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Officially called Washington County, the southwestern region of Rhode Island is home to beautiful seaside villages, unspoiled beaches, and parks and management areas with great hiking, kayaking, and running opportunities. More laid-back than Newport and Providence, the area has always been a summertime destination, but South County's 11 towns have grown into a region of year-round residents, many of whom can be found studying at the 1,200-acre main campus of the University of Rhode Island in Kingston. The university's Graduate School of Oceanography is in Narragansett, even closer to the coast.

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