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Top 5 kid activities in Southern Rhode Island

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Top 5 kid activities in Southern Rhode Island

We are a family of 5 visiting Rhode Island in August for 4 days. We will be staying in a hotel either in Newport or West Greenwich (as cheaper). We are interested in going to an uncrowded beach (if they exist) probably later in the day. We are also interested in a boat ride along the coast, a Newport mansion that the kids will enjoy, and probably a trip to Block Island. Would the Cliff Walk be tiring or enjoyable for young kids? Suggestions for fun restaurants with a view would be great. Rainy day activities?

Not really interested in Providence area. We will probably spend a separate day in Mystic on the way home. 3 Kids under 12. And yes, we would like to do all this on a budget!

Thank you very much in advance for your time.

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1. Re: Top 5 kid activities in Southern Rhode Island

My college aged kids have been blessed to spend every summer by the beach in RI since they were born, so I'm something of an expert at kid stuff!

Beaches - State beaches are lovely but mobbed. For a more peaceful experience, try one of the Charlestown town beaches - Blue Shutters Beach or Charlestown Town Beach. Parking is limited so you either have to get there super early or in the afternoon when the parking lots thin out. At Blue Shutters, you can walk for miles out to the barrier beach. The Ninigret Salt Pond is on the other side of the road, shallow, warm perfect for little ones to splash in and hunt for crabs and clams.

Restaurants - there are some nice waterside places such as Matunuck Oyster Farm, but perhaps too pricey for kids. Maybe try Captain Jack's or Jim's Dock in Matunuck, or in the Gallilee - Point Judith area, George's, Champlin's (favorite) or Aunt Carrie's. They're all a little tourist-trappy, but fine if you're looking for fried seafood, burgers, or even a simple boiled lobster.

RI Bay Cruises leaves from Quonset Point in No. Kingstown. They do a Narragansett Bay cruise which I think goes past all the lighthouses and Newport Harbor.

For a mansion, I'd do the Breakers, which is the granddaddy of them all and has a little (!) playhouse on the grounds built for the Vanderbilt kids. In my opinion, if you've seen one of these palaces, you've seen them all, but I think it's Belcourt Castle which does this dressup thing where the guides are all in Edwardian character. A little different, but I've never done it. The Cliff Walk is not strenuous, but keep little kids close and stay on the path as it is a quite sheer dropoff in spots. There's spots where it would be difficult for a stroller.

Other suggestions - Watch Hill in Westerly is a charming little village with an antique carousel (kids who grab brass ring get a free ride), a small beach with gentle surf, and if you walk through the parking lot at the yacht club, you can walk way out to Napatree Point where there are ruins of an old fort. Misquamicut in Westerly is pretty raucous but has a water slide and I think an arcade. In Charlestown, Ninigret Park has an observatory which is open on clear Friday nights (free!) and a little fresh water swimming pond, also the Fantastic Umbrella Factory, also Ocean House Marina, where I think you can still rent a small motor boat to putter around and explore the salt pond. In Narragansett, South County Museum is nice for kids. There are also many wonderful spots for easy low-stress nature walks, some have small exhibits and on-site staff. Kettle Pond, Ninigret Conservation Area and Trustom Pond are all national wildlife conservation areas in or near Charlestown. Beavertail State Park in Jamestown has Beavertail Light and a small museum and is stunningly beautiful.

Is that enough for four days? Any more ?'s, just ask will be glad to help.

Enjoy!

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2. Re: Top 5 kid activities in Southern Rhode Island

Also might suggest that you could check rates for the Holiday Inn on Tower Hill Rd (Rte 1) in So. Kingstown. It's not on the beach or near Newport, so the rate is likely better, but is still quite near what you'll want to be doing during your stay. You mentioned staying in W. Greenwich to save a few $ on hotel - that's fine, but from there you're maybe 30 - 45 minutes from the shoreline - not a problem if it doesn't bother you to drive.

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Newport
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3. Re: Top 5 kid activities in Southern Rhode Island

Thank you so much for all the wonderful information. I've been poring through travel books and reading tripadvisor and you've provided a lot of information I haven't seen. I think my husband will especially like the suggestion of renting a boat to putter around in!

It sounds like it's better to stay in the South County area. I checked and there is a nice new Hampton Inn as well as the Holiday Inn. The dilemma with 3 young kids inside a regular hotel room is they're all running back and forth and bouncing all over the beds and it gets just a little too crowded! If the hotel has an outdoor area where they could play that would help. So that's why I looked North to the West Greenwich area where there are hotels with larger suites at very good prices. But you're right, I don't like the idea of a long drive. Staying close to the beach is so much more appealing. Well, hopefully over the next couple of months I will figure out what's best.

I thank you again, you've given me a lot of information to help plan a wonderful vacation.

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South County
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4. Re: Top 5 kid activities in Southern Rhode Island

My pleasure!

One further suggestion - I've heard good opinions of Surfside Motel in Charlestown - a small mom and pop motel not far from beach. Don't know anything other than it looks nice, clean and tidy and a nice location not far from water - maybe worth checking out.

Cheers!

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5. Re: Top 5 kid activities in Southern Rhode Island

Thank you for the Surfside recommendation. Looks like it might be a good place. Can't wait to have time this weekend to read the reviews and see what accommodations they have.

Thanks again.

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6. Re: Top 5 kid activities in Southern Rhode Island

Hello from the Providence Visitors Bureau. Rhode Island has a great online resource for parents called www.KidoInfo.com. You may want to check it out.

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7. Re: Top 5 kid activities in Southern Rhode Island

I seriously would rethink taking little kids on Cliff Walk, unless you just go look from the starting point. As noted, it's a drop off in some points (no guard rails) and there's a part we where couldn't even find the continuation of the path and had to jump and climb across a pretty sunstantial stretch of rocks to keep going. (Our kids are late teens now.) Also, the only facilities of any sort are porta-potties by the parking.

A great beach for kids is Sand Hill Cove aka Wheeler. It has a play area with swings, etc- and there are bathrooms, showers, a food stand right there. (And sometimes a naturalist who discusses local sea things.) It will have mostly families and fronts on the bay, so no big waves. Overall, we used to feel our kids couldn't get into much trouble, would be entertained- and the all-important bathrooms swung the deal when they were little. Birds-eye views of any of these beaches, btw, should show up on google maps.

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8. Re: Top 5 kid activities in Southern Rhode Island

Thank you "ProvidenceCVB" for telling me about the kidinfo.com website. I plan to check it out very soon.

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9. Re: Top 5 kid activities in Southern Rhode Island

Probably the cheapest way to get your family out on the water is via the Jamestown/Newport Ferry

http://www.jamestownnewportferry.com/

Pay one fare, ride all day. Stops at Ft Adams, which has a hard hat/flash light tour of the fort that kids generally enjoy. Park in Jamestown, along the main road, for free. It also stops in Newport, at Perotti Park, which is adjacent to the wharves/ Thames St district. A nice place for kids in Newport is Nikolas Pizza, which has more than just pizza, up the hill aways on Memorial Blvd. Also stops at Rose Island Light, which you can tour and sometimes climb to the top of. The bay between Jamestown and Newport is actually the most beautiful stretch of coastal scenery. While in Newport harbor your captain will most likely identify for you various yatchs belonging to celebrities.

I definitely second taking kids to Ninigret Pond. I just suggest you invest in a cheap crabbing net... the pond is just loaded with sealife that kids can easily catch, examine and release.

I also agree the best beach for kids is Sand Hill Cove, now Wheeler beach. Walk down the beach to Galilee (whose parking lot fills up by 9am most days). It"s a 10 minute walk but the rewards are great... sit on the rocks of the seawall and watch the boats go by. Get some chowder from Salty's and some clam cakes from Champlin's and you have the makings of a great RI feast on a shoe string budget.

The Breakers has a children's playhouse on the premises but children can't play in it. Basically the mansions are not child-friendly unless the children have an appreciation for history, etc.

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10. Re: Top 5 kid activities in Southern Rhode Island

Thank you CSTraveler and Meridenborn for the info about the Cliff Walk. I broused a couple of family fun vacation books that mention the path is a little rocky on the southern end but still a great family activity. They did NOT mention the steep cliff drop. I'm so glad you let me know about that because that would not be fun but VERY STRESSFUL! :-)