If you haven’t been to Westerly because it’s too far to drive, well, you’re definitely a Rhode Islander. Just 45 minutes from Providence, Westerly has everything you want in a summer funday: sun, sand and great food.
It’s All Happening Downtown
Westerly is quickly becoming a foodie destination, with restaurants like Ella’s Fine Food and Drink making headlines. Noodle Revolution serves some of the best Asian street food around, and the gourmet burgers at B&B Dockside can’t be beat. The Malted Barley, serves nearly 100 craft beers, along with gourmet pretzels, and Grey Sail Brewing offers beers like their signature Flying Jenny extra pale ale, Captain’s Daughter imperial IPA and Flagship cream ale at their tasting room.
Before and after your dinner, though – or between your first and second dinner – there’s a ton of fun to be had. Flipside Pinball Bar is a new bar serving fun cocktails and pinball action. The famed Knickerbocker Music Center, home to the Grammy Award-winning Roomful of Blues, is a great evening spot for live music and dancing. The Colonial Theatre will be holding its 26th annual Shakespeare Festival this summer, staging The Tempest al fresco in Wilcox Park from July 26-August 13.
Look Sharp in Watch Hill
Look, nobody’s going to judge you if you just so happen to show up in Watch Hill over July 4 weekend when Taylor Swift throws the most Instagrammable party of the year. However, if all you do is circle in front of her house, well, you’re missing out.
Watch Hill has three pristine beaches – Napatree, Sandy Point and East Beach – but parking can be a challenge. If you can find a space in the public parking lot, make sure to explore the tiny strip of shops and restaurants. Shops along Bay Street and Fort Road offer beautifully curated summer shopping, from the sundresses at Christina’s LTD, to nautical home decor at Highpoint Home.
Olympia Tea Room has been a full-service restaurant for over 100 years and has covetable sidewalk tables overlooking the marina. For a real taste of luxury, stop by Ocean House (OceanHouseRI.com). Dinner at Seasons can run you a pretty penny, but cocktails on The Verandah are slightly more attainable and have the same killer ocean views. This summer, they’re opening Secret Garden, serving champagne and small bites.
Make a Splash in Misquamicut
If there’s a summer playground in Rhode Island, it’s the sandy strip of restaurants and attractions around Misquamicut State Beach. There’s Water Wizz, the state’s only water park, and Atlantic Beach Park (Facebook: Atlantic Beach Park), with games and rides including a carousel from 1915. On Monday and Wednesday nights in July and August, Misquamicut hosts concerts on the beach. Fridays and Saturdays bring Drive-In Movies, featuring classic films.
While you’re there, make sure to stop at a beachfront restaurant like Paddy’s Beach Club, The Andrea and The Windjammer Surf Bar. They’re all family-friendly, all have beach access and will all serve you a cocktail while you have your toes in the sand.