About This Place
Westerly is a town on the southwestern shoreline of Washington County, Rhode Island, United States. Founded in 1669 by John Babcock, it is a beachfront community on the south shore of the state. The population was 22,787 at the 2010 census. The town is part of the Norwich-New London New England City and Town Area.
On the western border of Westerly flows the Pawcatuck River, once renowned for its own species of Westerly salmon, three of which are on the town's crest. The Pawcatuck River flows from some fifteen miles (24 km) inland, emptying into Little Narragansett Bay. The Pawcatuck River also serves as the boundary between Westerly and Pawcatuck, Connecticut. Along the coast of Westerly lie salt ponds, which serve as shallow reeflike pools, whose outer walls form the long, white beaches for which the town became renowned. From west to east, these ponds are called Maschaug Pond, Winnapaug Pond, and Quonochontaug Pond. The town also has a fresh water lake, Chapman's Pond, which is undergoing revitalization. A type of granite, known as Westerly granite, has long been quarried here. Westerly granite, ideal for statuary, has been used in numerous government buildings of several states along the eastern seaboard. The Westerly area was known for its granite and stone-cutting industry.
Westerly becomes a large tourist attraction during the summer months - some argue[who?] that the population nearly doubles. From east to west, well-known beaches include Weekapaug Beach, Westerly Town Beach, Misquamicut State Beach, East Beach and Watch Hill Beach.