Rhode Island Lighthouses:
Newport Region and Eastern Side

Pomham Rocks Lighthouse in Providence Rhode Island

Providence, Barrington, Warren, Bristol, Newport,
and Little Compton


The Providence River area has many small rocky islands or shoals that would cause problems for mariners in stormy weather. Lighthouses were built in this area to guide mariners around these rocky islands and shorelines.

Conanicut Island divides Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay into two channels, the East Passage and the West Passage. With so many dangerous ledges and islands along the Narragansett Bay area and with Rhode Island’s rocky coastline, lighthouses were built to guide mariners and shipping traffic from Newport up into Providence.

Newport and Jamestown areas became places for the extremely rich who made their fortunes in the 19th century, many from the whaling industry, and many as part of the infamous Triangle Trade where African slaves were traded in the West Indies for sugar and molasses, which was used for rum in Newport. It was estimated at one time that one out of four people in Newport were making their living in some fashion from the sea.

On Rhode Island's southeastern region, dangerous shoals would barley be visible in high tides or stormy weather, prompting the need the for a lighthouse to guide mariners along these dangerous shores.

 

Rhode Island Lighthouses
in the Eastern Side Region
You Can Drive or Hike To

Note: The lighthouses mentioned below that you can drive to can also be viewed from various boat tours offered. Rhode Island has a very diverse set of state parks and recreation for its many visitors and local communities to enjoy.

Click any lighthouse image or link below to find out information about each lighthouse including historic stories, directions, tours, photos, and nearby attractions.

Pomham Rocks lighthouse

Pomham Rocks Light

Bristol Ferry lighthouse

Bristol Ferry Light

Newport Harbor lighthouse

Newport Harbor Light

Rose Island lighthouse

Rose Island Light

Prudence Island (Sandy Point) lighthouse

Prudence Island
(Sandy Point) Light

Castle Hill lighthouse

Castle Hill Light

Nayatt lighthouse

Nayatt Point Light

Sakonnet lighthouse

Sakonnet Light

 


 

 

Lighthouses Best Viewed by Boat
in the Eastern Side Region

Click any lighthouse image or link below to find out information about each lighthouse including historic stories, directions, tours, photos, and nearby attractions.

ida lewis lighthouse

Ida Lewis Light

Hog Island lighthouse

Hog Island Light

 

Places to Visit Nearby
Rhode Island's East Side (heading southeast)

For entertainment in theater, music, and dance in Providence, Rhode Island, visit the Providence Performing Arts Center. The Museum of Natural History is the state’s only natural history museum. The Roger Williams Park Zoo provides lots of family fun. For lots of hands on activities, visit the Providence Children's Museum.

There are quite a few lighthouses visitors can drive to on the mainland eastern shores of Rhode Island.

The Bristol Ferry lighthouse, a private residence, is under the Mount Hope Bridge by Roger Williams University, and from a parking lot by the bridge, you can still get nice photos of the beacon. Bristol Ferry light

Bristol Ferry Light

There is also the Blackstone River Bikeway, with much of the proposed 48 miles completed, you can take the completed bike path from nearby Central Falls, Lincoln, or Cumberland. When completed, it will connect to the East Bay Bike Path, and continue into Worcester Massachusetts.

The 14-mile long East Bay Bicycle Path in East Providence, where the Pomham Rocks lighthouse is best viewed, off Washington Street, runs along the Providence River, and is open to walkers as well as bikers.

Pomham Rocks Light

Pomham Rocks Light

The Crescent Park Looff Carousel is one of the oldest and largest carousels with 62 beautifully carved and painted horses.

Although still it is best viewed by boat, you can get photos of the private residence of Nayatt Point light from a nearby tiny fishing beach. Nayatt Point light along stone wall

Nayatt Point Light

Prudence Island is a quiet island with tracts of land maintained by various conservationist organizations like the Prudence Conservancy. The area is very quiet and the mile long beach is never crowded.

prudence island beach

Prudence Island Light

It’s a mile walk to Prudence Island (Sandy Point) Lighthouse from the ferry dock.

The Rose Island Lighthouse Foundation provides information on day trips or overnight stays at Rose Island Lighthouse in Newport.

You can explore the grounds from various stop overs provided by the Jamestown-Newport Ferry, or the Rose Island Light Foundation, or get great views from various boat tours, even on foggy days. Newport Harbor lighthouse in a small park

Rose Island Light

Newport is Rhode Island’s most popular tourist attraction including it’s most elaborate mansions of the rich and famous that shaped America’s 19th and 20th centuries.

Breakers Mansion in Newport

The Breakers
(Vanderbuilt) Mansion

One of the most famous involves the summer home of the Vanderbuilts called the Breakers.
Others include the Marble House, the Hunter House, Elms, Rosecliff, the Green Animals Topiary Gardens, the Chateau-sur-Mer, Chepstow, the Kingscote, and the Isaac Bell House. You'll find many of these mansions and others along Belleview Avenue, including Belcourt Castle, which offers another unique opportunity to step back in time and enjoy the atmosphere of the Gilded Age.

Newport provides plenty of concerts and events during the summer season.

tall ships at newport RI

The Newport Cliff Walk is nearly 4 miles along an elevated path around the harbor, where you'll view some of the many mansions of Newport.

Newport Harbor lighthouse in a small park

Newport Harbor Light

You can reach the grounds of Newport Harbor lighthouse by quietly passing through the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Hotel, ask permission first.

Other shoreline walks in Newport include the Newport Harbor Walk and the Ten Mile Ocean Drive.

Castle Hill lighthouse is found along the historic Ten Mile Drive.

Castle Hill light overlooking Narragansett Bay

Castle Hill Light

For wine tasters, there are also tours at the Newport Vineyards.

The ride down to Little Compton along route 77 is very scenic with country roads and attractive historic 19th century architecture along the way.

stone wall along Sakonnet in Rhose Island Visitors will also find an interesting abundance of stonewalls marking properties as done in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Visit Sakonnet Vineyards for local wine tasting and exploring.

Sakonnet lighthouse can be viewed from the beach in the town of Little Compton, a very secluded seaside town. Sakonnet lighthouse tower as sun sets

Sakonnet Light

 

Boat Tours: Rhode Island's East Side Region: Provincetown, Bristol, Newport, Little Compton

Boat cruises mentioned below offer many types of cruises. While some may offer specific lighthouse cruises, some will pass by specific lighthouses as part of charters, narrated wildlife and historic tours, ferrying passengers, whale watching, fishing tours and other types of excursions.

Rhode Island Fast Ferry
Offers weekly lighthouse tours in season. Their narrated high-speed ferry cruises cover ten Rhode Island lighthouses in Narragansett Bay. They also provde ferry services to Martha's Vineyard and Block Island. On Martha's Vineyard, they provide a narrated 2.5-hour sightseeing island tour on a scheduled bus.

1347 Roger Williams Way
North Kingstown, RI 02852
Phone: (401) 295-4040
Email: info@fastferry.com

Lighthouses: Beavertail Lighthouse, Poplar Point Light, Plum Beach Lighthouse, Conanicut Light, Dutch Island Lighthouse, Plum Beach Light, Newport Harbor, Ida Lewis Light, Rose Island Light, and Castle Hill Light.

 

Save the Bay Tours
Organization for lighthouse and coastal preservation provides nature and seal watching tours. For those who are not in a hurry, they provide an extensive 7-hour Ultimate Lighthouse Tour covering most of the lighthouses in Narragansett Bay. The cruise includes a stopover lunch to explore the grounds of Rose Isand Lighthouse.
100 Save the Bay Drive, Providence, RI 02905
Phone: (401) 272-3540 x103

Lighthouses:
Beavertail, Castle Hill, Lime Rock (Ida Lewis), Newport Harbor, Rose Island, Prudence Island, Hog Island, Bristol Ferry, Conanicut Point, Poplar Point, Plum Beach, Dutch Island, Nayatt Point, Pomham Rocks, Conimicut, and Warwick Light.

 

Classic Cruises of Newport
Newport Harbor excursions aboard a newly restored Elco Motor Yacht, called the Rumrunner, built during prohibition in 1929 for local bootleggers, or go sailing on the 72-foot Schooner Madeleine, the 80-foot Schooner Adirondack II, or 48-foot Sloop Eleanor, which include sunset sails. All offer views by the Newport lighthouses, and they have a special "Lighthouses and Mimosas" Cruise to view those lighthouses in the southern end of Narragansett Bay.

22 Bowens Wharf, Newport RI 02840
Main Office: 401-862-8441
Tickets: (401) 847-0000

Lighthouses: Newport Harbor Light, Ida Lewis Light, Rose Island Light, and Castle Hill Light.

 

Snappa Charters
Offers specific private lighthouse charters around Narragansett Bay and to Block Island in addition to other adventure tours like sport fishing, whale watching, and shark tagging.

Mailing Address: 2 Congdon Dr., Wakefield, RI 02816
Boat Location: 33 State Street, Narragansett, RI 02882
Boat/Cell (401) 487-9044
Email: snappacharters@cox.net

Lighthouses: Block Island Southeast, Block Island North, Watch Hill, and Point Judith, Beavertail, Castle Hill, Lime Rock (Ida Lewis) Light, Newport Harbor, Rose Island, Prudence Island, Hog Island, Bristol Ferry, Conanicut Point, Poplar Point, Plum Beach, and Dutch Island, Sakonnet, Nayatt Point, Pomham Rocks, Conimicut, and Warwick Lighthouse.

 

Bristol - Prudence Island Ferry
The ferry provides access to and from the Prudence Island daily. From the ferry dock it's about a mile walk along the shore to Prundece island (Sandy Point) Light.
Phone: (401) 253-9808

Lighthouses: Bristol Ferry Light, Prudence Island Light

 

Jamestown Newport Ferry

The Jamestown Newport Ferry offers scenic transportation on lower Narragansett Bay and within Newport Harbor, offering service daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day at five stops: Jamestown, Rose Island Lighthouse and Newport's Fort Adams, Ann Street Pier and Perrotti Park.
Summer Schedule:
Phone: (401) 423-9900 x1
Email: info@cruiseri.com

Lighthouses: Goat Island (Newport Harbor) Light and Rose Island Light.

 

Coastal Queen Cruises
Offers weekly, narrated, lighthouse boat tours most of the year. They offer special lighthouse tours around the Newport Harbor and lower Narragansett Bay area, with views of Rose Island Lighthouse, Castle Hill Light, Goat Island Lighthouse and more.

5 Bowen's Landing, Bowen's Wharf 
Newport, RI 02840
Phone: (401) 423-9900 x1 
Email: info@cruiseri.com

Lighthouses: Newport Harbor Lighthouse, Ida Lewis Lighthouse, Rose Island Lighthouse, and Castle Hill Lighthouse. 

 

 

 

New Book Just Published Summer 2023!

The Rise and Demise of the Largest Sailing Ships:
Stories of the Six and Seven-Masted
Coal Schooners of New England

book of the rise and demise of the largest sailing ships

To order a signed paperback copy:

Available also from bookstores in paperback, hardcover, and as an eBook for all devices.

my ebook on apple books

In the early 1900s, New England shipbuilders constructed the world’s largest sailing ships amid social and political reforms. These giants were the ten original six-masted coal schooners and one colossal seven-masted vessel, built to carry massive quantities of coal and building supplies.

This book, balanced with plenty of color and vintage images, showcases the historical accounts that followed these mighty ships, including competitions, accidents, battling destructive storms, acts of heroism, and their final voyages.

Click for larger video here.

 

 

My book, Lighthouses and Coastal Attractions of Southern New England: Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, provides lots of special human interest stories from each of the 92 lighthouses, along with plenty of additional indoor and outdoor coastal attractions and tours in the area.

In the book, with stories from each lighthouse, you'll find a few local special stories about Ida Lewis rescues and stories of heroism and destruction during the Hurricane of 1938.

Look inside!

book about lighthouses and local coastal atttractions in southern New England

 

 

 

 

New England Lighthouses: Famous Shipwrecks, Rescues & Other Tales

This image-rich book contains over 50 stories of famous shipwrecks and rescues around New England lighthouses, and also tales of hauntings that occurred.

You'll find details and imagery on the life and legacy, including various rescue stories, by Ida Lewis at Lime Rock Light.

You'll find this book and my lighthouse tourism books from the publisher Schiffer Books, or in many fine bookstores like Barnes and Noble.

 

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