Top 10 Weekend Getaways in Rhode Island

Last Updated on April 01, 2023 by Nikki Jain

Rhode Island may be the smallest state, but it's certainly not lacking as a vacation destination.

Perfect for a weekend getaway, the ocean state offers small-town charm, gorgeous ocean views, and five-star dining.

Whether you're interested in learning about the history of the Blackstone Valley, enjoying a walk on the beach, or exploring the trails of Southern New England, Rhode Island is the perfect place for your next weekend getaway.

Here's our pick of the best weekend getaways in Rhode Island.

Best Weekend Getaways in Rhode Island

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1: Weekend in Providence

Weekend in Providence
Dreamstime/Sean Pavone

Rhode Island's largest city has been consistently named one of the best up-and-coming cities in the United States.

Enjoy the historical charm of narrow roads, hills, and old houses mixed with trendy restaurants and shops.

Visit the Rhode Island School of Design's museum, which contains a collection of over 100,000 works ranging from historic sculptures to exhibitions of current students.

After, take a stroll through Brown's historic campus. Then grab lunch or shop along the nearby Thayer Street. Also, be sure to check out the Fox Point area with Wickford Street offering local boutiques and upscale vintage shops.

For families, the Roger Williams Park Zoo introduces children to animals with over forty acres of exhibits. The zoo also hosts a rotating variety of festivals, including Food Truck Fridays.

Another popular Providence attraction is the popular Waterfire celebration which includes the lighting of a sculpture in the river in downtown Providence.

There's accompanying music, vendors, and performances. The celebration happens once a month during spring, summer, and fall, culminating with a final holiday celebration.

Address: Providence, RI

2: Exploring Exeter

Exploring Exeter
Flickr/Peter Rintels

Exeter is certainly not the typical picture of Rhode Island. Tucked in the southwest corner of the state, the allure of Exeter feels far removed from the crisp beaches of Newport.

Instead, rural Exeter offers hiking trails aplenty at the Arcadia Management Area, including a hike overlooking a waterfall. Locals zoom around the woods on ATVs and mountain bikes.

Cool off at Yawgoo Valley Waterpark, which offers skiing and snow tubing in the winter months. Or, Try your hand at freshwater fishing at the trout-stocked Wood River. After, relax with a beer at Tilted Barn Brewery.

Address: Exeter, RI

3: Retreating to Newport

Retreating to Newport

Newport may be Rhode Island's best-known vacation spot. Loved for decades by the rich and the famous, tours are now offered of the infamous Gilded Age Newport Mansions, such as the Breakers, which was once home to the Vanderbilts.

Newport is an upscale vacation destination with boutique shopping and classy restaurants. Explore the Cliff Walk and see the views that lead the city to be known as one of America's most beautiful places.

Visit Newport Vineyards and enjoy a glass of wine. Enjoy the art at the Newport Art Museum. Take a scenic drive down Ocean Drive or the "Ten Mile Drive", which features stunning views, more cliffs to explore, and gorgeous spots for water sports.

Address: Newport, RI

4: Enjoy the Surf in Narragansett

Enjoy the Surf in Narragansett
Dreamstime/Jerry Coli

Narragansett, named "New England's best beach town" by the Boston Globe, is one of the best weekend getaways in Rhode Island for ocean lovers.

Simply spend a day relaxing by the surf or try the sport of surfing with lessons from Narragansett Skate and Surf Shop.

Hike the bluffs overlooking the water. Grab breakfast or lunch at Crazy Burger, a must-try local cafe with tons of vegan options. Try a flight of beer at Whalers Brewery in the neighboring Wakefield, or attempt rock climbing at Rock Spot Peacedale.

Check out all the activities at Adventureland Family Fun Park, including go-karting, batting cages, mini-golf, and a full video arcade. Watch the sunset over the lighthouse at Point Judith.

Address: Narragansett, RI

5: Get Outside in Foster

Get Outside in Foster

Foster sits on the western Connecticut border in Northern Rhode Island. Though the town might be a bit off the beaten path, it's a perfect Rhode Island weekend getaway for those seeking a retreat to nature.

Foster boasts the highest point in Rhode Island, Jerimoth Hill, accessed via a short hiking trail, as well as the only covered bridge left in the state, Swamp Meadow Bridge on Central Pike.

Camp at the Ginny B Campground on the Moosup River and enjoy kayaking, canoeing, and fishing.

Visitors can also take a tour of Nickle Creek Vineyards and try the local craft wine. Or check out the newly open Bravo Brewing Company for local brews.

Address: Foster, RI

6: Visit Smithfield

Visit Smithfield

The quaint town of Smithfield is home to Bryant University. A must-visit, especially in the fall, Smithfield is sometimes known as the "apple valley."

Numerous farms, including the famous Jaswell's Farm, offer fresh apple cider and fruit picking varying by season.

Other activities include visiting the Smith-Appleby House Museum, run by the Rhode Island Historical Society, which offers tours and information on the area's history. Hike the trails at the Monty Conservation area for a view of the Stillwater Reservoir.

Address: Smithfield, RI

7: Hit the Beach in Westerly

Hit the Beach in Westerly
Dreamstime/Ritu Jethani

Tucked on the Southern Connecticut border, Westerly is home to the Watch Hill district, where the likes of Taylor Swift own property. Relax on the beaches at Watch Hill or check out the state beach at Misquamicut. Play games at Atlantic Beach Park or race go-karts across the street at Bayview Fun Park. Catch an old movie on the beach at the Misquamicut Drive-In Theater.

Address: Westerly, RI

8: Check out the Arts in Bristol

Check out the Arts in Bristol
Dreamstime/Faina Gurevich

Bristol sits on the eastern side of Narragansett Bay. Home to River Williams University, the town offers a large arts scene, including The Bristol Art Museum and numerous galleries along Hope Street.

Visitors should also check out the Blithewold Mansion, Gardens, and Arboretum, which features a historical estate boasting 33-acres of lush property with various flowers and trees. Colt State Park offers miles of trails and is the perfect spot for a waterfront picnic.

Address: Bristol, RI

9: Boat around Warren

Boat around Warren
Flickr/David Hilowitz

On the Eastern peninsula of Rhode Island is the charming town of Warren, one of the most historic beach towns in New England. Featuring a walkable downtown lined with shops and art galleries as well as local beaches.

Check out the food trucks at Hope & Main or eat at a waterfront restaurant on the cove. Rent a boat and cruise around Belcher Cove. Visit the wildlife refuge at Touisset Marsh and walk the trails overlooking Chase Cove.

Address: Warren, RI

10: Visit the Breachway of Charlestown

Visit the Breachway of Charlestown

Charlestown might be best known for the Fantastic Umbrella Factory. The oddly named attraction consists of a complex of shops and a cafe accessed via walking trails surrounded by farmland and animals, including goats and chickens.

This one-of-a-kind place is an endearing oddity for locals and tourists alike. The town also features a breachway between the local pond and the ocean.

Camping is offered along the Charlestown Breachway with panoramic views of the Block Island Sound or Burlingame State Park and Campground located on the Watchaug Pond.

Address: Charlestown, RI

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