Rhode Island has over 400 miles of coastline and that’s a lot considering it’s the smallest state in U.S. There are many places where you can park your vehicle and walk down to the water with your paddleboard. But many other areas remain largely inaccessible.
The two primary obstacles to water access for paddleboarding in Rhode Island are development of government, private, commercial and industrial structures, and shoreline erosion from storms and rising sea levels. Sometimes they are exclusive and sometimes they go hand in hand. Regardless, the Rhode Island Constitution guarantees the right of all people access to the water.
As paddleboarders, we don’t need much lateral access to the shoreline- only enough to get us to a spot where we can put in. So if we want to find new spots on the bay and along the shore to explore, we can dig a little deeper than paid parking at state beaches and parks.
Boat ramps serve as great access spots for paddleboarders. They normally have decent sized parking lots, and it’s easy to walk down the ramp and put into the water. Boat ramps may get covered in algae, especially over the course of the summer. This makes them treacherously slippery so keep an eye out for the green slime!
URI’s Ram Point Marina off of route 1 gives easy access to the upper pond section of Point Judith pond. Sabin Point Park in East Providence has a boat ramp that will get you into the middle section of the Providence River. And Fort Wetherill in Jamestown has a boat ramp that gives access to the beautiful Cove 1 and the East Passage of Narragansett Bay. There are many others of course, and you can check them out here.
Paddleboarders accessing the shoreline to explore new spots sometimes need to get creative and think outside the box. This often means keeping your eyes peeled for any spot that might provide decent access and with a spot to leave your vehicle. The challenges posed by development can only hinder us so much. If you see a spot that you really want to explore tell us about it and we’ll be glad to give you the best information we have on that area.