17 Top-Notch Dog-Friendly Beaches in Rhode Island

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Rhode Island is the smallest state in the United States, with just around 1,550 square miles. The state is bordered by Connecticut to the west, Massachusetts to the north and east, and the Atlantic Ocean, Rhode Island Sound, and Block Island Sound to the south. Settled in 1636 by a refugee named Roger Williams after he was banished from Massachusetts, the state got its name after a nickname it received, Rogue’s Island. However, it is not really an island. 

The humid continental climate of hot summers and cold winters means that beaches are not typically open year-round. Although most parks are popular during the winter for cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing. The state has 400 miles of coastline and more than 100 public beaches. However, it can be hard to know which ones allow dogs. So, we found 17 dog-friendly beaches in Rhode Island to visit with your fur puppy. 

Napatree Point Conservation Area

Starting in the southwestern corner of Rhode Island just about a mile from the border with Connecticut, Napatree Point Conservation Area has more than 85 acres of recreational space filled with rare habitats and wilderness. Extending 1.3 miles out into the bay from Watch Hill, the park has been named a nationally important bird area for many years with many endangered species. Some of these include American oystercatchers, osprey, least terns, and piping plovers. 

Your cuddly canine is welcome at Napatree Point Conservation Area anytime from Labor Day to May 1st but only before 8 AM and after 6 PM during the rest of the year. However, he must be on a leash no longer than six feet. Swimming here is popular, but there are no lifeguards, so be careful and keep a doggie life vest on your fur baby. Before you leave, walk down to the western tip of the peninsula to see Fort Mansfield. 

Burlingame State Park Beach

Just half an hour up the coast, pupsters are welcome at Burlingame State Park and Campground but they must be kept on a leash no longer than six feet. Although the park is about two miles from the coast, the beach on Watchaug Pond is awesome enough so you do not have to fight the ocean crowds. And with 3,100 acres of rustic and rugged natural space, Burlingame has plenty for you and your fur baby to do. 

From fishing and swimming to hiking and biking, you and your pup will stay busy all day. There is also a playground for the human kiddos, canoe and kayak rentals for boaters, and an arcade for everyone. And they have more than 700 campsites to choose from if you want to stay a while. They also have 26 cabins with bunkbeds but only 11 allow dogs so book your site early if you’re going to camp indoors. 

Block Island Beaches

About nine miles out on the ocean, Block Island has several beaches that you and your cuddly canine companion can enjoy. The island never really gets hot, even during the height of summer, but in July and August, it can reach the lower 80s so you can go swimming with your poochie. The ferry will pick you up at the Block Island Ferry in Galilee Salt Pond Harbor in Narragansett and bring you to the island where you can pick from 12 different beaches on 17 miles of coastline.  

All of the beaches allow leashed dogs, but there are some special spots where they can play unleashed. According to the locals, Fred Benson Town Beach is the best beach for families with its soft white sand, lifeguards, concessions, and low surf, and Mohegan Bluffs is perfect for history lovers. The two beaches on the ends of the island are special for lighthouse lovers, and Pebbly Beach is perfect for rockhounds. 

Narragansett Town Beach

About 25 miles north on the mainland between Lake Canonchet, Little Neck Pond, and the Block Island Sound, Narragansett Town Beach is pup-friendly for leashed pups from September until May. According to the locals, this is one of the cleanest and most accessible beaches in New England and attracts almost 5,000 visitors per day during the summer, which is why your fur baby is only allowed in the off-season. But there is still plenty to do at this beach, and it is often warm enough to let your pooch get his paws wet in May. 

With almost 20 acres, you and Fido will have tons of territory to explore. He will love sniffing all the unusual scents from marine creatures and other animals and people. Being in the center of town, you will also have access to many eating establishments so you can grab some lunch and take it back to the beach for a peaceful meal with your pup. 

North Kingstown Beaches 

Head north another 20 miles to get to any of the four North Kingston Beaches. They are all dog-friendly for leashed pups, and each has its own special features. Blue Beach is in a wooded area with dunes by the Kiefer Wetlands. It has the perfect walking path that takes you to some awesome views. Compass Rose Beach is a small space on Quonset Point where seaplanes used to launch but now it launches boats. It is a great surfing beach because it faces the south and you get some awesome waves. 

Calf Pasture Point Beach is full of nature, with all sorts of marine animals and waterfowl. It has a stunning view and a bike path. And we saved the best for last. Spink Neck Beach is a narrow stretch of sand by the North Kingstown Marina between Little Allen Harbor and Narragansett Bay. But right next to it is the North Kingstown Dog Park where you can take off your pup’s leash and let him run around.

Beavertail State Park Beach

You will have to do some island hopping to get to Beavertail State Park, no matter where you are coming from. The 153-acre recreational area is on the southern tip of Conanicut Island in the Narragansett Bay. Although its main attraction is the historic 1753 lighthouse, your fur buddy will not care about that, but he will love the sand and surf, and there is plenty of that for him to enjoy even if he has to keep the leash on.

The local anglers flock to this rocky coast for what they call some of the best fishing in New England. Be sure to get your fishing license and bring your tackle. History buffs come for more than the lighthouse too. The park used to be Fort Burnside, and there are several old buildings as well as a bunch of batteries including a set of six-inch M1905 guns to see. It is a great spot for selfies. 

Fort Wetherill State Park

Hop on over to Jamestown Island to get to Fort Wetherill State Park about 15 minutes away where your pooch is welcome to splash around in the waters and run around in the sand as long as he is leashed. Part of the park is on a 100-foot cliff where you can get some amazing views of the Newport Harbor as well as the Narragansett Bay, and it is a popular spot for watching America’s Cup Races. 

Also a previous military base, there are many batteries and old buildings here too. But what draws tons of visitors year-round is the scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities. Other fun activities include picnicking at the many picnic areas, boating and fishing on the bay, and hiking some of the 61 acres of space. Do not forget to pack lots of dog cleanup baggies so you can clean up after your pooch while you are there.  

Battery Park 

It will only take you and your fur puppy about 15 minutes to get to Battery Park Beach from Fort Wetherill State Park. Just across the Newport Bridge to Aquidneck Island, this is also a historic site, but the main thing it is known for with pup parents is the dog beach. Your doggo is allowed to play and swim off his leash if he is under voice control. They have mutt mitt dispensers too. However, it is best to bring your own, just in case. 

The park was built on what used to be Fort Greene back in 1794 for the War of 1812 with many gun batteries and fortifications. But before the British left the island, they destroyed most of the forts and gunneries. The only thing left is a part of the stone wall that remains over on the eastern side of the park. You will have to get some selfies with your canine companion here. 

Brenton Point State Park Beach

Brenton Point State Park is about 20 minutes to the south of Battery Park on the southern tip of Aquidneck Island. There are almost 90 acres to explore on what used to be the most renowned estates in Newport, with some stunning views of the Atlantic. All fur babies are welcome as long as they stay on a leash and you clean up after them. The beach is both rock and sand, so make sure you wear beach shoes or water shoes. 

It is located on Ocean Drive right next to the Newport Country Club and has all sorts of amenities, including a beach, great fishing spots, biking and hiking trails, and picnic areas with tables and barbecue pits. In the northern section of the park, The Reef Estate Stables & Carriage House is a unique spot with some awesome artwork. Great for selfies. And do not miss the Portuguese Discovery Monument while you are there.   

Sachuest Beach

Also known as Second Beach to the locals, Sachuest Beach is a family and pet-friendly southern-facing beach about one and a half miles long with excellent surf and soft sand. It is less than 20 minutes from Brenton Point and is a special place for pups where they can run around and play without a lead during the off-season from Labor Day to Memorial Day. During the summer, you can still bring Fido, but he must be on his leash.

And the busy season is the best time to go to Sachuest Beach if you want all the amenities like concessions, outdoor showers, bathrooms, and picnic tables with grills. Otherwise, there are only port-a-potties and the beach. Other great things about summer are surfboard rentals and lessons and a lemonade truck ready to cool you off. Please remember to bring puppy doo-doo baggies to pick up whatever your fur buddy drops during your visit.

Third Beach

If Sachuest Beach is too crowded, take a short walk along the southern end of Gardiner Pond to get to Third Beach. With its east-facing beach, this is a more family and dog-friendly place because there are very few waves and low surf. The beach is smaller, with about half of a mile of sand north of Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge. And when you get hungry, fire up one of the grills in the picnic area and make some burgers. 

The amenities at Sachuest Beach are also within walking distance, so you can get some of that delicious lemonade from the truck or other snacks and goodies at the concession stand. You can even bring a fishing pole and see if you can catch some lunch in the Maidford River, running right through the beach. As long as you keep your pupster’s leash on and clean up what he drops, he is welcome anytime. 

Teddy’s Beach

Head north past Portsmouth, and you can find Teddy’s Beach on Park Avenue at the Stone Bridge. It is not a fancy beach with tons of amenities. In fact, it does not really have any amenities. No restrooms, showers, or drinking water. But it is perfect for pup parents because it is a leash-free beach, so your fur buddy can play unhindered. Be sure to bring his favorite fetch toys and a frisbee to play with. 

Right next to the beach, which is actually quite large, the 15 Point Road Restaurant Waterfront Dining Restaurant has a deck and patio where you can grab some freshly prepared seafood or burgers. On the other side of the beach, Localz Kitchen & Cocktails has bar food and adult beverages. Also, the Thriving Tree Coffee House has an outdoor area for everyone to enjoy. Just make sure you clean up after your pup wherever you go.

Colt State Park 

Colt State Park is just 15 minutes to the north of Teddy’s Beach and lauds over 460 acres of natural space, including four miles of trails and a gorgeous stretch of golden sand between the Bristol Harbor and the bay. In the middle, the Bass River flows into the sea. You and your pup can choose between any of these waters to spread out a blanket, swim in the water, play in the sand, and soak up the sun. 

You can also catch a whopper from the fishing pier if you have a Rhode Island fishing license and some gear. The park was named after Samuel P. Colt, who used to own the acreage. It is part of the Poppasquash Farms Historic District as well and has a few old buildings and two large bull statues named Pomeroy and Conrad at the main entrance. Boating, skating, and picnicking are also really popular here. 

Rocky Point State Park

Rocky Point State Park is right across the Providence River from Colt State Park, but if you do not have a boat, you have to go the long way all the way up to Providence and then back down to Warwick. Until 2014, the park had been closed to the public for 20 years, but it has attracted a big crowd since its reopening. There are 120 acres of green space for hiking and picnicking, a long fishing pier to get out on the water, and a swimming pool. But dogs are not allowed in the pool. 

However, there is lots of space on the waterfront where you and your leashed puppy can go swimming and play in the water all day long. The park has been the place for events and festivals since 1850, including clambakes, concerts, and amusement parks. However, it is now just a passive-use park with no more large events to destroy the natural order. 

Lincoln Woods State Park Beach

Keep heading north another 25 miles to get to Lincoln Woods State Park, where your cuddly canine companion can join you for a swim in Olney Pond with its crystal clear water. It is a large park with lots of wooded areas and a kayak rental shop that sells food and drinks. You will notice right away that this is a popular place where the locals hang out because, on weekends, you will not find much space if you do not get there early. 

The swimming beach is the main attraction, but others also come for the excellent trout fishing. If you plan on fishing, bring a fishing license. There is a boat dock and bait shop too. The 625-acre park is also a main hangout during the winter, mainly because it is one of only three places you can go ice fishing and ice skating. You can also go snowmobiling and snowshoeing on the trails. 

Blackstone River State Park

Go further north for about 15 minutes, and you will find Blackstone River State Park between the Blackstone River and Blackstone Canal. Whether you want to swim, go boating, or do some fishing, you have plenty of options at this park. It is a pup-friendly park as long as your pup is on a leash at all times and make sure you pick up after him. You will have plenty of space to spread out on the beach with a cooler of drinks and snacks. 

There are historical walking tours you can join that take you along a path built way back in 1828. You will learn all about Captain Wilbur Kelly who was the superintendent at the Wilbur Kelly Mill. Another attraction is the museum, but they do not allow dogs inside. You and your canine companion can also go for a walk on one of the self-guided trails or just hang out at the beach all day. 

George Washington State Park 

For our final stop, George Washington State Park is clear across the state, almost to the Connecticut border. It is located in the George Washington Management Area between the Bowdish Reservoir and Washington Lake. Dogs are always welcome as long as they are leashed, and remember to clean up after him. There are 4,000 acres of wilderness here, with a small campground nestled deep in the woods. But there are only 45 sites, so you will need to book yours at least a year in advance. 

There are a number of trails where you and your pooch can explore the woods and along the water, but keep that leash short because there are a lot of wild critters in the park. The campsites are spaced pretty far apart, so you have plenty of privacy, but they are rugged with no electricity or water. There are hot showers, restrooms, and picnic areas, as well as playing spaces for the human kids.    

The Final Woof

Get out on the water with your cuddle buddy on a boat cruise. Sea Newport has several cruises that allow pups whether you want to visit the harbor or take a half-day cruise so you can swim. They even have a sunset cruise. For something a little bit different, take a pup popular ride on one of the classic yachts with the Antique Yacht Collection in Newport. You could also take your pup with you to enjoy some local brews at Ragged Island Brewing Company in Portsmouth. End your exciting day with a movie at the Rustic Tri-View Drive-In, which is located in Providence. They even have snacks!

Photo of author
Patty Oelze is a freelance writer who is also in the process of getting her PhD in Psychology. She has been writing about dogs and other critters for about 10 years and has a plethora of animals at her home including several cats, some chipmunks, a dozen raccoons, two foxes, one coyote, and herds of deer. She and her husband have been living in the Missouri Ozarks for years where she enjoys taking care of wildlife, fishing, photography, boating, and of course, writing.

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