Formally recognized as the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, this quaint New England state may be small in land area, but it has the longest official name of any state in the United States. Rhode Island is nicknamed “The Ocean State” as it is home to numerous inlets, beaches, and bays that cover more than a tenth of its total area. The state’s capital city is Providence. Summers in Rhode Island are typically warm and rainy while the winters are snowy and cold.
True to its nickname, The Ocean State has several picturesque beaches that are ideal for water sports, picnics, and sunbathing. In the town of Westerly is the 3-mile-long Misquamicut Beach that has outdoor cold showers, lifeguard towers, and 2 annual festivals: Springfest and Fallfest. South Kingstown Town Beach at Matunuck features a lively boardwalk, playground, volleyball court, and picnic area.
As for more recreational activities, locals frequent the Casimir Pulaski Memorial Recreation Area where Peck Pond is a beloved swimming hole and cross-country ski paths are accessible in the winter season. During spring to fall, bike paths such as Blackstone River Bikeway in Lincoln and Pawtucket’s Cycle Blackstone are notable attractions.
Rhode Island also boasts fine vineyards and wineries. Newport Vineyards and Winery in Middletown as well as Nickle Creek Vineyard in Foster are just a couple of high-quality places to check out.
In addition to being the capital city, Providence is the state’s largest city. The capital is renowned for being pedestrian-friendly and geographically compact. Some points of interest in Providence include the world-class art institution Rhode Island School of Design Museum; the annual summer WaterFire, an environmental art installation that showcases approximately a hundred bonfires above the rivers in downtown Providence; and the First Baptist Church in America.
Bordering the state of Massachusetts and the city of Providence, Pawtucket serves as Rhode Island’s fourth most expansive city. The city fosters a robust arts community and hosts a citywide Arts Festival each year. The Water Color Gallery and Marconi Garden are popular tourist attractions as well.
Nestled in the southwest portion of Rhode Island is the town of Narragansett which is a destination known for its gorgeous beaches and summer activities. The Fishermen's Memorial State Park has a campground as well as Fort Greene, a former military fort. The best beaches in town are Scarborough State Beach with its observation tower, boardwalk, and over 70 picnic tables; Salty Brine State Beach, and Roger Wheeler State Beach which are both protected by the port of Galilee’s breakwater.
Middletown is a town in the southeastern part of the state that houses multiple historic sites. Built in 1875 is the Paradise School, a single classroom schoolhouse officially recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. Other culturally significant points of interest are Bailey Farm, Boyd’s Windmill, and Prescott Farm.
Perfect for swimming, fishing, and kayaking, the lakes in Rhode Island are scenic and exciting for all water lovers. The county of Providence features a great number of lakes including Roosevelt Lake, Aldersgate Lake, and Arnold Mills Reservoir. Likewise, Washington County offers the stunning Annaquatucket Reservoir, Silver Lake, and Indian Lake.
The National Park Service distinguishes several parks in Rhode Island. Blackstone River Valley is a national historic park where visitors can learn about the point in time when the country entered the Age of Industry. To honor the state’s founder, the Roger Williams National Memorial is a Providence park with a significant history. The Touro Synagogue in Newport is an architectural marvel that stands as an important historic site for Jewish culture.
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