Home to more than a million people, Rhode Island is the smallest state in the country in terms of land area. It is also the eighth least populous. It is called the Ocean State, owing to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. As such, it has several oceanfront beaches, as well as a varied topography. Get on a bus rental in Rhode Island and see what the state has to offer.
The best thing about a bus rental in Rhode Island is that it is flexible. You can take it anywhere and you can bring anything with you. What’s more, you can have the best time traveling on one together as a group. Plus, you can opt to have an onboard toilet, making it very comfortable for everybody. No need to stop frequently for bathroom breaks and no more holding it in.
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Rhode Island gives visitors and locals alike a unique combination of good food, amazing natural beauty, arts and culture offerings, and a rich history. It might be small in size, but it is certainly packed with various attractions and things to see and do. No matter what your interests are, you will be able to do it here. So get your friends and family on a bus rental in Rhode Island and have a fun, relaxing and memorable vacation here.
Rhode Island has a rich history and has several classes of historic sites that you could visit.
For example, there are the forts and armories that have been used in various wars. There is the Warren Artillery Armory, which was a reward for the community's participation in the 1842 Dorr Rebellion. After a five-year renovation, the armory is once again open to the public by appointment. Then you have Fort Wetherill State Park, which was used as a coastal defense and training camp. From here, you could get a wonderful view of the East Passage of Narragansett Bay as well as of the Newport Harbor. You can also come here during the America's Cup and the Tall Ship Events. You can have a picnic here, or go boating, fishing, hiking, and even scuba diving.
Just across the water, you would find Fort Adams, which is the biggest coastal fort in the country. Considered as a masterpiece for both engineering and architecture, visit the site where soldiers lived, or explore the tunnels. Two other forts in Newport County are the Fort Barton and Green End Fort.
In South County, you can check out the Westerly Armory museum where you can find local military and community memorabilia and artifacts. You could also see displays and exhibits on Korea, the Navy, Westerly Women's, and the Coast guard. Then you can get to know the Kentish Guards, who have protected East Greenwich in 1774. You can see them during rehearsals at the Armory. Also in East Greenwich is the Varnum Memorial Armory, which has a great collection of objects and memorabilia related to the many wars that the country has fought.
Lighthouses. You can easily plan a tour of the state just by visiting the lighthouses that still stand today. Block Island has two lighthouses: the Block Island North Light House and the Southeast Lighthouse. Providence has the Pomham Rocks Lighthouse, which was built in the 1870s and is viewable from the East Bay Bike Path.
In Newport County, check out the Beavertail Lighthouse Museum Association in Jamestown. This is the most visited landmark in the city and is where you could get great views of Narragansett Bay. The museum has a lot of informative exhibits, artifacts and displays related to the history of the area. The lighthouse itself is the third oldest in the North American continent.
You could also check out the Castle Hill Lighthouse, built at the turn of the 20th century. Or go to Sakonnet Point to see the Sakonnet Point Lighthouse. Furthermore, you can go to the Rose Island Lighthouse, where you could find a living museum that tells you about the lives of what is called the lighthouse families, and see memorabilia, artifacts, as well as photographs. You can stay overnight and learn more about lighthouse keeping and sleep in the rooms that have been used by keeper families in the last 100 years or so.
In Warwick, you can see the Conimicut Lighthouse and the Warwick Lighthouse. Both lighthouses are closed to the public, but are very much viewable from nearby areas.
Narragansett has the Point Judith Lighthouse, an octagonal brick structure that was built in the 1810s. It is a Coast Guard beacon used during the Revolution. You can get into the grounds but not the lighthouse itself. North Kingstown, on the other hand, has the Plum Beach Lighthouse and the Dutch Island Lighthouse.
Historic homes. The state also has several historic homes and mansions that you need to visit for their historical and architectural significance. Lincoln has three of them: the Eleazer Arnold House, Hearthside & The Hannaway Blacksmith Shop, and the Valentine Whitman House.
Meanwhile East Bay has the Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum; the Linden Place Mansion in Bristoll; and the Massasoit Historical Association in Warren. Providence has the Governor Henry Lippitt House Museum, Governor Stephen Hopkins House, and the John Hunt House. While East Greenwich has the General James Mitchell Varnum House Museum, a Federal style mansion where you can see period furniture and original panelling, as well as a colonial garden.
Then Johnston has the Clemence-Irons House and the Elijah Angell House. Further, check out the Clouds Hill Victorian Museum in Warwick, where you could find one of the most interesting Victorian displays available.
Newton has the most number of significant historic homes that you must not miss. These include:
While in Newport County, you should also see the Chase-Cory House, which was built around the 1800s for whaling captains and their families as well as original Tiverton residents. You could see how a Colonial village farm looked like back then, as well as participate in special events that are held on premises. Then you have the Wilbur House Museum in Little Compton. You can tour the structures, which were built during the 17th through the 19th centuries. The buildings here were restored in the 1950s and still retains the carriage house, school house, barn, and the studio of Sydney burleigh.
Other historic homes worth visiting include the Gilbert Stuart Birthplace, the Hale House, and Governor Sprague Mansion.
Apart from these houses, the state also has a lot of history museums. There is the Museum of Work and Culture, which is an interactive museum that tells you the story of immigrants who came to settle and work here. You will learn how immigrants lived and worked in their native Quebec during the 19th centuries and how they migrated into the United States. There are recreations of the typical work day for Woonsocket residents, as well as the history of the Independent Textile Union.
Meanwhile, the Block Island Historical Society has displays on Native American artifacts, antique furniture, photographs, tools for fishing and farming, postcards and quilts. The Charles Whipple Greene Museum, on the other hand, has collections of antiques, curiosities and artifacts. You can also go to Coggeshall Farm Museum, which is a living history museum that shows you the daily lives residents in Bristol in 1799. There are several historic structures and recreations that you would enjoy. Still in Bristol is the Herreshoff Marine Museum and America's Cup Museum, where you could learn more about the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company, and the America's Cup Hall of Fame. You would find a collection of around five dozen sailing and power yachts here.
In Newport County, you can visit the Artillery Company of Newport museum, which has one of the most extensive and outstanding collections of militaria from more than 100 countries. And you also have the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum here, where you can learn more about the tennis champions, see memorabilia, videos and art related to tennis. Some of these exhibits go back to the 12th century. You can also visit the Museum of Newport History, the Naval War College Museum, the Museum of Yachting, and the National Museum of American Illustration, all of which are testament to the rich and varied history of Newport.
Providence has several notable history museums as well:
In Westerly, you can visit the house of the city's first doctor and postmaster: Dr. Joshua Babcock. Dr. Babcock would usually welcome Benjamin Franklin into his house.
You can also go to the East Greenwich Veteran Firemen's Association, where you can find firefighting apparatus from the 19th through the 20th centuries. Or you can check out the Old Washington County Jail Museum & Library, where you could see jail cells and a jailer's residence from the 1850s and 1860s. There are art exhibits here, as well as the 1939 mural created by Ernest Hamlin Baker. Meanwhile, the Quonset Aviation Museum has a collection of aviation and aircraft exhibits. You can find a SH3 SeaKing, a Russian MIG-17, TBM Avenger, an F-14 Tomcat Jet Fighter, and an A-4 Skyhawk on display here.
Further, you can visit the South County Museum in Narragansett and the Tomaquag Indian Memorial Museum.
Other history museums you can visit in Rhode Island include:
Historic sites. Visit the Towers in Narragansett. This historic structure is the only one remaining of the Narragansett Pier Casino, which was built in the 1880s. Another place that is often mistaken as a gambling place is the historic Newport Casino, which has been standing since the 1880s. The complex also has the Bill Talbert Stadium, the Court Tennis building, a theater, the Horseshoe Piazza and Court, grass and indoor tennis courts.
In Blackstone Valley, you can see the Hachiko Statue, which honors a Japanese dog who waited for its dead owner to come home at the train station. You would also want to visit Nine Men's Misery in Cumberland, which is the first monument to veterans. The monument commemorates the nine militiamen who were slaughtered by Indians on the site. Another historic site is found in Pawtucket. The Looff Carousel at Slate Park is regarded as the oldest in the world, being installed in the park in the 1910s. Or you could go to the William Blackstone Monument, also in Cumberland, which marks the approximate grave site of Reverend William Blackstone, who was the first European to settle in the state.
Other historic sites in Blackstone Valley are Brown and Hopkins Country Store, the Burrillville Historical & Preservation Society, the Central Falls Free Public Library and Adams Memorial Library, Chepachet Village, the Hannaway Blacksmith Shop, Job Armstrong Store, Moshassuck Cemetery, North Gate, Original North Providence Town Hall, Pawtucket Public Library, Saylesville Friends Meeting House, the Slatersville Village Green, Smith-Appleby House, and the Daggett House.
Providence has Benefit Street's Mile of History, where you can find a number of Colonial homes, restored houses, museums and churches. The lovely area overlooks the waterfront and is a prime draw for architecture lovers. You can also check out the Governor Henry Lippitt House Museum, a Renaissance revival affair that was built in the 1860s, and the John Hay Library, which is where you could find the rare books, collections, manuscripts and archives of Brown University. Meanwhile, the Providence Athenaeum is a public library that is housed inside a Greek Revival building built in the 1830s. Visit here and get to learn the many stories of famous people, such as the courtship of Edgar Allan Poe and Sarah Whitman. Then you have the Rhode Island Irish Famine Memorial, which commemorates the 2.5 million victims of the Great Famine that happened in the 1840s. You can also check out the Thomas Willet Burial Site. Willet was the first elected mayor of New York who later moved to Rhode Island. Other historic sites in providence include:
In the South County, you can visit Wickford Village, which was established in the 1640s. The historic village features carefully preserved homes, views of the seas, shops and churches. You can find a lot of merchandise here from arts, food, crafts, clothing, garden needs, toys, and furniture. You can also go to St. Peter's by the Sea Church in Narragansett Pier where you could see the Varina Winnie Davis stained glass windows. Also in the city is the Narragansett Indian Monument, which was carved by Peter Toth and serves to commemorate the Native Americans. Meanwhile in Charlestown, you can visit the Royal Indian Burial Ground, where the chiefs of the Narragansett Indian Tribe and their families are buried. Head on to South Kingstown where you could find the Kenyon's Grist Mill, the oldest manufacturing concern in the state, as well as the second oldest operating business here. Then you have the Flying Horse Merry Go Round in Westerly.
Other sites here include Canonchet Farm Park, Canonchet Memorial, Carpenter's Grist Mill, East Greenwich Town Hall, Fayerweather House, Hannah Robinson Rock and Tower, Oliver Watson House, Smith's Castle, and St. Paul's Episcopal Church - Old Narragansett Church.
Other historic sites in Rhode Island you should not miss include:
If you have young kids who are just learning how to swim, take them to Narragansett Bay where you have gentler surfs because of its natural breakwater protection. But you can have a day at the beach at one of the many ocean beaches that are open to the public. Go to Block Island and enjoy the surf at Andy's Way, Crescent Beach, Fred Benson Town Beach, Mansion Beach, Scotch Beach, or Vaill Beach. Or how about going to Warwick, where you can stroll the shore, or swim at Conimicut Point Beach, Gorton Pond, Little Pond, Oakland Beach, or Buttonwoods Beach.
Meanwhile, in East Bay, you have three public beaches to choose from: Barrington Town Beach, Union Street Beach, and Warren Town Beach.
Moving on to Newport County, you have Blue Shutters Town Beach, Charlestown Breachway, Charlestown Town Beach, East Beach at the Ninigret Conservation Area, and Watchaug Pond Beach, all in Charlestown. While North Kingstown has Blue Beach, Calf Pasture Point Beach, Compass Rose Beach, and Spink's Neck Beach.
Westerly has Dunes Park Beach, Misquamicut State Beach, Watch Hill Beach, and Wuskenau Town Beach. Then you have Captain Roger Wheeler State Beach, Narragansett Town Beach, Salty Brine State Beach, and Scarborough Beach, which are all in Narragansett. Further, you have the beaches in South Kingstown: East Matunuck State Beach and South Kingstown Town Beach at Matunuck.
Biking. There are also several bike paths in the state, including:
State parks. You can have your choice of state parks to visit in Rhode Island. Beavertail State Park has one of the best views of the ocean in the entire New England. The Jamestown Park has 170 acres of space and is best for sightseeing, saltwater fishing, and hiking. Colt State Park gives you a wonderful view of Narragansett Bay, as well as miles of biking trails. You can find the Chapel-by-the-Sea here, as well as sports fields and picnic groves that give visitors 200 picnic tables. You could go hiking, saltwater fishing, snowmobiling, and boating here.
Then you have the Goddard Memorial State Park, which has close to 500 acres of space. The Warwick Park has trees that come from all over the world, and it is visited by thousands of people every year who come here to play nine-hole golf, ride horses, swim, go boating, fish, and have a picnic. The park also has 11 game fields and a performing arts center.
Meanwhile, Westerly has the Misquamicut State Beach, which is a popular surf beach among the locals.
No matter where you are in the state, you will certainly find a state park that allows you to have fun, get fit, or just commune with nature. For instance, if you are in the Blackstone Valley area, you might want to go to:
Providence has Haines Memorial State Park, Prospect Terrace, Roger Williams Park Carousel Village, and Waterplace Park and River Walk. Meanwhile, Newport has Brenton Point State Park and King Park.
South County state parks include Canonchet Farm Park, Ninigret Park, Wilcox Park, while Warwick has John D. Florio Memorial Park, which is also known as the Impossible Dream Park.
Rhode Island is home to the Roger Williams Zoo in Providence. It has more than 100 species of animals, including very rare ones. Some of the animals you could see here include river otters, bald eagles, red wolves, zebras, African elephants, red river hogs, king vultures, Chilean flamingos, anteaters, camels, snow leopards, red pandas, emus, kangaroos, wallabies, and Sichuan takins. There is also an interactive play area for families with little kids called the Hasbro's Our Big Backyard.
The zoo is a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and is one of the oldest zoos in the country.
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Adventureland of Narragansett will give the entire family a great time. You can get on a bumper boat in Under a Waterfall, bump into everybody, and go under the waterfall. For added fun, you can get your friends wetter with a water cannon. You can then have fun at the at the miniature golf course, the batting cages, the carousel, and the go-kart course.
You can also go to the Atlantic Beach Park in Westerly. This family-owned park is close to a hundred years old and features bumper boats, video arcade games, and other attractions. The carousel is the oldest attraction here and it still retains many of the original chariots and horses it had when it was first built in 1915. You could also play at the miniature golf course, video game arcade, and batting cages. There are also some retailers here that you can shop with. The Windjammer Snack Bar serves beach food and seafood, and you can have dessert at Dusty's Original dairy Bar.
Head over to Water Wizz of Westerly, where you have at least 1,000 feet of spills and water fun. Get on the giant water slides, the speed slide and the Little Dipper for the younger ones. Meanwhile, Yawgoo Valley might be advertised as a ski resort, but it has a small water park on the site.
Casinos. You can gamble at the Twin River Casino in Lincoln, which features at least 300,000 sq. ft. of gaming area. The casino has more than 4,500 virtual table games and video slot machines. You can also play at one of 80 live table games such as roulette, blackjack, craps, and others. The casino also features two restaurants, food courts, bars, an event center, and a racebook.
Another casino you can go to is the Newport Grand Slots, where you can have fun gambling, or watching a concert or comedy act. The casino features pretty much the same games as Twin River, and it also has an Event Center, several dining options, jai alai, greyhound race betting, and other attractions.
Arts and culture is well and alive in Rhode Island.
Art galleries. Rhode Island is home to quite a number of art galleries and artist studios that you can visit. Not only will you be able to see the best artworks from emerging and established artists from around the state, the country and the world, but you can also buy and take artworks home with you.
Let us start exploring the art galleries in the Blackstone Valley area. In Pawtucket, you have Flying Shuttles Studio, Mad Dog Artist Studios & Gallery, and the Rhode Island Watercolor Society. And you also have St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center in Woonsocket.
Then check out the galleries in Newport County. Portsmouth has the Portsmouth Arts Guild and DC Stoneware Studio & Gallery, while Middletown has the DeBlois Gallery, and Tiverton has Susan Freda Studios At Gallery 4 and Four Corners Arts Center.
However, the most number of art galleries in the area is in Newport. Check out:
Providence also has a number of galleries you can go to: Annmary Brown Memorial, ArtProv Gallery, Atrium Gallery, BankRI North Kingstown Gallery, BankRI Pitman Street Gallery, BankRI Turks Head Gallery, Bannister Gallery at Rhode Island College, Bert Gallery, Cate Charles Gallery, Chabot Fine Art Gallery, Chazan Gallery at Wheeler, Craftland Gallery, David Winton Bell Gallery, Gallery Belleau, Gallery Z, Hunt-Cavanagh Gallery at Providence College, Krause Gallery at Moses Brown, Providence Art Club, Reilly Gallery, Rhode Island School of Design Fleet Library, Rhode Island School of Design's Woods-Gerry Gallery, Royal Gallery, Sol Koffler Graduate Student Gallery, Studio Hop, The Gallery at City Hall, The Peaceable Kingdom, URI Feinstein Providence Campus Gallery, and Yellow Peril Gallery.
In South County, you have the following:
Even Block Island has four art galleries: Greenaway Gallery, Jessie Edwards Gallery, Spring Street Gallery, and the Photo Dog Art Gallery. Bristol has Hope Gallery and Warren has Imago Gallery of Art and Fine Craft.
Art museums. Check out the noteworthy art museums in the state. The Annmary Brown Memorial, which is part of the Brown University system, exhibits a wide variety of art that comes from different countries.
You can also go to the Hera Gallery, which was founded in the 1970s and currently gives artists the opportunity to tackle social issues, as well as cultural and political issues in their works. Some of the artists whose works you can see here include Susan Weil, Italo Scanga, Dale Chihuly, Carolee Schneeman, Ana Mendieta, and Judy Gelles.
The Newport Art Museum is more than a hundred years old and has several artworks from New England artists, especially those from the state. Artists you could find here include William Trost Richards, John La Farge, Catharine Morris Wright, John Frederick Kensett, and Gilbert Stuart.
Rhode Island School of Design Museum is located in Providence. The museum is the 20th biggest art museum in the country, and has an extensive holding numbering more than 86,000 works, including those by Rhode Island artists such as Goddard and Townsend, John Noble Barlow, and Gilbert Stuart. There are also masterpieces here by Manet, Picasso, Monet, Andy Warhol, and Paul Revere. It also has a vast collection of ancient art, including bronze sculptures, Greek vases and coins, paintings, stone sculptures, Roman jewelry, and terracottas.
The museum also has Asian art including more than 600 Japanese prints from the 19th century, and a 12th-century Buddha Dainichi Nyorai. There is also a costumes and textiles exhibit that showcases more than 15,000 pieces. Other exhibits here include Decorative Arts, Painting and Sculpture, and Prints, Drawings and Photographs.
Further, you can go to the Warwick Museum of Art, Culinary Arts Museum at Johnson & Wales University, and Museum of Primitive Art and Culture.
Performing arts. No matter where you are in Rhode Island, there is always a show for you to watch. In the Black Valley area, you can go to Pawtucket and visit the Mixed Magic Theatre, which seats 120 people and has an art gallery as well. Or you can head to the Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre, which produces plays featuring the area's best actors. Or go to Woonsocket, where you can find the Stadium Theatre Performing Arts Centre and which accommodates more than 1,000 people and gives you theater, music, and dance performances, as well as movies. Or check out Theatre Works, which gives you live community theater performances. If you are in Cumberland, you should go to Blackstone River Theatre. The theater accommodates 165 people and also features art galleries, and exhibit spaces.
Newport and Providence have the Firehouse Theater and the Providence Performing Arts Center. You should also watch the Festival Ballet Providence perform.
Other performing arts venues you should visit and groups you should see include the 2nd Story Theatre in Warren, the Park Theatre in Narragansett, and the Comedy Connection in East Providence.
Meanwhile, you should check out the Chorus of Westerly, which gives you high-level arts and music performances. The group has been regaling audiences for more than five decades. Or check out the Granite Theatre, where you could watch Broadway shows from March through December. Wakefield has the Contemporary Theater Company, which is known for its fine performances at affordable ticket prices, and the Theatre By The Sea, a popular summer theater.
Festivals and annual events. Notable events that you should consider attending if you are in Rhode Island include:
Rhode Island gives the weary traveler a treat when it is time to have a meal, what with its many restaurants and dining options. Restaurants in the state have caught the attention of such prestigious publications as Gourmet, Esquire, and the New York Times.
Rhode Island is a seafood lover's paradise. Restaurants here give you classic seafood dishes, and then add in some local recipes.
On top of seafood, Rhode Island also benefits from its multicultural heritage, as you can find ethnic dishes and masterpieces from literally every part of the world at your dining table. Check out the varied Italian, Portuguese, Asian, Eastern, and French fare at the state's best restaurants.
And then there are the local favorites, such as:
And then there are winners of the Best of Rhode Island as chosen by the editors of Rhode Island Magazine. These are:
Shopping. Providence Place has more than 160 stores, services and restaurants in more than 1.4 million sq. ft. of space. It is anchored by seven businesses, including JCPenney, Macy's, and Nordstrom.
You could also go to Warwick Mall, which has more than a million sq. ft. of retail space and has at least 80 stores. Anchor tenants include Macy's, JCPenney, Old Navy, Target, Sports Authority, Showcase Cinemas, Jordan's Furniture, and Nordstrom Rack.
Apart from these two malls, there are other shopping options in the state, such as the many downtown areas in various cities. You can also patronize local businesses that give you unique merchandise, the latest fashion items and accessories, and other stuff you might need.
The state has around five dozen golf courses where you could tee off, including some of the finest in the New England area. The backdrops are varied, with some courses located near ocean fronts, while others give you serene hills and quiet greens. If you are looking for cities with a high number of golf courses, then you should go to North Kingstown, East Greenwich, and Cranston.
If you are looking for the best courses, then you can never go wrong at:
Other sports venues. Rhode Island is home to the Pawtucket Red Sox of the Triple-A International League. They play their home games at the McCoy Stadium. You can also find the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League playing at the Dunkin' Donuts Center. Then you could watch the Rhode Island Rebellion of the USA Rugby League play at Providence's Classical High School.
Further, you have the New England Patriots and Major League of the National Football League play at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. Another team that plays at the same stadium is the New England Revolution.
Baseball lovers can watch games at Murray Stadium in Providence, which seats 1,000 people and is the site of the first Ivy League Baseball Championship. Or at Cardines Field in Newport, which is among the oldest ballparks in the country and can seat around 3,250 people. Further, you can watch the Bryant Bulldogs play at Conaty Park, with enough seating for 500 people. Two other baseball stadiums you can go to include the Bill Beck Field in Kingston and McCarthy Field in West Warwick.
Basketball fans can go to Alumni Hall to watch the Providence Friars basketball and volleyball teams play, while you can go to Bryant University's Bulldog Stadium to watch the team play American football. You can also go to Brown Stadium, which can seat 20,000 spectators.
Soccer fans have the Pierce Memorial Field, which seats 8,000 people, as well as the Stevenson Field on the Brown University campus. Stevenson Field is where the Brown Bears lacrosse and soccer teams play.
Further, the Thomas M. Ryan Center in Kingston is where the University of Rhode Island Rams basketball team plays and it can accommodate at least 7,600 people. Then you have Schneider Arena, which can accommodate more than 3,000 hockey fans who want to watch the Friars' ice hockey teams. George V. Meehan Auditorium, meanwhile, is home to Brown Bears' ice hockey teams.
Other sports venues you could go to include: