A Guide to All of the Rhode Island State Parks: Enjoy Coastal Views, Hiking Trails & More

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Considering visiting some of the diverse Rhode Island State Parks?

Despite its small size, the Ocean State offers an impressive array of natural wonders. 

From beautiful coastal vistas along Narragansett Bay to lush woodlands and picturesque ponds of inland parks, these protected areas provide a wide range of recreational opportunities for outdoor adventurers and nature enthusiasts alike.

While these parks may not be as expansive as those in larger states, they make up for it with their accessibility and amenities. 

Get ready for hiking trails that’ll get your heart pumping, picnic areas perfect for taking a break, tranquil spots for fishing or kayaking, and so much more.

You can also enjoy spotting local wildlife and learning more about the local environment.

So, find out more about what the RI state parks have to offer and plan your visit with our comprehensive guide.

For more activities and places to explore in Rhode Island, see the recommendations included in our Rhode Island bucket list — as well as seasonal ones during fall and winter.

State Parks in Rhode Island

To make navigation easier, we’ll begin with parks in the northern part of the state, in Providence County, and then we’ll finish up on the eastern side of Rhode Island in Bristol.

Check out our favorite hikes in Rhode Island to further inspire your outdoor adventures.

Pulaski State Park

Pulaski State Park and Recreational Area (151 Pulaski Rd, Chepachet) is 100 acres in the much larger George Washington Management Area.

The main natural feature of the park is Peck Pond, which straddles the border with Connecticut.

This pond is a little-known fishing spot and an excellent place to paddleboard, with it being mostly sheltered from any wind.

In winter, skiers use the diverse trail system and navigate the small park and larger area’s rolling hills.

Zooming out a bit to the wildlife area, 10 miles of trails traverse the thousands of acres that make up the property, which is Rhode Island’s second-largest state property.

Many gravel roads exist within the management area and some lead to quiet campgrounds in the woods or on lakes.

Several small lakes dot this area for fishermen and hikers alike to enjoy.

Check out our favorite Connecticut State Parks for more outdoor fun in the area.

Snake Den State Park

Covering 1,000 acres of mostly undeveloped terrain, Snake Den State Park (2321 Hartford Ave, Johnston) offers a quieter, more natural experience compared to other Rhode Island state parks.

Nature enthusiasts will encounter different tree species, beautiful wildflowers, and wildlife in the area.

One popular trail, the Snake Den Loop, is an easy 1.7-mile route that typically takes around 34 minutes to complete, making it perfect for a leisurely stroll in the park.

Lincoln Woods State Park

Perhaps Rhode Island’s most popular state park due to its location just north of Providence, Lincoln Woods State Park (2 Manchester Print Works Rd, Lincoln) contains three ponds of varying sizes and many miles of trails that work their way through the hills of the park.

A covered bridge, an old mill, and a swimming beach all exist in the park to serve various types of groups.

Olney Pond, which is the park’s largest, has amenities for paddlers and for launching larger boats intended for fishing.

Barney Pond – on the east side of the park – is more often used for shore fishing, with Fisherman’s Rock being a popular place to both hike to and fish from.

Cyclists enjoy the park’s paved roads, which loop Olney Pond and lend themselves well to many forms of transport.

The park’s other amenities include a ballfield and kayak rentals.

You might also like our top Massachusetts State Parks.

Haines Memorial State Park

Southeast of Providence, Haines Memorial State Park (3 Haines Park Rd, Barrington) is focused mostly on community sports.

Rhode Island State Parks also manages a boat ramp affiliated with the park on Bullock Cove; it has plenty of parking and provides easy access to the Providence River.

With 33 picnic sites dotting the 59-acre park, all with grills and fire pits, this is a top spot for summer days out with family or friends.

Picnic sites are all reserved through the town of Barrington, which does most of the park’s small-scale management.

Three baseball diamonds sit in the park and are used on most weekends in the summer for community sports.

The East Bay Bike Path is a major recreational and commuter bike route for the area and connects Barrington and Providence.

Finally, Barrington’s dog park also sits in Haines Memorial State Park, allowing households with furry friends to have some outside time together.

You may also like our guides to things to do in Providence and romantic things to do in Providence.

Rocky Point State Park

In 2014, Rocky Point State Park (1 Rocky Point Ave, Warwick) reopened after a long closure of over 15 years.

Many long-time residents of the Providence area have at least heard of Rocky Point as one of the premier destinations for fun before 2000.

A short walking path encircles a large field in the park, perfect for having a picnic or playing frisbee.

A fishing pier and beach on the Providence River add to the park’s recreation options, and old buildings are perfect for some urban exploring.

An amusement park used to sit on the site before the state bought the land, which is why many locals have such fond memories of the place.

Old site of Rocky Point State Park in Warwick Rhode Island

Goddard Memorial State Park

Since many of Rhode Island’s State Parks sit near the population centers, they end up being quite popular places for recreation.

Goddard Memorial State Park (1095 Ives Rd, Warwick, RI) is no exception, being the main outdoor space for the Warwick area.

Lawns, forests, beaches, boat ramps, and ponds all add to this park’s many amenities that serve residents and tourists alike.

Much of the hiking trail system traverses a coniferous forest, giving adventurers the sense that they are further north than they actually are.

The park also offers a dedicated equestrian area, seasonal farmers market, and carousel.

Attached to the park is the only golf course owned by the state, which is why the park may be perfect for families to enjoy a wide range of activities together outdoors.

There is something for just about everyone at Goddard Memorial State Park, and large groups can split up throughout the park to find what they enjoy or stay together to have a rousing sports game on one of the park’s fields.

Burlingame State Park

Isolated from the rest of the Providence and Newport area parks, Burlingame State Park (1 Burlingame State Park Rd) is Rhode Island’s southwesternmost.

Watchaug Pond, the park’s main body of water, is also the main grounds for recreation in the park.

Paddlers, fishermen, and swimmers all enjoy using the pond for their activities, and that’s just the beginning.

More than 10 miles of trail exist throughout the flat woods of the park and adjacent Kimball Wildlife Refuge, making for some light hiking.

Volleyball courts, a playground, and a camp store exist in the park’s large campground on the south side of the pond.

The campground only features tent camping, but there is a lot of it with over 700 sites available!

Opting for a less laborious route, the park also has 20 camper cabins that are available for reservation.

Beavertail State Park

There are four state parks found in Newport County and Beavertail State Park (Beavertail Rd, Jamestown) is the most remote and largest. 

It is located on a point jutting into the Atlantic Ocean.

Centered around the Beavertail Lighthouse, the park offers tours of the lighthouse and there is also a museum for visitors to enjoy and learn more.

This museum is home to historic pictures and documentation of the lighthouse, as well as many aquariums showcasing the marine life that lives along Rhode Island’s coast.

The rocky beaches and remote forests of the park offer tourists and residents a more authentic outdoor experience compared to the city park-like amenities of the rest of the parks in the area.

Trails completely wrap around the point the park is situated on, and for hikers that want an even better view, they can walk along the rocks on the edge of the water.

Four overlooks are present along the park’s roadway, which offer accessible spaces to experience the park’s natural features.

View of Beavertail Lighthouse on the bluffs of Conanicut Island, Rhode Island

Fort Wetherill State Park

Centered around a historic fort, Fort Wetherill (3 Fort Wetherill Rd, Jamestown) has many things that most Rhode Island state parks don’t have: 100-foot cliffs make up the park’s shoreline, which offer visitors excellent views of Narragansett Bay and Newport across it.

This state park near Newport RI is just less than 30 minutes away.

Along with the rare cliffs, the park is also the only state park in Rhode Island to offer scuba diving.

Visitors can expect to see many types of fish and crabs when partaking in underwater activities at Fort Wetherill.

Adjacent to the park is a marina for launching boats onto the bay for saltwater fishing or for other recreation.

Fort Adams State Park

There is a park near Narragansett Bay that is popular with Newport locals for its summer concerts.

Fort Adams State Park (80 Fort Adams Dr, Newport) is situated on a peninsula that juts north into the bay, and the fort itself overlooks downtown Newport from the water.

With historic buildings and recreational facilities, the park can be enjoyed by almost anyone with the amount of activities they have there.

Paddlers enjoy kayaking along the park’s shore, while a rugby field sits in the middle of the park for games.

Finally, the Eisenhower House in the Park offers tours of a historic estate, and it also gives visitors the ability to host events there for a charge.

Aerial view of Fort Adams State Park in Newport, RI

Brenton Point State Park

Brenton Point State Park (​​Ocean Drive) south of Newport is popular with almost anyone who interacts with the Newport area.

Many people may be familiar with Brenton Point from its location along Ocean Avenue, one of Newport’s most scenic roads.

Newport’s annual kite festival is hosted on the park’s large lawn, and the ocean winds make for perfect conditions for flying on most days.

History is also marked in the park, with the Portuguese Discovery Monument recognizing the role that the Portuguese navigators played in mapping maritime routes in the area when Europeans first started coming to North America.

The park sits on the old property of the Reef Estate, part of which still stands for visitors to explore as an abandoned shell.

The estate also had a tower with bells that now functions as an observation deck for viewing the entire park from the treetops.

With a number of short trails through the grasslands and savannas of the park, Brenton Point is a perfect place for a morning stroll.

If you’re staying in Newport, check out our guides to the best things to do in Newport, romantic things to do in Newport, and Christmas in Newport.

Brenton Point State Park in Newport, RI.

Colt State Park

West of Bristol, Colt State Park (Route 114, Bristol) is a popular place for tourists.

A well-paved path follows the park’s shoreline, offering lovely views of the bay for pedestrians enjoying the park.

With over 80 picnic sites, the park is a popular place to go for a leisurely lunch on the bay.

Ballfields, fishing piers, and an amphitheater are also available.

For the more adventurous, a set of dirt trails allows hikers to find isolated beaches in the park’s southwestern corner, or you can journey through the relatively quiet wooded parts of the park.

Read next: Where to go hiking in Rhode Island.

Colt State Park in Rhode Island.

Final Thoughts

We hope this guide has inspired you to plan your next outdoor getaway to some of the State Parks in Rhode Island.

Feel free to share your experience in the comments below.

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