Let’s face it, there are plenty of reasons why you might not own a boat. For starters, high-end vessels are incredibly expensive and can take up a lot of your entertainment budget for the year. In addition, you have to pay for moorage or dock space, winter storage, maintenance, repairs, insurance, and everything else that owning a boat entails, all of which can be financially draining.
At the same time, living in South County means having access to some of the country’s most scenic waterways, and you wouldn’t want to miss out on them completely.
The solution, of course, is to rent a boat a few times per year, as you won’t have to worry about additional expenses and will only have to show up and use the craft, rather than dealing with maintenance.
There are a few places where you can rent a boat in South County, with many different vessel types available, so here are some of the better-known locations.
Ocean House Marina
You really can't beat the location of the Ocean House Marina, as it sits at the north end of Ninigret Pond in Charlestown, providing unparalleled access to both the salt pond and Block Island Sound. The marina is also easy to access because it’s just off Route 1 and close to top attractions like Charlestown Beach and Ninigret Park.
As for the marina's rentals, you’ll find both small, four-seat aluminum fishing boats and pontoon boats with space for up to 14 people, depending on your plans. One-day, three-day, and full-week rentals are available, so if you have a week off work and want to spend it on the water, opt for a longer rental to take full advantage and save some money.
Wickford Boat Rentals
On Wickford Cove, right in the heart of the Wickford Village, is where you'll find Wickford Boat Rentals. The storefront sits where Brown Street and Phillips Street meet, so it's an easy to reach location with plenty to do in the surrounding area. There is also lots of parking behind the building and nearby at Wickford Landing.
The best thing about Wickford Boat Rentals is the selection of boat they have available. Here, you can choose from a variety of powerboats that can accommodate between six and ten adults, in addition to sailboats and chase boats. All of the vessels are equipped with coolers, while many have GPS, Bluetooth stereo systems, and swim ladders. If you’re looking for a high-end boat to take into Narragansett Bay, this is the only choice for you.
The Kayak Centre
The Kayak Centre has stores in Wickford and Charlestown, so you can make your choice depending on where you want to head into the water. The Wickford version sits on Brown Street near Wickford Cove, about a half of a block from Wickford Boat Rentals. This location provides easy access to Wickford Harbor and Narragansett Bay. In Charlestown, The Kayak Centre sits on Ninigret Pond, just north of Charlestown Beach. Paddling through Ninigret Pond can easily take up an entire day because there is so much to explore.
You'll have a lot of options at The Kayak Centre, as they rent out small, medium, and full-size kayaks, in addition to double kayaks and pedal boats. You can also borrow stand up paddleboards or a Hobie Eclipse pedalboard. Every rental comes with a life jacket and some basic instructions, although you can pay for further education through the paddling school before embarking on your journey. Guided tours are available, as well.
Purple Ape sits on the shores of Winnapaug Pond in Westerly, just north of Misquamicut Beach. The pond is 2.5 miles long, providing plenty of space to enjoy the boats available to rent here, and it's highly scenic because it is only separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a sandbar.
Rentals available at Purple Ape include single-seat kayaks, two-seat kayaks, two and four seat pedal boats, and jet skis. Some of the jet skis have three seats, so you can take the entire family out for a day on the pond. On a summer’s day where you want to get out there and do some watersports, Purple Ape certainly has to covered on Winnapaug Pond.
Enjoy the Water This Summer
Just because you don’t own a boat doesn’t mean you have to miss out on spending time on the water throughout the summer. South County has plenty of places where you can rent a boat, allowing you to enjoy a weekend on the ponds or ocean without having to invest in a watercraft. The rates are reasonable, as well, at least compared to what you might pay in a larger center.
Make sure you take advantage of these boat rental options to make the most of your South County summer.