Warwick, RI-history along the shore

View from the fishing pier of a portion of Rocky Point State Park, Warwick, RI

Rocky Point amusement park was a “go-to” destination for summer visitors in Rhode Island for many years. First arriving by boat, later by trolley and finally by car, people found open fields, a restaurant and carnival type rides, which drew huge crowds through the years.

The nation’s 200th anniversary celebration of 1976 was an occasion when hundreds of thousands arrived at the park for a shore dinner. By the early 1990s the privately-owned park closed and remained that way till 2014 when it reopened as a state park.

The area is now open to all (day use only). In contrast to the past with its noise and carnival-like scents, the state p[ark is now a passive recreation spot. Fisherfolk and walkers stroll along paved paths alongside the shoreline. A new, well-built pier offers views of Narragansett Bay and the wildlife that frequents the area. It also provides a great spot to throw a fishing line in the water and try your luck.

Remnants of one of the multiple rides that drew people to the amusement park

The interpretive signs throughout the area have photos of the park in its heyday. For those who came here as children, they need no signs. They will point out exactly where the Ferris wheel stood, the arch where friends met, and the swinging seats that took passengers on a wild ride.

Nearby Conimicut Park, also on the western shore of Narragansett Bay in Warwick, is much smaller than Rocky Point, and rather than being a state park, is a public park a playground, benches, picnic tables and views of the Conimicut Shoals Lighthouse. The beacon is now the property of the town of Warwick, but has a long history of aiding ships traveling in and out of the bay.

Low tide

The sand spit that is visible at low tide marks the mouth of the Providence River and the beginning of Narragansett Bay. Visitors will notice signs warning against swimming in this area because of extremely strong, sometimes deadly currents.

A deserted beach and a horse with its rider at Conimicut Point Park

My sense is that both parks will be quite busy in warmer weather, but the day we stopped, we were among only a handful of visitors. This is an urban area, so we were surprised to see a horse and its rider approaching us along the sandy shoreline. Few others were there on that overcast Autumn morning, and the rider on horseback quietly nodded then continued on his way.

Gulls take to the air as people get too close for them

This smaller park also has paved walkways that are Easy Walks, a playground and parking for at least thirty (or more) cars. The park is within a short distance of a neighborhood, making this a great destination for area walkers. Low tide brought hundreds of sea birds (mostly gulls and Brandt geese) near the shore. Dog walkers got close to the birds so they took flight to another spot with fewer people nearby.

A quiet place to take in the views of Narragansett Bay

We visited both parks in late fall at low tide, and were able to walk along the hard-packed sand exposed by the receding water. Since we are always on the lookout for easily accessed shoreline that is close to home, this was a great find, only about forty-five minutes from where we live, just over the line from northern RI. Happy trails!


Marjorie Turner Hollman is a writer who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionMore Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionEasy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed, and Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. Her memoir, the backstory of Easy Walks, is My Liturgy of Easy Walks: Reclaiming hope in a world turned upside down.


Filed under Blog posts--Easy Walks

2 responses to “Warwick, RI-history along the shore

  1. This sounds like the perfect place to visit no matter what the season. Thank you for sharing, Marjorie.

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