10 Very Best Things to Do in Rhode Island – Hand Luggage Only

Small and utterly powerful, Rhode Island is one of the most beautiful places on the east coast to discover! From quaint bays, historic towns, and museums galore, there are a ton of the best things to do in Rhode Island scattered across the state.

We absolutely loved our trip to Rhode Island, especially Providence, which is so nice to visit. That being said, you don’t have to limit yourself to just one state in the region. While we were here we took a trip around the best places in Massachusetts and had the best time in Boston too.

To help you get the most out of your trip around Rhode Island, I wanted to share our top spots that we fell in love with. Some are nature-based, others concern the quaint little towns; Anyway, I’m sure you will find a shed load to fall head over heels with!

Check out the best things to do in Rhode Island below. Enjoy your time exploring the east coast.

1.) Newport

Best things to do in Rhode Island

Located on the shores of Aquidneck Island, Newport is a thriving little town that is beautiful to visit. It is easily accessed via a series of bridges that connect the island. It’s a place worth a day (or two) driving along the east coast.

When you arrive be sure to check out Ocher Point Avenue and The Breakers, a huge Vanderbilt mansion too amazing to miss. It was built in the 19th century and was a symbol of Vanderbilt’s wealth. And it shows up even to this day.

With around 70 rooms and a colossal three-story dining room, this is a masterpiece. The whole mansion is a work of art!

Then, exit The Breakers and follow the iconic Cliff Walk that runs along the coast and bays. The views from here are breathtaking and it’s a beautiful place to visit later in the afternoon when the sun is setting a little lower.

Do you love your villas and ornate architecture? Then stay near the Bellevue Avenue Mansions. This area of ​​Newport is famous for its stunning buildings, all of which are between the ocean and Bellevue. It is wonderful.

Best things to do in Rhode Island

Make sure to visit the legendary Rosecliff Mansion, Marble House, and don’t forget The Elms.

The latter is another mansion gem and one of the best things to do in Rhode Island to check out the area’s famous homes.

Commissioned by Edward J. Berwind in the mid-18th century, it is a place full of French influences. Plus, the classic revitalization gardens are just too beautiful to miss.

After this opulence, head to Fort Adams State Park and learn more about this fort, which dates back to the 19th century.

Oldest tavern and pub in the US

Finally, visit the White Horse Tavern, the oldest (still operating) tavern in the United States. It dates back to 1673 and is an incredible place to have dinner. The seasonal menu is so delicious; and so is their New England clam chowder for that matter!

Read More: Best Places To Visit In Massachusetts

2.) Block island

Best things to do in Rhode Island

Easy to get to by boat (from this point) at Point Judith, Dock Island is a totally fun island adventure for a day trip in Rhode Island. The Block Island Ferry will take you to Block Island in no time.

Your first port of call is of course New Shoreham. From here, grab a bite to eat at Kimberly’s (for lobster, mac, and cheese) before cruising the beautiful coastline around Mohegan Bluffs.

Best things to do in Rhode Island

If you’re looking for a beach, head to Mansion Beach before ending your day off with a hike around the North Lighthouse. It’s just blessed.

Read More: Best Places To Visit On The East Coast

3.) Sachuest Bay

Best things to do in Rhode Island

Another Aquidneck Island gem, visiting Sachuest Bay is one of the best things to do in Rhode Island for any beach-goer.

As you can see, Second Beach is a sandy paradise that you really cannot miss in the summer. In the vicinity of Newport it is worth taking a look for a relaxing day. Plus, get one of the best sunsets in Rhode Island from here.

Best things to do in Rhode Island

When you have time (and extra energy to burn off), head to the beautiful hiking trails around Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge.

They are so peaceful and amazing on a stormy day with the waves crashing against the shore. I love that sound so much!

Read More: Best Things to Do in Cape Cod

4.) Providence

Best things to do in Rhode Island

Our first real stop in the state, visiting Providence is one of the best things to do in Rhode Island for a lovely city break. With a young vibe, it’s the type of capital that caters for everyone.

Gate crashing of a meeting in a government building ... in Providence, Rhode Island, USA (2)

Check out the RISD Museum of Art here, too good to miss! Part of the Islands School of Design is known for its huge collections that are just amazing. From collections of contemporary textiles to ancient Egyptian clothing to 20th century designers, this is a place that you can easily spend a couple of hours exploring.

Best things to do in Rhode Island

Next, head to WaterFire, an iconic Rhode Island sculpture created by Barnaby Evans. With four acres of Riverwalk and Water Place to explore, it’s a perfect spot for a stroll on a warm evening. There are also plenty of street vendors who are also seasonal.

Best things to do in Rhode Island

For a yummy treat, head to Bolt Coffee Co. for one of their fluffy donuts (and great coffee). I tell you you will want more than one!

Read More: Best Places To Visit On Long Island

5.) Beavertail State Park

Best things to do in Rhode Island

Just beyond Jamestown, Beavertail State Park is a gem along the impressive Rhode Island coastline. The whole area is totally breathtaking, although my favorite spot has to be the Beavertail Lighthouse Museum.

The hikes here are just amazing and the lighthouse is just an icon. In fact, I think it could be my favorite in all of Rhode Island.

6.) Narragansett Bay

Best things to do in Rhode Island

Ah, okay, so Narragansett Bay is an absolute gem to explore in Rhode Island that is hard to miss! You see, there are some great places like Newport, Providence, and Warwick, all of which are on the coast.

In the summer, be sure to go to Narragansett Town Beach. It’s awesome on the coast and there are tons of small foodie stalls and ice cream parlors along the coast.

Nearby are the towers, which have provided iconic views of the city since the 19th century.

Best things to do in Rhode Island

Oh, and don’t forget to check out Point Judith Lighthouse, which is also very close by. It is a breathtaking place to stroll and take in the view of the wider Narragansett Bay.

Read More: Best Places To Visit On The East Coast

7.) Bristol

Best things to do in Rhode Island

Not far from the Massachusetts border, Bristol is a beautiful little town well worth a look when exploring Rhode Island. Although relatively small, it’s a great place for a day trip (or a relaxing weekend away).

After parking, be sure to visit some of the city’s most famous spots. Of course, you have to explore Colt State Park, which stretches across one of New England’s most beautiful coastlines.

Not only is it ideal for a hike, but there is also the Coggeshall Farm Museum to visit.

Want to explore more? Go to the Blithewold Mansion, which is located on 101 Ferry Road. A long time ago, more precisely in 1908, Blithewold was built for Augustus Van Wickle. It is similar in design to a 17th century English country estate and is beautiful to look at.

With a whopping 45 rooms furnished with the family’s art collections, this is a place to be proud of. Plus, the reasons are just breathtaking.

Head to the Bristol Oyster Bar for a delicious local meal. The oysters and the grilled atlantic salmon are so delicious.

Read More: Best Things to Do in Cape Cod

8.) Napatree

Best things to do in Rhode Island

Located on the outskirts of New York State and Connecticut, Napatree is a great place to visit if you’re looking for the outdoors. With a pristine and sheltered headland, Napatree has a beach walk too good to miss.

The entire dune area and the beach are simply untouched and worth a visit for a walk of a few hours.

Plus, you can easily stop at the nearby Olympia Tea Room, which has been around for over 100 years. They make a mean clam roast that is not to be missed.

Read more: Best Places to Visit in Massachusetts

9.) Pomham Rocks Lighthouse

Best things to do in Rhode Island

Located right on the coast overlooking the Providence River, Pomham Rocks Lighthouse has been on Rhode Island for over 150 years!

For your convenience, go to this point which has a breathtaking view of the bay.

Best of all, you can tour the lighthouse (about 2 hours long) and learn a lot more about its history. Plus, the lantern room is pretty cool!

10.) Ocean Drive

Best things to do in Rhode Island

Still technically part of Newport, Ocean Drive is a leisurely little route that runs along the island’s rugged coastline. While the drive doesn’t take long, it’s one of the best things to do in Rhode Island if you don’t have enough villas.

If you want to frolic more, just follow Bellevue Avenue to the end of Coggeshall Avenue. You can then turn left to drive past Bailey’s Beach on the shore (that’s just as nice). If you continue, you should take the next ten miles to Gilded Age Cottages. However, they are anything but traditional huts!

If you continue you’ll come to Brenton Point State Park, which is a perfect vantage point on a calm, sunny day.

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