Seniors dancing at an outdoor music festival in Charlestown, Rhode Island. Image credit Carol Ann Mossa via Shutterstock

6 Senior-Friendly Towns in Rhode Island

With its miles of sandy Atlantic Ocean coastline, quaint, seaside Colonial towns, and sailing lifestyle, Rhode Island makes a delightful state to spend your golden years. Whether you are setting sail on your own boat, spending sunny days on the beach, or touring the many historic Gilded Age mansions, the state's small towns have much to offer. One of these senior-friendly towns will provide the perfect home base for your retirement adventures in the Ocean State.


The Beavertail Lighthouse in Jamestown, Rhode Island.
The Beavertail Lighthouse in Jamestown, Rhode Island.

Quaint Jamestown is an ideal place to retire as it has more than its fair share of senior living communities and independent living communities, as well as a low crime rate. Jamestown was incorporated in 1678, making it a hotspot for history buffs and seniors wanting to spend their free time exploring historic sites, farms, buildings, and more. The Beavertail Lighthouse and Museum is one of these attractions, and features an introspective collection of photos and artifacts that showcase the area's maritime history. It's located in scenic Beavertail State Park, and the country's third-oldest lighthouse overlooks Narragansett Bay.

There are several ways for seniors to enjoy the water peacefully and conveniently. Both Jamestown Newport Ferry and Coastal Queen Cruises offer rides across the bay, and you can also launch your own watercraft from the Conanicut Marina. Depending on their interests, retirees are also encouraged to join the Conanicut Island Art Association or the Conanicut Yacht Club.


The view of Sakonnet River flowing along Tiverton, Rhode Island.
The view of Sakonnet River flowing along Tiverton, Rhode Island.

Beautiful Tiverton was incorporated in 1694 and is a quaint, seaside New England village ideal for retirement today. Although it's within convenient driving distance of downtown Providence, it has a laid-back feel that appeals to retirees of all ages and activity levels. If you want to spend your golden years close to the water, as well as plenty of shopping and cultural activties, Tiverton may be for you.

Tiverton Four Corners is home to a cozy collection of independently owned shops, artist galleries, casual and gourmet eateries, welcoming coffee shops, and local businesses housed in refurbished 19th-century buildings. Seniors who appreciate fine art will enjoy the Four Corners Arts Center and Sculpture Park, which features both permanent installations and seasonally curated shows, as well as flower gardens.


Seafood festival at Ninigret Park, Charlestown, Rhode Island.
Seafood festival at Ninigret Park, Charlestown, Rhode Island. Image credit TongRoRo via

Located about 45 minutes from the hustle and bustle of Providence, rural Charlestown charms seniors looking to enjoy a life of peace and quiet. Although this beach town has a quaint feel, there is no shortage of things to do for retirees who want to stay active. Charlestown plays host to several popular special events each year, including the Charlestown Seafood Festival, the Rhythm and Roots Festival, a lively Memorial Day parade, and the Charlestown Holiday Ramble.

Charlestown is also home to the Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge, which consists of almost 900 acres of upland and wetland habitats, such as wooded swamp land and freshwater ponds. The Kettle Pond Visitor Center serves as the refuge's headquarters and offers regular activities that retirees can take part in. The Kimball Wildlife Refuge is another outdoor hotspot, and offers a boat ramp and beach access on Watchaug Pond. For history lovers, the Charlestown Historical Society meets in a refurbished 1838 schoolhouse in the charming village of Cross Mills.


Image of the Martin House in Westerly, Rhode Island.
Martin House in Westerly, Rhode Island. Image credit Rachel Rose Boucher via Shutterstock

Westerly made Forbes' "The Best Retirement Place in Each State" in 2018, and for good reason. The seaside town offers an abundance of beaches and coastline for seniors who love the water, as well a bustling downtown filled with one-of-a-kind shops, galleries, and restaurants serving local delicacies for those who thrive on interacting with the community. Beautiful Wilcox Park, accented by a fish pond, monuments, and perennial gardens, is also available for a tranquil walk, while Napatree Point Conservation Area offers a more secluded nature experience.

During the months of May through October, retirees can enjoy a night at the movies while immersing themselves in nostalgia at the Misquamicut Drive-In. Misquamicut State Beach is the ideal place for retirees to relax on the beach, as it's the state's largest and features a new pavilion, plenty of family activities, and no shortage of parking. For seniors wanting to swim in the ocean as daily warm-weather exercise, there is modest surf and a gradual drop-off.


The Port at Bristol, Rhode Island.
The Port at Bristol, Rhode Island.

Blessed with beautiful scenery, beaches, and plenty of nautical charm, the small town of Bristol is a top choice for water-loving seniors. The town offers easy access to major hospitals and good healthcare in both Newport and Providence, and the Bristol Senior Citizens Center hosts year-round activities, such as bowling, line dancing, and arts and crafts classes.

Situated on a 10-square-mile peninsula, Bristol is surrounded by both Narragansett Bay and Mount Hope Bay, making it the ideal location for maritime adventures. Retirees can start their days with walks along the miles of sandy coastline, or pedal along the East Bay Bike Path. Colt State Park offers 464 acres of hiking trails, paved bike paths, historic sites, and sweeping, panoramic views of Narragansett Bay. During the snowy winter months, the park is available for seniors who like to ski and snowshoe. The Herreshoff Marine Museum showcases local history with its old family homestead, six former maritime company buildings, and more.

The Blithewold Mansion, Gardens, and Arboretum will appeal to seniors who love nature and history. The complex also offers stunning Narragansett Bay views.

North Providence

Geneva Mills, North Providence Rhode Island
Geneva Mills, North Providence Rhode Island. Image credit John Phelan, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

One of North Providence's big draws for retirees is its super-low crime rate, which allows seniors to enjoy their retirement in peace and safety. In the 2023 Safest Cities report, North Providence was listed as one of Rhode Island's safest towns. The suburban town also has a small-town feel while being within close proximity to big-city offerings, such as major hospitals.

Retirees can take their visiting grandchildren to the nearby Roger Williams Park Zoo, which is home to almost 1,000 animals representing 165 species. The Providence Children's Museum is also a great place to spend the day with family, as well as Mulligan's Island, an adventure park offering miniature golf, batting cages, and more.

If you want to spend your golden years on the East Coast surrounded by breathtaking water scenes, sun-steeped sandy beaches, and convenient access to top-notch healthcare, Rhode Island may be the state for you. Although it's tiny in terms of land size, history-rich Rhode Island offers no shortage of senior-friendly outdoor recreation, arts and entertainment, and annual special events.

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