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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Scuba Diving: Kings Beach, Newport, Rhode Island

If you have talked to me for half a second you probably already know I am obsessed with the state of Rhode Island, and with lobsters.  And I am very very very fond of scuba diving.  So a day that combines these things together on a beautiful sunny Saturday in the middle of June is about as good as it gets for me. It was one of the weekends that puts you in such a good mood, that the weekend almost feels long and you are in such bliss that you don't even let Monday knock you down. 

Saturday we were out on the road by 9am, to make the trek to our first stop of the day, Jamestown, Rhode Island.  Living in Stonington on the Connecticut Rhode Island border makes getting to Jamestown and Newport that much easier and quicker.  We walked around Jamestown, getting a tank filled with air at the local dive shop before getting back on the highway and over the bridge into the town of Newport. 

Pell Bridge connecting Jamestown and Newport
Pell Bridge Newport:  There is usually some traffic getting off the bridge (beware there is a toll 4$ each way- and EZ Pass lanes are available). The main span of the Newport Bridge is 488 metres (1,601 ft), ranking it number 87 among the longest suspension bridges in the world, and making it the longest suspension bridge in New England. The overall length of the bridge is 3,428 meters (11,247 ft). 

 We skirted around the off ramp traffic and made our way towards Kings Beach.  We sort of took the long way and we drove down Bellevue Avenue, passing by the famous mansions we had visited just the year before like Rosecliff and The Breakers.  Everyone was walking around touring the mansions, daydreaming about the gilded age.  After leaving the mansions and crowds behind, we continued on to Ocean Avenue where we drove along the coast a short ways with beautiful views of summer homes, quaint inns, and of course the sparkling Atlantic.

Walking down the old boat ramp from the parking lot and into the water
While I had stopped here to picnic last year, this was a site I had never been diving at before.  Kings Beach in Newport Rhode Island is one of the most popular dive sights in Rhode Island.  It is often used for classes, and we pulled in to see a local dive shop walking down the ramp with a class.  I was so excited to check out a new dive site for the first time.
Old Boat Ramp/Entrance to the water 

After a quick stop in Jamestown and making our way over the bridge and through the crowds of Newport, we finally arrived at the Kings Beach Fishing Area.  We drove down the dirt road and parked by the water.  We unloaded our gear and I started the slow process of making sure I didn't forget anything, putting my gear together, and worst of all, trying to get into my semi-dry wetsuit.  After the help of some body glide and soap, and after lots of teasing, we were geared up and in the water.  With the temperatures climbing and an abundance of heavy gear, I was thankful for the easy and most importantly, close entrance and the cool water at the end of the boat ramp. 

Map/Location of Kings Beach Fishing Area 
Dive Site:  Kings Beach, Newport, Rhode Island 

Kings Beach is a popular dive site used by various groups from beginners taking their open water certification to free divers and spear fishermen.  The dive passes through eel grass at the start before crossing over several boulders and sandy areas.  Expect to see black sea bass, lobsters, and other small fish and crustaceans.  There are no bathrooms here but there are at the nearby Brenton Point.  This is also a popular site for fishermen.  After diving, you can spend some time in the sun at the beach next door, or continue on to the other scenic sights of Newport.  Overall this is a fun dive with decent visibility, easy entry, a short walk down from your car, and plenty to see.  

:  Kings Beach Fishing Area off Ocean Avenue in Newport Rhode Island. About 1/4 mile from Brenton Point. You will see a small sign marking the dirt road entrance to Kings Beach. 
GPS N 41 27.234 W 071 20.543 

Entry:  Easy, walking down an old concrete boat ramp 
** You can also dive off the beach next door, however, this starting point has more interesting topography and is definitely the more popular (and easier to get to) entrance. 

Depth: Max of about 32 feet 

Water Temp:  As of June 18th it was 58 at the surface, 55 at depth. 

Visibility:  It can be choppy in this area with vis ranging from 0-20 feet. 

Parking:  Along the entrance road (dirt road) and free

Remnants of the old concrete boat launch
Divers entering the water 
Getting ready to start our dive 
Posing with my favorite underwater find - Lobsters!
Making our way through the eel grass at the beginning of the dive
American Lobster 
The beach next door to the old boat launch
After diving at Kings Beach, you have a few options - You can have a picnic lunch soaking in the sun on the warm rocks and spend some time on the beach.  After lunch you can hop in for a second time.  There is always another dive at Beavertail or Fort Wetherill, both close by.  Or you can tour the mansions, and visit the historic forts and various state parks.  You can also head into town and enjoy Newport for what it is, lovely shops, restaurants and bars on the water.  So many options and not enough time. 

Picnic Lunch at Brenton Point 
After diving we had a picnic lunch at Brenton Point nearby, complete with champagne and the best view.  To me, this is the best way to enjoy lunch in Newport, staying at the beach with the best views and avoiding expensive restaurants and large crowds.   After lunch it was spending some time wandering around Brenton State Park, visiting the Portuguese Discovery Monument, and visiting the nearby Fort Adams. We wrapped up the day in true Newport fashion with some seafood from the raw bar, a dark and stormy (or two) and some live music at The Landing, all out on the dock overlooking the Atlantic.  It was a perfect New England summer day with a warm sunny day, great diving, delicious food, cold drinks, amazing views, and some good ole' New England diving.

Dark and Stormy at The Landing
Raw Bar at The Landing 
Rhode Island Sunset 
Days like this are hard to beat.  Especially living land locked for the past nearly two years, spending my summer by the sea is exactly what I needed.  As much as I loved Utah, and as beautiful as it was, when the days start getting longer and the temperatures start to climb, I crave the sand, the salt, and the sea.  When the summer season is so short here in New England, with those perfect summer days so few and far between, you have to savor summer weekends like this.  And savor I did.
 I will be back for more Newport. 


  1. Rhode Island normally isn't associated with scuba diving so it's great to read that the state can be the site for scuba diving adventures. Even if you don't go scuba diving, Kings Beach sounds like a fun place. It's wonderful that it was a great day weatherwise.

    1. Believe it or not, Rhode Island is known as a state with scuba diving :) There are several great spots, Kings Beach being one and Jamestown being the other (Fort Wetherill). Divers from all over come to dive these two spots!

      It was such a beautiful day - perfect New England weekend! Thanks for reading!


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