The smallest of the united states, Rhode Island might only take 45 minutes to drive across but it packs over 400 miles of coastline into its tiny boundaries. Quite a lot of this coastline takes the form of white sandy beaches, arguably the finest places for ocean swimming in the Northeast. Otherwise there are islands to explore, seaside cliffs to walk along, and isolated lighthouses where you can either indulge in brooding melancholia or maybe hold someone’s hand.
Rhode Island contains two cities of note. Providence, both a capital city and college town, is a lively place brimming with restaurants, bars and nightlife, in particular a strong experimental rock scene. Here you’ll find top-notch art museums, old-school Italian-American neighborhoods and several independent movie theaters, all set within a beautiful and walkable urban fabric. It’s the most dynamic city in New England after Boston.
Newport lingers as an old seaside town crammed full of cobblestone streets, wooden buildings from the colonial era and a pile of over-the-top, gilded-age mansions, the city’s biggest attraction. Ever since the Vanderbilt family and associated pals set up shop at the end of the 19th century, Newport has functioned as a summertime resort. In season, you’ll find thousands upon thousands of tourists who come to experience a tangibly historic place with a party atmosphere.