Check out what Bristol has to offer by land and by sea at the Explore Bristol web site.
Points of Interest
The shoreline and islands of Rhode Island offer dozens of unique places for boaters to access facilities from public landings. The most comprehensive guide to these landings can be found at this web address and is well worth reading before you start your trip.
In the immediate area of Bristol harbor, there are many easy to reach destinations that can be accessed by dingy or by bicycle on the eastern shore of the harbor as shown on the map below.
1. Mill Pond
Located behind a group of condo's on the northeast side of the harbor, there is a small salt marsh pond with an inlet to the main harbor. To the right of the condo's is a small public beach that can be easily accessed by dingy in when the wind is calm or blowing from the north. There is some great wildlife viewing available here and local fisherman like to fish by the inlet to the pond.
2. Independence Park
This is a grassy town park is located due east of the BYC. With a gradual sandy ramp, this is an ideal landing spot to access 3 restaurants located close by (SS Dion, Redlefsen's Rotisserie & Grill and Quito's Restaurant). Along the shoreline is a rock wall that the locals like to use for fishing. This park also marks the southern end of the East Bay Bicycle Path that follows an old railroad right of way 13 miles north to Providence, the capital of Rhode Island.
3. State Street Pier and Boat Launch
This ramp and pier is located in the heart of the town of Bristol. The single-width ramp provides access to the harbor via a narrow channel between two piers. Unfortunately there is no floating dock to tie up to here. Just to the north of the ramp is JG Goffs and they may have room at their floating dock. Across the street is Judge Roy Bean's restaurant and just to the south are Gillary's and Aidan's pubs.
4. Rockwell Park
Located just north of the Prudence Island ferry dock on the Bristol Harbor
waterfront, this area has been redeveloped as a waterfront park with benches, brick walkways, a small playground, and a wooden "T" dock extending into the water. Again access is limited by the lack of a floating dock, but for a quick trip ashore, the "T" dock works fine.
5. Prudence Island Ferry
If you have bicycles and want a great side trip, you may want to consider a day trip to Prudence Island by ferry. They have two morning departures to the island and two afternoon return trips. The Island is 9 miles long and 2 miles wide and offers miles of dirt roads that make for great biking. Click here for the ferry schedule.
6. Firefighters Memorial Park
Another park located just south of the Ferry dock with no facilities for boaters.
7. Constitution Street
This right-of-way provides access has a small beach and ramp through the seawall at the end of the road. It is located between the Coast Guard station on the south and a carpet factory and Elks Lodge on the north. The next access to the south (Union Street) provides a better landing area.
8. Union Street
Located at the end of Union Street, this is a 40-foot-wide right-of-way with a sandy beach leading up to a grassy area and benches. This is an ideal place to land to visit several antique shops located along Hope Street (Rt. 114). It is also a great place to see the Bristol 4th of July parade, the longest running parade in the US. Click below for parade info and events:
9. Herreshoff Museum
No visit to Bristol is complete without a trip to the Herreshoff Marine Museum. This fascinating place has a collection of boats that hearken back to the grand age of sailing in the early 1900's right up to a recent America's Cup contender and the America's Cup Hall of Fame. Plan to spend several hours and learn about the Wizard of Bristol (Nat Herreshoff) and the legacy of the sport of yachting. Transient moorings and a dingy dock is available. Click here for hours of operation and more information.