Outdoor Guide | Summer Fun

Sunday in the Park

Spend a leisurely afternoon in one of RI's beautiful green spaces


The sun is shining, the kids have the day off and it’s time to get out of the house. What better way to spend the day than getting out into nature? Or maybe you’re looking for a serene, quiet location for a date or to read a book. Whatever your motivation or location, we’ve got the perfect spot for you.

East Bay

If you haven’t been to Colt State Park in Bristol in a while, now’s the time. Between the four miles of biking trails, ten large playfields, a historical museum, six picnic groves containing 400+ picnic tables and its stunning open air Chapel-By-The-Sea with bay views, this park covers all of your relaxing outdoor needs. Route 114, Bristol. 401-253-7482, riparks.com

Newport County

At Fort Adams State Park, you can take a dip in the ocean (there are lifeguards on duty), bring the fishing poles or SCUBA gear, rent a boat from Sail Newport or roll out the soccer ball for a quick family game. And, of course, bring some snacks for a scenic picnic. There are also annual summer concerts like the Newport Jazz and Folk Festival. Or you can also get a tour of the fort from June through October from its enthusiastic volunteers and staff. 84 Fort Adams Drive, Newport. 401-847-2400, fortadams.org

Just across the water from Fort Adams is Fort Wetherill in Jamestown. This is another fantastic location for SCUBA diving and planned outings. All outings including diving, picnics, group activities and weddings must contact the office at Goddard State Park for scheduling arrangements. The fort is also a great spot for light hiking, fishing and boating. And don’t forget to explore the abandoned fort itself. Fort Wetherill Road, Jamestown. Fort Wetherill: 401-423-1771, Goddard State Park: 401-884-2010, riparks.com

Looking for a pond side retreat? Charlestown’s Burlingame Conservation Area picnic area has 50 fireplaces, restrooms, drinking water, a swimming beach with seasonal lifeguards and a nearby DEM boat launch for boating and fishing. Additionally, this is a great location for camping. There are sites available by Wachaug Pond or farther into the woods, depending on your preference. Route 1, Charlestown. 401-322-7337, riparks.com

Beavertail State Park in Jamestown is a feast for the senses, and truly is a quintessential oceanside retreat. First off, there’s the lighthouse perched just behind the rocky outcrop that is Beavertail Point.

The point is surrounded by the Bay on three sides which provides stellar water views. There is also a marine education facility complete with programs that range from exploring tide pools, sightseeing, fishing, hiking and a naturalist program. There’s even an Aquarium at Beavertail that schedules group activities. But feel free to carefully explore the rocky outcrops for yourself and discover tide pools teeming with marine life. Beavertail Road, Jamestown. 401-423-9941, riparks.com

Sometimes the ocean just calls to you. We get it. Brenton Point State Park in Newport provides breathtaking water views, as this is where Narragansett Bay meets the Atlantic. Bring a picnic basket and find a nice spot to plop down and breathe in the salty air. This park is unique in that it is surrounded by Newport mansions, a site worth seeing as you drive to and from the park. Open from sunrise to sunset, you’ll want to have the day to explore the hiking trails or cast a line and see what bites. Ocean Drive, Newport. 401-847-2400, riparks.com

Providence County

Haines Memorial State Park in East Providence overlooks Narragansett Bay, has a handicap accessible boat ramp, seasonal farmer’s market, restrooms and game fields which are available for rent. There are also 33 picnic sites, each with a fireplace and table that are first come first serve. Route 103, East Providence. 401-253-7482, riparks.com

What was once a not-so-nice area has been transformed into a family friendly and safe park. India Point Park in Providence has flourished since its renovations. Now there are walking/running paths that can also be biked on, picnic areas, fields available for frisbee, soccer or football and access for boating. Best part, there are no reservations needed. Sunsets are pretty gorgeous here as well, just saying. Gano Street, Providence. friendsofindiapointpark.org

At Pulaski Memorial State Park and Recreation Area in Chepachet, there’s ample opportunity for fishing, picnicking, hiking ten miles of groomed trails, game fields and swimming in the 13-acre Peck Pond in the summer. 151 Pulaski Road, Chepachet. 401-568-2085, riparks.com

Riding the historic carousel at Crescent Park in Riverside is one of those fond memories every Rhode Islander has. You try to get onto a horse on the outside of the carousel so that you can grab one of those rings. When you do, that moment is permanently imprinted in your memory. But there’s more to Crescent Park than that magical carousel. There’s plenty of open space overlooking the bay that’s great for picnics or an impromptu game of catch. After all that fun you’ll have worked up an appetite. Head over to Blount Clam Shack to get your fill of clam cakes and chowder or whatever other seafood snack tickles your fancy. 700 Bullocks Point Avenue, Riverside. 401-433-2828, eastprovidence.com

Roger Williams Park in Providence really is an oasis in the city. Take the family, go for a walk or sit by a pond and enjoy everything that this park has to offer. Aside from the spectacular zoo, there’s also a playground for the kids (or big kids), a rose garden, the Museum of Natural History and Planetarium, the Botanical Center, the casino, the Carousel Village, the Temple to Music, Todd Morsilli tennis courts and Tim O’Neil baseball fields. 1000 Elmwood Avenue, Providence. 401-785-3510, rwpzoo.org

Another retreat just outside Providence is Lincoln Woods State Park. There really is something for the whole family here: swimming in the freshwater beach (with a lifeguard on duty), trout fishing, playing ball, kayaking (Eastern Mountain Sports kayaking school), canoeing, hiking, jogging and horseback riding. 2 Manchester Print Works Road, Lincoln. 401-723-7892, riparks.com

South County

The John H. Chaffee Nature Preserve in Narragansett is truly a pristine area. There are plenty of shallow areas to fly fish, gorgeous scenery to hike and trails for horseback riding and bicycles.

Feel free to bring the pup, but dogs must be leashed at all times. Boston Neck Road between Hamilton Allenton Road and Route 138, Narragansett. 401-884-2010, riparks.com

Browning Mill Pond in Hopkinton offers a serene escape into the woods. While there are plenty of hiking and biking trails, the pond itself is a great resource for canoeing, kayaking and fishing. On one side of the pond you’ll find a picnic area as well as a pavilion for larger group gatherings. Feel free to bring the horses too – they are welcome on the trails. Tefft Hill Trail and Arcadia Road, Richmond. 401-539-2356, exploreri.org

If you’re in Narragansett and are looking for a little outdoor retreat, Fishermen’s Memorial State Park and Campground has you covered. There’s plenty of space for picnicking, horseback riding, camping, fishing, tennis and swimming. If you’re coming here to stay short term, think of it as your seaside village home away from home. Another perk is that this park is just one mile away from the Block Island Ferry dock. 1011 Point Judith Road, Narragansett. 401-789-8374, riparks.com 

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