The Port of Galilee is an authentic, working fishing village found on the south end of the town of Narragansett. There are only a handful of houses in the actual hamlet, although the neighboring community of Point Judith has a larger residential population.
The reason for Galilee's role as a fishing village is simple, as this is where Point Judith Pond and Point Judith Harbor meet. As a result, the area provides easy access to the ocean and gives fishing boats an ideal place to unload their catches.
Today, about 16 million pounds of fish pass through the port annually, and the village is a favorite hangout for locals and tourists alike thanks to the abundance of fresh seafood, outstanding restaurants, and scenic beaches found there.
The next time you find yourself in Galilee, check out some of the following entertainment options.
Visit the Beaches
It wouldn’t be a summer’s day in Narragansett without a trip to the beach, and despite its small size, Galilee has two sizable sandy areas.
The most visited is Roger W. Wheeler State Beach, which has a massive parking lot, direct public transit access, 53 picnic tables, a playground, and a lifeguard tower, providing everything you could need for a day in the sun. There is also a new pavilion with showers, change rooms, and a concession. The water here is shallow with minimal waves, and it doesn't get much boat traffic, making it an ideal place to visit with children.
Closer to the village is Salty Brine State Beach, a smaller oceanfront area that also has a large parking lot along with an energy-efficient pavilion that features solar panels and a wind turbine. Concessions, change rooms, and showers sit inside the building. The beach has a boardwalk overlooking the sand and boasts calm waters thanks to its location along a seawall.
Shop at the Markets
Galilee Salt Pond Harbor is where many local anglers head with their catches. It's also home to numerous fish markets, so if you're in the mood for some seafood freshly pulled from the ocean, take a wander up Great Island Road to see what you can find.
One of the more popular markets on this road, Narragansett Bay Lobsters, is just a few steps from Salt Brine Beach. While the name implies lobster, you can also grab other shellfish, in addition to salmon, tuna, and whatever else their boats happen to catch that day.
Just up the road from Narragansett Bay Lobsters is Ferry Wharf Fish Market, which sells live lobster and crab, in addition to swordfish, tuna, scallops, salmon, oysters, and a variety of other fresh seafood items.
Often, you can even buy fish right out of the boats as they stop along the harbor. Look for local anglers selling their catches directly because there’s no fresher fish available anywhere in the country.
It's a little bit away from the water, but the Fisherman's Memorial Park Farmers Market takes place every Sunday between early May and Columbus Day weekend and sells local products from farms and retailers throughout South County. The market is located just off Point Judith Road and is well worth a visit in the summer.
Sample Some Restaurants
You might not expect to find world-class dining in a place as small at Galilee, but once you’re in the harbor area, you can’t walk more than a couple of minutes without stumbling upon something. The reason is that every restaurant in the area has direct access to fresh-off-the-boat seafood, which is something not available in most parts of the nation. The result is excellent seafood dishes around every corner.
George's of Galilee is a local institution, having first opened in 1948, and offers some of the area's best food while providing outstanding views of Block Island Sound. Naturally, locally-sourced seafood is prevalent on its menu, but you'll also find steaks, sandwiches, and pasta. The venue has a raw bar and sushi, as well.
At Buster Krab's Grill & Beach Bar, you'll always find a lively environment, and this restaurant is a favorite with locals thanks to its patio. If you manage to get a seat outside, you can experience the incredible views of the ocean, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere. Keep an eye out for the live events the venue holds during the summer, too.
Another old local favorite is Jimmy’s Port Side Restaurant, which opened its doors in 1956 and has served the people of Narragansett and its surrounding area ever since. The restaurant is known for its crab cakes and clam chowder, but the lobster roll and fried seafood dishes are also worth a try.
There are numerous other seafood restaurants along a short stretch of Great Island Road, so have a look around to see what you can find. Some retailers even sell full seafood dinners to take home with you.
Head Out on the Water
Of course, it would be a mistake to spend time in Galilee without booking a boat trip to take in all of the scenery. Fishing excursions are very popular in this area, and once you head down and see the fish that are being unloaded from these boats every day, you’ll want to get out there to try your luck.
One of the more common reasons to visit Galilee Salt Pond Harbor is to catch the Block Island Ferry. There is a high-speed option, in addition to a traditional ferry where you can take your vehicle onboard with you, so make a reservation based on how you wish to spend your day. The great thing about the ferry is that you can return to the mainland the same day before enjoying some of the restaurants in Galilee mentioned above.
MAKO II is a charter boat, so you’ll have to make a reservation if you're interested in taking an excursion. This boat is a good choice for those wanting to fish with a group of friends because you’ll have the entire vessel to yourself for the trip’s duration.
Seven B's V is another fishing boat, but this one offers public fishing excursions. As a result, it is far less expensive than a private charter, while still providing access to the idyllic fishing conditions off the coast of Rhode Island. In addition to the standard bass, cod, fluke, scup, and tautog fishing, you can fish for squid at night in May and June with a reservation.
More charter and tour companies are available at The Town Dock, which is on Great Island Road, just north of the fish markets and restaurants.
A Day at the Port of Galilee
Don’t let the small size of Galilee fool you, as there is plenty to do every day. Much like the rest of South County, the population swells here during the summer, and you’ll find a lively atmosphere anywhere you go.
Once you check out this vibrant fishing village, you’re sure to find plenty of ways to spend your days in Galilee.