You'll find countless beaches when living in South County, Rhode Island, as the area is known for its sandy waterfront expanses. However, not all beaches are the same, as some offer a spirited experience, and others are quiet and secluded.
Moonstone Beach in South Kingstown is an excellent example of a tranquil beach in Rhode Island. It's away from the crowds of Narragansett Town Beach and East Matunuck State Beach and provides an entirely different atmosphere than those more touristy locations.
This hidden gem is worth a visit, though, as it features incredible views over Block Island Sound and provides access to Trustom Pond and its wildlife refuge, too.
Here's a look at what you can expect when spending the day at Moonstone Beach.
About the Beach
You probably won't come across Moonstone Beach unless you specifically seek it out, but missing it would be a mistake as you get to know South County.
First, the beach has sandy and rocky areas, both of which are beautiful and worth exploring. This area is popular with photographers because it's so rustic and natural, and activities like beachcombing, hiking, bird watching, and fishing are also prevalent.
In fact, the area is home to over 300 bird species, including herons, egrets, killdeers, and sandpipers. Guided bird-watching tours are available throughout the year. You can also carry a cartop boat like a kayak to the ocean or one of the ponds if you want to spend an afternoon on the water.
Once you reach the sand, you can wander east to Cards Pond or west to Trustom Pond, both of which are fantastic places to look for wildlife or simply enjoy the views of the Atlantic Ocean.
This beach is beside the Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge and is an essential habitat for the piping plover, so there are some stipulations in place that you'll have to follow when checking it out.
When You Can Visit
Before visiting Moonstone Beach, you'll have to keep the restrictions in mind because they limit access to the sand in the spring and summer. The gist is that most of the beach is closed between April 1 and September 15 to protect the nesting piping plover in the area.
You can only wander the beach in its entirely between September 16 and March 31. There will be signs and possibly ropes in place to keep you away from nesting areas.
It's also worth noting that you can't bring pets to the beach at any time, and you must stay off the dunes because of the wildlife that could be living in those protected spaces.
Moonstone Beach sits between the Green Hill and Matunuck neighborhoods in South Kingstown, so it's a pretty central location. Theatre By The Sea is a short distance away, and there are several restaurants on nearby Matunuck Beach Road.
The beach is easily accessible via the Commodore Perry Highway, as you can get right onto Moonstone Beach Road from the highway in the Perryville area. You'll then follow the road to its end and park on the side of the street. You'll need a parking pass to leave your vehicle in this spot between May 1 and September 15.
Once you exit your vehicle, there's a dirt path that takes you between two ponds and comes out at the ocean. Make sure you read all the signage you come across while you walk to ensure you aren't passing into a protected area.
Getting to Know South Kingstown
South Kingstown is pretty spread out, as it extends from Block Island Sound all the way to the University of Rhode Island. It includes densely populated villages like Peacedale and Wakefield and more rural spots like West Kingston and the Great Swamp Management Area, so the lifestyle you choose when living there depends on your preferences.
The town also has busy beaches like East Matunuck State Beach and off-the-beaten-path spots like Moonstone Beach, ensuring residents can find the perfect activities to suit their individual needs after buying a home in this idyllic community in South County, Rhode Island.