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Rhode Island: Take an Ocean Drive in the Ocean State

From scenic beaches to scintillating brews, America’s smallest state delivers big thrills in this trip through South County. Whether you want to roll like Gatsby in Newport or prefer a quiet stretch of Westerly Town Beach, the authentic Rhode Island experience awaits on this ocean drive through the Ocean State.

Drive 36.2 miles, 1 hour, 13 minutes

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

1. Westerly Town Beach

Starting Point

One of New England’s best-kept secrets, Westerly Town Beach is a hidden gem, perfect for a relaxing coastal retreat. Spend the morning getting some sun at Napatree Point in the Watch Hill area, a protected bird sanctuary that will have birders and bathers alike reveling in the tranquility of its shores. Nearby Misquamicut State Beach boasts a livelier stretch of sand, with beachside attractions, seafood and surfing. Downtown Westerly is charming in its own right, boasting finely manicured Victorian homes, high-end dining and the expertly landscaped Wilcox Park, which doubles as an arboretum.


2. Wakefield

19.3 miles, 38 minutes

Heading east on Route 1, you’ll find a small town with a burgeoning sense of self. A revitalized and picturesque downtown has made Wakefield a true coastal destination. The Whaler’s Brewing Company offers multiple complex brews with a seasonal touch. Tours of the brewery are available, so hoist a glass while learning about their unique process. The Saugatuck River cuts through town and boasts a river walk and bike path that lead directly to the historic downtown area. Main Street is chock-full of boutiques and restaurants catering to the whole family.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

3. Newport

16.9 miles, 35 minutes

Get a taste of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Jazz Age as you stroll the pristine properties of the Elms, Breakers and Rosecliff mansions along famed Bellevue Avenue. The most famous properties are open to the public and often host events like the Newport Flower Show. Along the way, you’ll have access to the Cliff Walk, a three-mile-long elevated pathway that winds above the rocky bluffs and breathtaking shoreline.