Rhode Island climate
Rhode Island has four seasons but a milder climate than the rest of New England. January temperatures dip below zero (C), June temperatures reach the low 20s, and July and August can climb into the high 20s. Coastal Rhode Island is more moderate than the rest of the state.
When to fly to Rhode Island
Rhode Island has two peak tourist seasons: summer and winter. On Memorial Day weekend the crowds start coming to the coast for water sports, shopping, and sightseeing. Newport is hectic and crowded and Rhode Island flight and hotel reservations are an absolute must. Many smaller museums and attractions throughout the state are open only from Memorial Day to mid-October.
Charming in the winter, Rhode Island becomes a Winter Wonderland, and Newport's holiday season is particularly stunning.
Cheap flights to Rhode Island can be found in the spring and there are also fewer crowds around the state. Fall also has moderate airfare prices, but make Rhode Island flights and reservations ahead of time because places fill up with the fall foliage leaf peepers.
Newport in the off season is charming, prices are lower, parking is often free, and the stores have end-of-season sales.
Getting around Rhode Island
The smallest state, Rhode Island is 77 kilometres long by 60 kilometres wide so getting around is easy. Public transportation and ferries run between Providence and Newport, and there are ferries to Block Island. New England Airlines flies scheduled Rhode Island flights from Westerly State Airport to and from Block Island.
There is bus service around Providence provided by the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA), and it is a pleasant city to see on foot. Traffic is reasonable so driving is a viable option, but parking can be an issue. Finding a space on the street during the day is difficult and overnight parking on the street is not allowed.
Newport is easy to walk around and RIPTA buses run from the town to the beaches. In the summer free shuttle buses connect the main sights and shopping area.
Biking is another popular way to get to the beaches. Cars are not recommended on Block Island and considering the cost of taking a car on the ferry, it is best to rent a bike or moped when you get there. If you need to take a car, make your ferry reservations a couple of months in advance.
Rhode Island insider information
- Rhode Island has 640 kilometres of coastline as well as Narragansett Bay so there is great variety in water sports including sailing, boating, fishing, kayaking, cruising, swimming and seal watching.
- The state is steeped in history. It claims to have one of the nation’s largest concentrations of historic landmarks. Newport has the country's oldest tavern building (The White Horse Tavern, 1673) and the country’s oldest carousel in the resort town of Watch Hill as well as the mansions - the fabulous Gilded Age “palaces” - built by America’s millionaires. Nearly a dozen of the "summer cottages" are open to the public. They include Rosecliff, which was modelled on the Grand Trianon, the garden retreat at Versailles Palace and the Breakers, built by the Vanderbilt family.
- Smith's Castle, north of Wickford, with its grounds and exhibits allows visitors to experience almost four centuries of history and the interactive Museum of Work and Culture in Woonsocket, with its exhibits, illuminates the story of the French Canadians who left Quebec to work in the factories of New England.
- Providence, the sophisticated capital of Rhode Island, has bags of old world charm and lots of things for tourists to do including gondola trips down the Providence River and ice-skating at the Bank of America skating centre.
- In August WaterFire is a must-see event. The installation of more than 100 bonfires on the three rivers in downtown Providence has won awards.