Picturesque view of a small town in Rhode Island.

7 Most Picturesque Small Towns In Rhode Island

A state-full of farms and green spaces bounded by the ocean, Rhode Island is a perfect next-door escape that feels far away in a different land. These are the most picturesque towns inside and out; to start exploring the immense beauty that Rhode Island has in store.


Historic Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum in Bristol, Rhode Island
Historic Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum in Bristol, Rhode Island. Editorial credit: Faina Gurevich /

Bristol is a little community of varied scenery that lets one experience small-town living where each corner offers a new photo opportunity. The former deep-water seaport named after the city in the United Kingdom comes with endless wandering down its picturesque waterfront, reminiscent of the past. Diving deeper into town, one gets to unravel the wonderful history of the old architecture lining the streets, including the fairytale-like Blithewold Mansion. The intriguingly magnificent structure is further beautified by the impeccable arboretum with moss-strewn oval entryways and a blooming spectacle of rainbow flowers. The Colt State Park comes with the dazzling scenery of waves crashing onto the shores and boats at the horizon, while the calming sounds of the sea induce a magical sense of tranquility. Following an active day-spent boating, kayaking, visiting parks, and shopping, the famous food scene awaits in-town with top restaurants offering the best dining experiences anywhere around. During the year, there's the popular British Motorcar Festival, as well as one of the highest-regarded Fourth of July parades in the country, dating back to 1785.


Aerial view of Jamestown, Rhode Island
Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge on Narragansett Bay and an aerial view of the town of Jamestown in summer. 

Set within a hand's reach of Newport, Jamestown is the little town filled with all the modern amenities and scenic water vistas in a small-town atmosphere that the heart desires out of a getaway onto Rhode Island. The town sits picturesquely on the Conanicut Island in the surroundings of the Narragansett Bay and several state parks, including the beautiful Beavertail State Park on the southern end, inclusive with a picturesque Beavertail Lighthouse. The perfectly quaint downtown is dotted with shops, great waterfront restaurants, as well as many National Historic Places, museums, and other notable landmarks that let one uncover the town's history. The ruggedly beautiful Fort Wetherill State Park, perched on the granite rock face, overlooks the mainland and the bay where scuba divers come to explore the protective cove underneath. The hikers rejoice in the park's trails overseeing the dramatic ocean, while the fishers find their respite in the shallows over-shadowed by the cliffs. The picturesque townscape spreads further across two small isles of Dutch Island and Gould Island for more adventures with panoramic coastal vistas. With all the scenery around, one must grab a take-out picnic and start exploring, with the Slice of Heaven offering a perfect to-go menu, inclusive of on-trays likbeer-battered fish and chips with spicy Cajun fries. 

Little Compton

Sakonnet Lighthouse, Little Compton, Rhode Island
Sakonnet Lighthouse, Little Compton, Rhode Island. 

Set southeast in-between the Massachusetts-Rhode Island border and the Sakonnet River, the beautiful Little Compton comes with big attractions in a small-town setting. Its gorgeous coastal locale encompasses various landscapes, thoroughly enjoyed by nature photographers, adventurers, and picnickers. Encased by surrounding farmlands and coastlines, the scenery changes from stunning ocean views to gorgeous green forests in mere minutes. The famous South Shore Beach's rocky enclave is bounded by some of the best waters for sports in the area and the ocean's vastness to the other side. The picturesque town calls for a relaxing outdoor stroll followed by a picnic with a bottle of wine picked out earlier from the unique and delicious collection of the vastly popular Carolyn's Sakonnet Vineyard. Back-in-town, the quaint and relaxed center comprises a real treat of stroll-worthy streets aligned with beautiful homes and buildings from the 17th century. 


Black point ruins at Scarborough beach in Narragansett, Rhode Island
Black point ruins at Scarborough beach in Narragansett, Rhode Island. 

Set south of South Kingstown, the hidden gem affectionately known as "Gansett" is known for fascinating and unique architecture that is like nowhere else in the nation. Tens of thousands of tourists come to the small Narragansett each year to drive or walk under the former casino of the 19th century, now the area's biggest attraction steeped in history. The Towers standing at the entrance are back-dropped by an intricate townscape with the dazzling scenery of never-ending waters behind. The jaw-dropping scenery is made more overwhelming by the air on the premises that still rings of Narragansett's past years. The town acts as a magnet compelling to explore every corner, including the many beautiful shops and cafes. Upon spending the morning one-on-one with the gentle sea on the sands, the historic seaside town awaits with more discoveries and an atmosphere where time seems to stop. One must check out the Pier Casino towers, now used to host various social events, followed by a trek back to the waters to catch that timeless sunset. 

New Shoreham

View of the South East Lighthouse in New Shoreham, Rhode Island
View of the South East Lighthouse in New Shoreham, Rhode Island. 

New Shoreham is the only town on the stunning Block Island, with a population of 1,000 some year-round residents. Best known for beautiful beaches and restaurants galore, it is the perfect travel destination offering a scenic respite for all the senses. Reachable via a ferry ride from Point Judith in Newport, or Fall River, the town charms from the moment one debarks onto its centrally-set dock. Feeling at home in no time, the town evokes a sense of tranquility and anticipation. There are many shops to peruse and restaurants to dine or sip on a beverage and people-watch before heading out to relax on the sands bounding the isle. The myriad of scenically-set activities to suit any taste and age include water sports, boating, and relaxation by the ocean. One will be lulled to sleep by the calming sounds of the ocean and greeted by the striking sunrises in the morning that tempt one to step out into the freshest of the sea salt mists. Established in the 18th century, New Shoreham’s rich history resonates throughout the streets-full of architecture and art installations, telling the creative story of the peoples’ past in the area. There are also many state-of-the-art museums and art exhibits to peruse for more eye candy. One can also hike, bike, and walk the coastline trails to spot and visit the historic lighthouses, such as the South East Lighthouse, renowned for breathtaking views. Reachable via a boat, it offers endless sea vistas to one side and a tiny township filled with life to the other. 


View of Sakonnet River and a small residential neighborhood in Tiverton, Rhode Island
View of Sakonnet River and a small residential neighborhood in Tiverton, Rhode Island. 

Set in the East Bay section of the state, the town transports one back to the slower days of a crowd-less townscape full of mom 'n' pop stores and home-grown goods stands. In-town, one will find many cool galleries with some real eye-candy art, as well as various fun and artistic taking place throughout the year. An ideal getaway from the city, the beautiful and cozy Tiverton comes with immense farmland grounds traversed by the perfect bike route calling for daily leisurely rides or some exercise to absorb the scenery around. Abound with green spaces overlooking stunning ocean vistas, one will feel compelled to set a scenic photo shoot or a picnic on the soft grasses. The town also has renowned restaurants serving incredibly delicious and unique dishes at a fair price point. The best dining experience unmatched anywhere else guarantees to satisfy any palette within the surroundings of Rhode Island's beauty.


The Ocean House in Westerly, Rhode Island
The Ocean House in Westerly, Rhode Island. Editorial credit: Allard One /

Located on the southern shore of the state, Westerly is a picturesque beachfront community full of authentic Rhode Island charm, renowned for its food scene, outdoor attractions, and scenic escapes. The relaxed atmosphere in town is filled with a soothing buzz of nature rather than the overpowering sense of tourism found in many other coastal locales. Besides chilling on the sands and cooling off in the waters, one can stroll along the adorable Main Street aligned with various shops, cafes, and breweries, including the Perks & Corks'sCorks's great martinis. One must also visit the locally popular Junk n Java cafe for the famed iced caramel latte on a hot afternoon or to kick-start a morning full of adventures. The Wilcox Park is set centrally at the heart of the town for a convenient respite right downtown to stroll in the shade or relax with a picnic on the hilly sides that become sledding galore in winter. One must try to catch the community-binding "Summer of Pops - Chorus of Westerly" event to see the true spirit of Westerly come out in an atmospheric evening full of music and fun. 

Rhode Island offers endless recreation and relaxation among its immense natural beauty, varying from farmlands and forests to rugged cliffs and ocean views. These picture-perfect towns are just as rich on the inside as the scenery around them. One will have endless photo opportunities while feeling wrapped up in a small-town atmosphere during the most picturesque getaway of a lifetime.

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