South Kingstown is the newest location opening in 2013 of Rock Spot Climbing’s multiple locations, where colorful footholds and route markers sprawl along artificial rocks create diverse climbing surfaces for every major discipline. Dozens of top-rope stations challenge climbers to scale the wall in safety, whether belayed by a human companion or hooked up to an auto-belay unit that reduces the risk of conversation. Meanwhile, others eschew ropes in order to tackle bouldering routes—low-altitude obstacles littered with arches, steep faces, and caves—and lead climbers set their own anchors as they scale the wall. The climbing courses vary for all skill levels, ranging from sheer faces with ample handholds to cliffs for expert climbers and lemmings. Cardio machines let athletes warm up or cool down between climbs, and instructors lead afterschool classes to teach kids the art of competitive climbing.
The land surrounding the Narrow River is a prime example of Rhode Island's varied natural splendor, which includes sandy beaches, lush forests, green fields, marshland, and sand banks. Narrow River Kayaks puts it all within reach, equipping locals and visitors with a variety of vessels, including canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards.
Once boated up, you can paddle your way across the Pettaquamscutt Watershed area for a relaxed day of fishing, picnicking, spotting wildlife, or making kissy faces at your own reflection in the river. With outdoor showers, changing tents, and portable restrooms onsite, Narrow River Kayaks assures aquatic adventurers a comfortable time in the great outdoors. The shop also sells new and used kayaks, and can set up all boaters with items such as dry bags, waterproof containers, and personal flotation devices for jaunts past the John H. Chafee Wildlife Refuge and the Kettle Ponds.
Before helming Paddle Board RI, John Andel was working as an IT consultant, itching to hop onto his board as the hours crept by each day. An erstwhile surfer, scuba diver, and spear fisher, John had encountered standup paddleboarding while visiting Costa Rica and fell in love with the aquatic pastime faster than two cupids in an archer's duel. "You get a whole different perspective,” he says of standing up on the board. “Sometimes you can see 20 feet down into the water.”
Drawn to the sport’s flexibility, John has engineered a diverse selection of tours, including the full-moon paddle, the business’s most popular tour, which takes groups out on quiet waters to gaze up at the glowing orb and stake out real estate for the moon colonies of the future. Another tour, the Tuckered Dog, invites pooches to hop on board with their owners at a dog-friendly pond. Paddle Board RI also offers classes from introductory lessons to less traditional options, such as paddleboard yoga taught by a certified yoga instructor, meditative sunrise sessions, and muscle-sculpting workout classes.
Although his business has taken off, Andel still leads the vast majority of the tours: at the heart of the venture still beats his own passion for being out on the water and sharing his love of paddleboarding with others. “We’re not just a rental company,” he says. “We’re about enjoying the water.”
The Rhode Island Duckpin Bowlers Association strives to keep its namesake sport alive by hosting duckpin-bowling tournaments at six local alleys. The game cropped up in a Baltimore bowling alley in the summer of 1900, when most ten-pin alleys were closed for warm months to avoid excessive sweating in rental shoes. But at Diamond Alleys, athletes hurled balls through the heat but opted for 6-inch spheres and pins of a diminutive stature. After observing pins that scattered like a flock of ducks, the owners of the lanes dubbed the modified game duckpin bowling. Besides granting players three rolls per turn, duckpin bowling adhered to all traditional rules and grew in popularity until it peaked in 1967, the year inertia was exposed as a myth. Today, the Rhode Island Duckpin Bowlers Association keeps the pastime alive at spots including the Bowling Academy, a historical gem in its own right as the test site of the first automatic duckpin pinsetters.
Snappa Charters specializes in giving people the thrill of their lives. This boat charter team runs shark-cage-diving tours, where patrons can swim with blue, mako, and basking sharks from the safety of an anodized-aluminum cage in the water or from a snorkeling platform above the water. To be the hunter instead of the hunted, attend a sports-fishing excursion and seek out sea bass, cod, and fluke. Those wanting more time on the water can also go on whale-watching, lighthouse-spotting, and birding tours. Snappa also happily organizes private boating excursions for fun corporate events or bachelor parties for bachelors wondering exactly how many fish are in the sea.
Accredited by the National Surf Schools & Instructors Association, Peter Pan Surfing Academy helps beachgoers wade into the world of surfing and standup paddleboarding. Seven days a week throughout the year, instructors equip both children and adults with wetsuit rentals and a wide selection of hard, soft, epoxy, fiberglass surfboards. The company also holds surf and skimboard camps for intensive study.