Them: So what did you do this weekend?
You: Oh, you know, just saw 100 harbor seals chillaxin’ at the beach… no big deal ;)
The seal viewing boat tours are shutting down for the season, but there’s still one last place you might be able to view these fascinating mammals before they embark on the next leg of their migration: Rome Point, North Kingstown.
Deemed one of the best places in New England to view harbor seals, it’s not uncommon to see more than 100 seals hauled out on the rocks here, about 300 feet offshore. They bask in the sun and frolick in and out of the water between November and late April every year.
How to get to Rome Point: Park at the John H. Chafee Reserve at Rome Point. This parking lot is on the left side of Rte. 1A (Boston Neck Rd) about 1 mile south of Wickford Village as you head toward Narragansett. You will see a trailhead at the head of a wide path through the woods. Follow the path all the way down to the coast. Once you arrive at the shore, turn left and walk the beach all the way out to the next shore point, Rome Point. If it is a weekend day, you will no doubt see other seal watching enthusiasts.
How long is the walk? Although the distance is only a mile or so and the terrain is flat, it could take 45 minutes to an hour, especially if you are with young children or if you stop often along the way.
What to Wear: Sneakers or hiking boots are advised, as well as weather-appropriate clothing. The walk along the beach can be windy.
Do I need any special equipment to view the seals? Bring a pair of binoculars and/or a spotting scope as the seals can be difficult to see with the naked eye.
When you are ready to make your way back to the parking lot, return using the wooded path. Along the way enjoy views of coves on both sides of the point, as well as other special spots you will come across while meandering along the path.
For more information about viewing Rome Point seals, check out Rome Point Seals, a website run by volunteer naturalists and Rome Point seal enthusiasts. This is the best resource for Rome Point seal-watching reports, recommendations, and tips for safe & responsible seal viewing! Enjoy!