Rhode Island contains a wide variety of activities that will appeal to any traveller. Here’s several of our favorites, with attractions in Newport, Providence, and elsewhere.
Visit the Shoreline
Rhode Island’s shoreline is a place of exceptional beauty, especially in the Newport area. If you happen to be around there, take some time to drive or walk along the coast. You can drive along Ocean Avenue, or take a walk along the cliffs in the backyard of Newport’s most famous costal estate, the Breakers. You can also find great views at the Mohegan Bluffs on Block Island, or at Colt State Park in Bristol.
And you thought you’d never see a flaming river outside of Cleveland. WaterFire is an unique, award-winning sculptural installation on the Woonasquatucket River in downtown Providence. Featuring over 80 braziers, the twice-monthly lightings feature local musicians and attract visitors from all around the region. You can even sign up to pilot a kayak with an illuminated koi fish on top, if you really want to get in on the action.
You might not be fancy enough for Martha’s Vineyard, but New England’s shoreline is home to dozens of tiny islands. Block Island is especially well marching bands known, including scenic 17 miles of Northern beaches, pastoral scenery, and abundant quiet. No cars are allowed, but boats are plentiful: the island is home to two full-scale harbors, with boundless opportunities for sailing.
Despite the state’s small size, it what the Boston Globe calls the “preeminent” museum in the region. The Roger Williams Park Zoo is home to more than 100 species of animals from around the world, including exotic zebras, snow leopards, and moon bears. The area immediately surrounding the zoo also contains a number of other kid-friendly attractions, including the Carousel Village, which a food court with a Victorian-style carousel.
Providence is home to the famed Rhode Island School of Design, which also runs the RISD Museum. With a collection of paintings by Matisse, Cézanne, Manet, Picasso and Degas alongside a collection of drawings, prints, and photographs with more than 25,000 works, it’s the broadest and best-loved art museum in Rhode Island.
The Breakers is a palatial summer “cottage” located just a short walk away from the shoreline. It was designed by famed Gilded Age architect Richard Morris Hunt in 1892 for Cornelius Vanderbilt II, and includes 70 resplendent rooms spread over five opulent floors. Newport also features four other seaside mansions, for those especially interested in manor homes of the period.