Roger W. Wheeler State Beach

This popular beach has fine white sand, calm water, and a very slight drop-off.

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All state beaches are now open daily through Labor Day from 9 AM to 6 PM on weekdays and 8:30 AM to 6 PM on weekends and holidays, weather permitting. Beach traffic makes everyone salty! Get your season parking pass and check the capacity status of our larger lots before you head to the beach!

Roger W. Wheeler State Beach

Protected from Block Island Sound by an extensive breakwater barrier, this is a popular beach for young children and families due to the gentle surf, playground, and modern beach pavilion with a kid-friendly environmental educational area. Be sure to plan and purchase your parking pass ahead of time so you can use the express lane! Check the status of the parking lot here.

Often referred to locally as Sand Hill Cove, Roger W. Wheeler State Beach was renamed in August 1970 to recognize Captain Roger W. Wheeler (1907-1969), the creator of the Rhode Island State Life-Saving System. Without a cadre of life guards at the beaches, who promoted safe swimming practices, the public use of our coastal waters would have amounted to little more than an “attractive nuisance.” Trained, alert, and capable life guards have prevented many family tragedies over the years.

Amenities & Experiences


During the beach season you’ll find public restrooms, outdoor showers, wheelchair accessibility, large parking lot, playground, food and gift concessions, lifeguard tower, shade gazebos, and Naturalist area.

  • Swimming
  • Picnicking
  • Playground
  • Accessible Beach Wheelchairs Available
  • Saltwater Fishing (off-hours only)
  • Shaded Pavilion
  • Outdoor Showers
  • Heated Indoor Showers
  • Accessible Restroom Facilities
  • Environmental Education (Naturalist) Area

Know Before You Go

Roger W. Wheeler State Beach

In-Season Hours & Parking: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM Monday - Friday and 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM on weekends & holidays. Gates close at sunset. Check the capacity of the parking lot.

Restrictions: No alcohol, glass, dogs/pets, smoking, RV camping, or tent camping allowed. Roger Wheeler State Beach is day-use only.

Concessions: Salty's Burger & Seafood is open daily during the beach season.

Lifeguard on duty 9:00 AM (8:30 AM weekends/holidays) to 6:00 PM (Seasonal)

Tide Chart: View local tides and surf conditions. Break the grip of the rip! Learn about rip currents.

History Of Roger Wheeler State Beach (1929)

Roger W. Wheeler State Beach

Sand Hill Cove in the Town of Narragansett was a state property for nearly a century and a half before being transferred by the Rhode Island Secretary of State to the Metropolitan Park Commission in 1929. It was the first state beach along the arc of the Atlantic Ocean destined to be the home to several other beaches. The ownership of the beach strand by the state stretched back to Revolutionary War times when it was stripped from Tory sympathizer of King George III. Its proposed use as a public resort for recreation fit well with the expansion ideas of the Park Commission in the late 1920s.

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State Beach Parking

Headed to a state beach? Check here for the near real-time status of parking lots at our busiest state beaches. Remember, season beach parking passes are not available for purchase at beach entrances. Help reduce traffic delays by buying your season pass online.

A painted rock reads, "Come on in!" in front of a naturalist cabin

RI Parks Naturalist Program

Explore the wild side of Rhode Island, from jellyfish to earthworms, snakes, and coyotes, to exploring geology, migration, botany, and so much more. RI State Parks' Naturalist Program offers diverse environmental education to people of all ages.

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Roger Wheeler State Beach