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Rhode Island

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Travel Guide North America USA Northeastern United States New England Rhode Island

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Introduction

Jetty, Newport, Rhode Island

Jetty, Newport, Rhode Island

© All Rights Reserved weg1980

Rhode Island is a small U.S. state in New England, in the northeast of the country.

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Geography

Rhode Island covers an area of approximately 3,140 km2 and is bordered on the north and east by Massachusetts, on the west by Connecticut, and on the south by Rhode Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. It shares a narrow maritime border with New York State between Block Island and Long Island. Nicknamed the Ocean State, Rhode Island has a number of oceanfront beaches. It is mostly flat with no real mountains, and the state's highest natural point is Jerimoth Hill, at 247 metres above sea level.
Located within the New England province of the Appalachian Region, Rhode Island has two distinct natural regions. Eastern Rhode Island contains the lowlands of the Narragansett Bay, while Western Rhode Island forms part of the New England Upland. Rhode Island's forests are part of the Northeastern coastal forests ecoregion. Narragansett Bay is a major feature of the state's topography. Block Island lies approximately 20 kilometres off the southern coast of the mainland. Within the Bay, there are over 30 islands. The largest is Aquidneck Island, shared by the municipalities of Newport, Middletown, and Portsmouth. The second-largest island is Conanicut; the third-largest is Prudence.

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Regions

  • Bristol County
  • Kent County
  • Newport County
  • Providence County
  • South County (Washington County) - Rhode Islands summer region, full of small communities on and near the beach

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Cities

  • Providence is the state's capital and largest city
  • Central Falls - Spanning merely one square mile, it is one of the most densely populated cities in the world.
  • East Greenwich - Founded in 1677, its historic district along Main Street features charming shops, excellent restaurants, and a community theater.
  • Narragansett - Best beaches in New England.
  • Newport - Located on Aquidneck Island. Once the darling city of the American elite, it is famous for yachting, mansions, and jazz.
  • Pawtucket - Birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution
  • South Kingstown, including the villages of Kingston, West Kingston, Matunuck, Peacedale and Wakefield.
  • Warwick - home of TF Green Airport, a shopping mall, and "Gaspee Days," it is an easy (and less expensive) place to land from your flight, and rent a hotel room and car.

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Sights and Activities

  • Block Island - Island off southern coast of Rhode Island. This island packs great scenery and great beaches into a small, walkable and bikable area.

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Weather

Rhode Island is an example of a humid continental climate with warm, rainy summers and chilly winters. Summers last from June to September and are nice and warm, between and 30 °C during the day and between 15 °C and 20 °C at night. The highest temperature recorded in Rhode Island was 40 °C, recorded on August 2, 1975, in Providence.Winters last from December to March with average daytime temperatures mostly around zero or slightly above. Nights are well below zero during this time. The lowest recorded temperature in Rhode Island was -31 °C, on February 5, 1996, in Greene. Precipitation is quite evenly distributed throughout the year, with sometimes very heavy snowfall in winter. During summer, heavy showers can occur, especially after periods of hot weather.

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Getting There

By Plane

T.F. Green Airport (PVD) is located about 10 kilometres from Providence. It has flights to/from Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, Atlanta, Toronto, Minneapolis, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Atlantic City, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Tampa, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, West Palm Beach, Cleveland, Newark, Washington, D.C., Charlotte and Philadelphia.

By Train

Two Amtrak trains stop in a number of places in Rhode Island:

By Bus

Bonanza Bus Lines, Greyhound Bus and Megabus have services.

By Boat

  • Vineyard Fast Ferry, +1 401-295-4040. Between North Kingstown (Quonset Point), and Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard island.

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Getting Around

By Car

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

Rhode Island has a number of National Scenic Byways which offer a great way to explore the state crossing beautiful landscapes. Mostly, there are lots of national parks, state parks or monuments along the way and it's generally a better alternative than the faster but boring Interstate Highways.

By Bus

Rhode Island Public Transportation Authority (RIPTA), +1 401-781-9400, services 38 of RI's 39 cities and towns with a central hub in Providence at Kennedy Plaza. RIPTA operates public transit 7 days a week with a program called RIde specifically for senior citizens and the disabled. They provide 27 sites for Park n’ Ride service throughout the state and special seasonal routes to the southern beaches for $2. On Air Quality Alert Days, they offer free services to everywhere except the beach.

By Boat

RIPTA also runs a seasonal ferry from Providence to Newport (mid-May to mid-October), while a separate company, Block Island Ferry, runs ferries to Block Island.

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Eat

  • Providence's Federal Hill district lives up to its heritage with some outstanding Italian restaurants, but there is great Italian cuisine throughout the state. If you happen to be in the area on St. Joseph's Day (March 19th), pop into an Italian bakery and join the locals eating zeppoli, a heavenly sort of cream puff.
  • Unique Clam Cuisine can be found at "clam shacks" along RI's beaches, especially in South County. Chowder (sometimes pronounced and spelled "chowda," in deference to the local dialect), is much debated and always delicious. The three major varieties are: traditional white (made with cream), Manhattan red (made with tomatoes), and Rhode Island clear (unsullied by either cream or tomatoes). Add quahogs (stuffed clams or "stuffies"), clam cakes (fried dough with pieces of clam in it), and a summer beer to guarantee a perfect trip to the shore, no matter what the weather.

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Drink

Rhode Island is home to quite a few great bars, a few brewpubs, a couple of vineyards, and one or two breweries.

Newport is the home of the Newport Storm brewery. Try the excellent local brew in many places across RI.

Rhode Island law specifies that beer and wine are only sold at liquor stores, not supermarkets or convenience stores, but liquor stores are open on Sundays.

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Sleep

Hotel and Motel Chains

There are dozens of hotel and motel chains, ranging from budget to top end. Allthough they are not the most charming accommodations, they usually have a very decent midrange service with good rooms and are generally good value. At least you know what to expect and in some cases they are either the only or the best option in the area. Some of them include:

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Contributors

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Rhode Island Travel Helpers

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This is version 15. Last edited at 9:01 on Apr 26, 16 by Utrecht. 15 articles link to this page.

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