Best Places to Visit in Summer in Rhode Island

Best Places to Visit in Summer in Rhode Island

As the sun stretches its rays across the Atlantic, Rhode Island awakens with a vibrant energy.  Nicknamed the “Ocean State,” Rhode Island transforms into a summer playground, beckoning travelers with its pristine beaches, rich history, and lively cultural scene. 

Whether you crave relaxation on sun-drenched shores, a journey through time, or a taste of local flavor, Rhode Island offers a symphony of experiences waiting to be discovered.

Beach Bliss for Every Sun Seeker

  • Newport: Famed for its opulent mansions lining Ocean Drive, Newport boasts stunning beaches perfect for soaking up the summer sun. Easton’s Beach, also known as “First Beach,” offers miles of golden sand and gentle waves, ideal for families with young children. For those seeking a more adventurous experience, Sachuest (Second) Beach delivers consistent waves and a more dramatic coastline, attracting surfers and bodyboarders. While in Newport, don’t miss indulging in fresh seafood at one of the many harbourside restaurants or exploring the charming shops lining Thames Street, a bustling hub of activity.
  • Narragansett: This classic beach town caters to a variety of summertime desires. Narragansett Town Beach provides ample space for families to lay out towels and build sandcastles. Surfers rejoice at the legendary Narragansett Pier, known for its consistent waves. After a day soaking up the sun, refuel with the iconic clam chowder fries and explore the vibrant pier village, with its arcades, shops, and lively atmosphere.
  • Block Island: Accessible by ferry, this island getaway offers a secluded haven of pristine beaches. Escape the crowds and relax on the sprawling sands of Crescent Beach, known for its incredible beauty. Explore the island’s natural beauty on a leisurely bike ride along scenic roads, or climb the historic North Light lighthouse for breathtaking panoramic views of the vast ocean.

A Journey Through Time: Unearthing Rhode Island’s Rich Past

  • Providence:  Rhode Island’s capital city is a treasure trove for history buffs. Wander the cobblestone streets of College Hill, home to the prestigious Brown University and a testament to colonial architecture. Immerse yourself in American history at the Roger Williams National Memorial, a tribute to the founder of Rhode Island and champion for religious freedom. Step back in time at the Rhode Island State House, the oldest state capitol building in the country, and marvel at its architectural grandeur.  Providence also boasts a vibrant arts scene, with renowned museums like the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, showcasing a diverse collection of art and design.
  • Bristol: This charming seaport town whispers tales of a rich maritime past.  Stroll through the meticulously landscaped grounds of Linden Place Mansion, a stunning example of Georgian architecture. Learn about the town’s shipbuilding legacy with a visit to the Bristol Town Hall, a National Historic Landmark. History buffs can delve deeper at the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company, renowned for building prestigious America’s Cup yachts.
  • Newport Mansions: Immerse yourself in the grandeur of the Gilded Age by touring the opulent mansions that grace Newport’s Bellevue Avenue. These architectural masterpieces, like The Breakers, The Marble House, and Rosecliff, served as summer retreats for America’s wealthiest families and offer a glimpse into a bygone era of extravagant living.

Nature’s Symphony: Exploring Rhode Island’s Breathtaking Landscapes

  • Cliff Walk: Take a breathtaking stroll along the iconic Cliff Walk in Newport. This 3.5-mile scenic path winds along the rocky coast, offering panoramic views of the crashing waves, the vast Atlantic Ocean, and the iconic Newport mansions perched atop the cliffs.
  • Nantucket Sound: Embark on a kayaking or boat tour in Nantucket Sound. Explore hidden coves and witness the diverse marine life, including playful seals, majestic dolphins, and a variety of bird species soaring through the sky.
  • Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge:  This coastal refuge boasts diverse ecosystems with salt marshes, pristine beaches, and forested trails.  Hike or bike along scenic paths, observe a variety of birds, and witness breathtaking sunsets over the ocean as the day comes to a close.
Best Places to Visit in Summer in Rhode Island

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Family Fun: Creating Lasting Memories

  • Save the Bay Exploration Center & Aquarium: Located in Newport, this interactive center highlights the importance of marine conservation. Kids can touch tide pool creatures, learn about the delicate ecosystem of Narragansett Bay through interactive exhibits, and discover the fascinating world beneath the waves.

Lively Culture: Immersing Yourself in the Arts and Local Spirit

  • Newport Jazz Festival: Immerse yourself in the rich musical heritage of Rhode Island by attending the world-renowned Newport Jazz Festival held in August. Witness legendary and up-and-coming jazz musicians perform on historic stages, creating an unforgettable summer experience.
  • Trinity Repertory Company: Located in Providence, this esteemed theater company offers a variety of productions throughout the summer. Catch a classic play or a contemporary performance and experience the magic of live theater.
  • Wickford Art Festival: Held annually in July, the Wickford Art Festival showcases the work of talented artists from across the country. Stroll through the charming village of Wickford, a haven of historic architecture and quaint shops. Browse unique artworks in a variety of mediums, and enjoy live music and entertainment that fill the streets with vibrant energy.

Foodie Delights: A Taste of Rhode Island’s Culinary Charm

  • Clambake: No summer in Rhode Island is complete without experiencing the iconic clambake. Savor the freshest local seafood specialties cooked over an open fire, including succulent lobster, clams, steamers, and other delectable treats. This traditional New England feast is a must-try for any visitor seeking a taste of authentic Rhode Island culture.
  • Clam Chowder: Rhode Island’s creamy clam chowder is a culinary masterpiece. This hearty dish, brimming with tender clams, potatoes, and a flavorful broth, is a staple on menus throughout the state. From classic white chowder to the tomato-based version, each bite offers a unique and delicious taste of Rhode Island.
  • Del’s Lemonade: Quench your thirst with a refreshing cup of Del’s Lemonade, a Rhode Island institution since 1945. This iconic brand offers a variety of flavors, including the classic lemonade as well as more adventurous options like watermelon and mango.
  • Coffee Milk:  Indulge in a truly Rhode Island experience by trying coffee milk, the official state drink. This unique concoction, made by mixing coffee syrup with whole milk, has a sweet and creamy taste that will surprise and delight your taste buds.

Beyond the Must-Sees: Exploring Hidden Gems

  • The Breakers of the Bay: Venture beyond Newport and discover the charming seaside town of Jamestown. Here, you can explore the historic Fort Wetherill, offering stunning views of the ocean and remnants of military fortifications. Take a scenic ferry ride to explore the hidden coves and natural beauty of the surrounding islands.
  • The Ocean State’s Vineyards: Embark on a wine tasting adventure at one of Rhode Island’s many vineyards. Sample locally produced wines and enjoy breathtaking countryside views during a leisurely afternoon.
  • Farmers Markets: Immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting one of Rhode Island’s vibrant farmers markets. Savor fresh, seasonal produce, browse handcrafted goods, and experience the warm hospitality of local farmers and artisans.

Planning Your Rhode Island Summer Symphony

With its diverse offerings, Rhode Island caters to all types of travelers. Whether you’re seeking relaxation on pristine beaches, a journey through time exploring historical sites, or a taste of lively culture and delicious food, this charming state promises an unforgettable summer experience.

Here are some additional tips for planning your Rhode Island summer adventure:

  • Book accommodations in advance, especially during peak season. Popular destinations like Newport and Block Island tend to fill up quickly.
  • Consider purchasing a Rhode Island State Park Pass if you plan on visiting multiple parks and wildlife refuges.
  • Pack for all types of weather. Rhode Island weather can be unpredictable, so be prepared for sunshine, rain, and cool evenings.
  • Embrace the local culture. Don’t miss the opportunity to try local seafood specialties, sample coffee milk, and attend a summer festival.
  • Travel responsibly. Respect the natural beauty of Rhode Island, dispose of waste properly, and be mindful of local regulations.

With a little planning and a sense of adventure, your Rhode Island summer symphony awaits!

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