Do you want to visit Rhode Island, or are you simply interested in this less-talked-about state of the United States? You are on the right side of the internet. Explore Rhode Island through this ultimate guide. You might want to know the background or history of Rhode Island first.
1. Rhode Island – History
Rhode Island is the state which declared independence in 1776 from England when it was one of the original 13 colonies. Currently, the smallest US state, it is highly populated.
Before the Europeans came, it was home to Native American tribes. Nowadays, famous for its tourism, health services, and education, the Native Americans in the past farmed corn, beans, and squash on this island. Tribes who inhabited Rhode Island were Narragansett, the Niantic, Wampanoag, the Pequot, and the Nipmuck.
Giovanni da Verrazzano, an Italian explorer arrived in 1524, and 90 years later Adriaen Block, a Dutch explorer arrived around 1614. These are the earliest records of European visits. Adriaen Block is the one Block Island was named after. The Narragansett provided shelter to Roger Williams, a refugee at that time.
In 1636, Roger Williams called his settlement Providence after his arrival. He was driven out of Massachusetts because of his religious beliefs and declared Providence a place of religious freedom. Later, in 1638 William Coddington, Anne Hutchinson, John Clarke, and associates from the Massachusetts Bay colony founded Pocasset (Portsmouth).
From 1675 to 1676, a war was fought between the colonizers from New England and the Native Americans. King Philip, the leader of those natives was hunted down and killed.
Rhode Island, which wanted to gain independence, became one of the first colonies to reject its bond with Britain in 1776. This happened after settlers from Providence burned the Gaspee (the British ship) after attacking it.
2. Location and Population
Originally known as the Island of Aquedneck, it derives its name from the well-known Isle of Rhodes in the Mediterranean Sea. Officially known as The State of Rhode Island, it is around 44 miles (77 km) in length and 37 miles (60 km) in width. Nevertheless, its dense population has been recorded to be 1,110,822 in 2023. River systems like the Blackstone, the Pawcatuck, and the Pawtuxet drain Rhode Island.
As the most recent ACS stated, ‘the racial composition of Rhode Island was White: 79%, Black or African American: 6.54%, other races: 5.58%, two or more races: 4.95%, Asian: 3.45%, Native American: 0.41%, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.07%’.
3. Rhode Island Beaches
Rhode Island is blessed with about 40 miles of coastline. So, let’s pass through the sandy beaches in Rhode Island:
3.1. Goosewing Beach, Little Compton
Protected by the Nature Conservancy, Goosewing is a grassy crescent-shaped alcove visited by birds and campers. The latter enjoy bonfires and picnics past sunset.
3.2. Narragansett Town Beach, Narragansett
What is a beach without the advantage of surfing? Whether you want to work on your tan or ride a few waves, this beach is a perfect weekend destination.
3.3. Easton’s Beach, Newport
Equipped with a playground and on-site Save the Bay Exploration Center (perfect for your little human kids), this beach is ideal for family vacations. Sit on the chairs and enjoy lobster rolls from Easton’s Beach Snack Bar while watching a fiery sunset. What a way to live life!…Unless you are allergic to lobsters.
3.4. East Mutunuck Beach, South Kingstown
Straight out of a fantasy novel or movie, this beach will give you an enchanting experience. With low tides and warm water gently caressing your bare feet, you walk into the golden light of the setting sun. A dreamy place for you in case you are a romantic at heart.
3.5. Napatree Point Beach, Westerly
Napatree Point Conservation Area in Watch Hill keeps this beach away from crowds and makes it the home of various migratory birds. Nurture your inner wildness and visit this untamed natural beauty if you admire nature.
3.6. Mohegan Bluffs, Block Island
The rugged Mohegan Bluffs in the southern part of Block Island are a perfect place for anyone who wishes to hike. If you are looking for a mesmerizing view of the Atlantic Ocean, look no further.
4. “Must-Try” Foods in Rhode Island and Where to Find Them
What is life without food? Tasteless and boring. Rhode Island will ensure you don’t have such a bland experience with its diverse platter of delicious foods.
4.1. Del’s Lemonade
Get yourself a frozen lemonade from Del’s from roadside carts or permanent stands. You get to choose from various flavors such as peach, mango, and watermelon. Enjoy your hot human summer in Rhode Island with Del’s treats.
4.2. Lobster Ravioli
A gourmet Italian market, known as the Venda Ravioli is located in DePasquale Square. More accurately, it is in Providence’s Federal Hill district. You can get delicious lobster ravioli here, even the frozen version!
4.3. Donut cakes
Donut cakes from Allie’s Donuts are definitely a “must-try” treat! Get the taste of both worlds of cakes and donuts with this famous snack.
4.4. Clam cakes
A fried street food with pieces of clams in it, you can buy clam cakes at Narragansett’s Iggy’s and Aunt Carrie’s in Rhode Island. You can also visit the food truck of Dune Brothers Seafood.
4.5. Coffee Milk
A rich beverage made up of coffee syrup (sweetened coffee concentration), coffee ice cream, and milk, coffee milk is the official go-to drink in Rhode Island. Newport Creamery still serves this well-known beverage for locals and tourists. For anyone living in the “coffee culture”, get some coffee milk.
5. Places to Visit in Rhode Island
If you plan to visit this beautiful state of the United States, you might want to check out the destinations suggested below:
5.1. Newport’s Cliff Walk and The Breakers
The location of this destination is ‘Ruggles Avenue, Newport, RI 02840, United States’; the Cliff Walks – The Breakers is a perfect place for a workout session. Not only do you get a picturesque view of the ocean and gorgeous Breaker’s mansion. If you go towards the south, you may come across Rosecliff, which was the set of movies like The Great Gatsby and True Lies.
5.2. Block Island
A ferry ride from the mainland, Block Island is a whole new island experience. Apart from the grand and gorgeous natural sights, delicious foods, and drinks, you get to walk on smooth and clean white sand.
You can hop from one shop to the other, or engage in joyful activities like hiking, horseback riding, bird-watching, sailing, snorkeling, and fishing. Also, don’t forget to experience the enchanting night scenes of Block Island.
5.3. Sachuest Bay
Located between the Sakonnet River and Rhode Island Sound, Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge is a haven for the second-largest population of harlequin ducks, looking for a home in winter.
They are named after the character, Harlequin due to the male’s colorful plumage, which embodies the theatrical nature of comedy. So, if you are a wild-life enthusiast but also have a sense of humor (even if it is as awkward as Mr. Darcy), bless the place with your rare presence.
5.4. Narragansett Bay
An ideal summer vacation destination, Narragansett Bay consists of Narragansett Beach, Roger W. Wheeler State Beach, Scarborough State Beaches (North and South), and Salty Brine State Beach.
You can stay at well-furnished hotels with amazing views of the sandy beaches. Remember to board the Black Island Ferry and visit the Towers, which survived the Narragansett Pier Casino fire.
5.5. Water Fire Providence
No, this is not the Water or Fire Nation from Avatar. Instead, it is Providence’s signature event, an ‘award-winning’ fire sculpture installation. Created by Barnaby Evans, a local artist, the event revolves around nearly 80-100 bonfires blazing above the surface of 3 rivers of downtown Providence. If you want to rekindle the spark of life, the Water Fire Providence is going to be lit for you.
5.6. Take a Brewery Tour of South Kingstown
Cheers to South Kingstown for taking the expression “wine and dine’ to a new level. You will find it all, from the Whalers Brewing Company to the Proclamation Ale Company to the Shaidzon Beer Company and many more here.
You get to experience tours, sampling, and a friendly environment. Gather around all your drinking buddies and take a tour of South Kingstown. However, drinking too much might make you Captain Haddock, the bad-tempered alcoholic.
5.7. Ocean Drive
If you enjoy long drives, sandy beaches, and salty winds, the scenic route along the Atlantic shoreline will inspire your hot take on Fast and Furious. On a serious note, don’t go for a drive after you become Captain Haddock.
Imagine the salty breeze from the ocean tenderly caressing your face and ruffling your locks as you drive through the gorgeous routes. Straight out of a movie, eh?
5.8. Marble House
The Marble House, which was built in 1888 and 1892 was for Mr. and Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt. It is described as a cottage or summer house and serves as an architectural landmark.
HBO’s hit series The Gilded Age was filmed in this place, designed by Richard Morris Hunt, one of the Gilded Age’s premier architects. The cost of this is $11 million, reportedly.
6. Fun Facts
Listed below are a few of the many intriguing facts associated with Rhode Island:
Doris Duke, known famously as “the richest girl in the world”, was an American billionaire, tobacco heiress, philanthropist, art collector, and socialite. At a ball at Rough Point, in Newport, Rhode Island, she was presented to society as a debutante.
Friends with former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, her legacy is now operated by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, which is devoted to the performing arts, eradication of cruelty towards children and animals, etc.
The first US Open Golf Championship was held in 1895 at Newport Country Club in Newport, Rhode Island.
The First Baptist Church in America was set by Roger Williams (the founder of Providence), in Providence, Rhode Island.
Located on Aquidneck Island near the mouth of Narragansett Bay, Newport, Rhode Island, is known as the world’s sailing capital. The open waters and scenic beauty make it a paradise for sailors and ocean lovers.
Originally popular as the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, it is commonly called Rhode Island.
Rhode Island celebrates Victory Day on the second Monday in August, previously a Federal Holiday across the United States, which celebrated the end of the Second World War.
Rhode Island had the first indoor shopping mall in America. The Westminster Arcade was built at 130 Westminster Street and 65 Weybosset Street (downtown Providence), in Rhode Island in 1828.
Block Island has its own spooky story of the ‘ghost’ ship. The Palatine Light, an apparition reported near Block Island, Rhode Island, is said to be the ship’s ghost or spirit of a lost vessel called the Palatine of the 18th century.
The first-ever jail sentence for speeding in a vehicle or an automobile happened on 27th August 1904 in Newport, Rhode Island. The person was found guilty of traveling at 15 miles per hour.
Rhode Island, in 2012 became the first U.S. state to pass a Homeless Bill of Rights, which cemented the rights of homeless people to have equal access to job opportunities, housing, and services.
7. Final Words
Travel is a recreational activity and a voyage of the soul worldwide. You gain wisdom through all the events, people, and places that you come across and experience. Perhaps, it can be a bit expensive, depending on the destination of your desire and exploration plans.
But tourism is a smart lifetime investment for self-development. Imagine the amazing people you are yet to meet and who are, similarly, waiting to meet you. Imagine all the delicious foods and drinks you have yet to taste and know about. The places you are yet to discover and explore are also numerous.
Rhode Island is a diverse place built upon centuries of history about the transformation of different societies over time. The place represents a vast group of people’s culture, heritage, and norms.
So, go out there and live your life in a way that makes you feel hopeful and grateful to be alive. You have one life; you might be interested in some doughnut cakes.