Despite its small size, the Ocean State is not to be overlooked. The New England destination is chock full of beaches, bustling neighborhoods and some of the country’s best seafood. Just three hours north of New York, its location in between Boston and the Big Apple makes it a prime vacation spot. Hop in your car – or grab the train or bus – and check out one of our five favorite Rhode Island spots.
Renowned for mansions, breathtaking beaches and its famous Cliff Walk, Newport is a lavish town once home to a young Jackie Kennedy. While visitors flock to the New England destination to experience the upscale shops and homes, in recent years, foodies have also found a niche in Newport. From Muse at Vanderbilt Grace, opened last year by Jonathan Cartwright of the famed White Barn Inn, to the Spiced Pear at The Chanler, named the number one small hotel in the country, this quintessential coastal town offers more than mainstream seafood staples.
Charming and vibrant, this historic village boasts the preppy qualities of Nantucket with the warmth of the small towns of the south. Children will love the carousel and creamy ice cream cones from St. Clair Annex. Quaint, high-end shops sell classic New England fashions, vintage books and the Ocean State’s favorite sweet, salt water taffy. Make a day of it by spending the morning at East Beach before drinks and dinner at Seasons, a farm-to-table restaurant the Ocean House.
Easily accessible from NYC by bus and train, this historic city offers a scaled-down metropolitan experience which will remind New Yorkers of home, while providing a refreshing breather from the Big Apple. In the summertime, the Waterfire is a must-do nightlife option. There are no shortage of hotels in Rhode Island’s capital city – choose from the Renaissance, the Biltmore and the Westin. We like the city’s Downtown Mariott for the central location near food highlights like RiRa and Union Station Brewery. For some of the country’s best Italian food, check out the city’s Federal Hill section (where Mediterraneo Caffe and Dolce Vita are a must). For Sunday brunch, there’s no better bet than Brickway, located on the city’s ever-popular Wickenden Street.
Known to Ocean Staters simply as “Gansett,” this town in southern Rhode Island is famous for its beaches. Narragansett Town Beach and Scarborough Beach are both ideal day trip destinations for a New England vacation. Parking can be a tumultuous task, however – so get there early. No trip to Narragansett without an overindulgence of clam cakes and chowder. Visit Champlain’s , a gorgeous seafood destination where you’ll dine on a pier, your meal complemented perfectly by the scent of the sea.
Charlestown is small – even by Rhode Island standards – and is a less popular summer destination than some of the state’s more famous cities. This doesn’t mean, however, that the quaint town isn’t filled with gems. Ningret Park offers a picturesque lake with camping and picnic areas. In nearby Wakefield, Captain Jack’s is a favorite family eatery and Ocean Mist is a nightlife highlight. Of course, like any picturesque beach town, the options for ice cream abound. Around The Corner and Tropic Frost are far from the gourmet sweet shops we have here in the Big Apple, but they’ll certainly cure a sweet tooth on a summer night.
How To Get There
Amtrak: The Amtrak is an easy, relatively inexpensive way to get to Rhode Island. Take it to Westerly (just minutes from Watch Hill), North Kingston (near Narragansett) or Providence.
Peter Pan: From Penn Station, Peter Pan buses will take you directly to Newport and Providence.
MegaBus: MegaBus will take you from Midtown Manhattan to Providence. Check website for exact locations.
Check our planes, trains and automobiles guide for more info on New York City transportation.