Rhode Island’s Misquamicut State Beach’s history stretches back only a little over fifty years. Though the beach was officially opened in 1959, the recreational beach scene dates back to the early 1900s when small business owners and private homeowners erected beach houses and several small hotels, such as the Pleasant View House, the Wigwam, and the Atlantic View House. Within just a couple of decades, this leisure community was already connected to Westerly Town center and nearby Watch Hill by a trolley. The beach soon also acquired a post office and some stores. At this time, the area was known as Pleasant View. As well as residences and hotels, Pleasant View was also home to a casino, where visitors enjoyed big bands, a dinner hall, and roller skating. In 1928, the local post office replaced the Pleasant View name with Misquamicut. This is a Native American term for “red fish,” which is a reference to the salmon indigenous to the Westerly area.
These days, private beach houses and commercial services remain in the area. On three separate occasions, since 1938, the Misquamicut beach area has been devastated by tornados. Each time, all the buildings along the beach were destroyed or washed out to sea. After the last of the three tornados, the state allocated a mile-long swathe of sand to create the current Misquamicut State Beach.
Due to a failure of the 40-year-old septic system in 1992, waterless composting toilets were added to Misquamicut State Beach. Seven years later, a new bathing pavilion was also added. The pavilion includes a concession building, offices, a gift shop, shade gazebos and a lifeguard tower. In the year 2000, a paved parking area with space for 2,700 vehicles was constructed.
After Hurricane Sandy in 2012, most of the sand from the beach was blown into the parking area. With the help of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the state moved around cubic yards of sand back onto the shoreline.
Misquamicut Annual Events
Misquamicut State Beach hosts a number of events each year. Many of the events are organized by the Misquamicut Business Association, which is a non-profit group of local business owners who are dedicated to improving the Misquamicut experience. More than forty-five beach-front businesses, as well as more than one hundred services and suppliers, participate in the association.
The biggest and most popular is the annual SpringFest, which draws visitors from the surrounding states. One of the festival’s main attractions is Rockwell Amusements is a renowned carnival featuring thrilling rides like Tilt a Whirl, Super Slide, and Bumper Cars. There’s also a traditional House of Fun and children’s rides such as Speedway, Merry-go-Round, and Circus Train. It’s great fun for all ages. But that’s not all, SpringFest also hosts a classic car show, with prizes for entrants, a craft fair with more than 50 display tables, and a Food Truck Rodeo with 400 feet of fantastic festival food from chowder to fried dough, and tacos to seafood delights.
Monday and Wednesday Night Jams
You can catch tunes on the dunes with live bands every Monday through July and August from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday night is movie night on the beach, and during the same months, you can also catch blues on the beach at the same time on Wednesday nights. You’ll be pleased to know that all movies and concerts have free admission. Limited free parking is available after 5 p.m. Concerts take place come rain or shine.
Other annual events include:
- The February Annual Aloha Luau
- 4th of July Fireworks
- Classic Car Cruise Nights
- Hermit Crab Races
- Magic By The Sea
- Misquamicut FallFest Weekend
- Annual Guy Fawkes Bonfire Night
There is so much to see and do at Misquamicut State Beach that you and your family will never be bored. But while you are there, you should check out the rest of Westerly and the surrounding areas. It really is an area of natural beauty, and what better way to see it all than by taking a helicopter tour.
Why Take a Helicopter Tour?
A helicopter tour is an exciting way to take in all the sights of Westerly. It offers you a unique, bird’s eye vantage point so you can see the whole area without having to negotiate traffic on the ground. If you’re thinking of taking a helicopter tour, here are a few things to bear in mind.
Make your booking well in advance: Helicopter tours in this region are in popular demand, particularly in the summer months. Call to reserve your tour as much in advance as possible so that you won’t be disappointed.
Wear comfortable attire: You want to feel happy and relaxed on your helicopter tour, and part of that is about dressing appropriately. You will probably feel most comfortable wearing long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. If you are booking a tour in spring or fall, a light-weight jacket is also advisable. You can still enjoy a helicopter tour during the winter months, just bring along a coat, hat, and gloves. Wear comfortable shoes.
Arrive early: Showing up at the airport a little early will give you plenty of time to check in and get settled. To will be given some pre-flight instructions, including how to board the helicopter, where you will be sitting, where the first aid kit can be found, and what to do in case of an emergency.
In the event of severe weather: If the weather is particularly inclement on the day of your tour, for example, it is raining heavily, snowing, or there is a severe storm, dense fog, or strong winds, we may have to postpone your helicopter tour. If this should be the case, we will be happy to work with you to reschedule or issue a refund.
Most of all we want you to enjoy your helicopter flight. Our trained pilots are ready to make your tour of Westerly one of the best times of your life. We can’t wait to give you a tour.