Narragansett, town (township), southeastern Washington county, southern Rhode Island, U.S., at the entrance to Narragansett Bay. The Pettaquamscutt River (north) and Point Judith Pond (south) form the western boundary of the town, which includes the village of Narragansett Pier and the fishing villages of Galilee and Jerusalem. Near Galilee is Point Judith Lighthouse (1816), an important U.S. Coast Guard beacon. The area was settled about 1675 and was named for the Narraganset Indians, who were defeated and dispersed during King Philip’s War (1675–76). Originally part of South Kingstown, it was set off as an enclave of it in 1888 and was incorporated as a separate town in 1901. The economy is based on tourism. Area 14 square miles (37 square km)
What to do
In Narragansett you’ll find a bounty of pristine beaches, rivers, coves, and inlets to explore, including three state beaches—Salty Brine Beach, Scarborough Beach, and Roger Wheeler Beach—and a town beach considered the best by many locals. In addition, the Great Salt Pond and Narrow River offers plentiful opportunities for kayaking, boating, fishing, and relaxing. Perhaps Narragansett’s most well-known landmark is the Point Judith Lighthouse standing watch over the vacation and rental cottages at the town’s southern tip on the western entrance to the Narragansett Bay.
Thanks to coastal storms, the original 1810 wooden tower was blown over in 1816, and a replacement stone tower lasted until 1857, when the current, more powerfully built octagonal tower was erected. Point Judith is also the place to hop aboard the ferry to Block Island. Narragansett’s marine heritage is showcased in Galilee’s cottages and commerce. It’s a working New England fishing village where you can watch the fishermen unloading their catch at almost any time. Sign on for a whale watching tour or a fishing charter or take the do-it-yourself approach and go quahogging with the locals. Summer’s annual Blessing of the Fleet is a must-see colorful parade of commercial and recreational vessels along the wharf. The coastline also makes Narragansett a natural spot for URI’s Bay Campus Graduate School of Oceanography, one of the top five oceanographic institutions in the country and the academic and research home to explorer Robert Ballard, discoverer of the sunken Titanic. The University also attracts a vibrant international student community working through the tourist season.
Narragansett is also home to Great Salt Pond, location of the two island communities of Harbour Island and Great Island. Here you’ll find relaxed neighborhoods of evolving island architecture, historical cottages, and numerous docks awaiting the arrival of all sorts of watercraft. Just ashore from the islands is the Scarborough Hills neighborhood of beach and rental cottages, as well as Fishermen’s Memorial State Park and Scarborough State Beach, a 26-acre facility with more than 2,300 feet of beach frontage. At the newly renovated pavilion you can shower, grab a quick snack, or even rent observation glasses! Thanks to the abundance of coastline and Bonnet Shore’s unique peninsula shape, oceanfront and pond-front vacation homes are easy to find in this neighborhood. From condos to cabins, cottages, and villas, nearly every type of vacation home is here. Bonnet Shores also has a beautiful crescent-shaped white-sand beach offering great cove swimming and the private Bonnet Shores Beach Association. In fact, many people discover Narragansett while renting a summer cottage, then become summer residents, transitioning to year-round homeowners as the salt air and casual lifestyle work their way into their hearts.
Schools from elementary to high school have always been highly rated and have helped sustain property values too in Narragansett.
Buyers are attracted to both the school systems for their children as well as how the good school systems prop up property values. It is a win-win situation. Property taxes support the schools and the taxes are higher here than some other southern Rhode Island communities. However, homeowners do reap the benefit ultimately when they are able to sell their home in a struggling real estate market.
Economy & Home Prices
Certainly the economy and home prices have been impacted by the downturn in recent years in the housing market. The homes on or by the waterfront (which are many) have been able to hold their value. As the saying goes ‘they are not making any more waterfront property to build on’ and it is time to find the one you desire. Again knowing locations are important in Wickford Village neighborhoods due to flood zone insurance that may be necessary on a home. The Coastal Resources Management Council ensures that all homes now built or renovated must be reviewed by them, go through a stringent approval process and adhere to building codes that are constantly changing. All is done with the integrity of the structure and the environment being of great importance.
Values of most other North Kingstown homes have come down from the highs of the early 2000’s. However, we are seeing an upswing in North Kingstown in home values since 2015. What is attractive about North Kingstown and its home prices is that there are homes for $180,000 to $3.4 million, so real estate accommodates many here. Along with a strong school system this bodes well for sellers as we try to reach a more equal footing for buyers and sellers on pricing of homes and ultimate sale prices.
Seven unique villages nestled along 15 miles of Narragansett Bay’s western edge give Narragansett an extraordinary amount of coastline, offering Rhode Island waterfront real estate for every taste as well as stunning ocean sunrises. For all its natural beauty and opportunities to live and work on Narragansett Bay, the town is convenient to both Boston and New York, 15 minutes from the Kingston Amtrak station, or a short drive to TF Green State Airport. A quick jaunt over the bridges takes you to Jamestown and Newport activities.