Winter Beach Combing at Napatree Point in Rhode Island

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved the beach. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I feel like it’s embedded in me.

Some of my fondest memories are beach combing and breathing in that sweet, salty air. From collecting shells outside my grandma’s house on Camano Island to escaping quicksand on the beaches of Whidbey Island (true story – ha!), the beach will always feel like home. So it’s only fate that I married a Navy man – a life that practically guarantees we’ll be ocean-side for the rest of our lives. Or at least, the foreseeable future.

Sitting here in the dead of winter, I can’t help but miss the sunny beaches of Central California. That gorgeous, picturesque coastline of Big Sur. Here in New England we are nothing short of beaches, but we moved here in the peak of summer and quite honestly the humidity and the crowds kept us away.

So finally after six months of living here, I bundled up this morning and ventured to the beach. And let me tell you – Napatree Point Beach in Westerly, Rhode Island did not disappoint. As we made our way through the peaceful conservation area, I couldn’t help but imagine the stark contrast to summer. The gloating crowds, folding chairs, ice chests and towels strung out over the sandy beaches. But today? Lady and I shared the beach with just each other, a lone seagull and two beautiful swans.

Tip for winter beach combing? Just get out and do it. You won’t regret it!

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Know Before You Go, Napatree Point Beach:

  • The beach is located just beyond downtown Westerly, westward from the business district of Watch Hill. Be ready to gawk at some gorgeous, gorgeous New England homes.
  • The beach is 100% dog friendly after Labor Day, with limitations during the summer months (only before 8am and after 6pm). There is a waste bag station, but pack a few of your own just in case.
  • Parking is very limited, so keep in mind if you have limited mobility. During the summer months expect to pay up to $30 a day, otherwise the parking lot is free.
  • For history buffs, follow the two-mile hike to see the remains of Fort Mansfield, which was operational around the turn of the 20th century.
  • Birders – bring your binoculars!  The conservation area is a protected stop for the piping plover and home to deer, fox, ospreys, and other migratory birds.

Thanks for reading!

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