On our recent trip to Newport, RI we took a side trip to the dog friendly, Historic Wickford Village.
This quaint village has a little of everything a person could want in a dog friendly place to visit.
There is a dog friendly restaurant that overlooks the river, a walkway with benches that line the Narragansett Cove giving you a front row spot to watch the happenings of the old seaport.
Plus the small town is easy to walk around with its tree lined streets to keep you cool in the summer. Well, maybe just cooler.
If you are looking to travel with your dog, check out our post on Traveling With A Dog: Tips For An Easy Trip.
Where is Wickford Village Located?
Historic Wickford Village is part of the larger town of North Kingstown, Rhode Island, which is located on the west side of Narragansett Bay. It’s about 20 minutes from Newport, RI and 35 minutes from Providence, RI, making it an easy day trip from either location.
The village is built around one of the most well-protected natural harbors on the east coast, thus helping it preserve its historic charm.
Established in 1709, Wickford Village is home to the largest collection of owner occupied Colonial and Federal period homes in the United States. The majority of the homes in the village were built in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s.
In addition to its many charming old homes, Wickford is also home to the oldest wooden lighthouse in America, the oldest Anglican Meeting House in the northeast and a mysterious 3-ton rune stone with inscriptions that are rumored to date back 800 years.
This place is so loved by people that visit there, it was voted the number one (1) Historic Small Town in USA Today in 2021.
Wickford Village is not only a lovely place to spend a few relaxing hours, the town has made sure it is welcoming to tourists. This includes easy parking and public bathrooms.
A Brief History of Wickford Village
It’s believed that Wickford was settled around 1637, when Roger Williams bought a piece of land from Chief Canonicus of the Wampanoag tribe and established a trading post there.
At about the same time Richard Smith also established a trading post a little further south on Narragansett Bay near the mouth of the Cocumscussoc Brook. Then in 1651, Smith purchased the Wickford trading post from Roger William’s and continued to expand his holding in the area over the years.
During the King Philip’s War between 1675 and 1678 many of the original dwellings were burned. Following the war Captain Lodowick Updike, the grandson of Richard Smith, developed much of the early village between 1709–1715 after inheriting the land in 1692. The area continued to grow and during this time Wickford became a maritime center.
Many of the fine homes that lined Main Street and Bay Street were constructed by local builders for the various ship captains, bankers and merchants who profited from the trading center.
Note: Please confirm with the venue that dogs are still allowed prior to going. Information listed here is subject to change without notice. While we strive to insure accuracy on Happyoodles.com accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Also the mentioning of a business on this page should not be viewed as an endorsement for the business.
If you are looking for dog friendly historical places to explore check out Dog Friendly Albany, NY.
Dog Friendly Historic Wickford Village Basics
Getting to Wickford Village
Most people drive to Wickford Village. The closest train station is approximately 2.8 miles away.
Approximate time is takes to get to Wickford Village by car:
- From Newport, RI – Twenty (20) minutes
- Providence, RI – Thirty five (35) minutes
- Boston, Ma – Hour and twenty minutes
- New York City – Three hours and twenty minutes
Of course these times do not include traffic or road work.
Parking in Wickford Village
Wickford Village offers easy street parking. It also has a couple of free parking lots off of Main Street and Brown Street (Route 1A). When we went we parked on the streets with no problems.
There is a public restroom behind the Old Library on Brown Street. If you parked on the street just go through the Library Park path next to the Old Library to get to the bathrooms. It’s to the left of the Rune Stone.
Time Needed to Explore the Town
Plan to spend one to three hours exploring the village. If you choose to eat in Wickford add another hour.
Best Time to Visit Wickford Village
We went in early summer while the town was still full of early summer flowers, but Wickford can be enjoyed in most seasons. For the fall the town gets all decked out for Halloween and in the early winter for Christmas making both of these seasons wonderful times for a dog friendly visit to Historic Wickford. Spring is also beautiful with all the neighborhood gardens coming alive with flowers.
Dog Friendly Activities in Historic Wickford Village
Once you find a parking spot in Wickford Village it’s time to explore the area. If you are parked on Brown Street or Main Street, find your way to the Liberty Park path and follow it back to the Narragansett Rune Stone. You will find it in a pavilion behind the park.
Rune Stone –
The Narragansett Rune Stone is a Rhode Island mystery. The stone was found in the Narragansett Bay just south of Pojac Point in North Kingstown. The stone is inscribed with two rows of symbols that resemble ancient runic characters. No one knows where the stone came from or what the symbols mean. You can read more about the history of the stone on the plaque near the stone.
Wickford Cove –
Just a short distance from the Rune Stone you will see the Wickford Cove lined with boats. There is a short walkway that lines the shore. The day we were there, people were sitting under the trees watching the boats go by and enjoying the sea breeze.
Wickford Walk –
When you have had enough of watching the boats take a self guided walk throughout the town with the Wickford Walk Audio Tour. Follow the markers through the town to learn all about the town’s history.
Wickford Art Festival-
Each year (with exception of the years COVID shut it down) the Wickford Art Association hosts the Annual Wickford Art Festival one weekend in the summer.
In the past the festival has been held outside at either nearby Wilson Park or in the village making it dog friendly for well-behaved, leashed dogs. The festival is reported to have over 40,000 attendees so make sure your dog is up for the crowds and please be respectful to other patrons.
Past artists have traveled from across the country and Canada to show off their work at the festival.
The Wickford Art Festival is one of the longest running outdoor fine art festivals in New England.
Dog Friendly Activities Nearby Historic Wickford Village
Newport RI is only twenty minutes away by car. To learn more about available dog friendly activities in Newport check out our post Newport, RI: Dog Friendly Things to Do and Places to Stay and Is the Newport, Rhode Island Cliff Walk Dog Friendly?
Dog Friendly Beaches near Wickford Village
There are a couple of dog friendly beaches close to Wickford Village.
Blue Beach – located at 61 Whitecap Dr. North Kingstown, RI
Blue Beach is a nice sized beach with soft sand. Parking is spacious and they have doggy bags if you need them.
Compass Rose Beach – located at 1542-1598 Roger William Way, North Kingstown, RI
Dog Friendly Beach near the airport. Has both a sandy area by the water and grassy area near the parking lot with picnic tables. A port-a-potty and dog mitts are also available. Dogs need to be leashed. The beach can be rocky in places.
Block Island – If you are looking for an ocean beach, Block Island is the closest ocean beach. To learn more about taking your dog to Block Island check out our post Block Island – Dog Friendly Things To Do and Places to Eat
Located at 41 Richard Smith Dr, North Kingstown, RI 02852, Smith’s Castle was the home of Rich Smith.
Rich Smith was the first European settler in Narragansett Country. He settled in the area around 1637 and built a trading post on Narragansett Bay. The original Smith Castle is said to be built with extra fortification hence the name, Smith’s Castle.
The original home was destroyed during the King Philip’s War, but the home was rebuilt on the same foundation.
Today the grounds of Smith Castle are dog friendly as long as your dog is leashed and you must pick up after them. No pets are allowed on the grounds during events.
Historic Wickford Village Dog Friendly Places to Eat
Wickford on the Water – is a lovely waterfront restaurant in Wickford Village right next to the Wickford Cove. You can watch the sailboats in the bay as you wait for your meal.
Lunch and dinner is served 7 days a week. Breakfast is served on Saturday and Sunday. They have a patio in the back with tables and umbrellas where they allow well-behaved dogs.
85 Brown Street
North Kingstown, RI 02852
Phone: (401) 294-7900
If you are looking for more dog friendly travel ideas check out our post on Dog Friendly Guide to Cape Cod.
Dog Friendly Wickford Village
If you know of a dog friendly place near Wickford Village please let us know about it in the comments.
Not what you are looking for? Check out our other pet dog friendly vacation ideas:
- 11 Dog Friendly Spring Vacation Destinations
- Dog Friendly Island Vacations
- Lake George NY: Dog Friendly Things to Do
- Dog Friendly Cape Cod, MA
- Saratoga Springs – Dog Friendly Things to Do
- Dog Friendly Fall Getaways in the Northeast
- Dog Friendly Beaches in Massachusetts (MA)
- Dog Friendly Beaches on Cape Cod.