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Rhode Island’s beautiful coastline, verdant forests, and peaceful waterways combine to offer tons of options for visitors seeking outdoor adventure.
The Ocean State boasts 15 state parks and seven state beaches protecting everything from sweeping shoreline to a historic farm. Near Jamestown, Beavertail State Park is home to an operational lighthouse and great ocean views. Brenton Point State Park near Newport is where you can take part in the Newport Kite Festival. Cold State Park is called the “jewel” of the state’s park system – it has one of Rhode Island’s best stretches of coast. Fort Adams State Park is the site of the Newport Jazz Festival and the Newport Folk Festival, while Goddard Memorial State Park has a golf course, bridle trails, and great spots to swim.
Bring your beach towel and some sun screen with you – Rhode Island has some of the East’s prettiest beaches. Charlestown Breachway State Beach is a great spot to fish while Scarborough State Beach near Narragansett has an observation tower and a boardwalk. Salty Brine State Beach protects just 1.3 acres but has a new beach pavilion and boardwalk.
Rhode Island is loaded with spots to view birds and wildlife. Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge has hiking trails and water views – you can see snowy owls and deer. Powder Mill Ledges Wildlife Refuge has dedicated butterfly habitat and is the home of the Audubon Society’s headquarters. Block Island National Wildlife Refuge has fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing opportunities. In Narragansett, the John H. Chafee National Wildlife Refuge offers prime habitat for the American black duck and is teeming with great egrets, herons, and plovers.
Be sure to bring your hiking shoes to Rhode Island. You’ll find great trails at Diamond Hill State Park, Arcadia State Park, Beach Pond State Park, and Lincoln Woods State Park. Popular trails include Cliff Walk in Newport, Mohegan Bluffs in New Shoreham, Purgatory Chasm in Middletown, and the Clayhead Nature Trail in New Shoreham. Hiking is the best way to appreciate the state’s incredible fall foliage – take the 2.3-mile easy loop around Tillinghast Pond or the tougher 2.2-mile hike to Long and Ell ponds.
Rhode Island takes on a much different feel in the winter, when snow blankets the countryside and the days are short and cold. Skiers head to Yawgoo Valley, which has two chairlifts and a rope tow serving 14 tree-line trails. Yawgoo has the best tubing in the state with two rope tows to haul you up the hill and eight lanes of thrilling fun to ride back down. Both the ski area and tubing area benefit from artificial snowmaking, which whitens the hills when Mother Nature doesn’t. Other tubing spots where you hike yourself to the top include the Rhode Island Country Club, Salter Grove Park, Burr’s Hill Park, and Lincoln Woods. Cross-country skiers will find acres of great terrain for kick and glide action at Lincoln Woods State Park, Roger Williams State Park, Colt State park, and Tillinghast Pond.
Mountain bikers will find plenty of tacky trails to shred. Popular rides can be found in Woody Hill, Burlingame, Wetamoo Woods, Fall River State Forest, and the Otis Crane Wildlife Management Area. Likely the state’s most popular mountain bike trails are found at Big River Management Area, where rides like Foster’s Folly, Tarbucket, and Half Pipe draw riders from around the region. Road bikers will find miles and miles of pavement to their liking. Popular routes include the 14-mile East Bay Bike Path, the Ten Mile River Greenway, and the 12-mile Blackstone River Greenway.
Don’t doubt for a second that there isn’t great surfing in the Ocean State. Rhode Island’s shore offers plenty of spots to take your board to – popular areas include Narragansett, Matunuck, and Middletown. Kite surfers will want to head to Second Beach, Conimicut Light, Block Island, and Colt State Park.
Sailors will experience some of the best sailing spots in the nation here. The sheltered waters of the Providence River, Mt. Hope Bay, and Narragansett Bay offer spectacular settings to unfurl your spinnaker. Love sailing but not ready to go it alone yet? There are dozens of charter outfits ready to get you on the water – popular spots include Newport, Barrington, West Greenwich, and Warwick.
Anglers come from around the world to sample the state’s famous waters. There are dozens of fishing charter companies operating out of ports in Westerly, Narragansett, Wakefield, and Charlestown. Popular catches include striped bass, tuna, marlin, mahi, and wahoo. Rather cast from shore? Great fishing spots in the state include Watchaug Pond, Olney Pond, Wyoming Pond, Mount Hope, and Ninigret Pond. Fly fishers will enjoy casting near Quonochontaug, Watch Hill Reefs, and the Wood River.
Rhode Island offers more than its share of adventure spots – no matter what your passion is, the Ocean State offers tons of excitement.