What is Rhode Island Known For? 8 Things Rhode Islanders Love About Themselves

Written by Jennifer Magid
Published: February 26, 2024
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When you think of Rhode Island, what first comes to mind is probably its small size, and perhaps second, the beach. But Rhode Islanders love their state and take great pride in all it has to offer, from those beaches to quaint towns to some amazing things to eat and drink. What is Rhode Island known for? Find out some things residents love about it.

1. How It’s Called the Ocean State for a Reason

Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge on Narragansett Bay and town of Jamestown aerial view in summer, Jamestown on Conanicut Island, Rhode Island RI, USA.

Getting to the beach is easy when you live in Rhode Island — especially since there are miles and miles of it.

©Wangkun Jia/Shutterstock.com

Living in Rhode Island means you’re just a short drive to the beach from wherever you call home. With over 400 miles of ocean coastline, Rhode Islanders have easy access to the shoreline. And oh, what a shoreline it is! Eight official state beaches with lifeguards cater to everyone from surfers to young families to teens looking for action. Numerous additional sand and surf stretches are open for exploring, hiking, and splashing.

2. Rhode Islanders Know How Delicious Coffee Milk Is

Rhode Island’s version of coffee and milk is much different than what you’d expect. It’s more of a sweet treat.

©Michelle Lee Photography/ via Getty Images

Rhode Islanders hold a claim to a unique drink that the rest of the country doesn’t seem to understand. That would be coffee milk, also the official state drink. This concoction is a mixture of coffee syrup or extracts with milk, and Rhode Island residents are huge fans. It’s closer to chocolate milk than a cup of coffee, and all ages enjoy it. Rhode Island is home to several popular local brands that make and distribute coffee syrup, a sweetened, concentrated coffee. 

The drink has a long history in the state, dating back to the 19th century when the Italian immigrant population in Providence is said to have first introduced it. It truly began to take off in the 1930s as a state specialty.

3. Why It’s Not a Hot Day Without a Frozen Lemonade

Rhode Island’s famous frozen lemonade is a refreshing combination of lemons and ice.


If you’re a Rhode Islander, you know the best way to quench your summer thirst is with a delicious Del’s Lemonade. The sweet frozen treat is a family recipe first introduced to the state by the DeLucia family at a stand in Cranston, RI, in 1948. Soon, the frozen lemonade became a Rhode Island summer staple. Today, the popular drink is still part of the DeLucia family, but there are franchises all over the world. It’s still a Rhode Island favorite, though!

4. How Everything Is 20 Minutes Away

Buildings along Thomas Street, in Providence, Rhode Island.

In Rhode Island, you can go from town to the beach in less than half an hour and a whole new state in under an hour.

©Jon Bilous/Shutterstock.com

If you’re in the center of Rhode Island, it only takes about 20 minutes to reach the end of the state. That’s because to drive end-to-end throughout the tiny state takes somewhere around 45 minutes. As the smallest state in the United States, Rhode Island is only 48 miles North to South and 37 miles East to West. 

5. Why Clam Cakes Are Arguably the Best Summer Food Ever

Fresh clams in a ceramic bowl

The clams in Rhode Island are plentiful, and part of many different recipes.

©SUNGSU HAN/iStock via Getty Images

Clam cakes are a summer specialty that Rhode Islanders can claim as originally their own. The delicious fried favorite is sold all over the state, from restaurants to clam shacks to amusement parks. What is a clam cake, exactly? They’re simply little balls of deep-fried chopped-up clams. Legend has it they were invented at Aunt Carrie’s, a clam shack in Narragansett in operation since 1920.

6. How They Have the World’s Largest Bug


Rhode Island is home to a famous giant termite.

©chakkrachai nicharat/Shutterstock.com

Rhode Islanders are proud of their giant termite. No, really. Nibbles Woodaway is a giant blue termite that is located along I-95 in Providence, RI. It’s said to be the world’s largest bug. Nibbles stand over nine feet tall and 58 feet long and weighs 4,000 lbs. The bug is the mascot for the company Big Blue Bug Solutions and is so popular that it’s regularly dressed up for holidays such as Christmas and Independence Day.

7. They Get To Enjoy the Beautiful New England Fall

Autumn, Falling, Autumn Leaf Color, Backgrounds, Leaf

Rhode Island has beautiful fall foliage.

©Smileus/ via Getty Images

It’s not all beaches and seaside life in Rhode Island. Those who live there argue there’s nothing more quaint than an old colonial town bathed in the rusty oranges and browns of falling leaves. Luckily, there are plenty of opportunities to experience colonial architecture in the state. The town of Providence dates to 1636 and is the oldest in the state.

8. It May Be Small, but There’s Still Plenty of Space

Beavertail Lighthouse in Beavertail State Park aerial view in summer, Jamestown, Rhode Island RI, USA. This lighthouse, built in 1856, at the entrance to Narragansett Bay on Conanicut Island.

Rhode Island is the smallest state in the United States, but there’s still plenty of open space.

©Wangkun Jia/Shutterstock.com

Around 1,095,962 people live in Rhode Island, according to the United States Census. Even though it’s a small state, residents love that it’s still not crowded. Besides the miles of open coastline, there are numerous areas to explore the woods and all the wildlife inhabiting it. For example, the Arcadia Management Area is the state’s largest recreational area. It features 14,000 acres of protected open land.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Faina Gurevich/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Jennifer is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on dogs, travel, and gardening. She holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from New York University. A resident of Connecticut who has lived all over the country, Jennifer enjoys working on trick training with her standard poodle, and spending time with her family outdoors.

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