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20 things to love about summer in Rhode Island

New England has lots of charming spots to consider. But there are plenty of them right here, in the Ocean State. Here are a few favorites.

A Summer in Rhode Island in 2022Globe R.I. Staff

1. Urban kayaking, Central Falls

Escape the traffic. Paddle your way through the city. The efforts to clean Rhode Island’s industrial rivers have led to places thriving with wildlife. Come summer, I love to drop the kayak in the rivers that cut through Providence or Central Falls, and see those cities in new ways. The asphalt jungle, thick with triple-deckers and small bodegas in Central Falls, becomes green and lush as you paddle away from the Central Falls Landing onto the Blackstone River. In Providence, as you start out from the South Water Street Landing, the city buildings open up like sculptures around you. The sirens, car horns, and sounds of people passing are high above you, while you drift along the river with the fish and birds. No boat? No problem: You can rent kayaks or hop onto a river tour. — Amanda Milkovits


More: Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, rivertourblackstone.com

2. That frosty mug taste at A&W, Greenville

Growing up in Greenville, I associated summer with a thick, ice-cold mug of root beer delivered by a carhop to a tray hung from the driver’s side window of our 1976 LeMans Pontiac (which was a charm on the downhill). Those fond memories persist despite the dozens of bees that swarmed the back seat in search of my root beer float during one particularly traumatic visit (which I’m still trying to put behind me). A few years ago, local residents caused traffic jams on Route 44 when a Sonic Drive-in opened nearby, but Paris Hilton can hit Sonic without me. While I can no longer stomach the hot wieners at A&W, I admire the guy I saw there on my last trip. He was splayed out in a lawn chair that he’d set up in the bed of his pickup truck in the parking lot. With the hot sun in his face and a frosty root beer in his hand, he was living the Greenville summer dream. — Edward Fitzpatrick

More: 460 Putnam Pike, Greenville, awrestaurants.com


Fried scallops and a lobster roll are just some of the seafood options available at Blount Clam Shack in Warren, R.I.Brian Amaral

3. Lobster rolls and more from Blount Clam Shack, Warren

I may not be the sharpest knife in the plastic cutlery dispenser, but I’m not so foolish as to start the sort of war of words that would ensue by calling a particular place the “best” clam shack in Rhode Island. But Blount Clam Shack in Warren is absolutely top drawer. The quarter-pound lobster roll was just $23 when I went recently. In this economy?! The stuffie was served in a shell that looked like it could double as a shovel blade. The nearby market is open year-round (and has shorter lines). Warren might be the best food town in Rhode Island by square mile, and Blount is a big part of the reason why. — Brian Amaral

More: 335 Water St., Warren, blountretail.com

Along the southern half of Newport's famous Cliff Walk, a walker emerges at other end of tunnel at Sheep Point.Rizer, George Globe Staff

4. The Cliff Walk, Newport

For 3.5 miles, you’ll have Gilded Age mansions, gardens, and bushes of fluttering butterflies on one side of you as sea-spray tickles your skin on the other. The Cliff Walk in Newport, a world famous public access walk, starts on one end of Easton’s Beach on Memorial Boulevard and runs until the iconic Bellevue Avenue. While many parts of the walk are paved, I love the mysterious tunnels that travel under the Chinese Tea House, peering through small gates that show perfectly manicured lawns of wealthy estates, and — in parts of the walk — climbing down during low tide to dip my toes in to the Atlantic Ocean. — Alexa Gagosz


More: Newport, cliffwalk.com

The 10th tee at Triggs Memorial Golf Course in Providence, R.I.Triggs Memorial Golf Course

5. Let’s play Triggs, Providence

Rhode Island is home to some of the most beautiful private golf courses in the region – hey there, Newport Country Club – but there’s no track that is more accessible, affordable, and challenging than Triggs Memorial Golf Course off of Chalkstone Avenue in Providence. If you’re a newcomer, it’s the perfect place to go out late on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and whack the ball around without worrying about anyone yelling at you to move it along. For advanced players, breaking par won’t be easy. The course is long, the par 3s are tricky, and the greens roll fast. Best of all, if you’re ever invited to play a scramble tournament, no one puts on a better barbecue. — Dan McGowan

More: 1533 Chalkstone Ave., Providence, Triggs.us

The town dock in Wickford Cove in North Kingstown, R.I. It's located behind Wickford Village.Alexa Gagosz

6. Watch the boats return as the sun sets in Wickford Cove, North Kingstown

Whether it’s after a long day at the beach or poking around in stores at the village, I love driving over to the town dock to watch the boats make their return to Wickford Cove as the sun sets. A few other locals usually have the same idea, and you can take a seat on a nearby bench or walk the dock to admire the fishing boats and nets that have been piled up, ready for tomorrow’s catch. — Alexa Gagosz

More: Brown Street, Wickford, wickfordvillage.org

Old mills can be seen throughout Blackstone Valley in Rhode Island by the bikepath.David Lawlor

7. Exploring the old mills along the Blackstone River Bikeway

The 24-mile bikeway is the perfect way to tour the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, which started in the old red-brick mills along the Blackstone River from Woonsocket to Providence. During a ride, you breathe in the woody scent of pine, oak, and towering American sycamores, see colorful wildflowers, and catch a glimpse of deer, beaver, squirrels and bunnies along the way. The path connects to the East Bay Bike Path for an additional 14.5 miles beginning at India Park in Providence. The Central Falls to Providence section passes pizzerias, taverns, and restaurants if you want to take a break from the beautiful ride. — Carlos Muñoz


More: Blackstone River Valley, blackstoneheritagecorridor.org

8. Picking wild flowers at Dame Farm and Orchard, Johnston

Surrounded by Snake Den State Park in Johnston are rows of zinnias, dahlias, snapdragons, lilies, sunflowers, and lavender. Bring your own clippers or heavy-duty scissors, and the farm will provide a quart mason jar so you can fill it with any of their flowers you choose. — Alexa Gagosz

More: 91-B Brown Ave., Johnston, 401-949-3657, damefarmandorchards.com

9. Walking trails around the Monastery, Cumberland

The Cumberland Monastery just a hop on state Route 146 to Diamond Hill. There are walking trails looped in comfortable lengths, a play park for kids, and a short hike to one of the oldest military Veterans Memorials in the US. On rainy summer days, you can grab a book at the historic Monastery, which houses the Cumberland Public Library. — Carlos Muñoz

More: 1464 Diamond Hill Road, Cumberland, cumberlandlibrary.org

The Beavertail LIghthouse ,first built in 1749 is the third oldest lighthouse in America. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

10. A Zeek’s Creek-filled sunset picnic at Beavertail Lighthouse, Jamestown

It’s just a little fish shack smack-dab in the middle of the Marsh Meadows Wildlife Preserve, in the middle of Jamestown, in the middle of Conanicut Island. If you’re smart, you’ll visit Zeek’s Creek and get some of the best fresh local seafood around. Yes, it also sells bait and tackle, but it’s really about the seafood just off the boat: tuna, swordfish, scallops, oysters, lobsters, and smoked fish. Take the smoked fish spread with some crackers for a picnic at Beavertail Lighthouse State Park just up the road for unsurpassable views as the sun sets. Zeek’s Creek is only open for the summer and barely into the early fall, and it’s the kind of place that only the locals know about. Now you do, too. — Amanda Milkovits


More: Zeek’s Creek Bail & Tackle, 194 North Road, Jamestown, 401-423-1170, facebook.com/Zeeks

Pickled vegetables can be found at Mount Hope Farm's market each Saturday in Bristol.Erik Jacobs

11. Farmers market at Mount Hope Farm, Bristol

There’s a lot to do at Mount Hope Farm in Bristol. You can go for a walk and suddenly come out onto a lovely view of the Mount Hope Bridge. You can get married. You can say hello to the donkeys and goats roaming around in their pen. But if you go on a Saturday, you’ll also be able to peruse a terrific farmers market. “Pre-loved” clothes, pickled vegetables, freshly canned kombucha, fresh baked goods, a musician doing a pretty good rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” in the middle of it all – those donkeys and goats don’t know how good they have it. — Brian Amaral

More: The Farmer’s Market, Mount Hope Farm, 250 Metacom Ave., Bristol. mounthopefarm.org

Crowds gather outside of Mr. Lemon in Providence.Blake Nissen for the Boston Globe

12. Beating the heat with Mr. Lemon, Providence

Del’s lemonade is as Rhode Island as the Independent Man, and I can remember when former state Representative Bruce J. Long, a Middletown Republican who owned a Del’s store, used to deliver cups of the frozen lemonade to the House chamber during the long, hot, sweaty final nights of the legislative session. But given the choice on a summer night, you should head to Mr. Lemon, on Hawkins Street in Providence. During a recent debate, three of the four Democrats running for mayor of Providence picked Mr. Lemon when my colleague Dan McGowan asked them to name their favorite frozen lemonade stand. And while I’m sure it’s a coincidence, I enjoy thinking that Michael Solomon dropped out of Providence’s mayoral race soon afterward because he refused to answer that question. Still not convinced? Consider that at Mr. Lemon, you can enjoy “Boom-Boom Blast,” a mix of blueberry, watermelon, and lemon. — Edward Fitzpatrick

More: Mr. Lemon, 32 Hawkins St., Providence, facebook.com/Mr-Lemon

13. Finding serenity in Lincoln Woods

Nestled northeast of Providence are two perfect spots for a walk or run in the serenity of the northwoods alone or with a friend — one with or without paws. Lincoln Woods offers fishing, ball games, hiking, horseback riding, and its one of three state park sites tested for safe ice during the winter (the other two are Goddard Memorial State Park and Meshanticut Park). But in the summertime, you can sit back and enjoy the view and the sounds around Olney and Barney ponds, or sit on the beach at Frank Moody State Beach. — Carlos Muñoz

More: 2 Manchester Print Works Road, Lincoln, riparks.com/LincolnWoods

A small memorial plaque marks the spot where British prisoners were brought ashore after the burning of the Gaspee. Lane Turner/Globe Staff

14. Live every day like it’s Gaspee Days, Warwick

You don’t have to wait for Gaspee Days to celebrate the 1772 burning of Lt. William Dudingston’s dreaded schooner. Down Peck Lane in Warwick, you’ll find a smallish stone with a sculpture commemorating the site where the British crew was taken ashore as prisoners in one of the first acts of aggression in what would become the American Revolution. From there – after ice cream and a beer in lovely Pawtuxet Village, if that’s your speed – you can go check out the real deal: The shoreline area that’s now known as Gaspee Point where the schooner ran aground. If you squint, you almost see it: the very beginnings of America and Rhode Island, lying somewhere out there on the sandy bottom. — Brian Amaral

Lewis Farm on Block Island.Block Island Tourism Council

15. Biking (or riding a moped) around to discover new farms and beaches, Block Island

Most tourists never leave the main drag of Block Island, hitting up iconic mainstays like the Atlantic Inn and Ballard’s Beach Resort. Those attractions are all well and good, but rent a bike (or a moped if you’re feeling the heat) and go uphill without a map (or your phone’s GPS). You’re going to hit a few dirt roads and might get a whiff of cow manure. When you start to hear the “moo-ing,” you know you’re in the right place. Head to the other side of the island, away from where the ferry dropped you off to discover untouched beaches and quieter surf. — Alexa Gagosz

More: Block Island Tourism Council, https://www.blockislandinfo.com/bike-and-moped-rentals

The Providence River Pedestrian Bridge.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

16. Tunes, food trucks, and beer gardens on the Pedestrian Bridge, Providence

If you’re looking for a postcard moment from Rhode Island, head to the Michael S. Van Leesten Memorial Bridge in downtown Providence on a weekend night. Snap a selfie while standing on the $22 million span with the Providence skyline behind you. And then amble over to The Guild’s PVD Beer Garden, which is open from May through October, grab some kick’n chicken from Ming’s Asian street food truck, and settle in to listen to some live music. On a recent Friday night, Bait Bag – a feminist punk bank from North Haven Island in Maine – was rocking by the riverbank, singing the unforgettable refrain, “I wanna, I kinda wanna be in a bar fight.” Forget Boston – our fair city is pretty and gritty and the place to be on a summer evening. — Edward Fitzpatrick

More: South Water at James Streets, Providence.

Adirondack chairs overlook Narragansett Bay from a flower garden at Blithewold. Patricia Harris

17. Afternoons at Blithewold Mansion & Gardens, Bristol

When the summer afternoons feel like they could last forever, when the bees are humming in the flowers and birds are whistling from the trees, I pack a picnic basket, invite my favorite people, and head out to “my” mansion along Narragansett Bay. The Bristol estate of Blithewold, once the summer home of Augustus and Bessie Van Wickle, has 33 acres of rolling grounds landscaped by architect John DeWolf well over a century ago, with perennial gardens, grand old trees, a bamboo forest, and a lawn that rolls to the edge of the bay. You can feel as if this is your summer place, where the sailboats pass by for your entertainment, where you can wander in the gardens, sit on the patio, or find a place under a shaded tree. There are views anywhere you turn, and usually, few crowds. — Amanda Milkovits

More: 101 Ferry Road, Bristol, 401-253-2707, blithewold.org

A surfer rides the waves in Rhode Island.Stan Grossfeld/ Globe Staff

18. Learning to surf, Westerly

We’re not called the Ocean State for nothing. We may be tiny, but we have miles of coastline, and plenty of instructors eager to help you learn to surf. Right now, the water is as warm as it’s going to get in Rhody. Don’t let the season end without feeling the stoke via Westerly’s Paddle Surf R.I. The staff can help you size a board, teach you surf etiquette, and give you the basic 101 on Hanging 10. — Lauren Daley

More: 3 India Point Road (Frank Hall Boat Yard), Westerly, 401-741-5661, www.paddlesurfri.com

A view of the fishing pier at Rocky Point State Park in Warwick, Rhode Island.Alexa Gagosz

19. Take the kids and catch fireflies at Rocky Point, Warwick

Rocky Point State Park has more than 150 years of history behind it. From the late 1840s to the mid-1990s, it was an amusement park with popular attractions like the Skyliner and Corkscrew Loop Roller Coaster. But because of financial issues, the park closed for years, finally reopening in 2014. Now, the park features a paved path that rolls through an empty field overlooking Narragansett Bay. A few of the amusement park’s elements remain, though, almost as if they’re reminding the place of its once rowdier past. Walk some of the winding paths with the kids, and bring a mason jar to catch fireflies, which twinkle in the bushes as the sun goes down. — Alexa Gagosz

More: 1 Rocky Point Ave, Warwick, riparks.com/RockyPoint

DePasquale Square is a colorful collection of restaurants arranged around a fountain. Lane Turner/Globe Staff

20. Al fresco dining on Federal Hill, Providence

Europe can wait another year. At any time of year, you’ll see vespas chugging up Atwells Avenue, fresh bread being laid out in the front window of Scialo’s Brothers Bakery, and smoke from cigars as people puff along the sidewalk. But each weekend during the summer months, the Hill transforms into a street that resembles a bustling European village — shut down to traffic and opened up for outdoor dining. Music is played in front of DePasquale Square, and couples dance in front of the stage as if it’s the 1950s all over again. — Alexa Gagosz

More: Federal Hill Commerce Association, federalhillprov.com

Alexa Gagosz can be reached at alexa.gagosz@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz. Amanda Milkovits can be reached at amanda.milkovits@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @AmandaMilkovits. Brian Amaral can be reached at brian.amaral@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @bamaral44. Carlos Muñoz can be reached at carlos.munoz@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @ReadCarlos and on Instagram @Carlosbrknews. Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan. Edward Fitzpatrick can be reached at edward.fitzpatrick@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @FitzProv. Lauren Daley can be reached at ldaley33@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter @laurendaley1.