Small but perfectly formed, would be the way we would describe the US state of Rhode Island in New England. Home to just over a million people, this coastal state is famed for its quaint colonial villages and rugged beaches.
There are several developed cities in Rhode Island, like Newport which is well known around the world for its sailing scene as well as Gilded Age mansions which are photogenic, to say the least.
The state capital is a busy and bustling Providence. The city itself may not be an ideal location to live for some, but escaping to the city is a fun-filled day nonetheless. Brown University grounds, Rodger Williams Park and Waterplace Park are all firm family favourites.
Unlike in the midwest, there are few large parklands and wilderness areas to enjoy in Rhode Island. For what it lacks in greenery it makes up for in droves with rough and rustic coastal walks and soft sandy beaches.
We have taken into consideration factors like proximity to good public schools, health facilities, and house prices when creating our list of 15 best places to live in Rhode Island. Although not all will be to your liking, there is certainly something for everyone in this small but perfectly formed coastal state.
Rolling in at number one is wonderful Barrington. This suburb of Providence is the most popular and highly sought after place to live in Rhode Island and it’s easy to see why.
Starting with the outstanding public schools, parents can rest assured that their little ones will receive a top-notch education here in Barrington. Schools here boast A+ ratings from elementary level right through to high school.
As you would expect with such a popular area, and with so many properties overlooking the Providence River, house prices here are a little dearer than the national average. A small price to pay when you think about the great commenting options, the social life created by this warm community and of course job opportunities too.
A close second place to Barrington we find Kingston, Rhode Island. Again, this suburb of Providence offers residents access to fantastic schools. With a small population of just 6,900 people, Kingston feels a lot more tight-knit than Barrington.
For those looking to rent a property in Rhode Island, then Kingston may just be the perfect place. Median rent is right on the national average at $948.
With the University of Rhode Island campus falling within the suburb, there is plenty of activities going on of an evening and great opportunities to socialise too.
Local people note that the sense of community is what they love most about living in Kingston. Everything from farmers markets to local concerts unite the community throughout the year.
Jamestown give residents a taste of island life while being firmly connected to the mainland! Tucked between Block Island Sound and Buzzards Bay the views around Jamestown are a real treat.
Fun fact for you – Jamestown is the second largest island in Narragansett Bay, after Aquidneck Island. The island is home to 5,400 people who are proud to live in the safest place in Rhode Island and pride themselves on the community they have created here.
Being connected to the mainland on both sides by Highway 138, commuting options are aplenty. Although, one thing to consider, house prices in Jamestown are pretty steep. Median home value is $516,200. Spacious gardens, garages and private driveways almost come as standard here.
Blackstone is the most urban, city-like of our best places to live so far. Blackstone is a neighbourhood in central Providence, along with the Seekonk River. Residents here have access to some brilliant schools, many of which are performing above the national average.
Commuters have a direct route to Boston, New York, and Connecticut which means that there are some great job opportunities from within easy reach of the Blackstone area.
Residents do note, however, that public transport in the area could do with improvement. Right now, it is important to own your own car living here unless you’re lucky enough to land a job within walking distance of your home.
5. East Greenwich
East Greenwich completes our top five best places to live in Rhode Island. Another suburb of Providence, East Greenwich is home to 13,114 people.
Much like Kingston, East Greenwich is an ideal spot for those looking to rent. With median monthly rent coming in at under $900 a month, this is a more affordable renting area. If you’re looking to buy a property in East Greenwich you better start saving, median home value is $413,300.
That said, there are 3-bedroom properties on the market for under $250,000 ,which is very reasonable for this affluent area.
Public schools and amenities are all in good working order around here. Crime statistics are low, making East Greenwich one of the safest suburbs in the state.
Endearingly named Hope is a neighbourhood in the outskirts of Providence city. This small, homely neighbourhood is home to just over 4,000 people. Despite the urban aesthetic, there is a village-like feel to the area.
Hope has been ranked as the best neighbourhood to buy a house in the Providence area. Median home value is an affordable $299,946. At the higher end of that median, you will find a spacious and elegant 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom townhouse for $479,000. There is plenty of housing choice in Hope, that is for sure.
Team this with fantastic schools, great local amenities and proximity to Providence city centre and you’re onto a winner.
Locals note that there is great access to parks and running trails in the area so there are no excuses not to get fit living in Hope!
7. South Kingstown
South Kingstown is certainly an area to consider if second ranking Kingston itself took your fancy.
Boasting solid A-rated schools, parents would be right to look into moving their families here. This small neighbourhood is friendly and welcoming, couple this with low crime rates and there is little to find fault with in South Kingstown.
Local people note that the beaches around South Kingstown are a joy to explore. A real community spirit operates here, especially in times of need. Along with the University of Rhode Island students who live on campus, South Kingston is home to 30,577 people.
The East Matunuck State Beach is a long, sandy beach complete with ample picnic areas for friends and families to enjoy.
8. North Kingstown
A solid all-rounder, North Kingstown houses 26,310 people and is very much a suburban area.
For those looking for a short commute then you’d be in an ideal location in North Kingstown. Health and fitness facilities are not in short supply in the neighbourhood and there is a diverse nightlife in the area too.
Being right on the water there are lots of opportunities for fishing and boating. Perhaps you can pick up a new hobby to help you integrate into the community better.
Parents will be happy to hear that there are some brilliant schools in North Kingstown to help give your children the right start in life.
The historic town of Narragansett is as charming and rustic as they come, offering residents access to some of Rhode Island’s best coastline. On a sunny day, when the tide is out, there is little better than taking the family for a stroll along the beach in Narragansett.
This small suburb has few properties on the market so you’d have to snap up any property that took your fancy pretty quickly. House prices here are consistent with the rest of the state but still above the national average; likewise with median rent too.
Local people’s only complaints would be that in the summer months the influx of tourists is sometimes a bit much. That said, the area is clean and safe so it is a downside that can be learned to be lived with.
Wayland is a lovely neighbourhood in Providence itself. Home to just under 5,000 people, much like with Hope, there is a village-like feel to this inner-city suburb.
Both ethically and economically, the population of Wayland is diverse, making for a strong and happy community. Public schools in Wayland are not up to the same high standard that you would find in Barrington, for example, but they are still performing above the national average and consistently hitting targets.
There are plenty of opportunities to get outdoors and active in Wayland. With good weather pretty much the year round you can enjoy everything the area has to offer whenever you like.
11. College Hill
Unsurprisingly, with its close proximity to RISD and Brown University, College Hill is an area popular with millennials. Once formal studies are over, many students like to stick around and settle down in the neighbourhood. Clinging onto that student life perhaps!
Crime levels in the area peak and trough. The crime statistics of the area are a little higher than many would like, on paper. With that in mind, local people say that they feel safe and secure in their homes.
Due to RSID and Brown University being the focal point of the neighbourhood, there are fewer public schools in the area for youngsters, this drives College Hill (unfairly) down the ranks. The schools available for parents to choose from are good schools.
So if you find a home you love in College Hill, don’t let the schooling statistics put you off.
12. Narragansett Pier
Narragansett Pier is a cute area of Rhode Island to live in. Property prices here are very dear but that’s not a surprise given the seafront views offered by many of the houses here.
This is a small tourists town so many properties here are second homes or holiday homes which are empty for most of the year. This drives the cost of living in the area right up.
In spite of this, Narragansett Pier is a lovely place to live, a very friendly community indeed. There are lots of tourists orientated cafes that are loved by locals too, like Leo’s Pizza for example.
Schools around Narragansett Pier are very good but there is only one school at each education level. So although they are very good schools, there is not much choice around.
13. Fox Point
For what Fox Point lacks in high-quality public schools, it makes up for in nightlife and easy commute options. Although not perfect for young families, Fox Point is a great place for millennials and those who have opted not to have children.
You will not be surprised to hear that Fox Point is one of the best neighbourhoods for millennials. As such, we can expect to see Fox Point feature higher up our list in years to come as Generation X put their mark on the area.
There are lots of restaurants and cafes in Fox Point, making for lots of opportunities to socialises with friends. Public transport is not as effective as it could be, but not much of an issue either.
Portsmouth, Rhode Island is a great town for families. With something of an aging population, Portsmouth has become a popular place for retirees to base themselves, thus making for a rather diverse population of 17,361 people.
Portsmouth is a suburban area with a small town feel, couple this with the fact that there is water all around, there is lots to love about Portsmouth.
Home value here is on par with the rest of the state. Although a stately 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom family home can cost up to $580,000, you can find a humble $250,000 3-bed home equally as easy.
15. Mount Hope
Mount Hope is our fifteenth best place to live in Rhode Island. This lovely neighbourhood in the suburbs of Providence is home to 5,767 people. Median rent is just $870 a month making Mount Hope one of the most affordable places to rent property in all of the state.
With median rent this low, Mount Hope is popular with millennials who are looking to buy their first home. As such, we can expect to see development in this area in the next decade or so, in turn bumping Mount Hope up the ranks, maybe even into the top ten best places to live in Rhode Island.