Things to do in Rhode Island

The many things to do in Rhode Island are as varied as the many attractions in the state.There is much to see in the smallest state in the country, at only 1,545 square miles in land area, from the history of the Industrial Revolution that changed the face of the country to opulent Gilded Age mansions. And, the more than 400 miles of coastline and more than 30 scenic islands provide seemingly endless beaches and wonderful activities on the water.


The state has 400 miles of coastline, the 150 square miles of Narragansett Bay with its more than thirty islands, and little Block Island only twelve miles off the coast from Westerly and Misquamicut. It is difficult to travel in Rhode Island without encountering water of some sort. This means virtually every Rhode Island vacation will touch on at least one of the many beautiful beaches at least once. The beaches and rocky bluffs also boast 21 historic lighthouses, several of which are open for tours.


With all the water mentioned above, travel in Rhode Island often includes a cruise of some sort. It could simply be the one-hour ferry ride from Point Judith or Newport to Block Island (you can take your car rentals on some of these). There are scenic cruises in Narragansett Bay, and whale watching cruises off the coast. Luncheon and dinner cruises on elegant yachts from Providence and Newport make wonderful features on Rhode Island trips as well as add a touch of class. You can even take cruises on some of the prestigious racing yachts of the America's Cup.


There's not just saltwater. Numerous lakes and rivers provide things to do in Rhode Island as well, and freshwater fishing is one of them. Deep sea fishing charters are available from virtually every port in the state, and guided or unguided fishing trips are available in the Blackstone River Valley that stretches from Pawtucket all the way to Worcester in Massachusetts. Many communities located on lakes and ponds have town fishing piers.


A Rhode Island vacation that centers on camping can be quite rewarding. More than 60 percent of the state is covered with beautiful woodlands, and there are numerous campgrounds in these areas. Some are fishing camps, while others are family campgrounds with activities for children as well as adults. You will also find camping areas on the many beaches, and most of these have water, electric, and sewer hook ups for mobile homes and recreational vehicles. Outside of Warwick, you'll even find a nudist campground.


There are nearly 60 golf courses packed into the 1,545 square miles of this little state. Travel in Rhode Island just about anywhere will put you in close proximity to a golfing venue. Most of the golfing venues are in South County, which includes the entire ocean coastline. Newport, with its beautiful mansions, has the most elite country clubs, including the prestigious Newport Country Club founded in 1893 by the same wealthy families who built the mansions.


There are extensive Heritage Hiking Trails in the state, and they cover a surprisingly varied terrain. There's urban hiking on the scenic Newport Cliff Walk, so even if your Rhode Island vacation is not in the wilderness and not about camping, you still get in some rewarding exercise. There is historic hiking in the Blackstone River Valley, where you can stop and explore numerous fascinating museums along the way. Even tiny Block Island boasts 25 continuous miles of hiking trails.


There are individual resort properties and entire resort regions. All of these provide numerous things to do in Rhode Island and some properties contain virtually everything for a complete vacation experience. There are full-service campgrounds with playgrounds, lakeside beaches, tennis courts, hiking and equestrian trails, and much more. There are beach resorts in South County, elegant five-star resorts in Newport with gourmet dining, and rustic resorts in the Blackstone Valley.


All Rhode Island trips can include some spa pampering. Spas in the state include everything from day spas in Woonsocket to the elegant Spa Terre that is part of the historic Viking Hotel in Newport. You can even have a massage therapist give you a relaxing massage onboard a luxury yacht.


You can't really travel to Rhode Island without taking a tour of some sort. Probably the most popular tours in the state are of the opulent mansions in Newport, the grandest of which is The Breakers. Slater Mill might be the only museum you visit, but it should be on your list if you're in the area. This living history museum is comprised of seven historic structures, including the first water-powered textile mill in the country.

Vacation Rentals

One the most desired accommodations when one visits beaches is a vacation rental, and you will find these in every beach community. You can rent an elegant "mini" mansion overlooking Newport Harbor to sleep as many as twenty or a cozy little cottage on the beach in Misquamicut.


Many people travel to Rhode Island specifically to get married. The state is a popular wedding destination because of the very unique and beautiful venues available for the ceremony and wedding party. Most of the mansions in Newport will host weddings, either indoors or on beautifully-landscaped gardens. Beaches, with sparkling water and historic lighthouses as the backdrop are popular. Block Island has an official island wedding planner, and there are yachts that can cater wedding dinners for as many as 400 guests.


Things to do in Rhode Island include visiting the state's wineries. Many of these are in historic structures from the eighteenth and nineteenth century, and visiting them can showcase some of the lovely countryside that many never see. You'll be surprised at the quality of local vintages, which you can taste while dining most anywhere in the state.

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