Rhode Island

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"Rhode Island: 3% Bigger at Low Tide," reads a locally made T-shirt—an exaggeration, of course: the state geologist calculates it's actually more like 0.5%. But the smallest state's size is a source of pride, given all there is to do within its 1,500 square miles. You may find it hard to choose among so many experiences: historic walks, fine dining, and the WaterFire display in Providence; apple picking and riverboat cruises in the Blackstone Valley; fishing trips and beach excursions in South County and Block Island; pedaling along Bristol's bike path; and taking sunset sails in Newport and touring the Gilded Age mansions.

Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, the state's official name, has a long history of forward thinking and a spirit of determination and innovation embodied in the 11-foot-tall bronze Independent Man atop the marble-domed State House. The first of the 13 colonies to declare independence from Britain can also claim the first successful textile mill (in Pawtucket), America's oldest synagogue (in Newport), and the first lunch wagon (in Providence). A state founded on the principle of religious liberty drew Baptists, Jews, Quakers, and others throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, then flourished with factories, silver foundries, and jewelry companies, which brought workers from French Canada, Italy, Ireland, England, Portugal, and Eastern Europe.

Rhode Island remains an attractive, spirited place to live or visit. A public works project has opened up the river in Downtown Providence; infrastructural improvements at Fort Adams State Park in Newport allow it to host international yacht-racing events; extended commuter rail service makes it easier to travel between Providence, T. F. Green Airport, and Wickford; and bike-path expansions allow cyclists to traverse South County, East Bay, and Blackstone Valley. Rhode Island's 39 cities and towns—none more than 50 miles apart—offer natural beauty, inspired culinary artistry, and many opportunities to relax and enjoy its scenic vistas.

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Newport

The Gilded Age mansions of Bellevue Avenue are the go-to attraction for many Newport visitors. These ornately detailed late-19th-century homes...

Providence

Big-city sophistication with small-city charm: Providence has the best of both worlds. A thriving arts community, prestigious academic institutions...

Block Island

Block Island, with its 950 year-round residents, is a laid-back community whose beauty is reminiscent of the coast of Scotland. About 12 miles...

Narragansett

A summer resort destination during the Victorian era, Narragansett still has as its main landmark The Towers, the last remaining section of...

South Kingstown

People often discover South Kingstown through the University of Rhode Island but return for its historic charm, arts-oriented community, great...

Jamestown

Surrounded by Narragansett Bay's East and West passages, Conanicut Island comprises the town of Jamestown. About 9 miles long and 1 mile wide...

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...

Wickford

A quaint village on a small harbor, Wickford has dozens of 18th- and 19th-century homes, some historical churches, and a handful of antiques...

Charlestown

Charlestown's secluded coastline makes it a great spot for swimming, sailing, surfing, beachcombing, bird-watching, and boating. Approximately...

Pawtucket

Once a thriving mill town, Pawtucket went through tough times before artists discovered its old mills and low rents. The city remains the world...

Watch Hill

For generations, this seaside village has attracted movers and shakers looking for a low-key getaway. Watch Hill has nearly 2 miles of gorgeous...

Westerly

The picturesque and thriving business district in this town of 18,000 people bordering Pawcatuck, Connecticut, has a lot going for it: galleries...

Tiverton and Little Compton

This bucolic corner of Rhode Island, home to artists and working farms, is a pleasant afternoon drive from Newport or Bristol. Consider a hike...

Woonsocket

A former mill town struggling to gentrify, Woonsocket has a very fine museum about immigrant factory life and textile milling, as well as a...

Misquamicut

This family-oriented summer destination stretching 7 miles from Watch Hill to Weekapaug has a sandy beach the color of brown sugar. From waterslides...

Portsmouth

Largely a bedroom community for Newport, Portsmouth attracts visitors for Newport Polo matches, its fanciful topiary garden, and the Greenvale...

Newport

The Gilded Age mansions of Bellevue Avenue are the go-to attraction for many Newport visitors. These ornately detailed late-19th-century homes...

Providence

Big-city sophistication with small-city charm: Providence has the best of both worlds. A thriving arts community, prestigious academic institutions...

Narragansett

A summer resort destination during the Victorian era, Narragansett still has as its main landmark The Towers, the last remaining section of...

South Kingstown

People often discover South Kingstown through the University of Rhode Island but return for its historic charm, arts-oriented community, great...

Jamestown

Surrounded by Narragansett Bay's East and West passages, Conanicut Island comprises the town of Jamestown. About 9 miles long and 1 mile wide...

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...

Wickford

A quaint village on a small harbor, Wickford has dozens of 18th- and 19th-century homes, some historical churches, and a handful of antiques...

Charlestown

Charlestown's secluded coastline makes it a great spot for swimming, sailing, surfing, beachcombing, bird-watching, and boating. Approximately...

Pawtucket

Once a thriving mill town, Pawtucket went through tough times before artists discovered its old mills and low rents. The city remains the world...

Watch Hill

For generations, this seaside village has attracted movers and shakers looking for a low-key getaway. Watch Hill has nearly 2 miles of gorgeous...

Westerly

The picturesque and thriving business district in this town of 18,000 people bordering Pawcatuck, Connecticut, has a lot going for it: galleries...

Tiverton and Little Compton

This bucolic corner of Rhode Island, home to artists and working farms, is a pleasant afternoon drive from Newport or Bristol. Consider a hike...

Woonsocket

A former mill town struggling to gentrify, Woonsocket has a very fine museum about immigrant factory life and textile milling, as well as a...

Misquamicut

This family-oriented summer destination stretching 7 miles from Watch Hill to Weekapaug has a sandy beach the color of brown sugar. From waterslides...

Portsmouth

Largely a bedroom community for Newport, Portsmouth attracts visitors for Newport Polo matches, its fanciful topiary garden, and the Greenvale...

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