Named for the late state senator who spearheaded development of the trail, the William C. O'Neill Bike Path (a.k.a. South County Bike Path) follows the route of the former Narragansett Pier Railroad, which connected the coastal village of South Kingston with the Narragansett Pier. Built in 1876, the railroad carried passengers to the pier, where they caught the ferry to Newport. It also delivered coal and lumber from the bay to inland villages. In 1921 rail buses—actual buses adapted to ride the rails—replaced regular passenger cars on the line. Locals affectionately called these unique buses Mickey-Dinks, after two of the drivers.
Starting from the restored Kingston Station (home to the Rhode Island Railroad Museum; open weekends), this 6.1-mile bike path traverses the Great Swamp Wildlife Management Area. Particularly in the spring and fall, you'll encounter flocks of migratory birds. Just beyond Curtis Corner Middle School, footpaths on both sides of the trail lead to Tri-Ponds Park, which features three ponds, streams, 2 miles of nature trails, resident wildlife and a nature center. Continuing on the bike path, you'll wind through the quaint towns of Peace Dale and Wakefield, both rich in historical landmarks. A new extension crosses Kingstown Road (Rt. 108) at MacArthur Boulevard (follow along MacArthur) then goes under US 1 to end abruptly at Mumford Road in Narragansett.
Plans are underway to extend the trail another mile to the ocean. Until then, if you want to travel to the beach, turn right at the end of the bike path onto Mumford Road then left on Kingstown Road (US 1A) and follow it to the ocean, bearing left on Narragansett Avenue to parking at Beach Street.
Kingston Station is accessible by car, train, and bus.
By car from Providence, take Interstate 95 south to Exit 9 and follow State Route 4 south to US Hwy. 1 south. From US 1, head west about 7 miles on Route 138, which becomes Mooresfield Road, then Kingstown Road. Turn left on Railroad Avenue into the station. The trail begins at the south end of the main parking lot.
The station is an active stop on Amtrak's Northeast line between Boston and Washington, DC. RIPTA (Rhode Island Public Transportation Authority) buses also serve the station.
There is no parking at the Wakefield terminus, but parking is available at Curtis Corner Middle School in Peace Dale. From Kingstown Road, follow Route 108 south into town and turn right on Curtis Corner Road. The school is at 301 Curtis Corner.