The Top 7 Reasons Rhode Island Has the Absolute Best Summers in the U.S.

Written by Heather Burdo
Updated: September 13, 2023
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7 Reasons Rhode Island Has the Best Summers in the U.S.
Rhode Island is a small state packed with cultural charm and a stunning landscape.

Tucked into the northeast corner of the U.S. lies a petite paradise overflowing with coastal allure. Rhode Island has scenic shores, culinary delights, and small-town charm. Though it may be the smallest state, it packs an outsized punch for summer fun. This little charm may just end up being one of your go-to destination spots every summer.

Let’s dive into the top seven reasons Rhode Island has the best summers.

1. Natural Wonders Beckon

The Breakers and Cliff Walk aerial view at Newport, Rhode Island RI, USA. The Breakers is a Vanderbilt mansion with Italian Renaissance built in 1895 in Bellevue Avenue Historic District in Newport.

With Rhode Island’s diverse landscapes, there is something for everyone to check out.

©Felix Lipov/

Rhode Island has diverse landscapes – from salt marshes to forested hills to breathtaking ocean vistas. The famed Cliff Walk thrills with dramatic views of crashing waves and Gilded Age opulence. This 3.5-mile public walking trail along the coastline offers Instagram-worthy panoramas around every bend. You can also walk along and glimpse the sprawling backyards of Newport’s grand mansions. Feel the sea spray on your face as waves crash into the rocky cliffs below.

For outdoor adventure, Arcadia Management Area’s 14,000 acres entice hikers, anglers, and nature lovers. Spot rare birds in the grassy fields, venture out on miles of wooded trails, and cast your line for a fresh catch on the Wood River. Quiet paddles along this pristine waterway allow you to bask in the natural tranquility. Also, keep an eye out for beavers going about their business of building intricate dams and lodges.

2. Culinary Treasures Abound

Manhattan clam chowder

Clam chowder is one of the delicious items on the food menus across Rhode Island.


Summertime makes the most of Rhode Island’s fresh seafood and produce bounty. Savor just-caught local lobster transformed into mouthwatering dishes by talented chefs. Crispy fried calamari, grilled fish tacos, and clam chowder are just a small sample of ocean-to-table options. Experience farm-to-table cuisine at restaurants and food festivals showcasing the best of each season.

Also, most people don’t want to leave Rhode Island without treating themselves to Del’s frozen lemonade, the ultimate thirst quencher on a steamy afternoon. This tart, old-fashioned slushy treat is a Rhode Island tradition. Pull up to a Del’s stand along the shoreline for the perfect sweet and sour refreshment. Your taste buds will thank you.

3. Scenic Drives and Road Trips

Narragansett Beach, Rhode Island. Tower landmark building in distance.

Narragansett Beach is a beautiful scenic place to drive by or relax near.

©Laura Stone/

Cruise along winding coastal routes like Ocean Drive for nonstop Atlantic views. Watch the waves crash and sailboats bob as you take 180 degrees of the ocean as far as the eye can see. Feel the sea breeze rustle through your hair as you wander from Narragansett to Newport.

Journey to Watch Hill for quintessential New England seaside charm. Victorian-era cottages and a historic lighthouse create picture-postcard scenes. Stroll the boardwalk and peek into boutiques before relaxing on the beach. Take it easy pedaling along the East Bay Bike Path with spectacular river panoramas as you ride from India Point Park to Bristol Harbor. Additionally, Rhode Island’s scenic roads and trails invite discovery around every bend.

4. Family Fun for All Ages

The modern carousel at the Roger Williams park in Providence, Rhode Island. The enclosed joy ride has a blue dragon that's front and center. He's surrounded by gorgeous, trotting, carved horses.

Rhode Island has vintage merry-go-rounds that are perfect for a family fun day.

©Jaclyn Vernace/

Rhode Island delights kids of all ages, from world-class art exhibits to vintage merry-go-rounds. At the RISD Museum, creative hands-on activities bring out the inner artist. Gaze at over 86,000 works celebrating art and design through the ages. For outdoor family fun, climb aboard a swan boat and pedal through the tranquil ponds of Roger Williams Park.

Spend a day exploring Roger Williams Park Zoo, home to over 100 animal species. Hand-feed colorful lorikeets in the Australian exhibit. Say hello to adorable elephants. You can also see the wild cats prowling and apes swinging overhead in naturalistic habitats.

At night, witness an artistic spectacle at WaterFire Providence’s flaming bonfires floating magically along downtown rivers. Gaze into the flickering flames accompanied by live folk music and dance performances. Not to mention, the scent of wood smoke, the firelights’ glow, and the city’s sounds create an unforgettable multi-sensory experience. Adventure awaits at every turn.

5. Cultural Riches Run Deep

Ancient castle with towers and architecture details. Gilded age of american history. French Renaissance chateau.

Mansions of the Gilded Age are a must-see in Rhode Island.

©Milovzorova Elena/

Mansions of the Gilded Age transport you back in time in Newport. Marvel at the opulence of The Breakers’ 70 rooms decorated with rare marble, alabaster, and gilded trimmings. Get a glimpse into upper-class lifestyle as you stroll through the sprawling rooms and manicured lawns. Nearby in Providence, take a food tour of Federal Hill to taste Italian heritage and come alive in the cuisine and culture.

Events like the Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals celebrate this creative state’s vibrant arts and culture all summer. Sway along to talented musicians’ sets against the stylish backdrop of Newport’s yacht-filled harbor. Additionally, Rhode Island reveals its storied past and diverse traditions, from Native American rituals to European art forms. History comes to life through immersive experiences.

6. Classic Coastal Charm

Ocean rolling in to Narragansett Town Beach at sunset.

Narragansett Beach has 19 acres of acreage and breathtaking sunrises.

©Erin E Dunn/

Lively seaside escapes line Rhode Island’s spectacular shoreline. Unwind on tranquil Charlestown Breachway where calm waves meet white sandy beaches. At Narragansett Beach, join the bustling crowds and ride the thrilling swells. As the sun sinks into the sea, stay for alfresco seafood feasts, glowing beach bonfires perfect for s’mores, and peaceful waterfront strolls. Also, enjoy breathtaking sunrises that paint the sky in pinks and oranges. With endless options for an aquatic adventure, Rhode Island’s coast envelopes you in classic seaside charm.

7. There is Wildlife to See During the Summer in Rhode Island

Animals in Rhode Island

Seals are a common sight in Rhode Isand.


In addition to its wealth of scenic landscapes, Rhode Island’s natural habitats are home to an array of wildlife waiting to be discovered. Summertime offers prime opportunities for animal encounters. Spot ospreys and herons fishing along the coast, then venture inland to forests and fields where deer, foxes, and coyotes dwell.

Along the shoreline, sightings of harbor seals sunning themselves on rocks are common. Watch for shorebirds like plovers and sandpipers scuttling along the beaches. Don’t forget to also keep an eye out for egrets and herons spearfish in the salt marshes with their sharp beaks.

In wooded areas, white-tailed deer are foraging with their newborn fawns. Red foxes can appear with bushy tails held high, trotting along trails. Even extremely adaptable coyotes have become more visible throughout Rhode Island’s habitats. Additionally, venture to Arcadia Management Area for the best chance to spot these woodland creatures.

The smallest wildlife can be discovered in freshwater areas. Painted turtles stack on logs, poking their heads out to soak up the sunshine. Spot dragonflies and butterflies flitting about open fields and meadows. Rhode Island’s natural riches extend to diverse flora and fauna, ready to be observed during the summer.

Summary of the Reasons Rhode Island Has the Best Summers

Here’s why:

1Natural Wonders Beckon
2Culinary Treasures Abound
3Scenic Drives and Road Trips
4Family Fun for All Ages
5Cultural Riches Run Deep
6Classic Coastal Charm
7Wildlife to See During the Summer in Rhode Island


People of Rhode Island are known for their sincere friendliness and welcoming spirit. This isn’t something you experience all the time in many states. Neighborhood get-togethers, local festivals, and everyday interactions all reflect this close-knit state’s community warmth. So, by summer’s end, Rhode Island will feel just like home. Locals gladly share the best views, eateries, and swimming holes. You can also walk through a seaside farmers market and strike up a conversation about cranberries or blueberries. The state’s signature cozy hospitality makes every visitor instantly feel at ease.

This petite yet unforgettable New England gem promises the ultimate summer getaway filled with natural beauty, culinary treasures, and experiences tailor-made for creating lifelong memories. With all this fun, you’ll see why there are many reasons why Rhode Island has the best summers. You may just want to return every summer.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Laura Stone/

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About the Author

Heather Burdo is a digital marketing enthusiast who has written content for countless industries over the last decade. However, content related to animals, nature, and health has her heart. When she's not working her magic with content, she enjoys being with family, going for walks, camping, and gardening. Self-development is non-negotiable for her.

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