Jamestown RI Parks and Recreation
Conanicut Island is
nine miles long by one mile wide. Its highest elevation is 135
There is a quiet rural character to much of the
island. Even Jamestown's commercial center has the feel of a
traditional village. A few farms remain, older neighborhoods are
intact and historic properties, including lighthouses, windmills
and the remains of old military fortifications, offer connection
to the past. With its abundance of open space, lightly traveled
roadways and pleasant views, the island is an excellent locale
for walking and riding bicycles.
This page will provide information on some of
the areas that have been set aside as natural and recreational
|The Jamestown Conservation Commission, in cooperation with
The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) and the
Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is developing an an
island-wide trail guide for Conanicut Island and erecting
several interpretive signs.
The reduced-size map at right is
an excerpt from the 2003 statewide map.
Click on the map for a much larger version showing the
Click here for the statewide bike map
(note: this is a
large, 3.9 MB pdf file). For up-to-date information on the
more than 50 miles of East Coast Greenway trails in Rhode
Island, and more information on biking, walking, hiking and
rollerblading, visit the website of the Greenways Alliance of Rhode
Island, which is the Rhode Island Affiliate of the East
Coast Greenway Alliance.
|Beavertail State Park, situated at the southern end of Conanicut Island,
contains an historic lighthouse, a lighthouse museum and a small aquarium (housed in the former fog horn
building) that offers close inspection of the kinds of creatures
living around the rocks and tidal pools not very far away. Kids
love it. The animals are periodically returned to the natural
environment and new specimens are gathered to maintain the
display. URI has prepared a guide to Beavertail's rocky shore environment
and even a wonderful 18 page virtual field trip to the park. It is geared to students in grades 3 to
12, but if you are older, you are welcome to come along too.
||Beavertail's rocky point offers
wonderful views of the East and West Passages and the Atlantic
as well as a network of paths for walking or cycling.
Its periphery is bordered by large slabs of broken rocks that
provide places to picnic, climb, or sit and simply enjoy the
sights. The rocky areas can be accessed by crossing grass and
low brush bordering the shore, or by using stone stairs.
(See our Lighthouse page for
additional information on Beavertail light.)
Fort Wetherill State Park, on the east side of Conanicut Island, directly across
from Newport's Fort Adams, is open daily for hiking, fishing and
picnicing. The strategic location and topography of the site
were recognized early. Its
military history goes back to the Revolutionary War.
||This more than 60 acre park offers panoramic
views of the Bay and Newport, fifty-foot-high granite
outcroppings, bluffs, coves, extensive grassy areas, picnic
tables and several parking areas.
|Fort Getty Recreational Area is located just west of
Mackerel Cove Beach, off of Beavertail Road. Overlooking West
Passage, it offers 25 tentsites and 100 trailer sites for use by
campers. During World Wars I and II, it was used for observation
and protection of the entrance to Narragansett Bay. The park
offers a boat ramp, fishing area, camper services and showers.
For more information and campsite reservations call (401)
||Mackerel Cove Beach has
long attracted residents and vistors for swimming, sunning and
pure relaxation. Situated on a narrow neck of land joining the
southern end of Southwest Avenue and the northern end of
Beavertail Road, the sandy beach is located between the Fort
Wetherill and Fort Getty Recreational areas, across the road
from Sheffield Cove and near the Fox Hill nature area.
The Conanicut Battery National Historic Park
on Prospect Hill is located on Battery Lane, off of Beavertail Road,
just south of Fort Getty Road. This 22 acre site, owned by the town of
Jamestown, includes the remains of earthen fortifications built during
the Revolutionary War - originally, in 1776, by Rhode Island Colonists,
then by the British, who restructured the fortifications and remained on
the island through 1779. The area also saw military use during
both World Wars. The Connanicut Battery Park facilities were
recently upgraded. Visitors will find well-marked trails with
information on the history of the site and earthen forts in general.
There are a number of fine bird viewing
areas on the island owing to the large amount of relatively undeveloped
land offering diverse habitats. The island has areas of rocky shores,
sandy shores, woods, grassland, marsh and
tidal flats. Good places for bird watching include:
just east of the toll plaza, alongside East Shore Road
east of North Main Road in the Great Creek
area. The Audubon Society of Rhode Island (ASRI) owns 21 acres of saltwater marsh
(access by written permission).
Island Sanctuary, in a reedy portion of the Great
Creek estuary, just west of the Newport Bridge toll plaza
and north of the golf course. Enter from Conanicus Avenue.
The one-mile long trail loops through a variety of habitats.
Marsh, 5 acres owned by ASRI. Located across
Southwest Avenue from Mackerel Cove Beach and near to the 45
acre Fox Hill Salt Marsh also owned by ASRI
(access by written permission). See these areas from the Kit
Wright Nature Trail located in the Fort Getty Recreational
ASRI's 20 acre
Racquet Road Thicket
Wetherill/ Dumplings area, about a mile southeast
of East Ferry.
- Beavertail Point State Park
at the southern tip of the island
|Click on the image to see
off-island areas to the east and west
Island Sea Grant Daytripper's Guide to Jamestown, part of
the Daytripper's Guide to Rhode
Island, provides information on Jamestown coastal access points and
wildlife areas. The site offers an online version of Public Access
to the Rhode Island Coast (February 1993), combined with portions
of A Guide to Rhode Island's Natural Places (1995). Information
( .pdf format) includes a detailed
interactive map of the state (from which the Jamestown parkland map
shown above was derived).
|For a change of pace and a chance to commune with
nature in an unhurried manner, consider surfcasting.
|If you need help in finding good places to fish, or you
would like to learn more about the art and the science of this
traditional Jamestown sport, consider a guided surfcasting trip
with outdoor writer and shore guide Joe Lyons of Surfcasting Rhode Island. Outings are
offered at all experience levels. Joe will provide all necessary
bait, lures and other equipment.
|Watson Farm combines History and Nature:
1796 North Road, is a special place owned by the Society for
Preservation of New England Antiguities that provides insight into the
way people lived in Jamestown for three hundred years. The main
farmhouse was built in 1796, and the farm has been in continuous use
ever since. Self-guided and group tours are available. Admission is
free. (401) 423-0005.
||The 280 acre farm has cattle, sheep, horses, a large
vegetable garden and two miles of picturesque trails.
The property includes salt water estuaries, swamps, woodlands,
hayfields, orchards, and open pastures.
A visit can be a rich learning experience as well as a
reminder of a lifestyle that flourished in many similar seaside
farms in Rhode Island.
|Jamestown Golf Course:
|Jamestown Golf Course, 245 Conanicus Avenue, (401)
423-9930, a 9 Hole public golf course, is located minutes from
historic Newport, and is one of the oldest public courses in the
country. Originally known as Conanicut Golf Club, it opened in
1895, near the Dumplings, in what had been a cow pasture.
|In 1901 a new clubhouse was erected on the south side of the
course and links were laid out on the Littlefield-Clarke farm,
today's Jamestown Country Club. The clubhouse was moved to its
present location on Conanicus Avenue in 1951.
The course contains 74.36 acres, with various environmentally
sensitive land management areas. More information is
Read what Simon, an observant and articulate dog, has to tell
places he likes to visit and why. They include Jamestown's
Beavertail State Park and Fort Getty, as well as
Scarborough Beach State Park in Narragansett,
Goddard State Park in Warwick and Bretton Point
State Park in Newport.
Find out about
destinations in nearby South County,
Providence and other places to visit on our Nearby Destinations page.