New England is well-known for its cold winters. Since Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start to summer, it’s a great time to shake off the winter blues and embark on a fun-filled getaway. Find a Rhode Island vacation rental in a historic city hosting patriotic events and family-friendly activities, or opt for a waterfront condo with spectacular ocean views. With so many great cities and towns in this quaint state, it may be challenging to narrow down a single destination. Here are the top nine Memorial Day weekend getaway spots in Rhode Island to get you started.

1. Providence

world war ii memorial park
Source: Flickr/Steve Goeringer

Soak up the sunshine in Providence. This city has a lot of great outdoor activities to make the best of the warmer weather. Start your trip with a visit to the Roger Williams Park. This large green space includes gardens in full bloom, a zoo with your favorite animals, and a museum to teach you more about the natural world. As evening arrives, make your way to South Main Street Park to see WaterFire. Starting in May, this attraction features 80 bonfires burning in the river.

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2. Warwick

east greenwich harbor
Source: Flickr/Marc Choquette

Hit the coast when you book a vacation rental in Warwick. At Goddard Park Beach, you can soak up the sun, look for shells, and fly kites if the day is windy. Bring your walking shoes to set out on one of the paths in the Goddard Memorial State Park. Learn more about the area’s history with the sea at the Steamship Historical Society of America. Spend an afternoon out on the water with a tour from Rhode Island Bay Cruises, or opt for a sunset cruise.

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3. Cranston

red barn
Source: Flickr/Wesley Carr

Wedged between Providence and Warwick, Cranston has a trendy vibe. Bring your bikes and make the best of the late spring weather with a ride on the East Bay Bike Path. If you don’t want to ride, take your family for a walk along the path to see the beautiful scenery that surrounds it. Take a walk around the historic downtown area to see the stunning architecture. Get in a little retail therapy at the Garden City Center that has your favorite stores. Grab a seat on the patio at Marchetti’s Restaurant for a great family meal of your favorite Italian dishes.

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4. Woonsocket

blackstone river gorge
Source: Flickr/Doug Kerr

Relax and unwind in the small town of Woonsocket. Start your Memorial Day weekend with a visit to the World War II Veterans Memorial State Park. Over the weekend and on Monday, this park is the site of several ceremonies honoring Rhode Island’s fallen heroes. Don good shoes and take the family hiking at Blackstone Gorge Trail. These hiking paths offer breathtaking views of the river from the bluffs. Step back in time at the Patriots Diner. This retro diner offers burgers, milkshakes, and breakfast all day.

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5. Newport

newport rhode island
Source: discovernewport.org

Located on Aquidneck Island, Newport was once the home to the robber barons of the Gilded Age in America. Today, you can tour some of the stunning mansions they used during the summer months. Take a tour of The Breakers and The Marble House to see how the other half lived at the start of the 20th century. Take advantage of the warm weather by spending the day at the Fort Adams State Park. Tour this former military stronghold, bring a picnic lunch, and fish off the banks at this state park.

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6. Central Falls

central falls landing
Source: Flickr/Sean

Learn more about America during the Industrial Revolution in Central Falls. Take a tour of the Slater Mill Historic Site. On the banks of the Blackstone River, this mill complex once worked as a prosperous cotton spinning mill. Pack a picnic lunch and take the kids over to Bold Point Park for an afternoon of fun. They can play tag in this open park or fish on the banks of the Seekonk River.

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7. Bristol

bristol rhode island
Source: Flickr/JJBers

As a deepwater seaport, Bristol has a rich history as a maritime community. On 33 acres, the Blithewold Mansion, Gardens, and Arboretum takes the better part of an afternoon to explore. Tour the home, then enjoy the garden in full bloom due to the spring weather. Learn more about the town’s history at the Herreshoff Marine Museum. Located in Colt State Park, Coggeshall Farm Museum is a popular spot for kids who enjoy the volunteers dressed in period costumes and want to experience farm chores as they did in the late 19th century.

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8. Cumberland

bridge over the blackstone river
Source: Flickr/Marc Choquette

In northeastern Rhode Island, Cumberland provides your family with the low-key trip you want. Venture out into the downtown area to see the quaint streets, eclectic shops, and historic homes. Pack a picnic lunch at your vacation rental and head over to Joe’s Rock. Eat while taking in the stunning views of the water below. Stroll along the walking trails at Diamond Hill. This local park offers views of the Boston skyline on clear days. Start each day of your trip by eating a hearty breakfast at the Eggs Up Family Restaurant.

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9. Little Compton

stone wall with hay bales
Source: Flickr/Peter Rintels

On the border of Massachusetts, Little Compton is a small town in the heart of big beach community. Take the family to the South Shore Beach for their first foray into the water this year. While it might be too cold to swim, you can build sandcastles and look for seashells. See some local wildlife at the Benjamin Family Environmental Center, or opt to hike the Dundery Brook Trail that winds its way through the woods and past ponds. Adults enjoy touring the Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyard and sampling the wines after the tour.

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