A Shore Thing: Narragansett Town Beach Inspires Generation After Generation, | South County Life Magazine
Although small in size, Narragansett Town Beach has been a popular vacation destination since the 1800s.
An excerpt from Harper’s Weekly, circa July 7, 1906, by Brander Matthews, reads: “It is the beach, which is the center of life in Narragansett, its raison d’Ãªtre, its title of supremacy – the magnificent beach, a mile long, with its firm sand, without algae, its gentle slopes, and with its waves which come superbly from the oceanâ¦ It is the beach, first of all, that made the fame of Narragansett in across the United Statesâ¦ âThe feeling of South County’s premier beach and its impact on generations cannot be better described than by these words written by a prolific author and educator who spent his summers in Narragansett.
In 1848 Joseph Dulles arrived in Narragansett and fell in love with the beach. From that love began the series of events that would lead to Narragansett Town Beach as we know it today. Over the next 50 years the development of the area around the beach exploded and led to the construction of public baths on the beach, 17 hotels (from 1873), Canonchet Mansion (1866-1865), Ocean Road (1884), The Coast Guard House (1888), Les Tours (1886) and much more.
It was in 1939, after the Great New England Hurricane of 1938, that the town of Narragansett bought the beach and saved the beloved destination from the ravages of the storm.
The towers, an icon of RI
Aside from the spectacular ocean views, probably the most prominent feature of the Narragansett coastline is the structure known as The Towers. Today locals know this landmark as a coveted event location as well as the home of the Narragansett Chamber of Commerce and the nearest neighbor to the Coast Guard House restaurant, but the towers have a colorful history.
The following excerpt is courtesy of the Narragansett Historical Society: âThe stone gate that spans Ocean Road in the Pier area of ââNarragansett has come to be known simply as The Towers. The Towers is what remains of the Narragansett Pier Casinoâ¦ The Casino was one of America’s most prestigious resorts during its heyday – the 1890s. At a time when 19 resorts graced Narragansett, the casino was regarded as the center of social life … A fire that broke out at the nearby Rockingham Hotel on September 12, 1900 destroyed the casino, leaving only the granite part of the towers. . The reconstruction of the Towers was completed in 1910.
After accumulating damage from the 1938 Hurricane and another fire in 1965, the State of Rhode Island acquired and donated The Towers to the Town of Narragansett and the structure was restored. The towers were listed on the National Register of Historic Places on November 25, 1969.
Today, Narragansett Town Beach is still a favorite vacation spot for countless people and was recently named one of the top three coastal towns in the country.
Narragansett Pro Tem City Council Chairperson Susan Cicilline Buonanno is considered the most frequent and regular visitor to the beach and has been going for 40 years. As the principal of a primary school, Susan can spend there every day during the summer vacation. She even keeps her beach clothes and accessories in her car so she can get there right after church.
Because Narragansett is a small community and Susan is an involved member of City Council, she knows almost everyone on the beach. âI love to swim, but I really love to socialize with the people on the beach,â she said.
Self-proclaimed âChair Sitter Expert,â Susan loves to relax with her sister and enjoy the beautiful view, a cool breeze and good conversation. “[Narragansett Town Beach] is a great beach for sure the water is clean it’s just a nice beach. I’m glad people are taking the opportunity to take advantage of it. This is my happy place.
Narragansett Town Beach has so much to offer those who visit its shoreline. From traditional seaside activities to the best local seafood and a true sense of community, a day on the beach in Narragansett Town will provide visitors with memories that will last a lifetime.
Special events on the beach:
Foodies can enjoy a variety of food trucks at the beach on Mondays and Wednesdays in the Nord Lot from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Families can watch movies on Cabana Horseshoe Beach every Wednesday at dusk.
Music concerts are held at the beach on Mondays live from the North Beach Clubhouse Bridge at 6:30 p.m.
Surf camps take place at the southern end of the beach, near the seawall.
The junior lifeguard program takes place in July.
The 10th Waterman ECO Challenge and the 17th Annual Environmental Awareness Day both take place on July 10.
The Newport Volleyball Doubles League runs until mid-August from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Beach Yoga runs until September 6.
The biggest day of the beach season is July 4, when the United States Coast Guard Band performs at the North Beach Clubhouse Deck from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and then the annual fireworks show takes place at dusk.
The RI Philharmonic Orchestra will perform on Friday July 17 from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the deck of the North Beach Clubhouse.
Tips for the day at the beach
Parking: Daily parking is available at West Lot de la plage on a first come, first served basis from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends and holidays for $ 15 per vehicle and from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, for $ 10 per vehicle, Monday to Friday. Payments are cash only. This lot is open to residents and non-residents free of charge from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The South Lot is only accessible to residents with a valid seasonal pass from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends and holidays and from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. This lot is open to residents or non-residents free of charge from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The North Lot is only open to residents from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a seasonal pass valid on weekends and holidays and from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the same group on weekdays. This lot is open from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. for residents only free of charge.
The Cabana Lot is open to residents only from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a cabana parking pass valid on weekends and holidays and from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the same group on weekdays. This lot is open from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. for residents only free of charge.
Seasonal parking passes cost $ 50 for Narragansett residents. Please visit narragansettri.gov for more details.
Beach Pass: Daily admission to the beach is $ 12 per person per day and is not transferable. Cash only. Children 11 and under are free. You can also purchase a season pass for $ 25 / resident, $ 10 / youth 12-17, free for those aged 65 and over, or $ 100 for a transferable resident beach pass. Transferable business passes are also available, and residents of Narragansett who are disabled veterans or active duty military personnel are admitted free.
Where to eat:
In addition to the food trucks that visit the North Lot on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., visitors have many local options for a meal at the beach.
Nana’s Ice Cream and Gelato: Nana’s Ice Cream and Gelato offers ice cream, hard ice cream, soft ice cream and locally sourced frozen yogurt in their adorable boutique with walls of nostalgic candy and fudge. Their menu offers 50 flavors and 50 toppings for the ultimate sweet treat. Gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan flavors are also available.
Coast Guard House: For a more upscale dining experience, look no further than the Coast Guard House. Located right next to The Towers, this historic restaurant is known for its fresh, local seafood.
Trio: Another local place for a delicious meal is the Trio. Trio prides itself on its “local and regional flavors complemented by a global wine list, regional draft beers and unique cocktails”.
Cool Beans CafÃ©: If you want a quick bite and a dose of caffeine, look no further than Cool Beans CafÃ©, located across from the Trio restaurant.
Pj’s Pub: In the heart of historic Narragansett is the PJ’s Pub. Pj’s is about three blocks from the Sea Wall, and they are known for their pub atmosphere and for serving Italian and Mediterranean cuisine.
Crazy Burger: In downtown Narragansett is a restaurant serving just about anything you can imagine, from vegan bites and bison burgers, to breakfast, fresh juice and homemade desserts. If you have a large group to feed and no one can decide what they’re in the mood for, then Crazy Burger is the place for you.
Monahan’s Clam Shack: Monahan’s Clam Shack is a Narragansett staple. There you can have a treat or a delicious seafood meal. In addition, it is conveniently located at the end of the sea wall and a short walk from the beach.
New Dragon Chinese Restaurant: A short drive from the beach is Narragansett’s favorite Chinese restaurant, the New Dragon Chinese Restaurant. Available for delivery or pickup, New Dragon features all of your traditional Chinese favorites.