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Rhode Island travel guide

About Rhode Island

It may take just 45 minutes to drive from one end of Rhode Island to the other, but this tiny state dishes up broad sandy beaches, green parks, a vibrant city and a wealth of historic attractions.

You can delve into the state’s industrial roots, tour sprawling colonial homes, potter round historic villages, or explore lighthouses and beaches along 640km (400 miles) of coastline.

Rhode Island's capital city, Providence, is a sophisticated hub of stellar museums, historic architecture, sizzling dining and buzzing student life (Brown University, an Ivy League college, is based here). Come in the summer and you can also enjoy stunning pyrotechnic shows, which illuminate the city’s waterways and feature a flotilla of performers.

Pedalling around Rhode Island is a cinch, thanks to a terrific 160km (100-mile) bike network. You can wheel past woodlands and farmland, swamps and shoreline, historic mills and villages.

And if you’re more inclined to aquatic exploration, Rhode Island is laced with navigable waterways (or ‘blueways’). Launch your kayak and paddle the tiny coves and islands of Narragansett Bay or spy hooded warblers and red-shouldered hawks from your canoe in the Great Swamp. For ocean-bound adventure, charter a yacht in Newport, epicentre of Rhode Island’s sailing scene.

Rhode Island also caters for beach bums. Narragansett Town Beach lures surfers by the boatload, especially when tropical depressions shift north from the Caribbean in summer. And then there's Crescent Beach, a gorgeous sweep of white sand on Bock Island, where flopping in the sun and flicking through a novel are about as strenuous as life gets.

Key facts

Area:

3,188 sq km (1,231 sq miles).

Population:

1.1 million (2015).

Population density:

331.3 per sq km.

Capital:

Providence.