Rhode Island is a photographer’s dream with sweeping vistas and lakeside views. You can find many places to give you that “once in a lifetime” shot. Whether you want to capture a picturesque view of the sunset or showcase the fierce waves on the Atlantic, here are some spots you will want to visit in the Ocean State.
Beavertail State Park
For some of the most spectacular views of the New England coastline, you should head over to Beavertail State Park. Conanicut Island in Narragansett Bay is the home of this natural wonder. You can access the island via a bridge either on foot or by vehicle. Visitors from all over the country enjoy this beautiful landscape. Beavertail State Park has plenty of places to explore. For the adventurous visitor, hike the trails for a magnificent view of the rocky coastline. Many park explorers head over to the Beavertail Lighthouse which has occupied the spot since 1856. There are four overlooks that you can reach on foot. You can get a grand view from either the eastern or western portion of the park. Sunset and sunrise are the best times to snap those pictures.
If you are looking for a secluded, yet beautiful spot, head on over to Block Island. The island is 13 miles south of mainland Rhode Island and can be easily reached by ferry. The 200-foot tall Mohegan Bluffs are an excellent spot for amateur and professional photographers to snap a picture. You can even reach the bottom of the beach by climbing down the 141 step staircase. These clay cliffs give you some of the most dramatic views of the Atlantic in the entire state. On a clear day, you can even see down to Montauk at the end of Long Island. The area is easy to find as a commemorative plaque marks the history of the island. People from all over the state visit this area. The Mohegan Bluffs even have a stop on the Block Island Bicycle Tour.
Fort Wetherill State Park
This park is another location on Conanicut Island and only a five-minute drive from Beavertail State Park. Fort Wetherill was once an artillery fort stationed on top the granite cliffs of Narragansett Bay. After the end of World War II, the defense battery and training camp closed for good. The 60-acre park is now known for its spectacular views of the eastern portion of Narragansett Bay and Newport Harbor. During the sailing season, visitors can view the Tall Ships events and some of America’s Cup races. If you head down by the boat dock, you can set your camera up for great views of the island.
Brenton Point State Park
The grounds of a former grand Newport estate is the location of this Ocean State nature preserve. Brenton Point State Park is only a short distance from Fort Wetherill State Park and Beavertail State Park. This Garden State park occupies parts of Aquidneck Island where the Atlantic Ocean meets Narragansett Bay. If you are looking for a beautiful view of the water, Brenton Point is the place for you. Ocean Drive winds throughout the park and gives you an opportunity to tour by car. You can spend the whole day on this slice of paradise picnicking, hiking, or enjoying the breeze off the ocean. There are plenty of parking lots for you to park and find that perfect view. For a glorious view of the setting sun, try the west side of the park.
Claiborne Pell Bridge
For those looking for a bridge over water, the Claiborne Pell Bridge is the spot for you. Locals also refer to the suspension bridge as the Newport Bridge. It spans over the eastern portion of the Narragansett Bay between Newport and Jamestown. The suspension bridge connects Aquidneck Island and Conanicut Island. You can find excellent vantage points from both sides of the bridge. On the Newport end, walk over from Storer Park for a sunset shot. On the opposite Jamestown side, there is a small parking area by Bay View Drive. A path leads to the shore where you can get a great view of the bridge with the rocky shore in the foreground.
Many places are ideal for that perfect sunset shot, but what about the early birds who want to greet the morning? Black Point is the spot for you. The rugged New England coast makes the perfect backdrop for your early morning pictures. A short trailhead will lead you to Black Point from the parking lot. You will want to get there early to find the best eastern location for your shoot. Some of the best colors of the sky occur right before sunrise.
Castle Hill Lighthouse
The Castle Hill Lighthouse is one of the most popular spots for photographers in the state. This historic lighthouse watches over the Narragansett Bay in Newport. It is north of Brenton Point State Park. A short trail will help you find the way to this small lighthouse. There is public access around the site, but the interior of the lighthouse is off-limits to visitors. Once you reach the location, you can see why many people visit the area for a unique look at Rhode Island’s most iconic lighthouse. If you want to frame a great shot, make sure you get a view of both the craggy coastline and the Claiborne Pell Bridge in the distance.
Dutch Island Lighthouse
Looking for a remote spot for your next photography session? Check out the lighthouse on Dutch Island. This island is located on the western edge of the Narragansett Bay. There are no bridges or ferries that lead to the uninhabited island. However, you can take your own boat or kayak to the location. If you want to launch your boat, Fort Getty near Jamestown is the perfect spot. You can get a shot of the rocky shore with the small lighthouse in the distance. Make sure to view Dutch Island from either shore of the western passage of Narragansett Bay.