection and outdoor exploration. With its calm and crystal-clear waters, Ninigret Pond beckons kayakers, paddleboarders, and those in search of unspoiled beauty. In this guide, we invite you to immerse yourself in the wonders of Ninigret Pond, discovering the reasons why it has become a treasured destination for boating and nature lovers. Whether you’re drawn to its breathtaking natural beauty, its appeal to birdwatchers, the allure of kayaking, or the opportunity to hike along nearby nature trails, Ninigret Pond promises an exceptional and serene boating adventure within the embrace of nature’s serenity.

Reasons to Boat in Ninigret Pond:

  • Natural Beauty: Ninigret Pond, located in Charlestown, Rhode Island, is a serene and picturesque body of water surrounded by nature reserves. Its tranquil and unspoiled beauty offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
  • Birdwatching: The pond and its adjacent conservation areas are excellent spots for birdwatching. You’ll have the opportunity to observe a variety of bird species in their natural habitat, making it a haven for bird enthusiasts.
  • Kayaking and Paddleboarding: Ninigret Pond’s calm and clear waters are perfect for kayaking and paddleboarding. You can explore the pond at your own pace and appreciate the surrounding natural scenery.
  • Nature Trails: There are nearby nature trails and preserves where you can embark on scenic hikes. These trails wind through diverse ecosystems and offer a chance to connect with the natural world.
  • Community Events: Throughout the year, Ninigret Pond hosts various community events and festivals, such as regattas, local gatherings, and environmental awareness programs. These events add a cultural and social dimension to your boating experience, allowing you to engage with the local community and its traditions.

Recommended Gear: Sunscreen, Cooler, Paddle, Sunglasses, Marine Radio, Waterproof Phone Case, Dry Box


Jamestown

Jamestown, a picturesque island town at the gateway to Narragansett Bay, offers boaters a blend of New England charm and maritime adventure. The island’s idyllic setting and historic appeal make it an inviting destination for those seeking a leisurely boating experience. With easy access to the bay’s wonders, numerous marinas, and anchorages, Jamestown is an excellent starting point for exploring the scenic coastline, historic sites, and natural beauty that define this quintessential New England destination.

Reasons to Boat in Jamestown:

  • Island charm: Jamestown, located at the entrance to Narragansett Bay, exudes a quintessential New England island charm. With its scenic beauty and laid-back atmosphere, it’s a favorite among boaters looking for a peaceful retreat.
  • Easy access to the bay: Jamestown’s strategic location at the mouth of Narragansett Bay makes it an ideal starting point for exploring the bay’s many attractions. You’ll have quick access to the bay’s offerings, from historic sites to scenic vistas.
  • Marinas and anchorages: Jamestown offers several marinas and anchorages, providing boaters with convenient options for docking and anchoring their vessels. This ensures a hassle-free experience and easy access to the island’s amenities.
  • Historic sites: Explore the island’s rich history by visiting historic landmarks and sites like Beavertail Lighthouse and Fort Wetherill. Jamestown offers a glimpse into the past and a chance to appreciate the area’s heritage.
  • Picturesque views: From your boat, you’ll enjoy picturesque views of the bay and the surrounding coastline. Jamestown’s natural beauty and the backdrop of Narragansett Bay create memorable scenes that can be captured and cherished.

Recommended Gear: Sunglasses, Paddle, Sunscreen, Dry Box, Waterproof Phone Case, Anchor


Point Judith

Point Judith, a bustling fishing and boating hub on Rhode Island’s southern coast, is a magnet for those who relish the thrill of the sea. This vibrant area is known for its bustling fishing industry and easy access to Block Island, making it a gateway to further adventures. The dramatic coastal vistas and a rich maritime history offer boaters the chance to experience the beauty of the Atlantic Ocean meeting the rugged shoreline. With abundant seafood dining options and the allure of offshore boating, Point Judith is a place where the ocean’s call is answered with enthusiasm.

Reasons to Boat in Point Judith:

  • Fishing hub: Point Judith is a bustling fishing and boating hub, making it an excellent destination for anglers and seafood enthusiasts. You can witness the daily catch being brought in and enjoy fresh seafood at local restaurants.
  • Gateway to Block Island: Point Judith is a gateway to Block Island, with ferries departing regularly. Boaters can easily access Block Island from this point, allowing for island hopping and the exploration of this popular destination.
  • Scenic views: The Point Judith area offers stunning coastal vistas and is an excellent place for those who appreciate the beauty of the Atlantic Ocean meeting the rugged Rhode Island coastline.
  • Ocean adventures: For boaters seeking offshore adventures, Point Judith provides easy access to the Atlantic Ocean. This is an opportunity to explore deeper waters, try deep-sea fishing, and enjoy the thrill of offshore boating.
  • Seafood dining: The area is renowned for its seafood, and many restaurants and seafood shacks offer fresh catches of the day. Boaters can dock their vessels and indulge in delectable seafood dishes while overlooking the water, creating a quintessential Rhode Island dining experience.

Recommended Gear: Rope, Water Shoes, Sunglasses, Sunscreen, Compass, Paddle


Napatree Point

Napatree Point, located at the southwestern tip of Watch Hill, is a picturesque and unspoiled natural destination that promises a unique boating experience. This area features a pristine sandy spit, salt marshes, and stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and Block Island Sound. Boaters can anchor their vessels off the coast and enjoy the natural beauty of the barrier beach, go beachcombing, or simply relax on the sandy shores. Napatree Point is also home to various wildlife, making it an excellent spot for birdwatching and a quiet escape from the bustling harbors and marinas. With no shortage of serene natural beauty and coastal charm, Napatree Point offers a tranquil alternative for those seeking a quieter and more secluded boating adventure in Rhode Island.

Reasons to Boat in Napatree Point:

  • Secluded Beauty: Napatree Point is a hidden gem known for its unspoiled natural beauty. Boating here allows you to escape the crowds and enjoy the tranquility of a less-visited coastal destination.
  • Sandy Shores: The area features pristine sandy beaches, offering the perfect setting for sunbathing, beachcombing, or picnicking. You can easily pull your boat onto the beach and spend a leisurely day on the shore.
  • Birdwatching Paradise: Napatree Point is a haven for birdwatchers. With its proximity to salt marshes and the coastline, you’ll have the chance to observe a variety of coastal and migratory birds in their natural habitat.
  • Stunning Views: The panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and Block Island Sound from Napatree Point are simply breathtaking. As you boat along the coast, you’ll be treated to vistas that showcase the raw and rugged beauty of Rhode Island’s shoreline.
  • Relaxation and Serenity: For those seeking a quiet and peaceful boating experience, Napatree Point offers a serene escape. The gentle lapping of the waves, the calls of seabirds, and the gentle sea breeze create an atmosphere of tranquility that’s ideal for relaxation.

Recommended Gear: Life Jackets, Compass, Anchor, Tarps, Marine Radio, Cooler, Water Shoes

Related Posts:

Young man wearing sunglasses kayaking on a river

Best Kayaking in North Dakota

In our comprehensive guide to the best kayaking in North Dakota, you’ll discover the Peace Garden State’s diverse range of waterways, from serene lakes to

Person with red jacket, holding a VHF marine radio,

Best Marine Radios

In the vast expanse of open waters, where safety and communication are paramount, marine radios emerge as indispensable tools for seafarers. This blog delves into

Close up of classic brass marine compass laying on top of thick high quality marine rope

Best Marine Compasses

A marine compass is an essential tool for anyone navigating on or near water. Whether you’re a boater, fisherman, or sailor, having a reliable compass