View of Beavertail Lighthouse on Cloudy Evening in Beavertail State Park Rhode Island

Where is Beavertail State Park

Located on Narragansett Bay, Beavertail State Park resides entirely within the state of Rhode Island. The state park is most well-known for the active Beavertail Lighthouse that resides within its boundaries. However, the state park also contains miles of shoreline, hiking trails, picnicking and fishing areas, and a few overlooks designed for sightseeing. The closest cities to the state park are Jamestown and Newport. Beavertail State Park is located 103 miles and an hour and forty-five-minute drive east of New Haven, Connecticut, 88 miles and an hour and thirty-minute drive southeast of Hartford, Connecticut, and 35 miles and a forty-five-minute drive south of Providence, Rhode Island. The state park is also located near several other outdoor recreation areas. These recreation areas include Fort Wetherill State Park, Marsh Meadows Wildlife Preserve, and several others.

How Large is Beavertail State Park

Beavertail State Park covers a total area of about 153 acres. The park’s geography mainly consists of rocky shoreline and intertidal zones. The Beavertail Lighthouse that resides in the park is 58 feet tall. The park’s shoreline spans for several miles and includes several hiking trails. The average elevation of Beavertail State Park is 10 feet above sea level. However, at some points on the coastline this elevation increases.

Beavertail State Park Weather

The weather at Beavertail State Park varies frequently throughout the year. In the summer, temperatures in the park average between 60- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit. In winter, these temperatures cool considerably and average between 20- and 45-degrees Fahrenheit. The warmest temperatures of the year arrive at the park in June, July, and August, and the coldest temperatures find the park in December and January. On average, Beavertail State Park receives around 85 days of rain per year. These 85 days of rain accumulate to a yearly average of around 45 inches. Beavertail State Park also experiences snowfall throughout every year. Snowfall in the park is normally heaviest in the winter months of December, January, and February. The park’s yearly snowfall totals average around 22 inches per year.

Aerial View of Beavertail State Park Rhode Island

When did Beavertail State Park Become a State Park

Beavertail State Park first became a state park in 1980. The park was designated to protect the shoreline and the park’s historic lighthouse and other facilities. The original lighthouse built on the grounds of Beavertail State Park was constructed out of wood in 1749. During the Revolutionary War the British captured the Beaver Tail Fort. Later during World War II, the area was constructed as a part of the Harbor Defenses of Narragansett Bay. These defenses included several six inch and three-inch artillery weapons. The park is managed and maintained by the Rhode Island Department Environmental Management’s Division of Parks and Recreation.

Things to do in Beavertail State Park

Beavertail State Park contains a number of interesting experiences and adventures perfect for the whole family. The most popular adventures and experiences found at Beavertail State Park are listed below:

Explore the Beavertail Lighthouse and Museum

The Beavertail Lighthouse and Lighthouse Museum is the perfect place for visitors of Beavertail State Park to start their park adventure. The lighthouse and museum feature several interactive exhibits and displays that discuss the park’s long history. These displays include topics such as the operations of the Beavertail Lighthouse, the areas many naval forts, and the surrounding area’s role in the Revolutionary War and World War II. Knowledgeable park staff also work in the lighthouse and museum and can answer particular questions visitors may have about the park or the Beavertail Lighthouse.

Participate in an Interpretive Program

After visitors of Beavertail State Park explore the lighthouse and museum, they should next participate in one of the park’s interpretive programs. These programs normally discuss topics related to the park’s marine environment and will give visitors a border perspective on the park’s importance. All of the interpretive programs offered at Beavertail State Park are led by park staff or knowledgeable volunteers. The schedule for these events varies from week to week but is normally posted throughout the park and on the park’s website.

Hike the Park’s Shoreline

The shoreline at Beavertail State Park extends across a number of acres. Visitors looking to explore the park by foot can hike one of the hiking trails that meanders through the shoreline. These trails offer visitors the ability to see more of the park’s rugged coastline and geography. Several portions of the park’s various trails include steep elevation changes.

Explore the Tidepools

Visitors choosing to hike along the park’s shoreline will most likely come across several tidepools. These tidepools fill with water when the coastal tides are high and remain an interesting environment for a variety of marine species when the tides recede. Eager visitors may be able to see several marine species in the park's tidepools. More information on the marine species visitors can find in the park’s tidepools can be explored online or at one of the park’s interpretive programs.

Take a Picnic

Visitors tired after a long morning of exploring the park or those who simply want some time to relax should enjoy a picnic in Beavertail State Park. The park contains several areas perfect for a picnic. Visitors should look to bring along a cooler packed with their lunch and drinks.

Go Sightseeing from your Car

Beavertail State Park can also be explored by car. The roads that travel throughout the park lead to a variety of overlooks where visitors can spot several sights from the comfort of their car. For more information on the park’s overlooks visitors should refer to a current version of the park’s maps. These maps can be found online or obtained from the park’s entrance station.

Birding at Beavertail State Park

Beavertail State Park contains a variety of migratory and resident bird species. These bird species include woodland songbirds, wading birds, and shorebirds. Common species spotted in the park include northern cardinals, thrushes, chickadees, gulls, terns, and a variety of others.

Beavertail Lighthouse on Sunny Day in Beavertail State Park Rhode Island

When to Visit Beavertail State Park

Beavertail State Park is open year-round, and visitors can plan a trip to the park throughout the year. However, Beavertail State Park is best explored during the spring or summer months. During these seasons, temperatures in the park are warmer and wildlife found in the park is more active. Visitors looking to visit the park in late fall or winter may have problems accessing the park during inclement weather. During a snowfall event, visitors should check the park’s website for updates and closures.

Must Have Items to bring to Beavertail State Park

Every trip outdoors requires a bit of packing and planning, and a successful trip to Beavertail State Park is no exception. Below is a list of essential equipment every visitor should consider bringing with them to the park. 

Water & Snacks

Water and snacks are two essential items every visitor should make sure they bring along with them to Beavertail State Park. The average person should pack one to two liters for every hour they plan to spend recreating in the sun. Visitors looking to picnic in the park should also bring along their meals and a cooler to keep everything cold.

Sturdy Hiking Boots

All visitors planning to hike the shoreline at Beavertail State Park will want to bring a sturdy pair of hiking boots along with them on their trip. These boots will provide comfort and protection as visitors travers the rocky terrain of the shoreline. A pair of waterproof boots may also be a good investment.

Avian Field Guides & Binoculars

Visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of the flocks of avian species that call Beavertail State Park home will want to bring along a Rhode Island or North America specific field guide. Birders will also want to remember to bring along their binoculars in order to spot species wading in Narragansett Bay. 

Layers of Clothing

Wearing layers of clothing to Beavertail State Park is the best way to combat fluctuating temperatures. These layers can be removed or added at will as the temperatures in the park increase and decrease. In the late fall and winter, temperatures in the park may especially require visitors to pack a jacket or sweater. Occasionally, a heavy snow jacket and snow boots may be necessary in the park.

Black Rocks on Beach in Beavertail State Park Rhode Island

Where to Stay Near Beavertail State Park

Beavertail State Park does not contain a campground or offer visitors any overnight lodging. However, visitors can find various hotels in nearby cities such as Jamestown or Newport. Visitors looking to stay in a larger city with more access to amenities can make the drive to either Hartford, New Haven, or Providence, Rhode Island. 

Food Near Beavertail State Park

The closest food to Beavertail State Park is located in Jamestown or Newport. These cities contain a variety of restaurants and a few grocery stores where visitors can visit to grab a meal or stock up on supplies. Visitors looking for a larger culinary scene will want to make the drive to Hartford, New Haven, or Providence, Rhode Island. Hartford and New Haven are a little farther away than Providence, Rhode Island.

Airports Near Beavertail State Park

The closest international airport to Beavertail State Park is located in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Logan International Airport is 86 miles and about a one hour and thirty-minute drive north of the park. The next closest international airport to Beavertail State Park is located in Hartford and is about 95 miles and an hour and forty-five-minute drive away.

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