Rhode Island’s Lighthouses

It’s fitting that a state nicknamed the Ocean State should have some of New England’s prettiest and most historic lighthouses along its coastline. Rhode Island’s waters are notoriously treacherous, with sunken reefs and narrow passages throughout Block Island Sound and Narragansett Bay. Twenty-one lighthouses still stand along the coastline, 13 of them in use today to guide ships. Of these, only a few are open to the public, but there’s nothing to prevent you from exploring the grounds and snapping pictures to your heart’s content.

lighthouse on the coast in low light
Castle Hill Lighthouse in Newport. Photo © enfi/iStock.

  • Beavertail Light (1749; Beavertail Point, Jamestown). Active 68-foot handsome gray-granite square tower with a museum inside, open during summer.
  • Block Island North Light (1829; Sandy Point, Block Island). Active 51-foot octagonal brick tower; grounds are open daily, and a small museum inside is open during summer.
  • Block Island Southeast Light (1875; Mohegan Bluffs, Block Island). Active 52-foot octagonal brick tower dramatically situated on seaside bluffs; museum and tower are open to tours in summer.
  • Bristol Ferry Light (1846; Ferry Rd., Portsmouth). Inactive 54-foot active cylindrical brick tower; grounds closed.
  • Castle Hill Light (1890; Castle Hill Point, Newport). Active 40-foot granite tower; grounds open.
  • Conanicut Island Light (1886; north end of Conanicut Island, Jamestown). Inactive two-story tower visible only from the water.
  • Conimicut Shoal Light (1868; Providence River, Warwick). Active 58-foot white cylindrical tower, visible from Conimicut Point Park.
  • Dutch Island Light (1826; Dutch Island, Jamestown). Active 56-foot cylindrical tower visible from Fort Getty Recreational Area in Jamestown.
  • Hog Island Shoal Light (1886; Portsmouth). Active 60-foot cast-iron tower on a small island, visible from Prudence Island Ferry.
  • Ida Lewis Rock Light (1854; off Wellington Ave., Newport). Inactive 13-foot granite tower.
  • Nayatt Point Light (1828; Nayatt Point, Barrington). Inactive 25-foot tower; closed, but visible from Nayatt Road.
  • Newport Harbor Light (1824; Goat Island, Newport). Active 35-foot tower accessible from Hyatt Regency Hotel; tower closed.
  • Plum Beach Light (1897; Narragansett Bay, North Kingstown). Active 53-foot red-and-white “spark-plug” tower on a small island, visible from the Jamestown Bridge.
  • Point Judith Light (1810; end of Rte. 108, Narragansett). Active 51-foot octagonal tower, one of the most picturesque in the state; grounds are open daily.
  • Pomham Rocks Light (1871; Willett Ave., East Providence). An unusual 40-foot octagonal tower atop a Second Empire Victorian house on a small island in the Providence River. Site closed, but visible from East Bay Bike Path.
  • Poplar Point Light (1831; Wickford Harbor, North Kingstown). Inactive 45-foot octagonal tower; visible from Sauga Point.
  • Prudence Island (Sandy Point) Light (1852; Sandy Point, Prudence Island). Active 30-foot octagonal tower has an unusual “birdcage” lantern on top; grounds open.
  • Rose Island Light (1870; Newport). Active 35-foot octagonal tower; site accessible by ferry during summer.
  • The Sakonnet Point Lighthouse in Little Compton, RI.
    The Sakonnet Point Lighthouse in Little Compton, RI. Photo © Peter Bond, Flicker/CC-BY-SA.
  • Sakonnet Light (1884; Little Compton). Active 66-foot cylindrical tower located on an island off Sakonnet Point, accessible only by boat.
  • Warwick Light (1827; Warwick Neck Rd., Warwick). Active 51-foot active cylindrical tower with a red roof; site closed.
  • Watch Hill Light (1808; Lighthouse Rd., Watch Hill). Active 45-foot square granite tower with white cylindrical top; the tower is closed, but grounds are open, as is a small museum in the keeper’s house during summer.

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Ocean waves breaking on shore with Castle Hill Lighthouse in RI. Pinterest Graphic.