I have been visiting Wickford for over a decade, and it is one of my favorite places. I visit weekly and find it never loses its charm.
Historic Wickford Village
One of my favorite things to do any time of year—but particularly in the spring, summer, and fall—is visit Wickford. I was born in Rhode Island, and have lived here the vast majority of my life, but Wickford is still a place that amazes me. In my opinion, there is no place better in Rhode Island to enjoy a warm, sunny day. If you want a fun and relaxing day away from the hustle and bustle of the city, read on and be sure to visit Historic Wickford Village.
Historic Wickford Village, located in Wickford Harbor in North Kingstown, Rhode Island was settled as a trading post in the mid-1600s. Although settled nearly four centuries ago, Wickford is still a thriving town and tourist attraction.
To many, Wickford's appeal is its quiet harbor setting, its local, unique shops and restaurants, as well as the historical value Wickford holds. As seen in the picture to above, many of the houses in Wickford Village are historical sites, having been built in the late-17th/early-18th century. Similarly, Wickford Harbor and Shipyard remain in near-Old-World form.
Things to Do in Wickford, RI
So, I'm going to break down all of the great things you can do. I'll give a brief outline here, and go into more specific detail a little way down the page.
Wickford Village offers a number of unique shopping options. Shop in any of the locally owned boutiques, home décor stores, personal care/gift shops, or even a bookstore and pet supply store.
2. Check Out Art Galleries
Don't just stop at shopping. Wickford is also home to several art galleries that are open to the public daily.
3. Explore via Bike or Kayak
Art not really your thing? That's cool. Because of Wickford's waterfront location, there are a number of recreational activities that you can do while there. You can rent a kayak for a portion of the day and get out in the harbor, or you can rent an electric bike and cruise around the village. Regardless of your preferred activity, Wickford will have something for you.
4. Go for a Walk
If you are looking to spend a day out, but not spend any money, no problem. I cannot count the number of times I have spent the day in Wickford without spending a dime. Sometimes I just enjoy walking around the village. Weird? Perhaps. But, it is free and it is always a friendly environment. The shops are great, but the location of the village itself is ideal for picnics and walks. The village has a large parking lot that leads to benches and docks. The views are amazing and the benches offer the perfect spot to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee or a snack.
5. Hit the Beach
No seaside village is complete without a beach. Of course, Wickford doesn't disappoint. Roughly a mile from the main village is the town beach. Now, keep this one quiet because it is small and nestled in the heart of an established Wickford neighborhood. During the season (traditionally Memorial Day to Labor Day), only North Kingstown residents can procure a beach pass at town hall that will cost roughly $10. However, you can still visit if you are not a town resident. If you were to go out of season, near dawn, or after dusk, you can enter the beach for free. Having gone during these times, I can honestly say that it is still a great experience. The sun is still out, the weather is still warm, and the beach is far less crowded.
The beach is on the small side, but it is perfect for families with children. The beach offers a playground, which was recently renovated, public restrooms, and outdoor showers. Also perfect for young children is the fact that the beach has little or no waves because it is tucked in the harbor. No waves means no undertow. If you were to go out of season, or before and/or after beach operating hours, be sure you are paying attention. No lifeguard will be on duty.
6. Check Out the Wickford Harbor Lights
On select Fridays throughout the spring and summer, the harbor is set alight and you can enjoy food, drink, carriage rides, and more. All of the stores remain open later and food trucks from all around the state come and park in town. If you happen to find yourself in Wickford on a Friday night, make sure to check this special event out.
Historic Wickford Village
Let's be honest. I'm a guy. I'm not a huge fan of shopping, especially in clothing stores. But, there are a number of shops that I always visit when I'm in Wickford (this list is by no means a comprehensive list). Be sure to take some time to walk around and explore all of the stores on the street.
1. Gifts and Jewelry.
There are two amazing stores directly across the street from each other called J.W. Graham and Yes! Gallery, respectively. The two stores are run by the owners but could not be more different. J.W. Graham has all sorts of jewelry, such as name brands like Pandora, Alex & Ani, and Lenny & Ava. There is also a whole lot of great stuff that is locally sourced. Yes! Gallery has the same feel featuring a good deal of local stuff. Whereas J.W. Graham was jewelry, Yes! Gallery has gifts, home goods, Rhode Island and nautical-themed tchotchkes, and much more. The staff is awesome in both stores and will definitely help you find whatever you need.
2. Pet Shop.
The pet shop, cleverly named Shaggy Chic, is a great place to stop if you have pets. There are a number of pet necessities there, as well as a number of other unique and fun accessories. Like the bookstore and most shops in Wickford, the owner is extremely friendly. In the warmer weather, she leaves a bowl of water outside the shop for dogs to quench their thirst.
3. Beauty Shop.
Yes, I'm a guy, but that does not mean I do not have to go into shops with my wife. Beauty and The Bath is a great shop to go for gifts, or to visit with your girlfriend/wife. They boast a wide selection of name-brand bath items, as well as a number of other unique items that you may not be able to find in most other places. Of all the beauty and bath shops in the village, my wife loves this one most.
4. Toy Store.
Don't worry parents, there is something for everyone here. There is an amazing store called The World Store. It isn't limited to children's toys, but there is still a great selection of them. If you are looking for a store that sells nature items, souvenirs, or toys, this is the place.
5. Clothing and Accessories.
Canvasworks is a cool little store that features clothing, bags, and other accessories. It's a selection of goods you'd be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. It is definitely worth the time to stop in and check out their unique inventory.
Places to Eat
Wickford provides a number of dining options. Each one is unique and has something different to offer. Below are a few of your options.
1. Wickford on the Water
Wickford on the Water is in the location of the former Beach Rose Cafe, a local favorite until being sold last year. Since being sold initially, it is again under new management/ownership. I have yet to this iteration of the restaurant, but nonetheless, it is a place for food with an unbeatable location right on the dock. Wickford on the Water is great because they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and you can sit inside their bright, modern dining room or on the deck on the harbor.
2. Tavern by The Sea
Like Wickford on the Water, the Tavern by The Sea offers harbor-front dining. To be honest, I have never eaten here, but I can say I have always seen quite a crowd for lunch and dinner.
3. The Place
The Place is, well, a place, that serves pizza, calzones, salads, and more. The prices are great for the serving size. Thanks to a fellow Hubpages user, we now know that The Place accepts credit/debit cards, and I have since confirmed this, having been several times recently. Be warned, there is minimal seating inside. However, there are a number of great places to take the pizza to sit and enjoy the views, as well as the food. Any time I am in Wickford and plan on eating, we go to The Place. Don't expect to find a better pizza place in North Kingstown.
4. Shayna's Place
Shayna's Place is the perfect location for coffee, smoothies, sandwiches, and pastries. You'll usually find a small crowd, but don't let that stop you from stopping in and sampling the fare. As a bonus, Shayna's Place serves ice cream throughout the summer.
Places to Stay
There is now a bed and breakfast just through town and next to the beach called Blue Oaks Bed and Breakfast. I have not had the opportunity to check it out, but it has a great location and looks immaculate from the outside. Otherwise, there are no hotels directly in Wickford Village. Never fear, there are accommodations nearby. Within roughly ten minutes of Wickford are a number of hotel options, including TownePlace Suites, Wickford Motor Inn, or in the neighboring South Kingstown, Holiday Inn. Looking for a bed and breakfast, check out Hamilton Village Inn, Mount Maple of Wickford, or Crosswinds Little Farm Bed and Breakfast.
Being a native Rhode Islander, I have never stayed at any of these establishments. That being said, do your research if you need a hotel. If you do not mind driving ten to twenty minutes, you open up four options.
Enjoy All Four Seasons in Wickford
Wickford is great in the late spring, summer, and early fall, but don't hesitate to go there in the winter. There may be snow on the ground, but Wickford is still up and running. Wickford is still quite a sight to behold in the winter. As always, its harbor location gives great views. The streets are lined with decorative Christmas lights, and every year the village performs a ceremony for the lighting of a large Christmas Tree that remains lit throughout the holiday season.
I have been to Wickford year-round, and I promise that it never disappoints. There is always something new and interesting going on, and the shops are always offering new and unique products.
Rain and Partly Sunny Days
50–70, usually around 60
Mostly Sunny Days, Occasional Rain
70–90, usually mid-80s
Mostly Sunny Days
40–60, usually 50s
Mostly Sunny Days, Occasional Snow
15–40, usually 30s
Historic Wickford Village is pretty simple to find. The Wickford Village is located in North Kingstown, RI. It is only about a 20-minute drive down I-95 South to get from TF Green Airport to Wickford Village. If you manage to find yourself in Providence, the state's capital, you will need to drive about 25-30 minutes down I-95 South. If you decide you'd rather take a more scenic route, you can take Post Road/US-1 to US-1A, which will lead you into Wickford Village. Don't worry, there will be signs.
Enjoy yourself while you are in Rhode Island. The state may be small, but there is a lot to do if you know where to look. I promise that Historic Wickford Village will not let you down. Feel free to take my recommendations, but please do your own research as well.
Note: While I hope my blog helped you, do not take my word for anything, especially when it comes to prices, weather, etc. I take no responsibility for anything that may go wrong on your trip (although hopefully all will go well).
© 2014 Jay Connors
Babs on July 07, 2019:
I first learned about Wickford on Chronicle (WCBV Channel 5, Boston) many years ago. The presentation was focused on a once-a-week fruit and vegetable Farmers' Market. I was immediately drawn to Wickford, thinking that it was an actual town (until reading your post and finding out it is part of North Kingsfield).
My memory of the architecture of the homes, churches, shops (especially the magnificent gift shops where I bought a nautical night light) was enthralling.
I brought my husband (now deceased) and he wanted more that anything to walk through the village and spend time along the wharf. He was especially drawn to the moored skiffs, sailboats, and cabin cruisers (and where they were from...). He had not seemed so enthralled since our trip to Seward, AK.
We ate at what probably is now 'Wickford on the Wharf',
and he enjoyed his favorite beer and lobster dinner.
The famous novel, "The Witches of Eastwick" was written in Wickford...perhaps you know the home and author? John Updike
Heidi on April 15, 2015:
Hello and great article! I thought I'd let you know that The Place does accept credit cards now :)
Jay Connors (author) from New England, United States on August 21, 2014:
Thanks for the comments.
Dianemae: We were also sad to see the market go. My wife grew up shopping there.
JamaGenee: Wickford would definitely be worth the trip to the east coast. The good news is, if you were to visit a bigger city like Boston or New York, you are never too far from Rhode Island.
bdegiulio: Thanks for the comment. It's nice to see more people who grew up in Rhode Island.
erorantes: Thanks for the comment and the congrats, I appreciate it.
Ana Maria Orantes from Miami Florida on August 20, 2014:
I like your hub about Rhode Island. Congratulations for your nomination. You did a fantastic job. I like the pictures and the content of your article.
Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on August 20, 2014:
Hi Jay. I grew up in RI also and have fond memories of Wickford and the RI shore. Still have family there so we visit as often as possible. I use to do a triathlon every summer there with the swim down at the town beach. It's a beautiful little town. Great job.
Joanna McKenna from Central Oklahoma on August 20, 2014:
I love reading about places that have managed to retain the charms of a bygone era without turning into a cliché tourist destination overrun with chain hotels, etc. I don't know that I'll ever get to R.I., but if I do, Wickford Village will definitely be on my "must visit" list! Thanks for sharing! ;D
Dianemae on May 18, 2014:
We sail into Wickford and enjoy the peace and quiet. I loved the old grocery store that had a hand pull lift to bring the items to the cashier. That is no longer there, but memories of the past. Great article.