The state of Rhode Island in New England is renowned for its beautiful white sandy beaches and charming Colonial coastal towns. Home to several large cities, including Newport, which is famous for its magnificent Gilded Age mansions and being one of the best sailing spots on the coast, Rhode Island also features some spectacular natural beauty and breathtaking landscapes which can be enjoyed at one of the many state and recreational parks in the region. The capital of Providence is home to the urban Roger Williams Park, and the exquisitely manicured Waterplace Park and Riverwalk, while further afield there are plenty of naturally wild and beautiful parks to explore.
1.Beavertail State Park
Beavertail State Park is a 153-acre public recreation area located at the southern end of Conanicut Island in Narragansett Bay. Renowned for its stunning panoramic vistas of the New England coastline, the park is also home to the active Beavertail Lighthouse with a tower dating back to 1856. Previously known as the Newport Light, the Beavertail beacon has a rich history which includes contributing to Newport's prominence before the Revolution and guiding local merchant vessels engaged in the trade with China. The Beavertail Lighthouse and Lighthouse Museum are open for the public to explore. The park is a popular tourist destination for sightseeing, which can be done on foot, bicycle or by car, and also offers excellent hiking saltwater fishing and a naturalist program.
Beavertail Rd, Jamestown, RI 02835, Phone: 401-884-2010
2.Big River Management Area
The Big River Management Area is an 8,000-plus-acre of pristine protected landscapes consisting of deciduous and evergreen forests, marshes and wetlands, and farmlands. The area is home to several rivers, including the Big River, the Congdon and Carr Rivers, and the Nooseneck River, which offers a range of water-based activities such as fishing, canoeing, and swimming. Other recreational activities in the area include hiking, mountain biking, nature walks, and bird watching.
West Greenwich, RI 02817
3.Blackstone River State Park
Blackstone River State Park features 1,000 acres of parklands with several historical sites, plenty of hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking trails, and lovely picnic areas. The riverfront park is home to a historical canal towpath built in 1828 where visitors can enjoy historical walking tours and visit the Captain Wilbur Kelly House Museum, which is open seasonally and features a variety of exhibits on the towpath, canal, and railroads in the area. Other activities in the park include canoeing and kayaking with canoe portage available, freshwater fishing, walking, and picnicking.
Lower River Rd, Lincoln, RI 02865, Phone: 401-334-6720
4.Block Island National Wildlife Refuge
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Located on the picturesque Block Island, approximately 12 miles offshore from Rhode Island, Block Island National Wildlife Refuge is a protected environment that is home to a wealth of diverse wildlife and beautiful landscapes. Established in 1973, the 127-acre refuge is located in the ‘Atlantic Flyway’ for migrating birds and attracts over 70 species of migratory songbirds which stopover on Block Island before continuing their migration. The refuge also attracts other wildlife such as the threatened piping plovers, the endangered American burying beetle, and has the largest gull colony in Rhode Island. Birders come from around the country to experience to a myriad of migratory birds that use the island as a rest stop.
New Shoreham, RI 02807, Phone: 401-364-9124
5.Brenton Point State Park
Occupying the former grounds of one of Newport's grandest estates at the southwestern tip of Aquidneck Island, Brenton Point State Park is an 89-acre public recreation area with spectacular panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean where it meets Narragansett Bay. Situated next to Newport Country Club, which is part of Newport's Ocean Drive Historic District, midway along renowned Ocean Drive, the park offers facilities such as hiking trails, kite flying areas, picnicking facilities, and fishing, and hosts the annual Newport Kite Festival.
Ocean Drive, Newport, RI 02840, Phone: 401-849-4562
6.Casimir Pulaski Memorial State Park
Located within the 4000-acre George Washington Management Area, the 100-acre Pulaski Memorial Recreation Area is a scenic ‘day park’ that offers a range of facilities for recreational and outdoor activities. The park features the 13-acre Peck Pond, which provides excellent trout fishing and swimming, and is home to families of beavers that make their dens around the pond. The surrounding park has several hiking and mountain biking trails, lovely picnic spots, and 10 miles of groomed trails that lead into the adjacent George Washington Management Area for cross-country skiing in the winter months.
174 Pulaski Rd, Chepachet, RI 02814
The Charlestown Breachway State Beach is a public recreation area in the town of Charlestown that overlooks the sea of the Block Island Sound. The beach is located on the east side of the Breachway, a manmade channel that connects Ninigret Pond with the ocean. There is a 75-site camping ground for self-contained RV and a boat launch, as well as plenty of activities to enjoy such as swimming, fishing, boating, canoeing, kayaking, and beachcombing.
Charlestown Beach Rd, Charlestown, RI 02813, Phone: 401-364-7000
8.Colt State Park
Often referred to as the 'Gem' of the State Parks System, Colt State Park is a 464-acre park on Poppasquash Neck in the township of Bristol that is home to one of the state’s most spectacular shorelines. One owned by industrialist Samuel P. Colt, the land is bordered by Narragansett Bay on the western side and boasts panoramic views of the bay and the ocean. The park features grassy lawns, curving drives, old stone walls, and six beautiful picnic groves with over 400 picnic tables for relaxing and enjoying the stunning scenery. Other attractions in the park include manicured groves of fruit trees, lawns and flowering bushes, four miles of hiking and biking trails along the shoreline, a charming open-air chapel, a historical museum that showcases the history of the area, and ten large playing fields.
Route 114, Bristol, RI 02809, Phone: 401-253-7482
9.Conanicut Battery Historic Park
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The Conanicut Battery Historic Park preserves the Conanicut Battery, a colonial and 20th Century military battery in Jamestown. The 22-acre site is known for the earthen battery which was constructed by local militia during the American Revolutionary War, and for its commanding and strategic views of the West Passage of Narragansett Bay. The main feature of the park is the earthworks, which measure approximately 150 feet long and 75 feet wide and date back to 1931, as well as large partially underground defensive batteries such as Fort Burnside and Fort Getty that were built in the early 20th century by the U.S. military. The Conanicut Battery Historic Park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is open for the public to explore.
Battery Ln, Jamestown, RI 02835
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10.Conimicut Point Park
Conimicut Point Park is a scenic waterfront park with sandy beaches, picnic areas, and sites for launching canoes and kayaks. In addition to beautiful beaches, the park has a children’s play area, and is an excellent spot for bird-watching, catching stunning sunsets, and taking photographs of the Conimicut Lighthouse.
Point Ave, Warwick, RI 02889, Phone: 401-738-2000
11.East Matunuck State Beach
Set along the shore of Block Island Sound in the town of South Kingstown, East Matunuck State Beach is a 144-acre public recreation area that offers a variety of beach activities, swimming, and picnicking. The beach is renowned for its excellent surfing waves and a futuristic beach pavilion and has a large parking lot for visitors, bathrooms and changing stalls, concessions, and a lifeguard tower. East Matunuck State Beach is a good spot for watching boats entering and leaving the Point Judith Harbor of Refuge.
950 Succotash Rd, South Kingstown, RI 02879, Phone: 401-789-8374
12.Fort Adams State Park
Fort Adams State Park preserves the massive coastal fortification of Fort Adams which is located at the harbor mouth in Newport and dates back to 1841. Initially owned by William Brenton and known as Hammersmith, after the adjacent Hammersmith Farm, the public recreation and historic area offers a range of activities such as boating, canoeing, swimming, and picnicking and has several athletic fields. The state park is home to the Eisenhower House and Sail Newport and hosts the annual Newport Jazz Festival and Newport Folk Festival, as well as the Newport Rugby Sevens Tournament, which is held at the fort each summer.
80 Fort Adams Dr, Newport, RI 02840, Phone: 401-847-2400
13.Fort Wetherill State Park
Located at the southeastern tip of Conanicut Island in the town of Jamestown, Fort Wetherill State Park is a 61.5-acre public recreation area with breathtaking views over the entrance to Narragansett Bay. Resting sits atop high 100-foot granite cliffs on the East Passage of Narragansett Bay opposite Fort Adams State Park, Fort Wetherill was built over the site of the former coastal defense battery and training camp of the American Revolutionary War’s Fort Dumpling. Fort Wetherill was used during World War II and later deactivated, and now operates as a public park managed by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. Today, the park is a hot spot to watch the numerous Tall Ship events and America’s Cup Races that are held in the area, as well as an excellent place for scuba-diving. Other activities in the park include boating, fishing, hiking, and family and group picnicking.
3 Fort Wetherill Rd, Jamestown, RI 02835, Phone: 401-423-1771
14.Francis C. Carter Memorial Preserve
The Francis C. Carter Memorial Preserve is one of the largest nature reserves in Rhode Island and lies between the sandy floodplain of the Pawcatuck River to the rocky uplands of the Charlestown moraine. The preserve is home to a diverse range of fauna and flora, including 35 acres of grassland, hundreds of acres of contiguous forest, rare pitch pine/scrub oak barrens and vernal pools. It also forms part of an 11-mile corridor of vast open spaces between the Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge and the Carolina Management Area. The South County gem features more than six miles of marked hiking and horseback riding trails that wind through oak and pine forest and offers guided nature walks and seasonal bowhunting.
Narragansett Trail, Charlestown, RI 02813
15.Goddard Memorial State Park
Goddard Memorial State Park is a 490-acre public recreation area situated along the shores of Greenwich Cove and Greenwich Bay in Warwick. Once the estate of Robert Goddard, Civil War officer, and Rhode Island politician, the park is a beautiful natural environment that attracts thousands of visitors each year with spacious lawns, fields, and forested areas boasting trees from all over the world. The park features an equestrian area with 18 miles of bridle trails, hiking trails, playing fields, picnicking facilities, a lovely beach with swimming and a canoeing area, a performing arts center, and a nine-hole golf course.
1095 Ives Rd, East Greenwich, RI 02818, Phone: 401-884-2010
16.Haines Memorial State Park
Located on the north-eastern side of Narragansett Bay in the town of Barrington, Haines Memorial State Park is public recreation area that was established in 1911 and offers boating, canoeing, and fishing on the lower Providence River and the headwaters of Narragansett Bay. The park also features two baseball fields, picnic sites with barbecue facilities, and hiking and biking on the East Bay Bike Path and boasts beautiful views of Narragansett Bay.
Rhode Island 103, East Providence, RI 02914, Phone: 401-253-7482
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17.India Point Park
Situated at the confluence of the Seekonk River and Providence River in the Fox Point neighborhood of Providence, India Point Park offers a wealth of activities such as recreational boating, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, and swimming, as well as biking, walking and soaking up the beautiful views. The park is named after the point that connects Providence with the East and West Indies and is part of the Washington–Rochambeau Revolutionary Route.
201 India St, Providence, RI 02903, Phone: 401-680-7201
18.John H. Chafee Nature Preserve
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The John H. Chafee Nature Preserve is set on 250-acres of land known as Rome Point, which was donated to the state by Narragansett Electric in 2001 to prevent the pristine waterfront property from development. Named after statesman John H. Chafee who inspired the protection of Rome Point, the preserve features protected ecosystems ranging from cobblestone shoreline, coastal wetlands, and transitional riparian habitat to freshwater wetlands, vernal pools, and upland forest. Fauna and flora in the park include several species of plants listed as "species of concern" and visiting seals.
1111 Boston Neck Rd, North Kingstown, RI 02852, Phone: 401-884-2010
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19.Lincoln Woods State Park
Named in honor of President Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln Woods State Park is a 627-acre public recreation area located around Olney Pond in the town of Lincoln. One of Blackstone Valley's great treasures, the park is a short ride from Cumberland, Pawtucket, and Providence, and is a popular getaway for north-eastern Rhode Islanders. Visitors to the park can enjoy a variety of water-based activities such as trout fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and swimming at the freshwater beach, as well as hiking, mountain biking, picnicking, and horseback riding. The park is also known for its giant glacial boulders and being a top spot for bouldering.
2 Manchester Print Works Rd, Lincoln, RI 02865, Phone: 401-723-7892
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20.Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge
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Situated along the shore of Ninigret Pond, the Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge is a protected reserve of diverse habitats ranging from freshwater wetlands, salt marshes and kettle ponds to maritime shrub lands, and forests, which are seasonally inhabited by over 250 species of birds. Originally used as a Naval Auxiliary landing field during the Second World War and later for farming, the area spans around 900 acres and is home to Canada geese, black ducks, and diving sucks during the winter months. There is also a piping plover nesting program.
Charlestown, RI 02813
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21.Pierce Park and Riverwalk
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Constructed in 1991 along the Blackstone River, the Pierce Park and Riverwalk in Central Falls is a lovely public space overlooking the river that features a network of hiking and biking trails, playing fields, playground facilities, and plenty of benches for relaxing. Located between High Street and the Blackstone River in Central Falls, the park has a marker near Macomber Stadium that describes the confrontation between the Rehoboth and Canonchet's Narragansett Indians in 1676, which was a critical episode in King Philip's War.
High Street, Central Falls, RI 02863, Blackstone Valley, Phone: 401-727-7480
22.Roger Williams National Memorial
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The Roger Williams National Memorial is a 4.5-acre landscaped urban park that stands at the base of the National Historic Landmark District of College Hill, one of the city's oldest and most historically significant areas. Situated near the eastern bank of the Moshassuck River separated from the river by Canal Street, the park commemorates the life of Roger Williams, co-founder of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. The park has grassy areas ringed by trees and a Visitor Center housed in the early 18th century Antrim-Gray House that features an exhibit and video about Roger Williams and the founding of Rhode Island, along with information about historic sites in Providence.
282 N Main St, Providence, RI 02903, Phone: 401-521-7266
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23.Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge
The Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge is a 242-acre nature reserve located on a peninsula between the Sakonnet River and Rhode Island Sound. The refuge features over 2.5 miles of nature trails, several viewing platforms for bird and wildlife watching, and a newly renovated visitor center with a variety of information of the fauna and flora of the area. Once a Naval communications site, the refuge is home to the largest winter population of harlequin ducks on the East Coast, as well as over 200 species of other birds, including the occasional visitors such as the northern barrier, snowy owl, and peregrine falcon.
50 Bend Road, Charlestown, RI 02813, Phone: 401-364-9124
24.Slater Memorial Park
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Named after the famous American industrialist, Samuel Slater, who constructed America's first water-powered textile mill in Pawtucket, Slater Park is the oldest and largest public park in Pawtucket. The park features a variety of recreational facilities, including a three-mile bike trail, tennis courts, several picnic sites, and the historic Looff Carousel which was built in 1894. Other facilities in the park include the Kimberly Rock Athletic Complex, the Daggett House, and a dog park, and free children's performances and musical performances are hosted during the summer months.
Pawtucket, RI 02860, Phone: 401-728-0500
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24 Best Rhode Island Parks
- Beavertail State Park, Photo: sbgoodwin/stock.adobe.com
- Big River Management Area, Photo: robertuzhbt89/stock.adobe.com
- Blackstone River State Park, Photo: Pamela/stock.adobe.com
- Block Island National Wildlife Refuge, Photo: SE Viera Photo/stock.adobe.com
- Brenton Point State Park, Photo: Mcdonojj/stock.adobe.com
- Casimir Pulaski Memorial State Park, Photo: Michael/stock.adobe.com
- Charlestown Breachway, Photo: ICW/stock.adobe.com
- Colt State Park, Photo: schankz/stock.adobe.com
- Conanicut Battery Historic Park, Photo: Samuel B./stock.adobe.com
- Conimicut Point Park, Photo: GCapture/stock.adobe.com
- East Matunuck State Beach, Photo: jiawangkun/stock.adobe.com
- Fort Adams State Park, Photo: Tomtsya/stock.adobe.com
- Fort Wetherill State Park, Photo: Xeron/stock.adobe.com
- Francis C. Carter Memorial Preserve, Photo: colomboriccardo/stock.adobe.com
- Goddard Memorial State Park, Photo: mema/stock.adobe.com
- Haines Memorial State Park, Photo: Vinoverde/stock.adobe.com
- India Point Park, Photo: tonktiti/stock.adobe.com
- John H. Chafee Nature Preserve, Photo: Africa Studio/stock.adobe.com
- Lincoln Woods State Park, Photo: Pamela/stock.adobe.com
- Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge, Photo: Aleksey Stemmer/stock.adobe.com
- Pierce Park and Riverwalk, Photo: A. Bueckert/stock.adobe.com
- Roger Williams National Memorial, Photo: Zack Frank/stock.adobe.com
- Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge, Photo: jaypetersen/stock.adobe.com
- Slater Memorial Park, Photo: Tsyb Oleh/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Shutterbug Fotos/stock.adobe.com