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Union Street, Downtown Bristol

41° 39.925' N    71° 16.525' W   See this location in: Google Maps   Map Server   Acme Maps

Google Maps is the mapping system used on the new ExploreRI mapper and shows the access site located on a terrain view, a street map or an aerial photograph. Clicking on this link will take you to the full Google Maps website, which is not part of ExploreRI.
Map Server shows a topographic map of the area. The Map Server website is not part of
Acme Maps shows the access site located on a topographic map. The Acme Maps website is not part of

This is a site for launching hand-carried boats such as canoes or kayaks.

Description & Overview:

This 40 foot wide right-of-way leads down to the shore at the south end of Bristol Harbor. There is a broad set of steps leading down to the shore here but they should not be a serious obstacle for hand carrying small boats. The shore itself is a small sandy beach. Putting in here puts you south of much but not all of the busy east side of Bristol Harbor.

Bristol Harbor is a busy harbor with much to look at, but also plenty of boat traffic to watch out for. The Prudence Island Ferry runs from a dock a bit north of this put-in.

Heading out the east side of Bristol Harbor puts you under the Mount Hope Bridge, at the junction of Mount Hope Bay and the East Passage of Narragansett Bay, an area where there are likely to be lots of boats of all sizes, including freighters, tugboats and barges, as well as strong tidal currents and more wind and waves.

Heading out the west side of Bristol Harbor takes you around Poppasquash Point and then on to Colt State Park. The shoreline here is pretty, but be aware that large vessels use the shipping channel just offshore to get to the Port of Providence. The area around Poppasquash Point and on up to Colt State Park and beyond is often windy and rough.

Especially around the points and in narrow areas such as under the Mount Hope Bridge and around Poppasquash Point the tide can interact with the wind to create particularly rough conditions.

On most days the southwest wind fills in strongly throughout this area in the morning and blows through the afternoon, producing significant waves, so be prepared for this when planning your trip. Mornings are often calmer and less windy, and so are usually a better time to paddle.

This site provides access to the following water bodies: Bristol Harbor.


Town: Bristol

Nearest Town Center: Bristol

Driving Landmarks: Coming through Bristol on Hope Street/Route 114 south, go past St. Michael's Church and in another 2/10 mile look on the right for a right-of-way to the shore where Union Street meets Hope Street.

Approaching downtown Bristol from the south on Hope Street/Route 114 north, the right-of-way is 2/10 mile north of the Herreshoff Museum.

Access & Waters:

Water 'Features' At Site: ocean/bay

Note: Because one boat launch can access, say, both a lake and a river or both the upstream and downstream portions of a river, not all paddling trips at a given site will necessarily encounter all of the features listed.

Type of Access: Boat launch for hand carried boats

ADA Accessible Boat Launch? no

Shoreline: The shoreline is a sandy beach. Access to the beach is down a shallow set of stairs.

Float/Dock: no

Approximate Length of Carry between Car Access and Water: 150 feet


Parking: yes: 4 spaces

ADA Accessible Parking Spaces? no

Sources for More Information:

Other Guidebooks: Site 16 in Ed Mullen's book "Kayaking Narragansett Bay"

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The data on this website come from many sources, including volunteers and organizations across the state of Rhode Island and nearby parts of Massachusetts. We have done our best to make sure the data are accurate and up to date, but any information critical to the success of your trip should be confirmed before you start. The maps and information on this website should not be substituted for nautical charts, topographic maps, or other more detailed maps and guides. We welcome corrections and additions. To send a correction or provide other feedback, please use our feedback form (see link above).

This site report was last updated on July 24, 2013

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