For the New Year, we escaped NYC by taking a quick road trip to Rhode Island. You may be surprised to know that Rhode Island is within 3 hours from Manhattan by car! I’ll be honest and admit I didn’t know a lot about Rhode Island before heading there but was surprised to discover that there is a lot of cool things to do. Unfortunately, it’s not the best destination for a winter trip because a lot of the interesting and fun activities are outdoors. Although it was nice to escape the city for a night, I realized I’ll need to schedule some time when the weather warms up to return back for adventure.
Outdoor Activities and Adventures in Rhode Island
Mansion Tours in Newport
Newport has a well-known street (Bellevue) full of mansions. Most are no longer residences but were previous residences of the extremely wealthy many years ago (like the Vanderbilts). Some of the mansions are now apartments, some are museums. You can go on a guided walking tour from mansion to mansion to view the extravagance and beautiful properties that lie along the coast. There are also self-guided audio tours available at some of the mansions.
Hiking the Cliff Walk
If you want to view the mansions along the back (backyard views!) hike this coastal trail. It’s a rocky coastline with large drops so be careful hiking. During tourist season it may be fairly busy, too.
Prospect Terrace Park
Just outside of downtown Providence, this park is known to have the best views in the city. After driving up (or walking up) some very step roads, you’ll reach this lookout point with views of downtown Providence (and the capitol building) from above.
Block Island is south of the mainland. It’s full of sandy beaches, lighthouses, and beautiful panoramic views. Visit Simply Lovebirds to learn a ton about Block Island – it’s one of their favorite places to escape.
We drove out towards this lighthouse in Beavertail State Park but unfortunately reached the park entrance that is “closed”. Definitely debated over driving the half mile down the road regardless but decided to follow the law :). If you’re coming from Newport, you will pay a $4 toll to cross the bridge the small island this park sits on (worth it!)
Shop in Newport
Downtown Newport is full of cute little shops like an old-town village. A lot of the shops are along the water so in warm weather it’s a cute place to visit.
Eat at Iggy’s Doughboys and Chowderhouse or Iggy’s Boardwalk
Gotta say, after paying NYC restaurant prices and being served small portions of food for those prices, Iggy’s is refreshing! With our winter visit, we were the only ones eating at Iggy’s Boardwalk on a Sunday night. In the summer, this place is likely much busier and you can sit outside with waterfront views. The fish and chips comes with a 12oz portion of fish – unheard of in NYC!
Hike some more!
Check out all the hikes listed in Rhode Island on AllTrails (and use code “backcountry-petite” for 33% off the PRO version!)
Bonus tip: to avoid the tolls back into Manhattan, take the Third Avenue bridge (note that Google and Waze will not direct you this way)