With 400 miles of coastline, beautiful sandy beaches, and Colonial seaside towns, it’s easy to see why Rhode Island vacations are so popular. But there’s more to the Ocean State than just beaches. It may be the smallest state in the United States, but this New England gem has plenty to offer for family vacations or weekend getaways. Let our travel guide show you why Rhode Island should be top of the list for your next vacation.
When you visit Rhode Island, you’re seeing the best New England has to offer – stunning sandy beaches, yachting, great jazz, lively coastal cities, and historic towns. From the buzzing capital city of Providence to Newport, the ‘City by the Lake’ and the sandy shores of Narragansett, there’s so much to see and do here for all ages.
The Breakers and Marble House, Newport – History lovers can’t afford to miss the chance to explore these two former summer homes of the Vanderbilts, built in the late 19th century.
Roger Williams Park Zoo, Providence – For a fantastic family day out, the zoo in Providence is a must. Founded in 1872, today it is home to over 150 animals from around the world.
International Tennis Hall of Fame, Newport – Tennis fans of all ages will love the opportunity to see where the first ever US Open Championship was held in 1881, with an interesting array of exhibits and tennis memorabilia.
1. Newport – This seaside city is known for its annual jazz festival, beautiful beaches, and glamorous mansions. Enjoy the shops and galleries of downtown, wander around the mansions, check out the Museum of Yachting in Fort Adams State Park, or walk along the Cliff Walk for some of the best views in New England.
2. Block Island – This island, set off Rhode Island’s southern coast has gorgeous beaches, scenic views, and plenty of trails for hiking and biking.
3. Narragansett Town Beach – The busiest beach in Narragansett is a popular spot for families, but it’s also worth checking out Scarborough State Beach, Roger Wheeler State Beach, and Salty Brine State Beach too.
4. Providence – Founded by Puritan minister and theologist Roger Williams, the state capital of Providence has plenty of points of interest. Take the kids to Roger Williams Park Zoo, take a historic walking tour, or dine on Italian food in the Federal Hill district.
5. East Providence – Although East Providence is now mostly a residential district, it’s worth heading here to check out Haines State Memorial Park. It’s a popular spot with families during the summer, and there are picnic tables and fire pits, as well as a bike path, and a marina where you can dock your boat.
Rhode Island has breathtaking summers where the temperature is just right for seeing all the state has to offer, averaging around 82°F. Fall is by far the most popular time of year to visit, when the leaves turn beautiful shades of orange and burnt umber and the weather is between 60-70°F. Winters here can be changeable and cold, often with heavy snow.
Any vacation guide will tell you that car rental is the best way to get around Rhode Island – there’s so much to see. There are over 70 state highways: I-95 is one of the main interstate routes, running southwest to northeast through the state, while I-195 runs from Providence to Massachusetts.