When most Rhode Islanders think of spending time by the water, Warwick Neck doesn’t always spring to mind, but it should. Located on the southeastern side of Warwick, this sleepy peninsula has 39 miles of coastline, plenty of charm, and interesting historic places ready to explore, all within a small footprint.
If you grew up anywhere near New England, you probably remember Rocky Point, the storied amusement park built in the late 1840s, which provided seasons of rollercoaster rides, chowder and clam cakes, even live concerts, until it had to close its doors for good in the late ‘90s. Today, it’s a state park and wonderful destination for a day outdoors – with paved trails, bike paths, and 120 public areas to wander, seeking remains and plaques of its tourist attraction heyday. There’s a fishing pier and small beach area perfect for bundling up and snapping Instagrammable photos.
Aldrich Mansion is a majestic 70-acre estate with views of Narragansett Bay. Visit this stunning 70-room French Chateau and you will feel like you are in Europe. Besides the mansion, the property also has a carriage house, caretaker’s cottage, and boathouse built to help the transportation of goods to Warwick Neck back in the day. Reopened for events, in-person tours are available following COVID-19 protocols. Virtual tours are also available online.
Love lighthouses? Check out Warwick Light, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. Surrounded by a residential neighborhood (you’ll need to walk or bike), views are possible from the end of Warwick Neck Avenue, or of course, the water. The 1889 keeper’s house, storage building, and garage still stand, with a green light occulting every four seconds, making for charming views. Unfortunately, the lighthouse is not open to the public as it currently serves as Coast Guard navigation and housing.
Are you hungry now? Warwick Neck has a bunch of restaurants (Iggy’s, for one, of course) and a popular bakery, but the Brown family fave is Cantina del Rio, a Mexican spot which features all kinds of fresh offerings including the best guac with chips and salsa. It’s kid friendly, casual and fun, and a great place to relax after your breezy coastal staycation.