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Rhode Island: Small State, Big-Time Travel Attractions, Destinations

Wickford Village RI
Wickford Village, R.I.

by Eric Hurwitz. Page updated on 11/07/16

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(Editor's note: Links to Rhode Island travel articles appear after this somewhat interesting intro) - It's hard to believe for the smallest state in the United States that Rhode Island has so much accessible coastline. What that means is more beach time for you and your family.

The Rhode Island South County coastline features some of the family-friendly best beaches in New England, and serves as a terrific alternative to Cape Cod. In that area, you'll find some of New England's most charming towns, villages and neighborhoods, including, Watch Hill, Galilee, Wickford Village and Charlestown. From Gallilee, a ferry leads to Block Island, an instantly appealing island well preserved in nature. If you are inclined to pristine ocean amd beaches, rolling green fields and pastoral farms, abundant plant and wildlife, and a slower-paced lifestyle, then by all means plan a trip to what the Nature Conservancy has designated as "one of the 12 last great places in the Western Hemisphere."

It's easy to see why. With the exception of a small downtown, Block Island's 21 square miles -12 miles south of Rhode Island's main land--provide a treasure chest of unspoiled terrains -- the perfect place for a New England summer vacation. Most people walk, ride bikes or drive motor scooters to trek around the island. What they will find is their own beach, their own forest, their own special place, their own discovery. Walking off the beaten path will surely lead you to nowhere. And nowhere is a beautiful place.

Newport is a wonderful Rhode Island vacation destination, famous for its grand mansions. The fun doesn't end there, however, as visitors will find a plethora of things to do, including downtown shopping, great beaches, The Tennis Hall of Fame, summer music festivals, the wide open Fort Adams State Park (great for kite flying), a wonderful oceanside cliff walk, countless bed and breakfasts, inn, hotels and motels, and some of the best seafood dining that New England has to offer. It's a colorful town with myriad tourist attractions, sure to please on every visit.

A few miles from Newport is Bristol, a quintessential New England town -- tree-lined and quaint with an incredible Patriotic nature (flags waving everywhere you turn). Surrounded by Mount Hope Bay to the east and Narragansett Bay to the south and west, Bristol is stunning from every perspective. Colt State Park is especially impressive with its sweeping views of the Narrangansett Bay and ideally located walking paths. The downtown features well maintained older homes and an understated but pleasing array of restaurants, shops and lodging. Bristol is also offers the oldest (and extremely popular) Fourth of July celebration in the country. Bristol is a perfect start to your Rhode Island and New England vacation.

Rhode Island has a great city, too, -- Providence. From the colorful Italian streets of Federal Hill to the elegant brownstone, Ivy League neighborhoods of Brown University, Providence feels like a complete city. There's the mile of colonial houses on Benefit Street juxtaposed against a rapidly growing skyline. Providence Place Mall, one of the biggest malls in New England shines its modern leanings against the architecturally old world aura of the State House. Providence also offers some of the best restaurants in New England (Al Forno, Pot Au Feu) and a plethora of high quality hotels and inns.

Providence Place Mall is hands-down the best shopping mall in New England. Although forever controversial and either loved or hated with no middleground, the Providence Place Mall has steadily gained respect with its three floors of 165 shops, elegant surroundings with plush rugs, colorful architecture, shiny walls, and a wonderful view of the Providence skyline, including the beloved waterfront.

Providence is a world class city for several blocks, with expansion of that greatness on the way.

We encourage you to "travel Rhode Island" through our library--at Visiting New England.com, native New Englanders bring you the best in New England vacations and travel information with detailed essays, reviews, tips and resources. We hope you enjoy browsing our Rhode Island travel library and hope to see you travel New England soon.

Book a hotel in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Travel and Vacation Articles from VisitingNewEngland and The Thrifty New England Traveler

Discover great Rhode Island destinations in the Best New England towns and cities article

Experience Rhode Island family fun things to do in the Best New England Attractions article

Find the best classic diners in Rhode Island through the Best Diners in New England book

See which Rhode Island apple orchards in Massachusetts made the Best of New England list

Visit a great Rhode Island ice cream stand as mentioned the Best Ice Cream Stands in New England article

The Best Seafood Restaurants in New England post reveals some amazing Rhode Island destinations

Discover the Rhode Island ocean beach that made The Best New England Beaches list

Find out which Rhode Island country store is mentioned in the Best Country Stores in New England story

Read about the Rhode Island zoo recommended in our Best Amusement Parks, Theme Parks and Zoos article

Celebrate Christmas at the Newport mansions as mentioned in our New England Christmas events article

Why you need to visit Providence as soon as possible

Brown and Hopkins in Chepachet is the oldest continuously running country store in the USA

Coastal Newport appeals to all walks of life

Scenic drive supreme: Ocean Drive in Newport

Why Biff and Muffy will not like Galilee in Narragansett

Pawtuxet Village is a best kept New England travel secret

Block Island: One of the last 12 last great places in the western hemisphere

Colt State Park in Bristol is ideal for a coastal walk, picnic, bike ride, kite flying

Wickford Village, a hidden Rhode Island travel gem

William's Grant Inn reflects the historic charm of Bristol

Gray's Ice Cream Stand in Tiverton: a beloved Rhode Island tradition since 1923

Phantom Farms, a classic family farm attraction in Cumberland

Pumpkins, mums, hay rides, Christmas trees and other farm delights at Adams Farm in Cumberland

The Beef Barn in North Smithfield offers delicious roast beef, unusual atmosphere

The FarmCoast and Pawtuxet Village are featured in 6 Great Hidden Gem New England Travel Destinations

8 mouthwatering traditional Rhode Island foods and treats you have got to try

15 free, low-cost things to do in Rhode Island

Providence Children's Museum offers fun, affordable family attractions

Newport Creamery's Awful Awful Drink is really not so awful

The Cliff Walk in Newport offers spectacular ocean views

How to visit Bristol without spending a dime

Read about the Rhode Island beach that made The Best New England Beaches list


Book a hotel in Rhode Island and get a great rate


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