Summer Sand Bucket List: Things to Do in Rhode Island Before Fall
August 9, 2022
You’ve heard of a bucket list, but have you heard of a sand bucket list? It’s a list of all the things you want to do by summer’s end. We all have those lofty goals – visiting that ice cream stand people rave about that’s a bit of a drive from home, jumping the waves at your favorite beach, seeing the North Kingston lotus garden while the blooms are still in their full glory – but all too quickly, the end of August looms. Here we have gathered some iconic things to do in Rhode Island before the season comes to a close.
Attend a WaterFire Event
WaterFire, the award-winning fire sculpture installation where more than 100 stunning pyres burn on Providence’s three downtown rivers is a Rhode Island institution. Thousands of people gather to see the artful spectacle and roam about through a mile of urban public spaces and parks. There are both full lightings and half lightings. Upcoming lightings include the evenings of Aug. 13, Aug, 27 and a partial lighting on Sept. 3. See the schedule here.
Spend a Day Exploring Jamestown
Conanicut Island is one of Rhode Island’s most stunning coastal gems. Jamestown takes up the entirety of Conanicut Island, the second largest island in Narragansett Bay. Jamestown’s population is less than 6,000 residents who enjoy plenty of preserved open space and historic farms. Jamestown’s downtown is small but charming, and also has a handful of new businesses and restaurants to check out.
Curiosity & Co. is a one-of-a-kind bookstore and wine shop “curating literary and culinary experiences.” The menu at Our Table restaurant highlights the season alongside familiar, favorite dishes with the highest quality ingredients and new culinary twists. Tallulah’s Taqueria, like its sister locations in Providence, consistently draws a crowd as their fresh Chicano street food is unmatched.
If headed to or from Newport, we recommend taking the Newport Jamestown Ferry. It’s fast, inexpensive and a beautiful ride! Here’s the schedule.
Take an Oyster Tour at Matunuck Oyster Bar
Matunuck Oyster Bar in Matunuck, Rhode Island, is one of the most popular restaurants in South County. Reservations are practically a must, and that’s not because it’s a swanky cool club. It’s because Matunuck Oyster Bar is ideally situated on serene Potter Pond, which looks right out of a painting. It’s also because every pond to plate dish is a hit, and it’s all thanks to founder, visionary, farmer and aquaculturist Perry Raso.
Now you can learn about aquaculture and fisheries on a global and local scale with a tour of the farm on Raso’s pontoon boat. Guests can see what’s growing on land as well as the shellfish farm where visitors see the different species of shellfish served at the restaurant in many different stages of growth.
The duration of the tour is approximately 60 minutes. Waterside tours that do not leave the land are also available. Learn more here.
Take a Self-Guided Providence Murals Walking Tour with The Avenue Concept
It doesn’t have to be summertime to take the coolest interactive, self-guided public art tour in Providence, but it might be one of the best times! Whether you’re walking, riding or driving, the comprehensive tours developed by The Avenue Concept will help you explore dozens of murals and sculptures throughout downtown, the South Side and the West End.
The best part is, you can see everything in a day, or you can do a portion at a time. It’s a great activity to do before or after our Downcity Providence Food Tour, simply download the app here. You’ll have the opportunity to see more than 50 works of art, including murals and sculptures, in Providence.
Treat Yourself at Your Favorite Clam Shack
This is one of nearly everybody’s favorite things to do in Rhode Island in the summer. There are more than a dozen clam shacks in Rhode Island and people most certainly have their favorites.
Folks in Narragansett and beyond love their Aunt Carrie’s. It’s one of Rhode Island’s oldest clam shacks as evidenced by its nearly 100-year old dining room. Its Rhode Island Shore Dinner is iconic, as very few places still serve the package deal of a bowl of clam chowder and four clam cakes, a full order of steamed clams with melted butter, and fried local Point Judith Flounder served with french fries and slaw. Add a fresh 1 1/4 lb. lobster if you like and finish it all off with a homemade dessert.
Evelyn’s Drive-In has been a fixture on Nanaquaket Pond in Tiverton since 1969. There’s almost always a line at the take out window. Clam strip rolls, Rhode Island clear chowder, and fish and chips here are always a hit.
Go on a Sail in Newport Harbor
When the Sailing Capital of the World is right in your backyard, it’s practically mandatory to get on the water before summer’s end. The Newport Experience offers the quintessential Newport evening: a Lobster Boil + Sunset Sail. Enjoy a dockside lobster dinner under the tent at Goat Island Marina followed by a sunset sail around Narragansett Bay. The spread includes a 1 1/4 lb. lobster (alternative choice is barbeque chicken), mussels, corn on the cob and potatoes (and cocktails at the bar!).
Gansett Cruises out of Bowen’s Wharf offers one and a half hour narrated harbor tours. Depending on which cruise you choose, you may have your choice of complimentary Ocean State treats like Del’s Lemonade, stuffies, and an authentic coffee “cabinet” shake. Also enjoy local craft brews and other libations!
Spend a Day at Tiverton Four Corners
Tiverton is such a lovely part of the FarmCoast and Tiverton Four Corners is the epicenter of the town’s small charm. Start your day at Groundswell Cafe + Bakery, an aesthetic dream housed inside a former general store dating back to the 1870s. Bread and pastries here are made from scratch. Groundswell Artisan Coffee blends are organic and roasted locally. One of our favorites is the Kale Pesto Breakfast Bowl made with herb smashed red potatoes, toasted faro, roasted brussels sprouts, kale pesto, candied bacon and topped with a sunny side up egg.
Explore the many shops and galleries, including Carmen & Ginger, a super hip vintage shop with finds for your four legged friends, all inside the 1840s Benjamin Seabury House. Dina Doyle Art is a stunning space with works by Doyle in oil on wood or canvas. The Intarawut Gallery, is devoted to Southeast Asian handloom textiles, antiques and works of art including: early furniture, paintings, sculpture, silver jewelry and lacquer-wares.
Movies on the Beach
Movies on the Beach take place Wednesday evenings at the Cabana Horseshoe at Narragansett Town Beach. Bring your dinner, snacks, beverages and of course, popcorn and spread out your picnic blanket to relax and enjoy. Families with young children will enjoy the upcoming shows on Power Rangers on August 10th. Get there early for the August 17th showing of Jaws!
You can also catch blockbusters on the beach on Block Island! Sink your toes in the sand at Fred Benson Town Beach Pavilion and catch Raiders of the Lost Ark on August 9th, the classic Sunset Boulevard on August 23rd, and last year’s hit film, Licorice Pizza, on Sept. 6th.
Go to a Free Concert
Rhode Island is home to a ton of free summer concerts, all in beautiful Ocean State settings, from Providence to the East & West Bay to Newport, it’s one of the most fun things to do in Rhode Island!
Newport’s NIMFest takes place every Sunday from 3-6pm at King Park overlooking Newport Harbor. Admission is free. Bring a blanket, chairs and enjoy an afternoon on Narragansett Bay. Musical acts range from swing, reggae and Grateful Dead covers with funky soul jams to good old fashioned rock and roll. See full schedule here.
The Summer Concert Series at North Kingstown Town Beach takes place on Tuesdays starting at 6pm. With a schedule featuring old-school blues, R&B, soul, contemporary and country bands, there’s something for everyone. Bring your own spread or enjoy the offerings from a variety of Rhode Island’s favorite food trucks!
On Monday nights this month, head to Sachuest Beach (a.k.a. Second Beach) in Middletown where bonfires, food trucks and music bring fun for all ages. Shows throughout the Monday Night Concert Series are all free and open to the public. All shows begin at 6pm. Enjoy the breathtaking view on this south facing, mile-long, family-friendly beach with good surf and soft sand.
Go for a Ride on the Providence Newport Ferry
With service between the dock at India Point in Providence and downtown Newport’s Perrotti Park, this ferry service is a beautiful ride from start to finish. At $24 round trip ($12 for kids 3-12 as well as seniors), it’s an inexpensive way to sit back and take in the salty breeze of Narragansett Bay.
The Providence Newport Ferry is also a great way to beat the traffic, especially on the weekends when the roads are full of beach traffic.
Hey, the good news is there’s still a lot of wonderful summer memories to be made. Make the most of these final weeks to enjoy the spoils of the Ocean State!