Galilee in Narragansett RI, offers the traveler an authentic, live New England fishing village... and great beaches and seafood
Article and photo by Eric H., lifelong New England native
Biff and Muffy might not like the rough and tumble authentic fishing village feel of Galilee in Narragansett, RI, but Jack and Diane will certainly love the public ocean water beaches and seafood shacks that make this South County Rhode Island travel destination so appealing.
For those who enjoy the simple pleasures in life, what could be better than visiting the sea in a place that won't charge you an arm and a leg for those annoyingly marketed "water views" found elsewhere? Galilee isn't that much in love with itself to rip you off, but it does offer a lot of love in the form of family fun. Salty Brine State Beach and George's Beach are open to the public and offer gentle waves, plenty of sand and immediate access to other fun in the area. Walk off the beach and go to George's of Galilee or Champlin's for a lobster dinner, lobster rolls, fried clams, clam chowder and just about anything else caught fresh off the boat, or by the sand. After dining indoors or outdoors -- with a water view at affordable prices -- walk back to the beach and enjoy a relaxing afternoon or evening by the sea. A stroll past the fishing boats with fisherman unloading their "catch of the day," or the charter public fishing boats allowing you to experience your own catch validates the authenticity and coastal theme of this relaxing corner of Narragansett.
For those who don't want to go "overboard" on fish, Galille offers many gift shops and several places to have an ice cream -- including Champlin's. There's also a ferry from Point Judith in Galille that goes to Block Island. It's a beautiful 45-minute cruise, en route to one of New England's most unspoiled regions with 21 square miles of pristine ocean and beaches, steep cliffs, rolling green fields and pastoral farms, abundant plant and wildlife. The Nature Conservancy has designated Block Island as "one of the 12 last great places in the Western Hemisphere."
Block Island, to us, however is an occasional special treat as the price can add up with the ferry ride, vehicle rental and generally more expensive lodging and dining (they do that to you on isolated islands, as where else can you go?) Galilee, on the other hand, is a place you could stay awhile and often, as the community takes into account people with different budgets. Parking is free for four hours off street and as little as $7.00 for a parking lot space. Seafood dinners are many times under $20.00 (including some lobster specials), and as far as the beaches... just walk right in without lifting your wallet. If you want more beach than the somewhat small aforementioned Galillee beaches, however, Roger Wheeler State Beach on Sand Cove Rd., is within minutes of the fishing village. The price of admission, at this writing, is $14.00 for parking and then a free walk onto the beach. Roger Wheeler offers a great stretch of sandy beach, relatively warm New Englander ocean water and nice amenities like a pavilion with coin operated hot showers, concession stand, playground and picnic tables. There is a lifeguard on duty (weather permitting).
So while Biff and Muffy exit quickly to look at nearby exclusive communities and sample $18.00 hamburgers in "yuppie-induced" priceless, but pricey nearby locations, Jack and Diane will be able to have the time of their lives in a place that has great beaches and great seafood at a low price. You couldn't ask for much more in coastal New England.
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