Rhode Island might be the smallest state in the United States, but it makes up for it in a big way with its stunning display of natural beauty. From its craggy coastline with pristine beaches to scenic woodland hikes and skiable terrain, the “Ocean State” offers endless options for outdoor recreation.
Charming cities like Providence and Newport are at the top of most Rhode Island itineraries, while a day trip to Block Island gives access to the famed Mohegan Bluffs and its sweeping Atlantic Ocean vistas.
History buffs will love exploring the collection of fascinating museums and historic structures, which include grand Gilded Age mansions, centuries-old buildings, and the site noted as the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution.
You can enjoy a classic New England experience in Rhode Island, whether you’re making a splash at the picture-perfect Misquamicut State Beach or touring small-town gems that date back to the 1800s. Seasonal fun is on offer, too – from picking fruit in Apple Valley to attending annual seafood festivals!
With so many vibrant cities and regions to explore, you’ll find many exciting things to see and do in Rhode Island. To make it easy to plan your next adventure, we’ve compiled a list of the best things to do in the Ocean State, including the top natural attractions, historic sites, and family-friendly destinations.
Our Rhode Island bucket list includes the best of the best, including the state’s hidden gems and coastal treasures!
Don’t forget to check out our web story: The 25 Best Things to Do in Rhode Island
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25 cool and unique things to do in Rhode Island
1. Experience Opulence at The Breakers
Head to Newport to visit The Breakers, a 70-room Italian Renaissance estate built by Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1895. It’s one of the top things to do in Rhode Island, showcasing the over-the-top wealth of the Vanderbilt family within the Gilded Age mansion.
Take a self-guided behind-the-scenes tour of the summer “cottage” to get an up-close look at the ornate living spaces, including a grand three-story dining room. You can marvel at the beautiful ceiling paintings, mosaics, marble columns, and carved stucco and imagine what life was like during the turn of the century America.
Now a National Historic Landmark, the home was inspired by the Genoa palaces of the 16th century. You can also wander the 13-acre grounds of The Breakers, which feature a beautifully landscaped area and a 1,500-foot-long path around the property. You can also take a break and enjoy a drink in the Garden Cafe.
There’s even an audio tour designed for kids under 13. It offers a unique perspective with sound effects and music so they can learn about the architecture, symbols, and history of The Breakers in a fun way. If you visit later in the day, you can even catch a view of the sun setting over the Atlantic.
2. Discover Stunning Scenery on the Cliff Walk National Recreation Trail
If there’s one thing to add to your Rhode Island itinerary, it’s enjoying a scenic stroll along Newport’s famed Cliff Walk National Recreation Trail. The 3.5-mile path offers a slice of serenity, offering panoramic ocean views on one side and Gilded Age mansions on the other.
Get a glimpse of the rich and famous as you walk along the rocky coastline, with a chance to spot surfers and sailboats in the water. It’s one of the coolest things to do in Rhode Island, and it’s absolutely free! Plus, you can admire popular mansions such as The Breakers, Rough Point, and Marble House.
Looking for an easy stroll? The best section for a low-key walk is to start at Memorial Boulevard just before Easton’s Beach and continue south with entrances at Narragansett Avenue by Forty Steps, Webster Street, Shepard Avenue, and Ruggles Avenue. With paved walkways and flat terrain, this is the easiest portion of the walk.
Alternately, if you’re short on time, you can park your car at Narragansett Avenue. Once you park, make your way to Ruggles Avenue, and capture its most iconic sites, like The Breakers, Salve Regina University, and Ochre Court.
3. Tour the Elms Mansion
One of the most beautiful National Historic Landmarks in Rhode Island, the Elms Mansion was commissioned by Philadelphia coal magnate Edward J. Berwind. It was based on the mid-18th century Château d’Asnière near Paris, created as a summer home for the ultra-wealthy Berwinds.
Take a tour of the estate to see its beautiful interior design, which includes furnishings by Paris designers. Walk through the home adorned with elaborate 18th-century oriental jades and take a peek at the rich collection of French and Venetian paintings on its walls.
Walk outside to see the mansion’s elaborate Classical Revival gardens, which were developed between 1907 and 1914. Bask in the sunshine on its terraces with marble and bronze sculptures, then stop to admire the lower garden’s marble pavilions, fountains, sunken garden, and carriage house.
If you want a unique perspective of the historic landmark, sign up for the Elms Servant Life Tour. Hear stories of how the other half lived, with real-life stories of some of the men and women who worked to service the wealthy residents during the Gilded Age. You’ll visit the 3rd-floor staff quarters and learn about the former butlers, cooks, and maids.
4. Fly a Kite in Brenton Point State Park
Beloved by locals for its commanding views of Narragansett Bay, Brenton Point State Park sits on the renowned Ocean Drive in Newport. Set where the Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, it’s here you’ll find some of the most spectacular views on the East Coast!
The park occupies the former grounds of one of Newport’s most grand estates, which was also used as a battery and coastal defense during the Revolutionary War. It’s a delightful destination if you enjoy the outdoors, featuring a variety of beautiful gardens, cool breezes for flying kites, and a chance to explore the mansion’s historic interior.
Pack a lunch and enjoy the serene views from one of the picnic tables or stretch your legs on the scenic trails that offer long stretches of coastal views. The park’s rocky outcrop is a popular spot for fishing and spotting yachts and ferries traversing the waters.
If you time your visit right, you can attend the family-friendly Newport Kite Festival in the summer. Kite-flyers around the country participate in creating a colorful display of kites in the sky that are fueled by the strong coastal winds.
5. Catch a Sunset at Fort Adams State Park
History buffs will want to add Fort Adams State Park in Newport to their Rhode Island bucket list, as this historic military compound was once used to defend the harbor. Come here to enjoy the stunning views over Brenton Cove, the harbor, and Narragansett Bay, and explore the fortress halls and underground tunnels on a 75-minute guided tour.
Aside from its historical significance, this park offers plenty of outdoor recreation as well. You can enjoy fishing, boating, and saltwater bathing, as well as picnics when the weather is warm. Plus, the picturesque 2.2-mile Fort Adams Bay Walk takes you to some of the most scenic spots along the water’s edge.
With its panoramic views of the harbor and bay, it’s a great destination for catching a sunset as you watch boats pass you by. For some of the best views, head to the top of the fort’s walls to see miles out over the Atlantic in all directions!
To dig deeper into the site’s history, you can also visit the summer house of President Eisenhower, which dates back to 1873. Plus, in the summer, you don’t want to miss the live concerts and entertainment at popular annual events like the Jazz Festival and Folk Festival.
6. Dine with Harbor Views at Bowen’s Wharf
Called the “anchor of Newport,” Bowen’s Wharf is a premier waterfront destination with plenty of action. Home to a bustling marina, excellent seafood restaurants, and a vibrant nightlife scene, there’s always something fun to do at Bowen’s Wharf.
Take a stroll on the brick and cobblestone walkways and enjoy the salty sea air as you browse the area’s collection of quaint waterfront boutiques and galleries. When hunger strikes, take your appetite to one of the top-rated restaurants, where you can pair fresh seafood with water views. Some of the most popular choices to treat your taste buds are 22 Bowen’s Wine Bar & Grille, The Mooring Seafood Kitchen & Bar, and The Black Pearl.
Bowen’s Wharf is also known for its annual events, including the Newport Oyster & Chowder Festival, where you can sample delicious seafood dishes from the Ocean State. The Annual Bowen’s Wharf Seafood Festival is another favorite and is considered one of the best fall festivals on the coast.
You can take to the water on one of the ferries, with services to Fort Adams, Rose Island, and Jamestown Village leaving from Bowen’s Ferry Landing. Alternately, opt for a leisurely tour of the Newport Harbor with local tour operators, such as Classic Cruises of Newport, Sightsailing of Newport, and 12 Meter Yacht Charters.
7. Dine on Fresh Seafood at America’s Oldest Tavern
The White Horse Tavern in Newport is a slice of US history and a National Historic Landmark, having served guests since 1673. It’s the oldest operating restaurant in the country and is the 10th-oldest in the entire world!
The building is typical of colonial Newport with its charming exterior and clapboard walls, gable roof, and plain pediment doors. Step inside, and you can marvel at its giant beams, small stairway against the chimney, and a large fireplace that represents 17th-century American architecture.
Once designed as a two-story, two-room residence in 1652, it was converted into a tavern and meeting place of the Colony’s General Assembly, Criminal Court, and City Council. In 1954, it was restored to its former glory, and by 1972 it was put on the National Register of Historic Places.
Serving locals for over 350 years, you can enjoy all sorts of fresh fish, clams, and lobsters from Narragansett Bay, as well as Beef Wellington, Lobster Ravioli, and New York Sirloin. Anything but dated, it offers a contemporary culinary experience within its historic dining rooms.
8. Observe Exotic Animals in Roger Williams Zoo
If you’ve got the kids in tow, the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence offers a fun day of interacting with exotic animals. One of the oldest zoos in the United States, the 40-acre space is home to harbor seals, bald eagles, elephants, giraffes, monkeys, sloths, cheetahs, and more!
Animal exhibits allow you to travel the globe, from the zebras and hogs in the Fabric of Africa section to the rainforest setting and monkeys in the Faces of the Rainforest area. Kids can try the milking station and meet cuddly goats and alpacas in the Alex and Ani Farmyard, spot elusive snow leopards, or observe bison graze in the North America section.
If you want to get up-close and personal with some of the residents, sign up for one of the unique experiences on offer at the zoo. The Wild Connection program allows you to join a zookeeper for the day to meet red pandas, river otters, or sloths, while the Breakfast with the Animals gives you insight into their feeding behaviors.
If thrill-seeking is your thing, you can also visit the zoo’s new Explore and Soar area. Located within the zoo, the exhilarating zip ride offers views over Providence and into Narragansett Bay. Alternately, a kid-friendly train ride excursion takes you through the woodlands.
9. Admire Masterpieces in RISD Museum of Art
The Museum of Art at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is a must for art lovers, housing nearly 100,000 objects in its collections. It’s one of the best art and design schools in the entire country, with galleries showcasing diverse cultures from ancient times to the present.
Take the time to browse the paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts, as well as the vibrant costumes, textiles, and furniture displayed from across the globe. You never know what surprises await around the museum’s corners, whether it’s ancient Egyptian clothing, Elizabethan needlework, or Native American moccasins!
You’ll see plenty of famous artists featured here, including works by Georgia O’Keeffe, Monet, and Degas, as well as Cezanne, Rodin, Picasso, and Matisse. In addition to housing one of the largest collections of late 18th-century and early 19th-century British watercolors in the US, there are also prints and drawings from 18th-century Italy.
Don’t miss seeing the collection of Greek coins, Roman jewelry and glass, and 19th-century Japanese prints on display. You’ll also find an interesting collection of European and American decorative arts, including American silver by colonial silversmiths and 18th– and early 19th-century French wallpaper that is considered the finest in the world!
10. Explore the Cobblestone-Paved Waterplace Park
A can’t-miss destination in Providence, Waterplace Park stretches along the Woonasquatucket River. It’s a charming area with a laid-back ambiance, featuring cobblestone pathways along the water dotted with benches for taking in the scenery.
You’ll find lively concerts and events taking place at this four-acre park throughout spring, summer, and fall, while pedestrians can take a peaceful stroll on the walking paths. In the area are also a number of quaint shops and waterfront restaurants, as well as historic monuments.
It’s here you’ll also find the beloved WaterFire art installation – which illuminates the downtown area – on full display. Located right where three rivers converge, small bonfires are lit in pans on the water and blaze all night while musicians entertain and vendors sell food and drinks. Held from May to November, you can walk along the banks to see the fires from different vantage points!
When you work up an appetite, nearby Bacaro serves a menu of creative Italian cuisine, while Hemenway’s is known for its raw bar and locally sourced seafood. For tasty sushi specialties, head to Jacky’s Waterplace Restaurant.
11. Take a Step Back in Time on Benefit Street Mile of History
Providence’s Benefit Street Mile of History is one of the best things to do in Rhode Island if you’re a fan of US history, as it boasts the most impressive concentration of original Colonial homes in the country. To get an up-close look at the beautifully restored homes, churches, and museums overlooking the historic waterfront, you can embark on a fascinating tour of the 1.2-mile stretch of road.
Immerse yourself in the history where Providence’s elite once lived in the 18th century. To see the grand buildings either on a self-guided or guided tour, you’ll have to head to the city’s historic East Side. From here, you can marvel at the Colonial and Victorian-era gems along the cobblestone sidewalks.
Most guided tours depart from the John Brown House Museum, which is one of the most-loved Benefit street attractions. Other highlights of the area include the Nightingale-Brown House, the Providence Art Club (founded in 1880), and the Barker Playhouse, aka “America’s Oldest Little Theater.”
You can also take a guided tour of the Stephen Hopkins House, home to Declaration of Independence-signer Stephen Hopkins, or explore the seventh-oldest college in the United States – Brown University. For stunning scenery, stop by Prospect Terrace Park for panoramic views of Providence’s downtown at sunset.
12. Explore the Charming Town of Little Compton
Rhode Island is full of charming towns, but Little Compton stands out with its postcard-worthy seaside setting. Nestled between the ocean and the Sakonnet River, you can easily get your outdoor fix at coastal gems like South Shore Beach, which offers excellent swimming and picturesque waters.
Wine lovers can try a tasting flight at Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyard and lounge on the outdoor lawn seating, while history buffs can walk through the historic Wilbor House Museum. On guided tours, you’ll see a 19th-century barn, carriage house, and collection of antique carriages.
Both kids and adults can take a leisurely walk along the Dundery Brook Trail. With a fully accessible boardwalk, it offers a scenic look at the forested wetlands, swamps, and a variety of wildlife. Nature lovers can also take a self-guided tour through the flower-filled Sakonnet Garden.
Goosewing Beach Preserve is one of the most scenic spots in Rhode Island, where you can pack a picnic or go swimming, featuring a pristine coastal pond, barrier beach, and dune system. However, for an iconic snapshot, head to the beach at Sakonnet Point and photograph the Sakonnet Point Lighthouse in the water.
13. Take a Ferry to Block Island
Taking a ferry to Block Island is usually at the top of everyone’s Rhode Island bucket list. Nested 10 miles offshore, it’s home to 17 miles of sandy beaches, beautiful lighthouses, and a spectacular collection of bluffs.
This New England island gem is a sanctuary for nature enthusiasts, featuring scenic hiking trails lining the coast. The 200-foot-tall Mohegan Bluffs is a highlight for many, where you can marvel at dramatic ocean views at its base and descend 141 stairs to discover a secluded beach spot.
While sailing, kayaking, parasailing, and fishing are popular, Block Island is also a great place to kick back and unwind. Enjoy a leisurely day of browsing the locally owned shops and book an overnight stay in one of the cozy inns in the Old Harbor area with Atlantic Ocean views.
For a view of the North Lighthouse, head to the island’s northern tip and take a stroll along the shoreline. Birdwatchers can spot migratory birds at the Block Island National Wildlife Refuge, while the Block Island Historical Society museum, Peleg Champlin House, and Hygeia House are all favorites with history buffs.
14. Dig Your Toes in the Sand at Narragansett Bay Beaches
Sunseekers looking to unwind should add Narragansett Bay Beaches to their Rhode Island bucket list. With long, picturesque stretches of fine white sand, this area’s collection of beaches offers a glimpse of classic New England coastal landscapes.
Narragansett Town Beach is one of the best, offering a tranquil space to relax and bask in the sunshine. It’s also a hotspot for catching waves, as it’s known for having some of the best surfing in New England.
This beach is a family-friendly pick with its pavilions, snack bars, restrooms, and parking, while a collection of restaurants with beachfront views and outdoor decks make it perfect for a romantic getaway too. Stretch your legs with a walk along the shore to see the mouth of the Pettaquamscutt River or head to the city center for lodging, shopping, and dining.
Beach lovers are spoiled for choice with nearby beaches. East Matunuck State Beach, Roger W. Wheeler State Beach, and Scarborough State Beach are just some of the favorites, offering pretty coastlines and plenty of chances for fun in the sun!
15. Bike Along the Water at Colt State Park
Home to one of Rhode Island’s most beautiful shorelines, Colt State Park is often referred to as the hidden gem of the state parks system. In addition to panoramic vistas of Narragansett Bay, it boasts scenic hiking trails, paved bike paths, and open fields with historic stone walls.
The entire western border of the park borders the bay, making it a great spot to hop on two wheels and savor the coastal views. If you want to go on a longer trek, the park’s trails connect with the East Bay Bike Path that runs from Bristol to Providence.
The 464-acre park is just minutes from the historic center of Bristol, adjacent to the Coggeshall Farm Museum. This living history museum gives you a glimpse of farm life in the 1790s, with live interpreters and historic structures. You can also meet farm animals, like free-range dunghill fowl and large black pigs.
16. Wander the Botanical Gardens at Blithewold Mansion
Located in Bristol, Blithewold Mansion is a beautiful 33-acre summer estate with incredible views of Narragansett Bay. One of the top attractions in Rhode Island for nature lovers, it’s noted as one of the most authentic examples of the Country Place Era in the United States and features ornate rooms and lovely gardens.
Step inside the 45-room mansion to discover a fascinating array of family heirlooms on display in its historic interior. Afterward, wander the pathways in the outdoor gardens, as the tranquil oasis offers a whimsical setting with landscaped lawns and stone structures.
Along with intricate stonework, you’ll find rare and unusual plants, specimen trees, and an accessible greenhouse. The centenarian Chestnut Rose in the Rose Garden, perennials in the North Garden, and water lily-filled pond in the Water Garden are just some of the highlights.
It doesn’t matter what time of year you visit, as you can enjoy blooming floral displays every month, from tulips in May, roses in June, and dahlias in September to chrysanthemums in November. Other notable features of this summer estate include the 18th-century Lovers Lane that offers access to the bay and a Bamboo Grove that was planted in the 1930s.
17. Enjoy Water Activities at Misquamicut State Beach
Misquamicut State Beach is the most famous stretch of sand in the state, featuring over a half-mile of picturesque beachfront. Located in the town of Westerly, it’s a family-friendly spot with playgrounds, concessions, outdoor showers, and shady gazebos.
From around June to September, this area is filled with beachgoers enjoying the sunshine and indulging in water sports like surfing, jet skiing, and swimming, while sunset watching is equally as exciting! For some of the best sunset views, head to the outdoor patio at Andrea Seaside Restaurant and Beach Bar to enjoy cocktails and water views.
If you’re feeling hungry, Salty’s Burger & Seafood, Two Little Fish, and Paddy’s Beach Club all offer fresh seafood favorites. Beachfront lodging is also popular at Pleasant View Inn and Breezeway Resort, while a collection of hotels, restaurants, and shops line the main road, Atlantic Avenue.
You can spend a day beach hopping, as Atlantic Beach Park, Westerly Town Beach, and Wuskenau Town Beach are also nearby. At Atlantic Beach Park, there’s a historic carousel for kids, soft-serve ice cream at Dusty’s Original Dairy Bar, and live music at the oceanfront Windjammer Surf Bar.
18. Marvel at the Rocky Coastline from Beavertail Lighthouse & Museum
Nestled at the southernmost tip of Jamestown, Beavertail Lighthouse & Museum boasts some of the most beautiful coastal vistas in New England. You can marvel at the dramatic water views from the comfort of your car or get out and take in the panoramic sights from one of the overlooks.
The lighthouse museum houses a collection of fascinating artifacts highlighting the history of the third-oldest lighthouse in North America, which was built in 1856. Weather-dependent, you can climb the 49 steps and spiral staircase to reach the observation catwalk. From here, you can enjoy stunning water views.
If you prefer to explore on foot, you’ll also find an array of scenic hiking paths in Beavertail State Park, which adjoins the lighthouse site. You can even bring your rod and reel, as this area is known for providing some of the best saltwater fishing in the area.
19. Hit the Slopes at Yawgoo Valley Ski Area & Water Park
The only skiing resort in Rhode Island, Yawgoo Valley Ski Area & Water Park is a year-round destination for family fun in Exeter. The park creates its own winter wonderland with 100% snowmaking, while warmer months offer access to a kid-friendly water park.
If you want to hit the slopes, the ski and snowboard areas are operational from December to March and feature 36 acres of skiable terrain. It’s the perfect outdoor adventure in Rhode Island when the temperatures drop below freezing. Plus, there’s a Snow Tubing Park featuring seven perfectly carved lanes and tow ropes.
Don’t worry if you don’t have the gear to get started, as the on-site rental equipment shop has everything you need to get snow sports ready. You can also sign up for the Snow Sports School if you’re a beginner or need a refresher from a professional instructor.
On the flip side, when the weather heats up, Yawgoo is a fun place to cool off from the hot summer temps. The water park operates mid-June through Labor Day and boasts two thrilling water slides that send you down 400 feet of twisting lanes, while a full-size swimming pool and kiddie pool offer plenty of chances to relax.
20. Bike the Route of a Former Railway Line
Stretching 14 miles from Providence to Bristol, the East Bay Bike Path is one of the most scenic ways to take in Rhode Island’s sites. Tracing the route of a former railway line, the paved multi-use path connects Providence to Bristol along the shore of Narragansett Bay.
Hop on two wheels and make your way past coves, marshes, parks, and bridges on this adventurous journey, which offers a glimpse of charming neighborhoods, beautiful parks, and city views. The trail includes forested and waterfront sections and is packed full of photo opportunities!
Passing through eight parks as it runs along historic waterfronts, the biggest highlight is the unobstructed views of the Providence skyline. The trail passes through Barrington, with the bridges crossing Barrington and Palmer rivers’ popular fishing spots. When you need a break, the districts in Riverside, Barrington, Warren, and Bristol all offer opportunities for snacks and refreshments.
The trail ends along Bristol Harbor, just past the entrance to Colt State Park. It’s an ideal trail for families and beginners, as the path is relatively easy with a flat surface for most of the journey.
21. Go Horseback Riding at Goddard Memorial State Park
Located in Warwick, Goddard Memorial State Park is one of Rhode Island’s most popular local parks. With its spacious lawns, fields, and forested areas, it offers a tranquil escape from the city bustle.
There’s a long list of things to do, as outdoor enthusiasts can make use of the park’s nine-hole golf course, 18 miles of hiking trails, game fields, and picnic tables. Nature lovers can enjoy spotting trees from around the world, including 62 deciduous and 19 evergreen species.
If you enjoy horseback riding, there’s also an equestrian show area with a fenced corral and trails for riders. Families can head to C and L Stables for guided horseback riding excursions through the park as well as beach bayside rides.
Overlooking Greenwich Bay and Narragansett Bay, a focal point of the park is the beach. With calm waters, the picturesque shoreline offers tons of room to stretch out on the sand. Active travelers will also enjoy a stroll on the Extended Loop trail, which takes you to Sally Rock Point, where you can take in views of the bay.
22. Explore the Small Town of Tiverton
Tiverton is easily one of Rhode Island’s best-kept secrets and is home to historic buildings, beautiful beaches, and great local restaurants. Stretching alongside the Sakonnet River near the border of Massachusetts, it’s a great destination to escape the city noise.
Start your journey in Tiverton in the historic Four Corners district, and you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time with its colorful buildings dating back to the early 1800s. Stop to browse the array of antique shops, then reward yourself with a sweet treat at the popular Gray’s Ice Cream.
When the weather is warm, Fogland Beach is a hotspot for outdoor activities like kayaking, windsurfing, and hiking in its nature reserve. Another destination for nature lovers is Weetamoo Woods and Pardon Gray Preserve, which both offer walking trails where you can admire oak and holly trees and native birds.
Open for over 50 years, you can’t leave Tiverton without sampling the fresh seafood at Evelyn’s Drive-In. Known for its clams, they also serve calamari, crab cakes, lobster rolls, and chowder. After you feast, burn off those extra calories with a riverside stroll on the 1.6-mile trail at Audubon Emilie Ruecker Wildlife Refuge.
23. Pick Seasonal Fruits in Blackstone Valley
Blackstone Valley is one of the most picturesque destinations in Rhode Island, and it’s home to historic sites, nature areas, and the famous “Apple Valley.” In Apple Valley, you’ll find a collection of family-owned farms where you can pick your own seasonal fruits throughout the year!
You can pick apples and peaches at Appleland Orchard, a spot beloved for its award-winning natural apple cider and hot cider donuts. Jaswell’s Farm is another favorite, with strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries in summer, and apples and pumpkins in fall, while its farmstead and bakery sells fresh fruit pies, pastries, and other desserts.
There are plenty of fun things to do in nearby Blackstone Valley, including outdoor adventures like canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and biking. Top attractions include the 11-mile long Blackstone River Bikeway, Riverboat cruises aboard the Blackstone Valley Explorer, and a historic duckpin bowling alley at Breaktime Bowl And Bar.
If you’re feeling lucky, head to Twin River Casino, Rhode Island’s largest gaming and entertainment venue. The 21 and up crowd can also enjoy craft brews at local spots like Bravo Brewing Company, Crooked Current Brewery, and Foolproof Brewing Company.
24. Stroll Scenic Hiking Paths at Lincoln Woods State Park
Lincoln Woods State Park is one of Blackstone Valley’s hidden gems, located just a short drive from Providence, Pawtucket, and Cumberland. It’s one of the coolest places to visit in Rhode Island if you want to enjoy nature. You can swim at a freshwater beach, enjoy trout fishing, go horseback riding, or follow scenic hiking trails.
You can choose your level of outdoor activity at this 627-acre nature park, which makes for a perfect family day out or day trip with friends. Whether you prefer to relax under a shady tree, enjoy snacks at a picnic table, or get out on the water with a kayak rental, this natural space has it all!
Head to the 128-acre Only Pond in the summer to find a sandy stretch of beach for swimming and basking in the sunshine. Alternately, lace up your hiking boots and explore the park’s walking paths, which feature beautiful water views and huge rock formations for climbing.
25. See the Birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution at Slater Mill
If you’re a fan of history, the Old Slater Mill National Historic Landmark is worthy of a stop on your Rhode Island road trip. Located in Pawtucket on the banks of the Blackstone River, it has been recognized as the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution!
A self-guided tour of the area reveals a fascinating look at this period in US history, standing as an important reminder of the changes brought on by industrialization. You’ll first be greeted with the rumbling sounds of the 1793-era Slater Mill, which serves as the centerpiece to the charming historic district.
Learn about Samuel Slater, the mill’s founder who first successfully implemented water-powered cotton spinning technology in the United States. This decision brought an array of changes throughout the country, from machine-made goods to hourly wages and labor unions.
Tours are led by interpreters who offer an insightful look at the history of Blackstone Valley. As you explore the area, you’ll find other notable historic landmarks, including the Sylvanus Brown House, which is a pre-revolutionary artisan worker’s cottage that dates back to 1758. Make sure to see waterpower run the 19th-century machine shop in Wilkinson Mill and photograph the massive reconstructed waterwheel.
There you have it! The 25 best things to do in Rhode Island. What’s your favorite thing to do in the Ocean State?
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