There are four inspiring National Park Services in Rhode Island. They are a National Historial Park, National Memorial, National Historic Site and National Historic Trail. So, it is the ideal destination for those who like a lot of history to go with their hiking. From the American Revolution to the Industrial Revolution, great Americans to great architecture, Little Rhody has some big draws. Ready to get to know the state better? Here is our guide to the best National Parks in Rhode Island.
Best National Parks in Rhode Island
1. Blackstone River Valley – National Historical Park
The Blackstone River powered America’s entry into the Age of Industry. Many people describe the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park as the birthplace of the American industrial revolution. The Blackstone River Valley stretches from Worcester in Massachusetts to Providence in Rhode Island. Here you will find lots of sites of historical importance, for instance, textile mills. In the park, you’ll also find Slater Mill, the first successful water-powered cotton-spinning factory in the United States. Visitors can explore the park’s rich history, as well as enjoy walking tours, paddles along the river, and cycles along the trails.
In the Rhode Island section of the Blackstone River Valley park, you can visit the Old Slater Mill and enjoy guided tours of this beautiful building. You’ll also be able to see Sylvanus Brown House and the Wilkinson Mill. You can also visit the Kelly House Museum of Transportation and Ashton Village where you can learn more about the transport revolution. There’s also the Blackstone Bikeway which allows you to explore the natural beauty of the Blackstone Valley by bike. Of course, you can just visit the park and walk around and bask in the tranquillity of the place.
3. Roger Williams National Memorial
Roger Williams was a Puritan minister, theologian, and author. He founded Providence Plantations, which then became the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations and then changed to the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Today, it is the State of Rhode Island. Williams was an advocate for religious freedom. So much so, that the state of Massachusetts banished him for his beliefs. Following this, in 1663, he founded Providence Plantations as a refuge where all could come to worship as their conscience dictated without interference from the state. The Roger Williams National Memorial commemorates the life of this great American.
2. Touro Synagogue National Historic Site
Touro Synagogue is in Newport, Rhode Island. It is the oldest synagogue in the United States and a symbol of religious freedom for all Americans. It is one of the most historically significant Jewish buildings in America and also one of the ten most architecturally distinguished buildings of 18th-century America. The congregation was founded in 1658 and the building was constructed in 1763. Today, it still serves an active congregation and each year over 30,000 visitors come to admire its stunning interior and learn more about its remarkable history.
4. Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route – National Historic Trail
The Washington–Rochambeau Revolutionary Route follows in the footsteps of the Continental Army. In 1781, the French and American troops, under the command of George Washington and Jean-Baptiste de Rochambeau, 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. It was this effort and cooperation between America and France that led to victory at Yorktown and secured American independence.
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 in which you can 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.