A family friendly summer destination
“It’s funny, on a busy day, you can go out on Atlantic Ave. and count the license plates,” says local business owner (Seafood Haven) and Executive Director of the Misquamicut Business Association, Caswell Cooke Jr. “You’ll see them from all over. You’ll see a lot from New York and tons from Connecticut and Mass., but you won’t see a lot from Rhode Island.” Some of Rhode Island’s greatest treasures aren’t widely recognized here at home. At Motif, we see it with artists, musicians and other specialists all the time. Right now, Misquamicut may be the RI beach mecca that goes unnoticed within our own borders.
For a while, Misquamicut didn’t have the greatest reputation. In the ‘80s, it was known for its busloads of drunken shenanigan perpetrators, occasional brawls and no shortage of Paddy wagons. But while the ghost of that reputation may linger in the long memory RI prides itself on (“Take a left where the drunken rascals used to be”), Misquamicut has left the ‘80s in the past. Who hasn’t, really? It now presents many family-friendly options and non-baccanalic ways to drink, eat, sun and have a good time.
The beach, of course, did get a lot of coverage two years ago, when Hurricane Sandy, apparently trying to get home to the Sandy Shore Motel or Sandy’s Lighthouse [Bar], whalloped the shoreline full force. It took a year to rebuild and recover, but now the beach is pristine again, devoid of errant chunks of buildings past, and ready for sunbathers. Spots like Paddy’s, The Andrea and The Windjammer allow on-the-sand drinking and eating that brings all the creature comforts together (bring a beach read: see page xxx).
There’s also an active side to this stretch of summer with jet ski rentals, waterslides and a standing amusement park that includes a Ferris wheel, mini-golf, batting cages and bumper cars, kids and adults can lift their adrenaline before hitting the nightlife. That nightlife includes classic movies (from, well, mostly the ‘80s) at a classic beach drive-in theater, and clubs galore with drinks from basic ‘Gansetts to exotic frozen creamsicle cocktails, to those giant margaritas with the upside down Corona inside them. The strip is long enough to let you move around, but not so long that it gets overwhelming.
And of course, no conversation about Misquamicut would be complete without mention of some of the events they have during the summer: Tons of live music, family-friendly “Magic by Sea” every Thursday in July and August (7pm at the Windjammer), Hermit Crab Races — yes, they don’t know they’re racing, but still they do it — every Wednesday (7:30pm at Purple Ape), and their famous Classic Car Cruise Nights, every Thursday in the Windjammer’s East Parking Lot.