11 Things To Do In Narragansett RI Year Round, Even in Winter! (Wet)Suit Up!

Do you believe that New England beach resort towns are dead in the wintertime? Then, you must visit the town of Narragansett RI – a popular Atlantic Ocean beach community – in the coldest months. There are several unique things to do in Narragansett Rhode Island, one of the larger towns in South County RI, when the snow flies.

Narragansett RI After Snow

For starters, January is the best month for surfing. (Who knew?) Down-filled outerwear is made for brisk strolls on snow-covered sand.

Favorite restaurants still buzz with happy eaters, shops are open, and best of all, rates at the coolest boutique hotel are satisfyingly low. So plan a day or two, “chill out,” and beat the summer crowds in Narragansett RI and nearby Wakefield.

Check out these posts for more to do year-round in Westerly/Watch Hill RI and all over South County RI.

And, check out this post for more Romantic Getaways in Rhode Island.

Things to Do in Narragansett RI And Wakefield in Winter

Winter Surfers NarragansettRI

DO: Surf at Narragansett Town Beach

So, temps are in the 20’s and snow flurries dance in the wind. That won’t stop the hardy surfers who don full body (and head) wetsuits in order to catch that 7 ft. wave at Narragansett Town Beach. It’s not Hawaii or California, that’s for sure, but this East Coast version of Hanging Ten proves that nothing will stop a surfing fiend.

Surfing here is one of the Getaway Mavens’ quirkiest places to propose in Rhode Island.

Scarborough State Beach in Winter, Narragansett RI

DO: Walk on Narragansett Bay Beaches

It might be brisk out, but it’s still beautiful. And you will be far from alone. So keep each other warm at Scarborough State Beach. Watch fishing boats and the Block Island Ferry go by at the small but interesting Salty Brine State Beach, near the Galilee RI docks at the western end of Roger Wheeler State Beach.

Get really cozy with your honey camping out near the above beaches. Fishermen’s Memorial State Park, a public recreation area and campground, encompasses 91 acres on Point Judith in the town of Narragansett and is open off season.

Mansion on Ocean Rd. Narragansset RI Winter

DO: Drive Ocean Road

From The Break Hotel (see below), it’s a ten-minute drive up the coast to Narragansett Town Beach. You’ll pass other public beaches and oceanfront estates, before driving under the arches between the town’s defining landmark, The Towers. This is the remaining section of the Narragansett Pier Casino, built in the 1880s. designed by McKim, Mead and White, that burned down in 1900.

The Towers, Narragansett RISHOP: In Neighboring Wakefield

You’ll find plenty of boutiques, consignment, gift shops and galleries two miles from the beach in Wakefield. My favorites:

Purple Cow Gift Shop, Wakefield RI

Purple Cow – for unique clothing, jewelry and gifts.

The Glass Station, Wakefield RI

The Glass Station – artisanal glass pieces in a old repurposed gas station.

Best Restaurants in Narragansett RI

Coast Guard House Restaurant, Narragansett RI

EAT: Coast Guard House, Narragansett

Almost attached to The Towers, adjacent to the Town Beach, the iconic Coast Guard House, set in an 1800’s Life Saving Station, has been serving up good salads, burgers, seafood and steaks, with straight-on ocean views, since 1949. Hurricane Sandy nearly demolished the building, but after a vast renovation, it came back stronger (and prettier) than ever.

EAT: Aunt Carrie’s Restaurant and Ice Cream Shop

Established in 1920, the iconic Aunt Carrie’s fresh seafood restaurant was first built as as shack where the Point Judith Lighthouse now stands. Legend has it Aunt Carrie Cooper created the first clam cakes by adding local clams to her corn fritter recipe. These new, clam “fritters” became her trademark, and, over 100 years later, are still dished out by the fourth generation of this family-owned eatery.

purslane eatery wakefield ri

EAT: Purslane Eatery, Wakefield

The brick and mortar Purslane emerged from the oh so irreverent (and delish) Butterhead Food Truck. Though too new to call, hits already appear to be roasted asparagus, smoked fish dip, lobster rolls, and Nitro coffee on tap. However, in the world of innovative chef meets locally sourced food, things can change overnight.

Chair 5 The Break Hotel RI

EAT: Chair 5

Located in The Break Hotel, Chair 5 has become a destination unto itself. Private and communal tables (one, in the shape of a surfboard), beneath a carpeted ceiling and lovely blown-glass lamps, promote communication and sharing.

Where to Stay in Narragansett RI

STAY: The Break Hotel

The Break Hotel sits on a side street in a residential neighborhood a couple of blocks from the steely Atlantic Ocean in Narragansett RI.

The Break Hotel exterior

This beautifully designed 16-room boutique hotel is a respite for travelers who appreciate what’s come to be a growing trend in American hospitality: the happy middle ground between stark minimalism and over-the-top glitz, in-house “small-bite” farm-to-plate dining, and friendly but not overly fussy service.

Chair 5 Overview

One in the trend-setting Lark Hotel Group, The Break Hotel has all of these components. So it’s no surprise that it is often fully booked – even off-season.

First Impressions of The Break Hotel

The Break Hotel neighborhood in winter, Narragansett RI

I’ll get this out of the way. Narragansett is a beach town. But The Break is not right on the beach. However, no other hotels are, either. Most near the public Narragansett Beach vicinity – a 10 minute drive up Ocean Road – are across the street from the shore.

Here, don’t expect to walk out the door and on to the sand. That said, people who book a room at The Break are generally not the “grab a beach-chair and Mai Tai then spend the day tanning” set. Guests seem to prefer cool design and friendly service over direct access to the beach.

The Break Hotel Lobby, Narragansett RI

I was swept away by the stylish and colorful lobby – its centerpiece a crystal clear, and impeccably maintained saltwater aquarium.

In winter, a fire blazes behind glass, casting shadows on the salmon, aqua, mustard and cream-colored seating. It’s a most inviting tableau.

The Break Lobby

Check in is efficient, friendly and mellow. You receive an I-Pad, loaded with information about the hotel and the surrounding area, to use during your stay.

Rooms at The Break Hotel

Rooms are sizable, fresh and playful, encompassing a grab bag of furniture and accessories. There’s a small wood-stove-like fireplace in the corner, an analog clock and old-fashioned dial phone atop a simple desk with clear Lucite chair.

Polished wood floors, large flat screen TV, a painting above two upholstered chairs: it’s a fun take on your Auntie’s shore home.

Narragansett RI Neighborhood snow

Bathrooms are bright white with a punch of French’s Mustard Yellow colored sink and wall in the immaculate double rain shower.

Drinks and Dining at The Break

Chair 5 The Break Hotel RI

The Break’s marine-hued in-house restaurant, Chair 5, has turned into a destination unto itself. Private and communal tables (one, in the shape of a surfboard), beneath a carpeted ceiling and lovely blown-glass lamps, promote sharing and conversation.

Views from the 4th floor bar and lounge are gorgeous. Plus, it’s the perfect place to visit and catch up with friends and family. In warm weather, the deck throngs with patrons, but off-season, vistas are best savored from inside.

In the morning treat yourself to a complementary smorgasbord. If you adore tapas (and who doesn’t?), you’ll fall for the freshly made small-bites, set out in individual portions.

Hotel Amenities

The Break has a small fitness room. There’s also a heated saltwater pool, kept covered off-season until a guest wishes to take a dip. Then, the cover is removed and steam rises like that from a geothermal hot spring: particularly beguiling while its snowing.

Weekend Getaways In Rhode Island


  • Malerie Yolen-Cohen

    Malerie Yolen-Cohen is the Author of the cross-country travel guide, Stay On Route 6; Your Guide to All 3562 Miles of Transcontinental Route 6. She contributes frequently to Newsday, with credits in National Geographic Traveler, Ladies Home Journal, Yankee Magazine, Shape.com, Sierra Magazine, Porthole, Paddler, New England Boating, Huffington Post, and dozens of other publications. Malerie’s focus and specialty is Northeastern US, and she is constantly amazed by the caliber of restaurants and lodging in the unlikeliest places.

    View all posts

2 thoughts on “11 Things To Do In Narragansett RI Year Round, Even in Winter! (Wet)Suit Up!”

Comments are closed.