Rhode Island Travel Planner

2024 Rhode Island Visitors Guide

The compact state of Rhode Island is most recognizable for its 400 miles of shoreline, which has resulted in the nickname, the Ocean State. Rhode Island offers much for visitors in a comparatively small area. Tennis enthusiasts and players alike should not miss Newport, which is home to the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Located south of Newport is the state capital, Providence.

Featured in Providence are Rhode Island College and Providence’s Children’s Museum. Providence is also home to the American Diner Museum, an establishment aimed at commemorating diner-style eateries of the past and present. Block Island, which is a short, one-hour ferry ride from the shore of Rhode Island, offers many outdoor activities, such as hiking and biking, and is home to the Block Island North Light, a historic lighthouse that once warned boats from the coastline. Considering its size, Rhode Island also features an inordinate number of golf courses, challenging players of all skill levels.

Top Ten Must-See Places in Rhode Island

The East Coast has many amazing locations to offer, but none that can boast as rich or as unique a history as Rhode Island can. Aside from New York and Boston, Rhode Island, perhaps, is one of the most historically significant places in the entire nation. Nearly everywhere that you can go when you travel to Rhode Island has a tale surrounding it, and Rhode Island also hosts some of the oldest and most famous mansions in the United States, many of which are registered with the Historical Society.

There is actually quite a lengthy list of nation and statehood firsts that Rhode Island holds claim to. It was the first to defy the rules, laws, and taxation of the British monarchy, leading to the Revolutionary War. It was also the first state to successfully build a water-powered cotton mill, and the first synagogue in the country was built here. There are, of course, some truly amazing places that you shouldn’t pass up when you visit this state. To better help you plan your trip, here are ten places that you should try your best to see when there.

1. Bank of America City Center

When you are in Rhode Island, you must see this place, it’s rather amazing and will really remind you of New York City. The Bank of America Skating Center boasts more than fourteen thousand square feet of prime skating grounds as well as a gift shop and visitor center. During the colder months, you can ice skate here, and in the warmer parts of the year, it’s used as a rollerblading arena.

2. Providence-Newport Water Ferry

A must-do when you are in Rhode Island, the Providence-Newport Water Ferry will take you up and down the waterside, passing through places like Barrington and Bristol. Take in the amazing scenery and enjoy a different way to see this state. And it’s really cheap, tickets range from eight to ten dollars for roughly a half-hour ride.

3. Roger Williams Park Zoo

Nearly comparable to the San Diego Zoo, this awesome wildlife sanctuary hosts nearly a thousand exotic animals. Make sure that you dedicate at least half a day to take in all the sights, as most days there are about two hundred animals on display, from tigers to penguins, polar bears, and elephants.

4. The Rhode Island School of Design Museum

Don’t forget to stop by and tour one of the most prominent art and design schools in the world. With more than eighty thousand pieces of art on display from all over the globe, there is something incredible here to see for everybody. The tickets are cheap, they cost about eight bucks!

5. Prospect Terrace Park

Dedicated to Roger Williams – who founded Rhode Island almost three hundred years ago and has a huge statue in the center of the park – make sure that you don’t forget to see this amazing piece of green in the center of the state. Prospect Terrace Park is the largest park in Rhode Island and offers some truly exceptional views of downtown.

6. Brown University

One of the oldest institutes of higher education in the nation awaits you with some truly breathtaking sights, from older, preserved buildings to the newer east campus. Make certain that you take a guided tour of this awesome place so that you can learn about its rich and vibrant history. Definitely a must-see when you are here.

7. Providence Train Station

This newly remodeled train station is serviced by Amtrak and offers train transport around the entire state. The fares are modest and affordable and it’s a great way to take an inexpensive, sightseeing tour of the state. The station is within walking distance of most hotels in the downtown area, across the street from Rhode Island State House, and near the Providence Place Mall and Waterplace Park.

8. Culinary Archives and Museum

Part of Johnson & Wales College, this museum houses hundreds upon thousands of documents and most gourmet recipes that have ever been created.  There are even some items that have been signed by US presidents.

9. Governor Henry Lippitt House Museum

If you travel to Rhode Island, don’t miss this attractive and historical site. This preserved Victorian mansion is highly regarded by the locals and is also a  National Historic Landmark. Hand-painted walls and ceilings and amazingly decadent and carved woodwork complement this popular tourist attraction. Set aside a good hour so you can see everything that there is to see when here.

10. Providence Children’s Museum

For anybody who has children, make sure you take them to the  Providence Children’s Museum when you are here. This place offers plenty of great and interactive exhibits, including one that even helps you pick out the right pet for your family. Your kids will love it!

Providence, RI Visitors Guide

Providence, a city of 160,000 people and the first settlement of Rhode Island is a port city with a colorful past and a present vitality. As state capital since 1901, Providence is home to the Rhode Island Statehouse, which boasts a huge dome ceiling and sits upon a hill overlooking the city. Benefits Street is lined with the restored homes of merchants and sea captains. The John Brown house, an elegant mansion restored as a museum, exhibits original furnishings of the Brown family and displays about historic Providence. Little Italy, filled with cafes, bakeries, bars, and bistros, is a lively area with a friendly ambiance. A vivacity from Ivy League Brown University and the famous Rhode Island School of Design infuses and energizes.

Block Island, RI Visitors Guide

Block Island is known as Nature’s Treasure on the Sea and can be found roughly twenty miles off the coast of Newport, RI. The relaxed pace of Block Island is the pride of residents and has always been a draw for visitors looking to escape the city environment. Getting to the Island is easy, with ferry services running from Newport and Providence in Rhode Island, New London in Connecticut and Montauk in New York. After arriving, visitors can rent bicycles to get around, or simply enjoy walking the 32 miles of trails or the 17 miles of coastline. Block Island is known for its commitment to nature preservation and conservation, which in turn creates a unique place for bird watching and other wildlife viewings. The Island also boasts a historic lighthouse, the Northlight, which was built in 1867 and is open to the public as a maritime center that explores the living environment that surrounds Block Island.

Old Harbor. Block Island, RI

Newport, RI Visitors Guide

The harbor town of Newport, Rhode Island, is located on the southern tip of Aquidneck Island. Established as a colony in 1639, Newport was a major port in the trade of slaves, rum, and molasses. During British occupation (1776 – 1779) many buildings in Newport were destroyed but, fortunately, several of the 18th-century buildings survived and continue to grace Newport today. In the 1850s, the area drew wealthy people with opulent lifestyles. Many of the lavish mansions have been restored as museums. The history of Newport, the rugged coastline and sandy beaches, as well as its many shops and restaurants, create an enchanting tourist destination