Escape the crowds for the serenity of windswept dunes and crashing waves at Goosewing Beach Preserve. Although it’s just down the shore from the popular sands of town-owned South Shore Beach, this coastal nature preserve feels like a hidden secret, remaining quiet even in the summer months.
Grab a patch of sand for yourself and spend the day swimming, beachcombing, or fishing the shoreline, which is studded with rocks dropped off by glaciers that shaped this region. Take a walk on the trails along the south end of Quicksand Pond to discover grassy dunes beneath wide-open skies, or learn something new about this special protected habitat at the seasonal Benjamin Family Environmental Center.
Goosewing Beach Preserve can only be publicly accessed by way of South Shore Beach. After parking in the South Shore Beach lot, walk east down the shoreline. Goosewing Beach Preserve begins just after eastern border of Tunipus Pond, and is marked by Nature Conservancy signs.
Walking trails begin behind the small cedar building at the entrance to the preserve. They first lead north to the Benjamin Family Environmental Center. From there, you can walk east on a small network of paths through the dunes. (Note: The land on the eastern and western side of Quicksand Pond is private property. Please respect these private lands by remaining on the south side of Quicksand Pond and the beach.)
The dunes and edge of Quicksand Pond are extremely fragile nesting spots for local birds. To protect them, please stay on the trails, keep out of marked and fenced-off areas, and leave dogs at home during the bird breeding season (April 1 – September 1).
Habitats & Wildlife
Quicksand Pond is the largest natural salt pond on Buzzards Bay. Storms periodically break through Goosewing’s barrier beach, allowing salt water to flow into the pond. This creates a unique ecosystem that supports a variety of fish, birds, amphibians, and even mammals like river otters. The Coalition monitors the health of Goosewing Pond through its Baywatchers program to help keep an eye on this unique coastal habitat.
The dunes and shoreline of Goosewing Beach are one of five places in Rhode Island where globally rare piping plovers are known to nest. Least terns, a state-threatened bird, also nest here. Both of these species nearly went extinct in the 1900s due to hunting and habitat destruction, but careful management over the past few decades has enabled them to make a slow but promising return. Goosewing Beach’s shores also see wintering populations of seals and are a popular place to fish for striped bass in the spring and summer.
Founded in 1951, The Nature Conservancy is a global nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, TNC creates innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together.