Rhode Island may be the smallest state, but it is big on oceanside fun. A vacation rental in Rhode Island offers easy access to scenic vistas, fine dining, holiday events, and historic sites dating back nearly to the time of the Pilgrim’s arrival. From rustic cabins in secluded locations to the bustling neighborhoods of Providence, check out these top vacation choices for your Thanksgiving getaway.

1. Providence

For a Thanksgiving dinner with New England Flair, make reservations at Legal Seafood in the Providence suburb of Warwick, and enjoy stuffed lobster along with roast turkey and more traditional trimmings. Then, take a stroll in The Arcade and down Westminster Street on Black Friday for unique shopping opportunities in local boutiques. Providence also has a thriving theater scene with many traditional holiday shows opening Thanksgiving weekend, such as The Christmas Carol and Dashing Through the Snow. History buffs enjoy the holiday lantern tour of the city’s Walk of History and touring the Governor Henry Lippitt House Museum all dressed up for the holidays.

2. Portsmouth

Flickr / Lara

With the beautiful Narragansett Bay as your backdrop, Portsmouth is the perfect place to celebrate a traditional New England Thanksgiving. This small town has over 50 miles of shoreline for you to explore, and great restaurants, including Fieldstones Portsmouth Grille, Portsmouth Publick House, and 15 Point Road, for your Thanksgiving feasting.

3. Barrington

Flickr / Sarah Marriage

If you love the beach, make Barrington your Thanksgiving vacation destination. Barrington Beach features a slow pace in the late fall, providing the perfect environment for peaceful walks along the shore enjoying the fresh air and searching for seashells. Get a start on your holiday shopping on Small Business Saturday at the many quaint shops in the center of town, such as Barrington Books, Teapots and Tassels, and Wierdgirl Creations, and take a look at the historical architecture in the Barrington Civic Center Historic District while you’re shopping.

4. Narragansett

Narragansett offers you a picturesque setting perfect for breaking bread and giving thanks. Choose a vacation home with a roomy kitchen, and stay in for your feast. Then take a walk along the shore after dinner to see the Judith Point Lighthouse, built in 1816 and still working to keep boaters safe, and the Point Judith Fisherman’s Memorial, which sits atop a mound honoring local fisherman and providing beautiful views of the water. In town hit up the Black Friday sales, and then take a stroll by the Narragansett Indian Monument. This giant sculpture is part of a group of 50 similar monuments, one in each state, that honor Native American culture throughout the United States.

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5. Newport

Flickr / Amy Meredith

For a fabulous display that’s sure to put you in the holiday spirit, spend some time touring Newport’s historical mansions, the Breakers, the Elms, and Marble House, during your Thanksgiving vacation. Starting the Sunday before Thanksgiving, these grand houses put on their holiday finery. Guided tours are available, and Saturday evenings feature holiday treats and live entertainment. Save Saturday afternoon for local shopping including a stop at Anchor Bend Glassworks to witness the glassblowing process firsthand and browse unique hand-blown glass pieces perfect for holiday gifts or seasonal souvenirs.

6. Exeter

Flickr / Peter Rintels

To explore rural Rhode Island, consider a Thanksgiving vacation in Richmond. Located near the Arcadia Management Area, this welcoming town offers easy access to beautiful hiking trails, many of which are open year round. Consider packing your snowshoes or cross country skis in case an early snowfall turns the park into a winter wonderland. To deepen your Thanksgiving experience, tour the Tomaquag Museum to learn more about the indigenous peoples who populated New England at the time of the first Thanksgiving.

7. Westerly

Flickr / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region

Book a cozy vacation home in Westerly for a fun family holiday plus a touch of adventure. Sign up for a Save The Bay Westerly seal cruise and spend an afternoon cruising the Pawcatuck River enjoying the austere beauty of the late-fall landscape and watching for harbor seals along the shoreline. Be sure to bundle up even on warmer days because the breeze is cold out on the water in November.

8. Tiverton

Tiverton’s picturesque location on a point of land in the bay provides beautiful, watery views, and those same waters make Tiverton a great Thanksgiving stop for seafood lovers. Head to the Boat House for a delightful Thanksgiving dinner on the waterfront with traditional favorites, such as roast turkey and bourbon pecan pie, plus seafood extras including the house specialty, fresh Atlantic salmon. Consider dining at sunset for a spectacular view, and be sure to make reservations because Thanksgiving seating fills up fast. On Friday or Saturday, start your shopping in the historic Tiverton Four Corners, the quaint center of town filled with local boutiques housed in 18th century buildings. The younger members of your party are sure to enjoy watching for Santa’s arrival in a horse-drawn carriage.

9. Pawtucket

If there’s nothing you love better than a morning run in the crisp fall air, settle into Pawtucket for your Thanksgiving vacation. A vacation rental right in town makes it easy to walk over to Pawtucket City Hall for the start of the Rhode Island Family Turkey Trot 5K and Youth Fun Run. Stick around after your run for live musical entertainment at the post race party in city hall, and remember to bring along a charitable donation of nonperishable food items or warm winter clothing. Round out your vacation with a tour of the historic Wilkinson Mill, built in 1810 and still in operation today.

 
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