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I have a really bad habit of going somewhere for too short a period of time, but we are working toward reversing that trend slowly but surely. We recently stayed a full week in Westerly, Rhode Island, and I honestly cannot think of the last time I went anywhere for a full week and had the chance to so fully relax. While my favorite activities were just relaxing and hanging out with family, we did leave our cottages a bit to enjoy some of what the area had to offer.
Along those lines, here are five fun things for families to do in Westerly, Rhode Island.
Ride the Watch Hill Flying Horse Carousel
Right next to the Watch Hill Beach is the Flying Horse Carousel that arrived in Watch Hill in 1883 and is listed on the National Historic Register.
Tickets are just $1.00 – $1.50, depending if you want an inner or outer horse (and they do take credit cards!). The older kids in our crew had an absolute blast on these swinging horses, but keep in mind the younger kids won’t be able to ride as the horses swing and an adult therefore cannot stand next to a little to hold them on the horse.
Those on the outer horses can try to grab the golden ring as they go by the operator for a chance to get a free ride! While you are at Watch Hill you can check out a lighthouse, shop, or enjoy snacks at the really cute cafes that line the street. We particularly liked the iced coffees and snacks from Ten Sandwiches and I loved the comfy clothes in the local shop called Huxter.
I didn’t get a chance to watch a sunset from Watch Hill, but I hear they are outstanding!
Hit the Beach
This is an obvious must do in Rhode Island, but know that in Westerly there are private beaches, pay-to-play beaches, and free state beaches. The water was a bit cold and rough on the private beach nearest our cottage during our mid-June visit, so nobody in our crew really got all the way in, but the girls had a blast playing in the waves as they came to shore.
Even if you don’t want to get in the water, the free Misquamicut State Beach also has a fun beachside playground. In fact, as we drove around town we spotted lots of great looking playgrounds and parks, such as Wilcox Park, so there are ample spots to let your little ones run off some steam!
Race Hermit Crabs for Free
I’ll admit I skipped this activity and remained at the cottage with the toddler as it didn’t seem to be a must-do in my mind, but judging by how much fun the rest of the family had, I think I missed out. Every Wednesday in the summer you can head to The Purple Ape at 7PM to register to race a hermit crab. Each participant picks out their crab and at 8PM they start the races.
My understanding is there are heats, and then eventually a grand prize winner in the finals. It just so happened that the grand prize winner on this day was my very own daughter who literally has never been so excited in her life as when her crab won first place. Don’t believe me? Watch the video below courtesy of my in-laws. My daughter is the hysterically screaming sweet girl voice cheering on her turquoise crab – and this is just the heat where she came in second! Imagine her after winning the finals!
The grand prize winner gets a cage set-up, their crab, and a lifetime of bragging rights. Thankfully, our Connecticut family members agreed to take care of the crab for us with their crabs, because I really didn’t need to fly home with a hermit crab.
Ride Bikes, Kayaks, Jet Skis, and More
Along with relaxing, my other favorite Rhode Island activity might have been bike riding. Between the cool weather and the super flat streets, riding a bike in Westerly is idyllic. My older daughter was still getting the hang of bike riding at the start of our trip, but by the end no longer even need a ‘push start’!
Our family brought bikes up from Connecticut, but you can also rent them for the week from places like this. Riding bikes in the evening as the sun started to set was a truly memorable part of this trip that I recommend you don’t miss if you are heading to the area.
You can also rent things like jet skis and kayaks if you want to get out on the water. I didn’t do that on this trip, but my in-laws did! Prices for jet skis start at $75 for half an hour of cruising. Kayak rentals start at $30 for two hours.
Eat it Up
It’s no secret I enjoy eating on our vacations, so of course eating makes my top 5 list of activities to do in Westerly, Rhode Island. Because we had lots of kids and such with us, I did not make it a priority to seek out the best places to eat, and instead was happy to eat at whatever was convenient. We were walking distance from The Andrea, which probably isn’t the absolute best food around, but it was totally decent and does have a very nice location right on the beach with live music on some afternoons.
Another spot we enjoyed was Amigos that is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even for late night munchies on the weekends. This restaurant was very charming and we really enjoyed some of our dishes even though we get plenty of Mexican food back in Texas.
Yet another spot that was walkable for us was the Misquamicut Sandwich Company that made a mean quinoa veggie burger and had cool outdoor shaded spots to eat. I don’t know that I would go out of the way to hunt this place down, but if you end up staying in the same Misquamicut area we did, it is worth walking down for lunch one day.
Other Fun Ideas Near Westerly
Some other fun activities and places in or near Westerly, Rhode Island that we didn’t get to experience on this trip include visiting Mystic Aquarium in nearby Connecticut, taking a ferry to Block Island, and playing at the Water Wizz Water Park that doesn’t open until July 1st.
One final bonus activity I have to include even though it isn’t one of my five family friendly recommendations is to leave the kids with a family member and head to a nearby casino! We went to Mohegan Sun about 40 minutes away in Connecticut, though Foxwoods is actually even closer to Westerly than Mohegan Sun. While I did get four of a kind in video poker, I can’t say we got rich on our casino visit. However, Mohegan Sun is a very large and well done place that was worth the visit if you are at all into casinos.
Even though we spent a full week in Westerly, Rhode Island, I know we only scratched the surface of things to do, see, and eat. Truthfully, I just enjoyed watching the kids play outside on the fluffy green grass at our rental and in the waves on the beach so much that we didn’t feel the need to always be on the go.
If you have been to Westerly, I’d love to hear some of your family’s favorite things to do!
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