Rhode Island, the smallest state in the country by far, probably has more primo places to visit per square mile than any other state. It’s downright disproportionate. Lucky them. And lucky you. (And we’re not even calling out the beaches below.)
Join a behind-the-scenes tour through historic Federal Hill, Providence’s “Little Italy,” where you’ll meet the butchers, bakers and ravioli makers and taste your way through the neighborhood. Experience the views of the Renaissance City from the water aboard an authentic Venetian gondola, then enjoy a guided stroll through the heart of town.
The Gilded Age is preserved in Newport, and one of the best places to see it is at The Elms, where you learn about the staff that served the household, gossip about the extravagant parties, and walk through the extraordinary grounds. Venture on a tour of Newport’s famed Ocean Drive, where castles and palaces perch on bluffs along the rugged New England Coast. Enjoy high tea at Blithewold, the country home of Augustus Van Wickle. The 45-room, turn-of-the-century mansion and 33-acre Arboretum and gardens overlook Narragansett Bay and historic Bristol Harbor. Step aboard an America’s Cup yacht (the competition was held in Newport for many years) and learn about tennis lore at the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Just a short ferry ride off the coast brings you to Block Island, an unspoiled natural paradise. Browse the streets of scenic Old Harbor, lined with specialty shops, boutiques, and galleries. Bird watching, organic yarn manufacturing, hiking, biking, local Island tour, the Block Island Historic Society Museum… there are many ways to enjoy the Island.
Back on the mainland, explore The Fantastic Umbrella Factory in Charlestown. It has a petting zoo, public garden, and shops. Hand-painted signs line the picturesque garden trails, pointing the way to various points of interest.
If you hanker for more coastal adventure, enjoy a lighthouse cruise, seal watch, whale watch or deep sea fishing excursion, or a scenic schooner cruise. The Audubon Environmental Center offers a wonderful look into migrating birds, while Save the Bay sheds light on coastal habitats and local marine life and offers a full map of kayaking trails.