Summer Guide

Two Feet, Two Bucks: Summer fun by bus

Suppose your world shrank to only places you could walk to with the assistance of public transit. After despairing over this newfound limitation, you would eventually explore this contained world and be relieved to learn you will not run out of beautiful places to visit for a long time. You will marvel at the details, at all the nooks and crannies you were zipping past in times before — if you are lucky enough to hop onto the #60.

Welcome to the third installment in our series of “two feet, two bucks” excursions – great places you can visit via bus between Providence and Newport. You may already know some day-trip worthy destinations like Colt State Park, and the charming streets of downtown Warren and Bristol. So for this installment, let’s take a trip to Island Park and enjoy a relaxing beachside stroll, a little sunbathing, an afternoon dip, and coastal summertime views.

Map by Andy Nosal.

What makes Island Park special is how relaxed and informal it feels. The ’38 hurricane washed away everything that would have become historic by now including an amusement park. Now there is one main avenue, a few side streets, cheery beach cottages, just enough restaurants, cafés, bars, and clam shacks so there’s something for everyone, and the beach.

Take an East Main #60 to the Park Avenue stop. Sparkling water beckons you a quarter mile down Park Avenue. When timing your return to this stop, remember it may take longer uphill.

Island Park Beach is one and a quarter miles long. As you stroll along it widens, lined by a low seawall with scattered benches. In clear weather, an ocean horizon is visible 10 miles down the Sakonnet River, which is actually an estuary. There’s plenty of room to sunbathe, picnic, or take a dip. About halfway along, houses adjoin the beach; it gets cobbly and becomes narrow at high tide. If you find the going difficult, you are never far from a shortcut leading up to a street so you can return or proceed via sidewalk. The strip ends at Teddy’s Beach, which offers nice swimming in a sandy cove below a rare shady, sloping lawn. Beyond that is the fenced-off ruin of an early stone bridge approach. Here a narrow channel with swift current separates Aquidneck Island from Tiverton. When repaired (let us hope), the abutment will be an outstanding viewpoint. If you are not quite ready to turn around, another quarter mile up Point Road is a bridge where you can view boats and tidal currents in the river and The Cove.

When you return to the western end of the beach, there are excellent ways to enjoy the time remaining until your bus comes:

  1. Buy snacks or ice cream.
  2. Linger on the seawall or a bench until it’s time to climb the hill to East Main Road.
  3. Sightsee an additional leisurely mile or so. Take the first left off Park Avenue onto Aquidneck Avenue and follow the shore to Child Street. Along this quiet half mile of beach cottages are four public pathways down to the shore. Most scenic is at the foot of Child Street. You can comb the cobble beach there until it’s time to hike the last third of a mile up Child Street to your bus. Turn right on East Main for Providence bound, cross and turn left for Newport bound.

If you venture on any of the featured bus routes, let us know! Contact or tag @motifmagri on social media.


Minutes spent standing at a bus stop feel longer than any other minutes. Fear of being stuck in place when you wanna be moving seems to be a bus travel dealbreaker for most people. But modern tech plus old school habits make that fear groundless, especially on leisure outings.

  • If you use a smartphone, you routinely master things more elaborate than the Transit App. This is not the place for a detailed how-to. Just download and learn it. It shows in real time how far away the next bus is and when it will arrive at your stop. You may take advantage of this knowledge in several ways.
  • The halfway point of an out-and-back hike is, of course, where you turn around. I like to ignore the clock at least until that point. Then, it makes sense to note how long it took to walk that far, add that to the present time and find out how long after that a bus is scheduled to arrive. If you can just make it and that’s what you feel like doing, get moving! Otherwise, you have a useful idea of how much slower to go on your return. Perhaps the bus after allows the duration you want. Linger in the nice places you noticed in the first half of your hike. Twenty minutes before the finish, check the progress of yourself and your bus and adjust as needed. Spending all but the last five minutes — a margin of safety — enjoying yourself away from the bus stop becomes second nature.
  • A little flexibility about when to eat also helps you make the bus schedule work in your favor. Pack some food or route yourself past an eatery: Is there time to enjoy a meal before a convenient bus? Yes? Let’s eat! No? No problem, ride the bus and treat yourself in town!
  • The most useful habit is identifying your waiting bench before you need it: Where’s the nearest spot on the way to the bus stop where you would gladly sit even if you did not have to wait for a bus? A coffee shop or a park bench with a decent view will do. That and a reliable estimate of how many minutes before departure you need to start walking. You also gain appreciation for the kind of town where, if time permits, you are content to walk to another stop instead of waiting at one.