Summer Guide – Day Trips

Cranston and Warwick: Fun Just South of the City

People who live in the middle part of the state love its everyday convenience, but it’s rare that any of us stop to appreciate everything that these two cities have to offer

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Visit Rocky Point
Generations of Rhode Islanders have fond memories of Rocky Point Amusement Park. The clam cakes and chowder at the shore house, the rides that made you want to hurl all of it up, the concerts with soon-to-be megastar bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. True, the attraction – and its slightly less than safe roller coaster – is lost to history. But that doesn’t mean that future generations can’t make happy memories at Rocky Point. It’s just a different kind of fun. Now, Rocky Point is a shorefront park, with walking trails perfect for exploring nature and the last remnants of the amusement park that used to be there. Spend your morning teaching your little ones about the glory that was the Corkscrew. And if you can’t live without another taste of Rocky Point’s iconic seafood, there’s a Rocky Point Clam Shack not too far away. Park: Rocky Point Avenue, Warwick. Restaurant: 1689 Post Road, Warwick. 401-738-9830, RockyPointClamShack.com

Head to the Boardwalk
In Oakland Beach, the newly expanded Iggy’s Boardwalk offers all of the delicious seafood and doughboys of their walk-up window, but is a full service restaurant that takes full advantage of its proximity to the ocean. Think raw bar and tropical libations year-round, not just during the summer. The menu has expanded to include more options for people who don’t love seafood, and is a really nice complement to the takeaway restaurant next door. 889 Oakland Beach Avenue, Warwick. 401-737-9459, IggysDoughboys.com

Shop in a Garden

We don’t have many outdoor malls in Rhode Island, but that just makes Garden City Center all the more special. The shopping center has come a long way from how you remember it, depending on how long it’s been since you made a visit. New, chic shops like Crate and Barrel, Anthropologie and L.L. Bean have revitalized the area. Old favorites like Providence Diamond, Mel & Me and Cohoes are still going strong. There’s even a new independent bookstore, Barrington Books Retold, where you can spend some time browsing the stacks or at one of their weekly reader events. Across the street in Chapel View, there’s a high-end men’s barbershop called Gents, along with an Edible Arrangements, a nail salon and other stores.

On Wednesday nights, locals gather at the Garden City gazebo for live music every week in the summer. Restaurants like the historic and unmissable Chapel Grille (next door at Chapel View) the neighborhood bistro Bistro 22 and the newly opened Italian restaurant Avvio make it easy to stay and enjoy the evening. Garden City: Intersection of Sockanossett Cross Road and New London Avenue, Cranston. 401-942-2800, GardenCityCenter.com. Chapel View: Chapel View Boulevard, Cranston. Chapel-View.com

Hit the Village
If you only think of Pawtuxet Village as the home to Gaspee Days, the annual celebration of the colonists burning the HMS Gaspee and sparking the American Revolution, then you’re probably a history nerd. You’re also missing a lot of what this charming village has to offer. Pawtuxet Village has long been an idyllic destination, but there’s more than ever happening on their scenic waterfront. Basta serves up fresh pasta and grilled pizzas, while The Elephant Room serves tea and crepes. Sweet Indulgence is the kind of cafe, serving coffee and desserts, that you would find in a kid’s sweetest dreams. Broad Street, Cranston and Narragansett Parkway, Warwick. Pawtuxet.com