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Quonochontaug Breachway

41° 20.219' N    71° 43.346' W   See this location in: Google Maps   Map Server   Acme Maps

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This is a site for launching boats from trailers. Boat ramps can normally be used to launch canoes and kayaks but please do your best to keep the boat ramp clear for boat trailers.

Description & Overview:

WARNING: There are reportedly some large rocks just under the surface in the middle of the channel leading out to the ocean. Boats with motors should be especially cautious! See Jason's comment below for more details.

The boat ramp at the inner end of the Quonochontaug Breachway provides access to both Quonochontaug Pond and Block Island Sound. The pond is a large salt pond with many coves and channels to explore in a kayak or other small boat. This boat launch is the only good access to this salt pond and sees heavy use from fishermen, boaters and day-trippers. Once beyond the launch area and on the salt pond it can be a blissful to paddle the salt pond with its expansive untouched barrier beach, classic Victorian summer cottages, extensive salt marshes and bird sanctuary.

In Spring 2020, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management partnered with The Nature Conservancy to construct a new concrete ramp and a floating dock at this site. The project reoriented the boat ramp in a north-south direction, so boaters can launch safely without having to fight the strong currents in the breachway channel. Much of the funding for the project was provided by the federal Sport Fish Restoration Program, a user-pay, user-benefit program derived from taxes on motorboat fuel, fishing equipment, and the purchase of some boats. The tide runs very hard through the breachway so caution is advised in and near the breachway, including crossing the inner end of the breachway. Use the nearby sandy area to launch hand-carried boats to avoid the current in the breachway channel (and leave the ramp clear for trailered boats). In sea kayaks or other small craft, only experts should attempt to head out the breachway and onto the open waters of Block Island Sound. Breachways such as this can easily be closed even to large boats by breakers as the wind picks up or even just as a result of a change in the tide, leaving no way to get back to shore.

On most summer days the southwest wind fills in across this area in the morning and blows throughout the afternoon, so be prepared for this when planning your trip.

This site provides access to the following water bodies: Quonochontaug Pond, Block Island Sound.


Alternate Site Name: Quonnie Pond

Town: Charlestown

Nearest Town Center: Quonochontaug

Driving Landmarks: From Route 1 south turn left onto West Beach Road, which is after East Beach Road. From Route 1 north turn right onto West Beach Road. Follow West Beach Road to the end of the road, bearing right at 1.4 miles and again half a mile later. This second right will put you on West End Road. The boat ramp is a half a mile ahead at the end of this road, the last part of which is a dirt road.

Access & Waters:

Water 'Features' At Site: estuary, 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 ramp

ADA Accessible Boat Launch? yes

Shoreline: Boat ramp and adjacent sandy shoreline

Float/Dock: low float or dock

Hours of Operation: 24/7, year-round


Parking: parking lot, 50 spaces

ADA Accessible Parking Spaces? yes

Nearby Amenities:

Public Restrooms: There are usually portable toilets here in the summer.

Sources for More Information:

Other Guidebooks: Salt Ponds Coalition Kayaker's Guide

Website: Salt Ponds Coalition Kayaker's Guide to the Salt Ponds of South County, Rhode Island


The New Boat Ramp

The New Boat Ramp

Photography by: The Nature Conservancy

Date of Photograph: April 7, 2020

The new boat ramp and dock installed in the winter and spring of 2020.

Quonochontaug Breachway Boat Ramp

Quonochontaug Breachway Boat Ramp

Photography by: Art Ganz and Bambi Poppick

Date of Photograph: September 6, 2006

The parking lot at Quonochontaug Breachway with the pond beyond.

This photograph is from before the work in the winter of 2019-2010, which included moving the location of the ramp.


So Sad.

Submitted by: Kim; August 3, 2021; 8:05 am

This is so sad. I and my family used this area whenever visiting Charlestown and the surrounding area when on vacation every Summer and I have many, many happy memories. Yes we launched our boat there and fished off the rocks, shell fished (always with licenses) and sat on the spit of beach at low tide and caught hermit crabs, waded and swam etc. We were always respectful and clean. Last time before leaving the New England area in 2016 or 17 we noticed things were changing. We never saw public drinking, or anythi of the awfulness mentioned - just fisherman, boaters and families with young kids having a good peaceful time. Hope Quonnie recovers....thanks for the memories.

Nice place

Submitted by: Scott; July 31, 2021; 2:51 pm

Great place for fishing in a kayak. If you want a parking spot get there before the sun comes up on the weekends. It definitely wasn't as littered as described above when I was there at least. But the none boaters do take up the boaters parking which isn't fair. Where I'm from the tow companies have a contract and people who park incorrectly at the ramps are immediately towed. That being said, there's other parking available for shore fishing and such, you just have to walk a bit. I Made sure before I backed up to load my kayak to give my spot to some guys who were offloading a canoe. The cars were circling watching me load stuff, but none of them had boats. Car top boats are easily loaded and off loaded at the boulders to the right of the ramp, leave the ramp for the big boats.




Photo Credit: Scott

Great Place.Been There YEARS From Ct.Not Much Clamming,?Some Steammers.Great To Dive Other Channel.

Submitted by: Ronnie Uliase; April 29, 2021; 3:22 pm

Love This Place.Been There Years.



Beware of rocks

Submitted by: Jason; August 26, 2020; 12:59 pm

If you are new to the area BEWARE. There are large rocks in the middle of the channel at opening to the ocean! We struck these rocks during low tide. They were about 1 foot below surface no visible. We were not going fast but ruined the propeller. There were to hazard markers and no bouys to indicate rocks. There were no signs either. There was no signs at the Boat launch Or maps showing the rock hazard. Upon returning to the boat launch another boater advised he has seen several boats return with damage due to these rocks. DEM or the Army Corps should post this!!! Disappointed boater ruined the entire day and cost thousands of dollars. No info on this site either!

Fishing area or Beach

Submitted by: Jordy; August 23, 2020; 11:58 pm

Bottom line people use this as a free beach.they should set up a station at beginning of the road and have a small parking fee for fisherman with rods,clamers with shellfishing permit
,kayakers,and boaters just like they do at the Charleston breachway.this should cut down on the inconsiderate people who use the area not for the purpose it intended for also police should fine those who set up easy ups and beach chairs on the marshy areas. looking the other way will not fix the abuse of this boat launch



They should change this locations name!!

Submitted by: Anonymous; July 30, 2020; 4:48 pm

This area is designated as a fishing area and boat launch by RIDEM, but try to get a place to fish!!!! They should change the name from Quonochontaug Fishing Area to “Charlestown Beaches Overflow Area”. Or, more aptly, “Park here for free and stay all day” area. All of the access spots leading to the breachway are taken over by out of state people who park there all day, set up canopies, tents, barbecues and lawn chairs. I tried several times to access the breachway for fishing but can’t find an open spot. Never mind the people who set up chairs and umbrellas along the newly planted marsh grass. If this is supposed to be a designated fishing area, why are people bringing campers there or parking and staying all day? And where are the local authorities who are supposed to police the area?? Never once do you see anyone coming down there enforcing laws or checking fishing licenses.



Was a nice little jem

Submitted by: Janice Hosier; July 23, 2020; 6:04 pm

My husband's grandfather was the mayor in charlestown been coming there for years we still visit once a year and I never saw this happen will be coming out next weekend hoping to see that it's still a beautiful place to relax and meditate



Jack knife

Submitted by: Gary; June 21, 2020; 6:52 pm

Great place, nice launch, but no room to turn my bait and trailer around!
Have to pull a180 degree spin on my dual axle trailer
No parking signs in front but cars parked there in the way.
Couldn't pull in.
Big Rocks placed in front couldn't pull down on surf to turn
To many people using launch area as a beach.



Total disrespect for this gem of a place

Submitted by: Anonymous; March 27, 2020; 3:14 pm

People need to learn to respect this place. You bring trash in bring your trash out with you as far as the parking lot goes we need a booth with an attendant to keep things in line

Tourist to Quonny are Disrespectful

Submitted by: Jay; March 20, 2020; 5:12 pm

I grew up here in RI There is a serious problem with this place the public intoxication is out of control . I dont even go there anymore to launch because your more likely to get into a fight with so scum bag who parked there car in front of the boat ramp. When you ask them to polity move they tell you to F off. And know that is a isolated incident it happen all day everyday there. The trash left behind is gross. The illegal shell fishing and fishing is gross i make multiple calls a season on people clamming in the seed beds nothing gets done. I have had all my new led lights and strap stolen off my Boat trailer. Cars parked behind my truck and trailer blocking you from getting your boat out. This is not a secret and anyone who lives here knows this is fact. They need to have park ranger in a hut monitor this place full time. It is really sad that it is this way for us Rhode Islanders who pay allot of taxes to live here .When i go i vacation somewhere i respect the place i go and dont trash the town or location. But not here the Walmart westerly looks like a landfill in the parking lot with dirty diapers all over the ground garbage every where its so Gross our Governor thinks tourism is great she should live here and see how they treat the locals and our community . I have allot friends who own businesses and they are dreading there return its awe full . FIX more than Just the boat Ramp limit the tourist and dont allow drinking period no coolers preserve this location. Barn island in CT doesn't look like this during the summer because they enforce the rules unlike here.



Trash left behind

Submitted by: Anonymous; November 1, 2018; 6:25 pm

Dirty diapers,beer bottles,cans, plastic bags, broken glass and all kinds of other trash left behind by those who treat this area as a beach. I always thought this was a boat and kayak launch, but it is overwhelmed every summer from those from the campgrounds, because they don't want to pay $20 to get into the beaches. I have seen human feces floating in the water from children being encouraged to defecate in the water because their parents are too lazy to walk them to the porta-toilets. Yelling and fighting has broken out because people are sitting right at the launch area in lawn chairs and refusing to move for the boat trailers. It has gotten so much worse over the years, as residents and taxpayers of Charlestown we are forced to launch our boat in Point Judith. Something needs to change so that the residents who live here can enjoy our surroundings.



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This site report was last updated on August 26, 2020

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