Recommended to me by an old colleague, Mark L., Beavertail became one of my favourite places to chill out on a summer weekend afternoon. With open horizons to the south, beautiful views of both East and West Passages of Narragansett Bay warm sunshine, cooling ocean breezes and the soothing sound of waves crashing on the rocks, I found it a wonderful place to relax and forget the intensity and stress of the previous week or two. When my family visited they had hours of fun clambering all over the rocky shoreline. In addition, Beavertail claims to provides some of the best saltwater fishing in the area.
Located just outside Jamestown at the southern tip of Conanicut Island, the park's name, Beavertail, comes from its shape when viewed on a map. The park is comprised of a narrow, very rocky peninsula with an old lighthouse at its tip. There has been a lighthouse on this site since 1749 with the current one being established in 1856. The original lighthouse was a wooden tower and the third lighthouse to be established in the country after the Boston Light in Boston Harbor, and Brant Point Light, Nantucket. Automation in 1989 eliminated the need for lighthouse keepers on site. The old assistant lighthouse keepers house now houses a small museum dedicated to the history of the lighthouse. A Jamestown Historical Society plaque marks the location of the original lighthouse tower.
Open areas of countryside at the wider end of the park provide attractive short walks and some respite from the bitter wind in colder months. Those unable to enjoy the walking around the park and climbing over the rocks can still enjoy the views from the road that runs around the edge of the tip of the peninsula and the car parks located at various points on that road.In cooler seasons, strong winds can make it feel bitterly cold along the exposed shoreline providing a much more robust experience for those brave enough to venture from the shelter of their cars.
Beavertail was also the site of the World War II Fort Burnside, a
monitoring station for coastal defenses from Point Judith to Little
Compton, and the site of both a 6" gun battery and a 3" gun battery.
Remnants of the batteries and the Harbour Entrance Control Post (HECP)
are still visible in the park.