Despite Rhode Island’s miniscule size – it is after all, the smallest of the fifty states, there is no shortage of fun experiences to have. All throughout the state, you’ll find incredible lighthouse viewpoints, beaches, wineries, luxury retreats, waterways, shops, and restaurants.
Since the culture of Rhode Island is centered around the sea, there are also yacht trips to go on, sailing lessons to take, fish to catch, and islands to paddle to. The seafood is top notch nearly everywhere you go, and many small towns have museums dedicated to the state’s interesting maritime history.
Many travelers who visit Rhode Island only go to Providence under the false assumption that the state’s capital is the only place worthy of a stop. However, branch out from the big city and you’ll soon discover that the small towns of Rhode Island are where its personality truly comes out. Think family owned bed and breakfast lodges, offbeat wineries, anything-goes live theaters, and other attractions that can only exist in a small community free of chain stores or mega franchises.
The best way to visit Rhode Island is on a road trip. You can easily see a lot of incredible sights in the state within a few weeks – a feat that’s not typically possible for its larger neighbors! Once you’ve made it to a small town, simply park and walk around – they’re usually small enough to uncover within a long walk.
Here are the 15 best small towns in Rhode Island:
1. New Shoreham
New Shoreham is a sweet coastal small town perfect for beach lovers and family travelers. You could easily spend your time lounging and swimming at Mansion Beach or Ballard’s Beach – or, for a bit of seclusion, visit Crescent Beach.
When you do feel like finally getting out of your lounge chair, you can climb to the top of Mohegan Bluffs and watch the sea sparkle beneath you. Walk along the Clayhead Nature Trail or Rodman’s Hollow Trail to see all types of birds and other wildlife. The nearby Great Salt Pond is also a must-visit for outdoorsy people.
And for a classic New England experience, head to the Southeast Lighthouse or the North Lighthouse to take pictures and learn about local maritime history.