Top 10 Things To Do in Rhode Island

‘Little Rhody’ may well be the smallest of all American states, but that doesn’t mean that there are no things to do in Rhode Island

Located between Connecticut and Massachusetts, Rhode Island is in fact not an island at all. However, the state does have a coastline with dozens of peninsulas, bays, islets and islands. Almost all of those all located in Narragansett Bay, which cuts inland in the eastern part of the state. Rhode Island is a state of sand dunes, golden beaches, countless inland lakes, yacht-dotted harbors, coastal cliffs and two main cities, Providence and Newport. There are plenty of activities in this state. Among those, here are my top 10 things to do in Rhode Island.

Top 10 Things to Do in Rhode Island


Providence is located on the rushed Interstate 95, which runs between New York City and Boston, and is therefore often skipped. Make sure not to make that mistake, for Providence is blessed with a rich history, a wonderful location, fine museums and Brown University, one of the Ivy League colleges.

Top 10 Things to Do in Rhode Island: Downtown Providence
Downtown Providence

South County Beaches

Between Narragansett and Watch Hill lie about 100 miles of pristine white sand beaches. Thin stretches of sand separate the Atlantic Ocean from a long series of tidal pools, estuaries and tidal flats. Some areas are designated wildlife refuges and bird-watchers couldn’t dream of a better place. Many beaches can be visited for free; just expect to pay for parking if you’re traveling by car.


Located on Aquidneck Island, Middletown is well-known for its two fantastic beaches, curiously called Second Beach and Third Beach. Calm waters, soft sand and plenty of campgrounds make this a popular summer destination.


The town of Wickford is chock-full with houses dating back to the 18th and 19th century and is a magnet to artists, artisans and craftspeople. No less than 60 buildings were erected before 1804. A highlight situated about one mile north of town is Smith’s Castle, one of the oldest plantation houses in the United States.

The Great Road

The Great Road is a one-mile stretch of Route 123 that follows the Moshassuck River and is lined with eight historically valuable buildings. Four buildings can be visited, including the Eleazer Arnold House from 1680 and the Friends Meetinghouse from 1704. A small area, but definitely worth visiting.

Little Compton

One of the prettiest villages in the entire United States, Little Compton is a little gem set within lush green farmlands and woods. Historic houses and the largest winery in New England attract many visitors. Of all my top 10 things to do in Rhode Island, this would be my first suggestion.

Top 10 Things to Do in Rhode Island: Little Compton
Little Compton

Block Island

Block Island is located 13 miles off the Rhode Island coast and has been a favored summer retreat among people of New England for a long time. A quarter of the island’s surface area is protected, making it a wonderful destination for wildlife watching, outdoor sports and horseback riding. There are about 30 miles of nature trails.


Bristol was where scenes from the 1974 movie The Great Gatsby were filmed. It’s home to many a historic mansion, beautiful houses and a few museums.


A former gambling center, Narragansett is now a peaceful seaside town. Things to do include whale-watching excursions, some of the best surfing on the east coast and the South County Museum with its eclectic collection of toys, weapons and farm tools.


One of the absolute star attractions in Rhode Island, Newport has been a hub for trade, military activity, wealth and culture for more than three centuries. Several American firsts are found there, including the first naval college, the oldest library and one of the oldest still-operating taverns. This is a city of yachts, decadent wealth, tennis courts and golf courses. The Breakers, the former summer home of tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt, is a major attraction. Think The Great Gatsby.

Top 10 Things to Do in Rhode Island: The Breakers, Newport
The Breakers, Newport

Do you have anything to add to our list of top 10 things to do in Rhode Island? Leave us a message in the comments box!

About Bram


Bram is a Belgian guy who's currently living in the USA. For over four years now, he has been wandering the globe, with jobs here and there in between. So far, his travels have taken him to four continents and twenty-two countries. Bram likes to try different styles of travelling: from backpacker and adventurer to tourist and local, he has been all those stereotypes and probably will be many more in the future. You can follow his adventures on his travel blog, on Twitter and on Facebook.

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