Measuring in at just 1,045 square miles, Rhode Island is America’s smallest state. Still, its 400 miles of Atlantic coastline are nothing to scoff at. Rhode Islanders use all of that water to their advantage, coming up with a seemingly endless list of things to do in their tiny New England state.
More than 20 historic lighthouses and 50 beaches line the coast of the aptly named Ocean State, and bed and breakfasts are a popular option for rest after a day of sailing or kayaking along the scenic Newport Coast. The salty waters of the Atlantic serve as a vast playing field for fishermen, who can spend the afternoon attempting to capture a prize bluefin or swordfish.
Just a bit inland, wineries such as the family-run Greenvale Vineyards in Portsmouth and the French–style Diamond Hill Vineyards in Cumberland offer tours and tastings to oenophiles. For a more family-friendly activity, head into Providence, the state’s capital and largest city. Here, the Roger Williams Park Zoo continues to dazzle new generations as one of the oldest of its kind in America.
Though it’s small enough to explore by foot on a Historical Society walking tour, Rhode Island is sometimes best seen by air or by sea. Helicopter tours rise above the coast to offer scenic city views, and sunset cruises sail alongside coastal buildings as the sun dips low to cast them in warm hues. The Newport Dinner Train, a classical luxury, takes riders on a 22-mile round-trip journey that recalls the Golden Age of railroading, complete with stunning views of Narragansett Bay.