Posts Tagged ‘ Beach Walks ’

Blue Beach – North Kingstown

  • Blue Beach
  • Circuit Drive, North Kingstown, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°35’12.85″N, 71°25’51.92″W
  • Last Time Hiked: December 16, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.6 miles
  • Fairly easy beach walk.

 

Blue Beach is well hidden among the industrial complex of Quonset Point. The stone dust path leads from a small parking area to the beach that faces south on Narragansett Bay. From the beach you see the Jamestown Bridge in the distance. There is a brook that breaks the beach at times making the walk rather short. From this beach to the southwest you can catch a glimpse of the Poplar Point Light about a mile away.

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Blue Beach on a Winter Afternoon

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Third Beach – Middletown

  • Third Beach
  • Third Beach Road, Middletown, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°29’11.84″N, 71°14’48.07″W
  • Last Time Hiked: December 16, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.3 miles
  • Fairly easy beach walk.

 

Third Beach in Middletown is a haven for beach goers in the summer months. With that said, the “off-season” is the best time to walk this stretch of beach. The beach faces the Sakonnet River just north of Sachuest Point. The beach is often visited by several species of birds as the beach is adjacent to a National Wildlife Preserve and the nearby Norman Bird Sanctuary. A fee to park will be charged during the beach season.

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Third Beach on a Winter Day.

Moonstone Beach – South Kingstown

  • Moonstone Beach
  • Moonstone Beach Road, South Kingstown, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°22’18.72″N, 71°34’20.77″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 17, 2017
  • Distance: Less than a mile April to September, up to 4 miles rest of year.
  • Easy Beach Walk.

 

Moonstone Beach for years was known for its reputation as being a nude beach. Today, no longer a nude beach, it is one of Rhode Islands most stunning beaches with its scattered stones along the sand. The beach surrounded and part of the Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge offers nearly 2 miles of strand between Roy Carpenters Beach and Green Hill Beach. The quiet beach is not easy to visit due to many seasonal restrictions. From May 1 to September 15 a parking pass is required to park along Moonstone Beach Road. Also in most of the spring and summer large sections of the beach are cordoned off to protect the piping plovers. The beach is stunningly beautiful in the winter months if you can handle the sometimes brutal winter winds. The best time to visit is very early spring, the autumn and winter. The beach is also noted for its birds as three salt ponds abut the beach including Trustom Pond and Cards Pond. Killdeers, Sandpipers, Herons, and Egrets are also known to frequent Moonstone. Be sure to bring a camera!!

 

More information about the birds of Moonstone Beach can be found here.

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Waves Crashing On Moonstone Beach

Mohegan Bluffs – New Shoreham

  • Mohegan Bluffs – Payne Overlook
  • Mohegan Trail, New Shoreham, RI
  • Trailhead: 41° 9’11.07″N, 71°33’18.53″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 14, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.0 miles
  • Moderate to difficult.

 

A short, but grueling one mile walk to one of the most picturesque locations on the eastern seaboard. The bluffs here are where the glaciers ended craving out these 180 foot drops to the beach below. A top the bluffs is the historic Southeast Light built in 1873. The bluffs got there name from a 16th century Native American battle in which a tribe of Manisseans (locals) drove an invading force of 40 Mohegans over the bluffs to their deaths. This is not an easy trek. Starting from the parking area at Payne Overlook, I followed the short path that leads to the stairs. I then followed the approximately 150 stairs down to a viewing platform about 3/4 of the way down the bluffs. From here I scaled down the steep incline to the beach. From this vantage point the bluffs are amazingly massive. I walked the beach in each direction for a bit before returning back up the base of the bluff and stairs. From here I walked back to the parking area and out to the road. Turning right I followed the road several hundred feet to the entrance of the lighthouse grounds. I wandered around the grounds briefly, taking several photos of the historic light, before returning back to the car parked back at Payne Overlook. Though a short walk/hike, it is without a doubt a must see.

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Mohegan Bluffs, showing the Payne Overlook Stairs and the Southeast Light. (Note the people on the beach for perspective)

Block Island North – New Shoreham

  • Block Island North
  • Corn Neck Road, New Shoreham, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°12’48.58″N, 71°34’1.12″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 14, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 6.0 miles
  • Moderate with areas of difficulty.

 

Block Island is 14 miles off the Rhode Island mainland coast. It is a bustling resort town in the summer months and host to only about 1000 folks during the brutal New England winters. New Shoreham (the one and only town on the island) is in fact the smallest town in Rhode Island by both area and “year round” population. Conservation on the island has been outstanding. Over 43% of the island is under some sort of conservation protection by several different organizations. For this hike, I covered a large portion of the northern end of the island. Parking at the Hodge Family Wildlife Preserve entrance, I first made my way toward Middle Pond following the main trail in the Hodge Preserve. The trail is grass mowed that traverses up and over several rolling hills of meadows before ending at the shore of Middle Pond. Along the trail there are sweeping views over the pond and Block Island Sound including the North Light at the tip of the island. From here I retraced my steps back to the parking area opting to follow the spur loop trails. Once back out to Corn Neck Road I turned right and followed the road south until I came to Clay Head Trail (just after the red house, number 728). The road, marked with a post, is a dirt road that leads to the parking area for the Clay Head Nature Trail. There are several private roads off of this road. Be sure to continue straight until you reach the trail head. From here the trail winds narrowly over meadow covered hills and wooded areas before reaching boardwalks near the Clay Head Swamp on the right. Shortly after the swamp the trail turns abruptly to the left and starts to climb upward, but first check out the beach and the massive clay bluffs. Continuing the trail climbs uphill and parallels the bluffs occasionally popping out to the edge. Exercise extreme caution along the edges. The views of Block Island Sound are quite impressive from the top of the bluffs. The trail passes through areas of shrubs and trees, with an abundance of birds, passing two small ponds to the left. There are also several spur trails to the left that lead into “The Maze”. If you opt to explore be sure to have a GPS device with you. For this hike, I followed the Clay Head Trail to its end. At the four way intersection, continue straight. Shortly thereafter the trail comes to a dirt road. Following the road to north you soon come to an intersection, turn left here and follow the road out to the paved Corn Neck Road. Turning right I followed the road to its end at Settlers Rock passing Sachem Pond on the left. The rock is a memorial to the original settlers and purchasers of the island back in 1661. From here the walking gets tough. If the hills of Clay Head have not already done a number on your muscles, the sands of the beach will. From Settlers Rock to the iconic North Light and back is all beach walking in soft sand through the Block Island National Wildlife Refuge. It is well worth the walk though. The light, built in 1867, is now owned by the town and is home to a museum (open seasonably). At the time of this hike I came upon several nesting seagulls. After spending a little time here I made my way back to Settlers Rock and then southerly along Corn Neck Road. On the left at a stone wall you will see a set of wooden stairs. If you opt to, this is the Atwood Overlook. From the top of the hill you can look back towards the North Light. A little further up the road on the right is the Labyrinth, again the entrance is a set of wood stairs over a stone wall. This unique spot is a somewhat spiral path, similar to a maze, but with no dead ends, that leads to the center. It is said to be sacred. After spending a few moments here, I made my way back to the road continuing south back to the Hodge Preserve parking area. I came across an abundance of birds along this 6 mile trek and ran into a few fellow hikers.

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Meadow at Hodge Preserve

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Clay Head Bluffs

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Block Island North Light

Gooseberry Island – Westport

  • Gooseberry Island
  • East Beach Road, Westport, MA
  • Trailhead: 41°29’29.54″N, 71° 2’21.24″W
  • Last Time Hiked: March 24, 2015
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.7 miles
  • Easy, some beach walking.

 

Part of the Horseneck Beach State Reservation, Gooseberry Island juts out into the entrance of Buzzards Bay. The island has been connected to the mainland by a causeway for over a hundred years. The island was once home to some summer cottages. They were destroyed by the hurricanes in the 20th century and never rebuilt. The main feature are the two towers at the center of the island. They are World War II era coastal defense towers and have been long abandoned. Starting from the parking area, we passed the gate and followed the dirt road for a while. The road runs through the center of the island and is flanked by thick shrubbery. We soon reached a fork in the road. We stayed to the left and soon found a side trail on the left that led to the beach. (The right fork leads to the towers). From here we could see the Elizabeth Islands, including Cuttyhunk. Beyond the islands we could also see a glimpse of Martha’s Vineyard. We then followed the beach in a southerly direction and around the tip of the island before making our way back to a trail that leads to the towers. From the west side of the island we could see the Sakonnet Light in the distance. Along the beach we came across some geese and what I believe were some sort of plovers. We then made our way to the towers taking some photos for a bit. From here we followed the main dirt road back to the parking lot.

 

I did not find a trail map on-line.

Towers From The Beach

Towers From The Beach

Quonochontaug Beach – Westerly/Charlestown

  • Quonochontaug Barrier Beach Conservation Area
  • Spray Rock Road, Westerly, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°19’40.60″N,  71°44’58.62″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 2, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.4 miles
  • Easy beach walk.

In the 20th century, Mother Nature dictated the fate of this beach. Much like Napatree, after the two hurricanes (1938 and 1954) it was decided that rebuilding would not be allowed here. The beach, nearly two miles in length, is a pristine stretch of natural beauty wedged between the village of Weekapaug in Westerly and Quonochontaug in Charlestown. It is a barrier beach that protects a salt pond. The beach and conservation area is in fact privately owned but open to walking. Be sure to follow the rules posted on the signs. I choose the beach today partly for two reasons. First, I would be in the area for a later engagement, and secondly, after weeks of relentless snowfall I wanted to find a place where I could go without snowshoes and get my feet back on the ground. It was a fairly warm day in comparison with a slightly cold breeze, but most importantly, it was a sunny day. I could easily see Block Island to the south. The sand dunes and most of the beach was covered in nearly a foot of snow but the tides had cleared a section to walk along. I parked in the first lot just off of Spray Rock Road and found a marked path to the beach. Then I headed east to breachway. There were only a few others out enjoying the scene here. I came across several cormorants and geese as well as seagulls. After reaching the breachway, I retraced my steps back to the parking area. Parking is very limited here. Therefore, off season visits are probably the best times to come here.

I did not find a trail map on-line.

Where Winter Meets Spring.

Where Winter Meets Spring.

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