Narragansett Pier occupies a narrow strip of land between the Pettaquamscutt River and Narragansett Bay. Its sandy beaches and lush inland woods appealed to wealthy Victorians, who transformed the area into an exclusive resort by building hotels, Narragansett Pier and the renonwned Towers Casino. Built in 1883, the casino has been restored fully and now houses the local Chamber of Commerce. Although the 1938 hurricane washed away the pier, locals still refer to the downtown area as "the pier".
Commercial development is limited to tourist oriented type businesses. Other developments are centered on the waterfront (fishing) and research activities of the State of Rhode Island, and the Federal Government at the University of Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay Campus.
Narragansett is located in Washington County 30 miles south of Providence across the bay from Newport between Point Judith and Lake Shores along Highway 1A near Scarborough State Beach and Fisherman's Memorial State Park.