I grew up in Rhode Island and love to travel back a few times a year. Rhode Island has great things to do in every season, but summer is definitely a good time to visit for the beaches! However, that’s not all there is to do there! I thought I would put together the top 10 things to do in Rhode Island in the Summer.
Top 10 Things to Do in Rhode Island in the Summer
1. Visit the beaches
There are lots of great beaches in Rhode Island. Most you either need to pay to park or pay an entrance fee. My favorite beach to visit with my little guys is Roger W. Wheeler State Beach in Narragansett.
2. Eat clam cakes and chowder
There are lots of foods that I was surprised to learn you could really only find in Rhode Island. My favorite summer lunch is clam cakes and white clam chowder. The clam cakes I have only ever been able to find in Rhode Island. There are plenty of places in RI to get them, but my favorite is Tommy’s Clam Shack in Warwick. Iggy’s is very popular too (but get ready to stand in line for a while there).
3. Drink an ice-cold Del’s Lemonade
Growing up we never let a summer go by without stopping for Del’s lemonade — a delicious summer treat! Dell’s is a frozen slushy lemonade that is perfect for summer and seriously refreshing. There are several locations throughout the state including carts at Roger Williams Zoo if you make it there (see below).
4. Walk through some of the smaller beach towns
Newport and Bristol are great places to spend the day with plenty to do, see, and eat. While in Newport don’t forget to check out the Newport Mansions (the best is the Breakers). If you visit one of the beaches in Narragansett or North Kingstown you can grab lunch in Wakefield and visit the adorable Green Line Apothecary, a pharmacy and soda fountain inspired by the vintage apothecary. There are lots of little shops for souvenir or gift shopping.
5. Visit the Biomes Marine Biology Center
There isn’t always great weather so if you happen to get a rainy or chilly day the Biomes Marine Biology Center is a fun place to visit with kids. They have touch tanks and demonstrations. Aiden still talks about the pufferfish demonstration where they puffed up a pufferfish and had him spit out his water to deflate.
Another fun museum is the Providence Children’s Museum. We haven’t taken Aiden yet, but it’s on the list!
6. Visit Mystic Seaport and the Aquarium
Just a short drive away is Mystic Connecticut. Here you will find Mystic Seaport and the Mystic Aquarium. The Seaport is a maritime museum. It includes a recreated New England coastal village, a working shipyard, and lots of exhibits. The aquarium is really big with tons of marine life to see.
7. Take the Ferry to Block Island
Block Island is a short high-speed ferry ride away from mainland Rhode Island. Once you get to the island there is lots to see and do. You will want to check out the beaches, the South East Light House, and the Mohegan Bluffs (not stroller friendly or easily accessible with smaller kids — it’s a lot of narrow stairs).
8. Visit Roger Williams Park & Zoo
The Roger Williams Park and Zoo is a huge complex with lots to see and do. You will definitely want to check out the historic carousel and take the swan boats out for a paddle. There is also a beautiful zoo with lots of animals and plenty of interactive exhibits for younger kids. Our favorite zoo spots are the rain forest an open-air exhibit, the kids farm where you can pretend to milk a cow or dig up fruits and veggies for the farmstand, and the Our Big Backyard exhibit which is a fully accessible nature play and exploration area (you will want a bathing suit or extra change of clothes for this area).
9. Take in a Pawsox game
The Pawsox have been in Rhode Island forever, but unfortunately, they are moving to Massachusetts. Don’t miss your chance to catch a game for the Boston Red Sox minor league affiliate before they move out. Our favorite place to sit is in the berm a hilly area in the outfield. Kids are free to run around and can interact with the bullpen players.
10. Check out the WaterFires
These are unique to Rhode Island and a lot of fun to see in the summer. You can walk along the river and watch as a gondola floats through and lights up the water.
Looking for places to eat while in Rhode Island? Check out these favorites:
- Newport Creamery — This is a chain of restaurants in Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts. It is known for it’s Awful Awful (a milkshake). A great spot for kids and has amazing ice cream.
- Apponaug Brewing Company — Great beer and food. This brewery is right along the river and has a great atmosphere. There are sidewalk chalk and games available for kids (they didn’t even mind when Aiden started chalking the walls outside).
- G Pub — Not super kid-friendly, but a great upscale pub in Providence. If you have a free night, check out the bar on the rooftop.
- Anywhere in Federal Hill — Federal Hill is Rhode Island’s Little Italy and the food there is amazing. You really can’t go wrong anywhere you eat.
Have you visited Rhode Island in the summer? If so, what about your favorite things to do? I would love to know if you loved any of these activities in the comments!