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Visit Rhode Island
Narragansett Bay, New England's largest estuary, on the north side of Rhode Island Sound
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Cities and Regions to Explore

Named one of the “10 Nicest Places in America” by Reader’s Digest, the capital city of Providence is well known for its popular WaterFire art installation, but is also home to rich history, educational institutions, a vibrant arts scene and a diverse population. One must-see neighborhood is Federal Hill, one of the top Little Italy neighborhoods in the USA and a hot spot for enticing dining options. Welcoming visitors for more than 400 years, Newport is North America’s last intact wooden city with more than 300 original wooden structures. Notable attractions in this area include the International Tennis Hall of Fame and St. Mary’s, the church where President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier married in 1953. Get away from it all in South County, which features 20 public beaches and 161 kilometers of waterfront ideal for water sports, deep-sea fishing and fresh-from-the-boat seafood.

 

Enjoy the Outdoors

Across the state, enjoy a slower pace of life with bicycling, kayaking, bird watching and sunbathing on incredible natural beaches. You’ll find some of the best surfing in Narragansett, while Newport is known as the sailing capital of the world. Accessible via ferry from coastal points including Newport, Block Island is one of Rhode Island’s hidden gems; the Nature Conservancy called it one of the “12 Last Great Places in the Western Hemisphere.” Don’t miss a trip to Mohegan Bluffs for sweeping vistas of the Atlantic Ocean.

For inland adventures, check out Lincoln Woods State Park, known for some of the best bouldering in the USA, or Arcadia Management Area for hiking in the state’s largest recreational area. At Yawgoo Valley, enjoy family-friendly snow sports in winter and a water park in summer. Quaint Blackstone Valley welcomes visitors to pick apples, berries and pumpkins at its picturesque farms and orchards – perfect for enjoying Rhode Island’s stunning fall foliage.

 

Historical Sites from Colonial to Palatial

Architecture buffs can make an itinerary out of Rhode Island’s astounding collection of historic structures. In Providence, walk Benefit Street’s Mile of History, lined with museums and preserved Colonial architecture. In Newport, discover Gilded Age mansions alongside the dramatic scenery on the Cliff Walk National Recreation Trail.

The city of Warwick is home to the state’s “original water fire” – the burning of the British schooner H.M.S. Gaspee in 1772, commemorated with the month-long Gaspee Days celebration every June. To the north, Blackstone Valley is the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution at Slater Mill, a National Historic Landmark. There’s religious history here too, including both the oldest synagogue in the USA (Touro Synagogue National Historic Site in Newport) and the country’s oldest Baptist church congregation (First Baptist Church in America in Providence).

Fort Adams State Park is open for tours of its circa-1824 fort and the summer residence of President Dwight Eisenhower. The park is also where the Newport Jazz Festival and Newport Folk Festival are held. Nearby, sit down to a meal or a pint at Newport’s White Horse Tavern, the oldest tavern in the USA.

Visit Rhode Island
Narragansett Bay, New England's largest estuary, on the north side of Rhode Island Sound
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Fun Fact

Sailing in Newport Harbor near Goat Island in Rhode Island
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The seaside resort city of Newport, Rhode Island, bills itself as the “Sailing Capital of the World.”

Polo match in Newport, Rhode Island
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Rhode Island boasts a number of U.S. firsts: international polo game (1886), Baptist church (1638), circus (1774) and open golf tournament (1895).

A lighthouse in Newport, Rhode Island
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Affectionately called “Little Rhody” by locals, this state’s small size gives way to a big coastline, 643 kilometers of it, to be exact.

Must see places

WaterFire Providence fire sculpture installation

WaterFire Providence

Where three rivers converge in downtown Providence, you’ll find this ongoing fire sculpture installation. 100 bonfires are lit in pans on the water and blaze all night while flotillas of performers go down the river, musicians perform and outdoor vendors supply visitors with food and drink.

 

The Breakers Vanderbilt mansion in Newport, Rhode Island

The Breakers

The venerable Vanderbilt home is a 70-room Italian Renaissance palazzo and includes within the estate a stable and carriage house. Spend the day on a leisurely self-guided audio tour, then explore the grounds to catch the sunset over the Atlantic. For perspective on the daily operation of this expansive estate, take the servant life tour.

Rhode Island School of Design and Museum

RISD, as it’s commonly called, is one of the USA’s greatest art and design schools. Together with the school’s museum, which houses nearly 100,000 objects in its collection, the school’s three galleries and thesis exhibitions offer visitors a dive into art and design culture from ancient times to today. Before you leave, stop into the school’s 80,000-specimen Nature Lab.

Aerial view of the Mohegan Bluffs on Rhode Island’s Block Island

Mohegan Bluffs

Located on Block Island, the 60-meter-tall Mohegan Bluffs offer one of the most dramatic views of the Atlantic Ocean in all of New England. Vistas from these clay cliffs can extend all the way to Montauk on the tip of Long Island in New York State. Take the set of 141 steps leads down from the bluffs to one of the most beautiful and secluded beaches on the island. The shoreline here may be rocky, but that only adds to the incredible perspective of the ocean and bluffs.

Cliff Walk winds along the shore and mansions of Newport, Rhode Island

Cliff Walk

On this National Recreation Trail set in the National Historic District of Newport, you’ll be peeking into the backyards of the rich and famous, but that’s welcomed. The homes you’ll see are magnificent examples of Gilded Age manors. Over 5.6 kilometers, you’ll be taken over rocky coastline, through meadows of wild bush and high up over the shore, where you can watch surfers and sailboats alike.

Slater Mill, a National Historic Landmark in Rhode Island

Old Slater Mill National Historic Landmark

Recognized as the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution, the 1793-era Slater Mill is the centerpiece of this peaceful historic district. The site also features the Sylvanus Brown House, a pre-revolutionary artisan worker’s cottage dating to 1758, and the Wilkinson Mill and Machine Shop, with its massive reconstructed waterwheel. Take a self-guided tour to learn more about this period in U.S. history through these historic buildings, exhibits and interpreters.

An evening view from Narragansett Town Beach in Rhode Island

Narragansett Town Beach

This classic New England saltwater beach with its smoothly curling waves is known for having some of the best surfing in New England, but it’s also a great place to relax and soak up the sun. Its convenient amenities include two pavilions with snack bars, changing rooms, restrooms and ample parking. When you’re ready to stretch your legs, walk north along the shore to see the mouth of the Pettaquamscutt River, or head into town for shopping and dining. Insider tip: Pick a restaurant with an outdoor deck overlooking the beach.

Benefit Street Mile of History, full of Colonial homes, museums and churches in Providence, Rhode Island

Benefit Street Mile of History

This street dense with Colonial homes, museums and churches is served by the Providence Preservation Society, which lays out a self-guided architecture tour. Other themed tours are available that explore the thoroughfare’s role in 18th and 19th century culture and history, including an H.P Lovecraft walk and a women’s history walk. 

Rocky shores of Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island

Narragansett Bay

Boating enthusiasts will find themselves with plenty to do on this estuary, home to 30 islands and accessible from Providence and other towns. Take a seal-watching tour, narrated boat cruise or see what it’s like to be out on the water in a historic schooner. From Scarborough State Beach, you can fish, snorkel or scuba dive.  

Riding along the East Bay Bike Path in East Providence, Rhode Island

East Bay Bike Path

Stretching more 23 kilometers from Providence to Bristol, the East Bay Bike Path traces the route of a former railway line. Today, the paved, multi-use path connects vibrant neighborhoods and tranquil parks and passes alongside scenic views of coves, marshes and city skylines. Featuring both forested and waterfront portions, the trail is packed with photo ops and gives visitors a chance to see another side of Rhode Island from two wheels.

Explore Rhode Island destinations

Farmlands leading to the coast on Block Island, Rhode Island
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Explore Rhode Island destinations
Serene shores of Crescent Beach on Block Island off the coast of Rhode Island
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Experience Rhode Island

Official Rhode Island Travel Site

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A leisurely springtime gondola ride

Destination

Providence

Colorful houses with character
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Destination

Newport