Rhode Island is home to five natural wildlife refuges including “our own” at Sachuest Point just 5 miles from the Cliffside Inn.
With nearly three miles of trails, the Sachuest Point offers visitors the chance to experience several environments where one can view a variety of animals and plants in their natural habitat.
A walk through the nature preserve is the perfect activity for any nature lover or photographer.
From Military Defense to Wildlife Protection
During the 1600s, right up to the early 1900s Sachuest Point was used primarily for farming and sheep grazing.
During the Second World War, the United States Navy used the point as a rifle range and a communications center.
After the war, Sachuest Point was acquired by the Audubon Society of Rhode Island and in the 1970s, the wildlife property was transferred back to the Federal Government and it became the Sachuest Point Wildlife Refuge; a national wildlife park.
In 1984 the refuge was fully established to its current 242 acres of wildlife protection.
Bring Your Cameras and Binoculars
With more than 200 bird species to see, the refuge is the perfect place for any avid bird watcher. On the coastline alone, visitors are likely to see loons, elders, and gannets. The refuge is also home to other migrating birds, such as the peregrine falcon and even the snowy owl.
Before exploring the many sites throughout the refuge, be sure to stop in at the newly-renovated visitor center (open daily from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm), and see the exhibits.
Popular Sites To See
- Salt Marsh & The Sharp-tailed Sparrow: Sachuest Point includes 40 acres of marshlands and rocky shorelines along the perimeter of the refuge. Salt marsh is a natural habitat between the land and sea. It is defined mainly by salt marsh grasses and other plants that have adapted to root in the mud. The sharp-tailed sparrow makes its home in these marshlands, and visitors are likely to see this songbird during the spring and summer months.
- New England Cottontail & Shrubland: The New England Cottontail is the only native cottontail species in Rhode Island. Unfortunately, their population has been declining due to a lack of safe natural habitats, and it is on the verge of becoming an endangered species. The refuge has been planting and creating natural habitats of native shrubs and brush piles in order to help preserve the endangered cottontail on its land.
- Cobble Beach & Harlequin Duck: Cobble Beach is a great area to check out migrating birds and their nesting areas. The refuge offers great views of shorebirds in their natural habitats. Spectators will have the opportunity to see these shorebirds hunt for worms, mollusks, and crustaceans. Harlequin ducks can also be seen along the refuge’s coastline. Known for its vibrant clownlike plumage, this diving duck is rare to see along the Atlantic, but an impressive amount of Harlequins gather around off the shores of Sachuest Point.
Our inn offers a relaxing place to stay while visiting Newport and Sachuest Point. The refuge is a short ten minute ride from Cliffside along a breathtaking coastline.