Rhode Island is proof that the best things come in small packages. Although it’s the smallest of the US states it packs a huge punch in terms of both charisma and the number of beauty spots.
Its charms are subtle but very classy and here you can expect fine historic houses, elegant art galleries, stunning vineyards, quaint Colonial villages, upscale restaurants, and a year-round calendar of cultural events.
Its landscapes are no less alluring and range from majestic lighthouses and white-sand swimming beaches to acres of lush fields and berry farms. It’s a tough choice but here are the best and most beautiful places to visit in Rhode Island…
1. Beavertail State Park, Jamestown – known for offering some of the most beautiful vistas along the New England coastline
You don’t have to love state parks to enjoy this one because it truly offers something for everyone.
Not only is it the perfect example of natural beauty, but it also has numerous overlooks that are very impressive, several tide pools, lots of hiking trails, some fishing opportunities, and even a lighthouse that dots the landscape and makes it even more interesting.
Set along the Rhode Island coastline, this is one state park you’ll never forget, not only because of how beautiful it is, but because of all the activities that you can enjoy.
2. Benefit Street, Providence – one of the best places to visit in Rhode Island
If you want to step back in time and enjoy some amazing beauty, you need to visit Benefit Street. Amazing regardless of what season it is, this street offers some of the most beautiful homes and tree-lined streets that you’ve ever seen.
Known as the “Mile of History,” its landscape and even the lampposts remind you of an era gone by because most of the homes there were built during the colonial era.
To make it even better, most of the homes on this street overlook the waterfront, which give all of them an even more attractive look in the end.
3. The Breakers, Newport – one of the best historic attractions to visit in Rhode Island
The Breakers is a mansion built by the Vanderbilts and which was really considered a summer cottage, but its size will make you think otherwise.
This exquisite mansion is found on the very elite Ochre Point Avenue and consists of some of the most beautiful gardens you’ve ever seen.
Not only is the home itself ornate and very detailed, giving you something to look at for a very long time, but its gardens are colorful and well laid-out, meaning you can look at them for a long time and still not get tired of what you’re seeing.
4. Castle Hill Lighthouse, Newport – for beautiful views across the bay and gorgeous sunsets
Short and stout, the Castle Hill lighthouse was built in 1890 by H.H. Richardson and sits at the entrance to the Narragansett Bay on the east side. It sits among craggy rocks and is known to be one of the most well-loved attractions on the coast of the state.
If you ever want to catch one of the most beautiful sunsets you’ve ever seen, this is the place to come to, and it is just as gorgeous in one season as it is in another.
Regardless of the weather or the time of year you visit it, the Castle Hill lighthouse is something you don’t want to miss when you’re in Rhode Island.
5. The Cliff Walk, Newport – a stunning place to explore the wonderful Rhode Island coastline
If you’re a hiker, you owe it to yourself to visit The Cliff Walk in Newport. It consists of 3.5 miles of beautiful scenery and cliffs that are just perfect for hiking. You can enjoy the views while you feel the saltwater spray on your face.
Not only does it give you the perfect opportunity to get some exercise, but you also get a great view of some of the town’s oldest mansions that were built long ago.
In fact, The Cliff Walk is considered a rite of passage for everyone who lives in Newport, and once you visit it, you’ll understand why.
6. Downtown Providence – offers fine restaurants, unique shopping, and beautiful scenery
Providence is indeed a beautiful town, and its downtown area is worth seeing even if you’re an outdoor person. This large, bustling city offers something for everyone, from eclectic shops to great restaurants and even a great arts scene.
Regardless of what you enjoy doing when you go to the city, the downtown area of Providence will provide it to you.
Not only is it filled with fun things to do, but it is also a very picturesque downtown area that you won’t forget about anytime soon. Oh, and don’t forget to visit Waterplace Park while you’re there.
7. The Elms, Newport – a fine historic mansion to visit in Rhode Island
This is definitely one of the most interesting places to visit in Rhode Island. It is a mansion built by a very wealthy family named the Berwinds, who made their money in the coal industry.
To say that the house is large is an understatement and the way it is sprawled out definitely demands attention.
It was built in 1901 as a summer home and was modeled after a home just outside of Paris called the d’Asnieres. If you love large homes and would love to see how the other half lives, you owe it to yourself to visit The Elms whenever you’re in Newport.
8. Point Judith Light, Narragansett – a stunning beauty spot in Rhode Island
This lighthouse was built in 1816 to replace the original lighthouse, which was destroyed a year earlier in the Great Gale of 1815. It is octagonal and very interesting to look at and in fact, as soon as you see it, you’ll likely want to immediately start snapping pictures of it.
It is two-toned and has a few other smaller buildings near it, and when you hear the term “picture perfect,” this is the type of views that come to mind.
If you can’t visit an area without visiting a lighthouse, this one is definitely one you don’t want to miss.
9. Taylor Point Park, Jamestown – a 25-acre beautiful overlook area developed by the Town in 1988
One of the first things you’ll notice when you get to this park is the magnificent Newport Bridge that is an art form in itself.
The park consists of 25 acres of natural beauty, and you can find areas for swimming, and even enjoying a picnic along the way.
You can come out here at the end of the day to enjoy one of the most beautiful sunsets around, but regardless of when you’re there or what you enjoy doing, Taylor Point Park will remain in your thoughts long after you leave it.
10. Rosecliff, Newport – a fine mansion created as a showcase for extravagant summer entertainments
Not all mansions are alike, and this one has some of the most interesting architecture and designs you’ve ever seen.
Not only is the home itself amazing and unique, but the grounds are carefully designed not just with beautiful gardens that sprawl out all over the place, but there are statues and birdbaths and lots of other items that keep the landscape interesting.
It was built in the late 1800s/early 1900s and is a shining example of how the “haves” get to live in this country.
11. Pomham Rocks Lighthouse, Providence – a beautiful historic lighthouse in the scenic Providence River
Alright, so Rhode Island has a lot of lighthouses, but each one is unique in its own right. The Pomham Rocks lighthouse sits on a small island and makes quite an impression on anyone who looks at it.
The lighthouse is the only remaining lighthouse out of the five lighthouses that used to be used to prevent boats from crashing into the rocks along the Providence River, giving it a unique place in the state’s history.
Although it was restored in 2018, this lighthouse has been around since December of 1871.
12. Prospect Terrace Park, Providence – a gorgeous spot to explore in Rhode Island
This is a beautiful park that sits subtly in the College Hill area of Providence, and it is always worth visiting. Not only does it offer fantastic views of the downtown area, but it’s a great place to see the sunset.
The area was donated to the city in 1869 with the goal of it remaining pristine and pure so that all citizens from then on could enjoy it, and it has remained that way ever since – thank goodness.
This is a true gem that you won’t want to miss if you ever make it to Providence.
13. Rhode Island State House, Providence – a fantastic place to visit in Rhode Island
Whether you love history, architecture, or just beautiful scenery, the Rhode Island State House is worth visiting.
It was built in the late 1800s/early 1900s and has a dome at the top with the “Independent Man” statue, which represents a person’s freedom to think and act independently.
The steps leading up to the building give it a majestic look, in part because it is made out of white Georgia marble, giving it a look of grandeur that not all buildings have. This is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Rhode Island.
14. Blackstone River Bikeway, Cumberland – a great area to explore nature
The Blackstone Valley is an amazing part of this state, and the bikeway consists of 16.5 miles of bike paths to enjoy as you view the city from a different point of view than most people get to.
Not only do you get amazing scenic views, but the path extends to the Massachusetts border, making it even more interesting.
You get to see marshes, cascading waterfalls, and so much more, making this one site you won’t want to miss if you’re anywhere near this area of Rhode Island.
15. Thomas Street, Providence – a charming and historic spot to explore in Rhode Island
Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places to visit in Rhode Island, all you have to do is stand on any street corner and take a peek down the rest of the street – in any direction!
The street is filled with iconic buildings, including stores and boutiques, and its hilly terrain and trees make it very aesthetically pleasing.
In fact, Thomas Street looks just as good as many other streets you’ve seen on the cover of magazines, so if you visit it, you might want to bring your camera and snap a few pictures before you go home.
We also have posts on…
- The most beautiful places to visit in Connecticut
- The most beautiful places to visit in Maryland
- The most beautiful places to visit in Delaware
- The most beautiful places to visit in Indiana
- The most beautiful places to visit in Maine
- The most beautiful places to visit in Pennsylvania
- The most beautiful places to visit in New Jersey
- The most beautiful places to visit in Massachusetts
Was this helpful?
Good job! Please give your positive feedback ⚡
How could we improve this post? Please Help us.✍
Scott Balaam – writer and photographer
Scott started his travelling life back in 1999, when he headed off on a solo jaunt to South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia with just a backpack, a camera and a spirit for adventure. After that, the travel bug bit hard and now he is always seeking to head off somewhere new. Over the years he has lived in Italy, Qatar, Australia, Ireland, UK and the USA but his spiritual home will always be Rome as this is the city which most satisfies his unrelenting thirst for culture, good food and great football. In his spare time Scott loves nothing better than to be behind the camera and also runs his own blog and Instagram page. He also counts Melbourne, the rest of Italy, Amsterdam, USA, Athens, Cape Town and Tel Aviv among his favourite places. Find Scott on Linkedin, Instagram, or Twitter.
Hotel Reviewing Experience –Asked by many tourist boards and many high-profile travel brands to formally review hotels including Visit Sweden, OET (Spanish Tourism Office), Sultanate of Oman and Travel Alberta. Also travelled around the world scouting out and reviewing all the most unique hotels in the world, check out our Instagram page for photos. Also mentioned as a top UK travel journalist.