Bristol

The home of the longest-running Fourth of July celebration—it began in 1785—Bristol shows off its patriotism with a red-white-and-blue center stripe down Hope Street, its charming business district, and flags flying from many homes and businesses. Midway between Newport and Providence—each a 30-minute drive away—Bristol sits on a 10-square-mile peninsula between Narragansett Bay to the west and Mount Hope Bay to the east. Bristol was once a boatbuilding center; the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company built five consecutive America's Cup Defenders between 1893 and 1920. Independence Park marks the southern end of the East Bay Bike Path, which crosses the access road for Colt State Park, a great spot for picnicking and kite flying.

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