Every Independence Day, Taylor Swift hosts an epic Fourth of July party at her oceanfront mansion in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, and stars from Ed Sheeran to Blake Lively turn up in the otherwise sleepy beach town to don red-white-and-blue onesies (or in Sheeran’s case a British “red coat“) and take part in activities like galavanting in the waves, riding giant, blow-up water slides, and making American flag cakes.
When Swift isn’t on site, the affluent beach town is known for its Victorian-style homes and what the New York Times once dubbed a “strong sense of privacy.” While Watch Hill has become better known since Swift purchased her $17 million residence there in 2013, high-profile visitors from Clark Gable and Henry Ford to Conan O’Brien and Hugh Jackman have long inhabited the village.
While the beach is the number one draw for this summer destination, it also offers opportunities for golfing, sailing and shopping — Christina’s Limited, Rochelle’s and Jan’s Boutiques are local favorites.
Visitors who aren’t lucky enough to land a spot in Swift’s guest quarters can book a room at Ocean House or Watch Hill Inn.
As for landmarks, the Watch Hill Light House, which has been around since 1808, is a must for views of the town’s three beaches: Watch Hill Beach, East Beach and Napatree Point. The Flying Horse Merry-Go-Round is one of the nation’s oldest merry-go-rounds, opened in 1876. Either would make the perfect spot for a not-so-impromptu Instagram shoot with the squad.