Scenic views while hiking in Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge in Middletown, RI

7 best walks in RI

Little Rhody has some big hitters when it comes to wonderful routes to explore the scenic state. From leisurely strolls along the seashore to tough hikes through nature and wildlife preserves. Whether you are into history or heritage or just heart-stopping scenery, there is a track and trail suited to you. Ready to get to know the state better? Here is our guide to the best walks in RI.

1. Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route

The Washington–Rochambeau Revolutionary Route is a national historic trail. As you walk, you follow in the footsteps of the Continental Army, who, in 1781, took this route when they marched for 14 weeks from Newport in Rhode Island to Yorktown in Virginia. 4,000 French and 3,000 American soldiers marched, making this the largest troop movement of the American Revolution. Hundreds of historical sites dot the 680 miles (1,090km) of land and water trails that make up the route. There are so many ways to explore the route; for instance, you can walk, hike, run, bike, drive, or paddle. In Rhode Island, the route takes you to the Joy Homestead. This is where Job Joy and his family watched General Rochambeau and his French army march by. The route also takes you to Butts Hill Fort, commonly called Fort Butts, the largest Revolutionary War earthen fort in southern New England.

2. India Point Park, Providence

India Point Park is situated on the waterfront. The park has 1.5-miles of paved paths, which are accessible for wheelchair users and baby strollers. You will pass through pretty grassy areas and follow the bay, and there are historical markers throughout the park that tell the history of Providence as a port city.

India Point Park, Providence Rhode Island
By Kenneth C. Zirkel – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

3. Norman Bird Sanctuary, Middletown

The Norman Bird Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary and environmental education centre in Middletown. It is home to hundreds of acres of diverse habitats and seven miles of scenic, marked hiking trails. The trails are suitable for a wide range of hiking abilities too. For example, the Universal Trail is across a wide even surface and ends at a beautiful pond. The Hanging Rock Trail is along a rocky route with scenic ocean views. Trails range in length from .1 miles to 1.4 miles.

best walks in RI

4. Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge Trail, Middleton

The Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge is home to beautiful coastal hiking trails with stunning ocean views. However, the main draw here is the abundance of wildlife-watching opportunities. As you walk, keep your eyes peeled for many of the animals that call the refuge home, including coyotes and a wide variety of marine birds. The Trail is 2.4 miles long and is mostly flat.

Scenic views while hiking in Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge in Middletown, RI

5. Ocean Drive Historic District, Newport

Ocean Drive is a 10-mile stretch of winding road with commanding coastline views. The Ocean Drive Historic District starts off Bellevue Avenue and is a pleasant and relaxing walk with sweeping views and the soothing sounds of the ocean. En route, you’ll pass Hammersmith Farm, where Jackie Kennedy grew up. You’ll also pass by loads of Gilded Age mansions, Brenton Point State Park, Fort Adams State Park, and Gooseberry Beach.

6. River Walk & WaterPlace Park, Providence

The revival of downtown Providence started in the 1990s. Part of this revival was the development of the River Walk and WaterPlace Park. The River Walk follows the Providence and Moshoosuck Rivers, which run through downtown Providence. Along the river are 2.4 miles of sidewalks and beautiful bridges. You’ll see sculpture gardens and the pretty Providence skyline as you stroll. WaterPlace is home to the famous WaterFire art installation that features music and pyrotechnic displays on the water. WaterPlace serves as a reminder of the city’s early history when water covered the area once known as Great Salt Cove.

best walks in providence ri

7. Sakonnet Greenway Trail, Middleton

The Sakonnet Greenway Trail is the longest contiguous nature trail on Aquidneck Island. It is a light and leisurely walk that you can do between the hours of sunrise and sunset. You can bring your dog on the trail if you keep them on a leash. The 10-mile path offers views across meadows, woodlands, and farms, and there are plenty of opportunities for wildlife spotting too. The trail also takes you past notable locations, including Aquidneck Farms, Newport National Golf Club, and the Newport Vineyards.

Sakonnet Point Lighthouse near Little Compton, Rhode Island Horizontal
Melanie May

Melanie is an intrepid solo traveller, endlessly curious about people, places and food. She is a fan of slow travel and loves exploring the world by mouth, discovering a culture through its food. Having backpacked her way around the world she turned her wanderlust into a career and is now a full-time travel writer.

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