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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.

 

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.  

Fort Adams State Park in Newport, Rhode Island

Fort Adams State Park

Tour the 1841 fort, but stay for the music. Set right on Newport Harbor, this park is dominated by what was once the most heavily armed defense post in the USA, but it’s actually better known for its beautiful natural surroundings and a lively concert series, as well as jazz and folk festivals. Fishing, boating and picnicking are popular pastimes here, and the park boasts a sports complex available to the public that offers rugby, football and soccer.

The Providence Athenaeum

Housed in a 200-year-old building on Providence’s Benefit Street, this gorgeous independent library celebrates the “culture of physical books” by offering multiple tours through its stacks, special collections and rare book room. See the library’s 150 art objects, stop into the children’s library or stay for the Friday night salon or a poetry reading.

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.

Rough Point

Tour this perfectly preserved English manor of a Gilded-Age heiress, which features French furnishings, tapestries, porcelains and European art inside. Upstairs, visit the galleries that house the original owner’s substantial art collection and offer changing exhibits. Explore the gardens on a self-guided tour.  

Marble House, a Vanderbilt mansion, in Newport, Rhode Island

Marble House

Get a glimpse into the private lives of the Vanderbilts on a tour of this stately mansion, a National Historic Landmark. Here the rooms are all named and decorated in high style, and as you go from one to the next, the Vanderbilt story unfolds before you. On the lawn sits the Oriental Tea House, which was shipped from China to Newport. 

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. 

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.

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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Colorful houses with character
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Destination

Newport

A leisurely springtime gondola ride

Destination

Providence