Beavertail State Park is a 153-acre public recreation facility on Conanicut Island’s southern end in Jamestown Rhode Island. The functioning Beavertail Lighthouse, whose current tower dates from 1856, is the park’s major feature. The park’s beautiful shoreline has a lot to offer including hiking, picnicking, and saltwater fishing. Beavertail State Park was established in 1980 when the location was designated as federal surplus land. It is free to visit every day from sunrise to sunset. Parking is ample but it does get packed on nice summer days.
In 1942, during World War II, the grounds were part of Fort Burnside, one of several coastal fortifications designed to protect Narragansett Bay. A battery of two 6-inch guns and a battery of two 3-inch guns had been built by late 1943. A massive Army-Navy Harbor Entrance Control Post was also built and still stands today, disguised as a beach home. A US Navy indicator loop station for detecting submarines was also located at Fort Burnside.
Part of the former Fort Burnside was used for the Naval Radio Station (NAVRADSTA) Jamestown, which was part of the Naval Communications Station (NAVCOMMSTA) Newport, from 1960 until 1974. It featured a 600-foot radio tower that stood out.