Watch Hill Travel Guide

Explore the scenic town of Watch Hill and its attractions, food, accommodations, culture, safety tips, transportation options, and nearby destinations.

Introduction to Watch Hill

Located in the southern part of Rhode Island, Watch Hill is a charming coastal village that offers pristine beaches, historic sites, and a laid-back atmosphere. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state, drawing visitors with its beautiful landscapes, exciting outdoor activities, and cultural attractions.

List of Places to Visit in Watch Hill

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

Watch Hill boasts a rich history and culture, which is showcased in its various museums and historical sites. Some of the top ones include:

  • The Flying Horses Carousel: This 1876 carousel is one of the oldest in the country and has been designated as a National Historic Landmark.
  • The Watch Hill Lighthouse: First lit in 1807, this iconic lighthouse is a beloved symbol of the town and provides stunning views of the coastline.
  • The Watch Hill Firehouse Museum: Housed in an 1886 firehouse, this museum showcases the history of the Watch Hill Fire Department and contains antique firefighting equipment.

Natural Attractions of Watch Hill: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

Watch Hill is known for its stunning natural beauty and offers a variety of outdoor activities. Here are some of the top natural attractions in the area:

  • Napatree Point Conservation Area: This beautiful peninsula is a nature lover’s paradise, featuring sandy beaches, dunes, and hiking trails.
  • East Beach: A popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and surfing, this gorgeous beach offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Misquamicut State Beach: Another beautiful beach in the area, this one is a great spot for fishing, jet skiing, and kayaking.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Watch Hill

Watch Hill offers several scenic hiking and biking routes for those who love the great outdoors. Here are some of the top ones:

  • Napatree Point Conservation Area Trail: This easy 2-mile trail offers breathtaking views of the coastline and winds through the dunes and forests of the conservation area.
  • Great Swamp Trail: This 10-mile trail is a great option for experienced hikers and offers stunning views of the Great Swamp Management Area.
  • Watch Hill Bike Route: This 7.5-mile bike route offers scenic views of the shoreline and passes by historic sites like the Watch Hill Lighthouse and the Flying Horses Carousel.

Best Things to Do in Watch Hill: Activities and Tours

In addition to its natural attractions, Watch Hill offers a variety of fun activities and tours for visitors. Here are some of the top things to do in the area:

  • Charter Fishing: Take a fishing trip and catch some of the local ocean’s best fish.
  • Sunset Cruise: Enjoy the beautiful views of the sunset while cruising around the bay.
  • Watch Hill Walking Tour: Learn more about the history and culture of Watch Hill with a guided walking tour.

Week-Long Itinerary for Watch Hill

If you’re planning to spend a week in Watch Hill, here’s a suggested itinerary to help you make the most of your time:

Day Activity
1 Explore Watch Hill Village
2 Visit the Watch Hill Lighthouse and the Firehouse Museum
3 Spend the day on Napatree Point
4 Go on a fishing trip or sunset cruise
5 Visit the Flying Horses Carousel and go shopping in Watch Hill Village
6 Bike or hike the Great Swamp Trail
7 Relax on East Beach or Misquamicut State Beach

Food and Drink Scene of Watch Hill

Must-Try Dishes

Watch Hill offers a variety of local specialties that you won’t want to miss. Here are some must-try dishes:

  • Lobster Rolls: This classic New England dish is a popular choice in Watch Hill, with many restaurants offering their own take on the classic sandwich.
  • Clam Chowder: Another New England classic, this creamy soup is made with fresh clams and is a local favorite.
  • Stuffies: These stuffed clams are a Rhode Island specialty and a must-try for any seafood lover.

Local Beverages

Watch Hill also offers a variety of locally brewed beers and cocktails. Here are some to try:

  • Grey Sail Brewing of Rhode Island: This local brewery offers a variety of craft beers, including their award-winning Flagship Cream Ale.
  • Watch Hill Inn Punch: This signature cocktail is a refreshing blend of citrus juices, rum, and champagne and is available at the Watch Hill Inn.

Where to Stay in Watch Hill: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Watch Hill offers a variety of accommodations to suit any budget. Here are some options:

  • Ocean House: This luxurious, five-star hotel is one of the top-rated in New England and offers stunning views of the ocean.
  • Weekapaug Inn: This elegant hotel is located on Quonochontaug Pond and offers a variety of outdoor activities, including kayaking and surfing.
  • Sandcastle Inn and Cottages: This charming inn is located just a block from the beach and offers cozy, comfortable accommodations at an affordable price.

What to Buy in Watch Hill: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

If you’re looking for souvenirs to bring home, Watch Hill offers a variety of local products and treasures. Here are some to consider:

  • Sea Glass Jewelry: Many local boutiques and shops offer beautiful jewelry made of sea glass, a popular item found along the beaches of Watch Hill.
  • Watch Hill T-Shirts and Sweatshirts: Show off your love for Watch Hill with a stylish t-shirt or sweatshirt featuring the town’s name.
  • Local Artwork: Watch Hill is home to many talented artists, and there are several galleries and shops that sell beautiful paintings, photographs, and sculptures.

Local Culture and Customs of Watch Hill

Watch Hill is a friendly and welcoming community with a strong sense of tradition. Typical New England manners are appreciated, and people tend to be more dressed-up than elsewhere. In the summer, the town comes alive with events and festivals celebrating everything from local seafood to classic cars.

Best Time to Visit Watch Hill

The best time to visit Watch Hill is during the summer months, from June to September, when the weather is warm, and the town is bustling with activity. However, if you’re looking for a quieter, more peaceful visit, consider coming in the spring or fall when the crowds have thinned out.

Do’s and Don’ts of Watch Hill


  • Do take a sailing trip around the bay.
  • Do check out the local history and culture through the museums and landmarks.
  • Do visit the beaches and enjoy the ocean.


  • Don’t litter on the beaches and in the parks.
  • Don’t be excessively loud in public areas.
  • Don’t be disrespectful to local residents and businesses.

Safety and Health

Safety in Watch Hill

Watch Hill is generally a safe place to visit, with low crime rates and friendly locals. However, visitors should still take precautions to ensure their safety, including staying aware of their surroundings and not leaving valuables unattended.

Health in Watch Hill

Watch Hill has several medical facilities, including a hospital and urgent care clinics, for any medical emergencies. Visitors should also take precautions against tick bites and sunburn during outdoor activities.

Getting to Watch Hill: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Watch Hill

The closest major airport to Watch Hill is T.F. Green Airport in Providence, Rhode Island, which is about an hour’s drive away. Other options include Bradley International Airport in Hartford, Connecticut, and Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts.

Bus Stations Near Watch Hill

The closest bus station to Watch Hill is the Westerly Bus Terminal, located about 10 minutes away by car. Several bus companies, including Greyhound and Peter Pan, operate routes to Westerly.

Other Options

For those who prefer to drive, Watch Hill is easily accessible by car, with major highways like I-95 and Route 95 running nearby. Visitors can also take a taxi or ride-sharing service from the airport or bus station to Watch Hill.

How to Get Around in Watch Hill

While walking is the best way to explore the town and its attractions, visitors can also get around by car, bike, or scooter. Several rental options are available in the area, and parking is generally easy to find.

Where to Go Next from Watch Hill: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

If you’re looking to explore more of Rhode Island and the surrounding area, here are some nearby destinations and excursions to consider:

  • Mystic, Connecticut: This charming coastal town is located just across the border and offers historic sites, art galleries, and delicious seafood.
  • Newport, Rhode Island: A popular destination for its grand mansions, Newport also offers stunning ocean views, lively nightlife, and great dining.
  • Block Island, Rhode Island: This beautiful, secluded island is just a short ferry ride away and offers pristine beaches, hiking trails, and a historic lighthouse.


Watch Hill is a hidden gem of Rhode Island, offering a unique blend of natural beauty, historic sites, and exciting activities. Whether you’re looking to spend a week relaxing on the beach or exploring the town’s attractions, there’s something for everyone in Watch Hill.