Jamestown, Rhode Island is a quiet town on tiny Conanicut Island, which is just 9 miles long and 1 mile wide. For many, the island is simply a stretch of land to cross quickly via Rt. 138 when traveling between the southern part of Rhode Island and Newport. Take the Jamestown exit, however, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. You can:
- Visit Beavertail Light, the third oldest lighthouse in the country
- Stay in a cozy B&B; or family-friendly timeshare hotel with beautiful water views.
- Take a self-guided tour of a historic farm with acres of grazing livestock
- Enjoy lunch while looking out over Narragansett Bay
Keep reading for more ideas about how to spend a pleasant day in Jamestown, Rhode Island.
Jamestown, Rhode Island Attractions
Beavertail Lighthouse and Park
The historic Beavertail Lighthouse is the third oldest in the United States. It sits at the southern-most tip of Jamestown, where the two channels of Narragansett Bay meet the Atlantic Ocean. Dog-friendly Beavertail Park has free parking, paths for walking and biking, open space for kite-flying and spectacular water views. Nice portable restrooms are available. The small lighthouse museum won’t take long to walk through and there is a one-room “aquarium” next door.
This 265-acre Jamestown farm is more than 200 years old; the land was purchased from the island’s Native Americans in the late 1700s. Still a family-run operation, Watson Farm offers self-guided tours through the fields and along the shore. You’ll see the grazing sheep and Red Devon cattle, while enjoying beautiful pastoral views. Kids will enjoy watching the barnyard chickens and cats.
Jamestown Newport Ferry
This small ferry (approximately 30 passengers) is a fun way to travel between Jamestown and Newport. You can avoid traffic and parking hassles in Newport and get a close-up view of all the boating activity in Newport Harbor. The boat even has a small bar, so you can enjoy a cocktail on board. The ferry makes the following stops:
- Rose Island:* Explore the island and take a fun lighthouse tour
- Fort Adams: Take a fort tour; walk around and look out at the harbor; take a dip at the small beach
- Waites Wharf: Enjoy the restaurants and shops on Lower Thames Street in downtown Newport
- Perrotti Park: Stop in the Newport Gateway Center for visitor information; browse the shops and restaurants
Jamestown Fire Museum
Volunteers from the Jamestown Fire Department are happy to unlock the adjacent museum, show visitors around and share the rich history of the department. Children will have fun looking at the old-fashioned fire engines, uniforms and other memorabilia. The two-story building even has a “fireman’s pole” leading from the top floor to the first floor.
The Fire Museum’s old-fashioned phone is a hit with kids. After visiting the museum, walk around the corner to the playground at the Jamestown Library. The equipment is great for kids of all ages (and there’s a restroom in the library). The playground at the Jamestown Library gives kids a great way to burn off some energy.
Jamestown, Rhode Island Restaurants
- East Ferry Market and Deli: Bagels, breakfast sandwiches, salads and wide range of deli sandwiches. Great views from outdoor patio.
- Spinnaker’s: Small sandwich shop and ice cream parlor. Order at the counter (cash only) and sit outside overlooking the marina. Enjoy a beautiful view from Spinnaker’s outdoor seating area.
- Chopmist Charlie’s: This popular local hangout has a cozy, pub-like atmosphere (but no water view).