South County (Rhode Island)
If you are trying to find South County on a map, then you might have a problem. Technically speaking, South County doesn’t really exist! Instead, “South County” is just the name that the locals have given to a specific part of Rhode Island. South County is, broadly speaking, the coastal region in Rhode Island, centered around the mostly seasonal vacation communities.
Cities and towns
- North Kingstown, including the villages of Saunderstown and Wickford.
- South Kingstown, including the villages of Kingston, West Kingston, Matunuck, Peacedale and Wakefield.
- Westerly, including the village of Bradford.
- Hopkinton, including the villages of Ashaway and Hope Valley.
- Richmond, including the Village of Wyoming.
- Block Island (New Shoreham)
Rhode Island has three AMTRAK train stations - South Kingstown (close to the beaches of Narragansett and Charlestown), Providence (in downtown Providence), and Westerly (close to the RI/CT border). WARNING: Amtrak trains often run late, so do not rely on them for time-sensitive trips.
The MBTA Commuter Rail serves Providence, T. F. Green Airport in Warwick, and Wickford Junction in North Kingstown.
South County, Rhode Island is accessed most easily by Interstate 95. From South (New York/Connecticut Area): Head north on I-95N into Rhode Island. Take exit 3A for RI-138 E/S Kingstown and merge onto RI-138 E/Kingstown Rd. Head straight on RI-138 until you enter South Kingstown
From North (Providence/Boston): Head south on I-95S into Rhode Island. Take exit 9 onto RI-4 towards South County. Head straight on RI-4 and continue onto RI-1 into South Kingstown.
South County is accessible by plane via TF Green Airport. Once at TF Green, one can follow the directions to South County by traveling south on I=95 (as seen above).
Galilee in the town of Narragansett is accessible from Block Island and Newport by using the Block Island Ferry. You can purchase tickets online or by calling +1 401-783-7996. Block Island Ferry offers the Hi-Speed Ferry and the Traditional Ferry. The Hi-Speed Ferry arrives in approximately 30 minutes and the Traditional Ferry arrives in approximately 60 minutes.
Traveling by car is the most common way to get around in South County, but public transit lines and taxi cabs are available.
- Routes 1 & 1A are the primary means of travel north/south through South County. Route 1A runs along the local beaches and is extremely busy during the summer season.
- Route 138 is the dominant east/west route and travels through South Kingstown and by the University of Rhode Island.
- Route 108 is the state route that travels westward through Narragansett and South Kingstown that intersects Route 1A and US Route 1.
- South County is served by RIPTA Bus, (Rhode Island Public Transit Authority), Phone: +1 401-781-9400, . M-F 6:30AM-9PM, Sa 8AM-6:30PM, Su 11AM-6:30PM. A single ride on RIPTA costs $1.50.
- Wakefield Cab CO Incorporated, Wakefield +1 401-783-0007
- Wrights Taxi, Saunderstown and Westerly +1 401-789-0400
- Eagle Taxi, Narragansett +1 401-783-2970
South County's main attraction during the warmer months is its many miles of coastline and public beaches. This can attract very large crowds, especially on weekends or holidays. Daily passes are available for residents, non-residents and seniors, and range from $5 to $14. Season passes are also available and range from $20 to $60. All beaches are free (but unguarded) before Memorial Day and after Labor Day. Beach phone numbers may be seasonal.
- South County enjoys a brief period of fall colors. The main roads throughout the region, such as Route 1, Route 138, Route 108, Route 2 and Ministerial Road (Route 110) make for enjoyable drives during the autumn season.
Points of Interest
Sights to see throughout the year include:
- Wilcox Park, Westerly. A beautiful Victorian-era walking park.
- Arcadia Wildlife Management Park, Nooseneck Hill Road, Exeter. Over 13,800 acres of fishing and hiking for family.
- Fine Arts Center Galleries at URI, Upper College Road, Kingston. Tu-F Noon-4PM, and weekends 1PM-4PM. The University of Rhode Island Fine Arts Center boasts three fully staffed galleries, including one devoted specifically to photography. The galleries exhibit contemporary artists from across the nation and around the globe year-round. Free. Unfortunately, URI is closing the galleries due to budget cuts.
- South County Art Association's Helme House Gallery, South Kingstown.
- Camping: Burlingame State Park, Charlestown, +1 401-322-7337. The park has 3,100 acres of rocky woodland surrounding Watchaug Pond in Charlestown. The entrance to the park headquarters and camping area is off U.S. Route 1.
- Nature trails: Kimball Wildlife Sanctuary, Charlestown, +1 401-949-5454. A 29 acre property located on the southern shore of Watchaug Pond. The land abuts Burlingame State Park and trails lead from the refuge to the state land.
- Biking: South County Bike Path +1 401-783-8886 is used by walkers, runners, bikers. It extends 8 miles in length passing through South Kingstown and Narragansett.
Theaters and Cinemas
- URI Theatre, Upper College Rd (Fine Arts Center), Kingston, 02881. +1 401-874-2627 Live theatre productions, Concert Choir and University Chorus performances, and occasional non-URI performances.
- Theatre by the Sea, 364 Cards Pond Rd, Matunuck, 02879. +1 401-782-TKTS This is an old and theatre in Rhode Island; it was originally opened in 1933. After being closed down for four years, Bill Haney purchased and reopened it in 2007 and ever since has been showcasing musical and dramatic theatricals.
The Ryan Center and Boss Arena
- The Ryan Center, One Lincoln Almond Plaza, +1 401-788-3200, Fax: +1 401-788-3210, Email: email@example.com. Home to all of the main events such as basketball games, boat shows and concerts. The schedule for events is available here . Along with the Ryan Center there is the Boss Ice Arena.
- The Boss Arena, Lincoln Almond Plaza, +1 401-874-5480. Offers ice-skating to the public at designated times found here .
For the shopping enthusiast, South County provides a multitude of options. Although you won't find many chain stores, South County has many boutiques, used book stores, and souvenir shops. Wickford, Wakefield, and Westerly all have historic downtowns that contain many interesting shops.