Boats on the water in East Greenwich, Rhode Island.

7 of the Most Welcoming Towns in Rhode Island

Why is it that the smallest US state by area also produces the friendliest, most unique small towns? Little Rhody’s towns are home to locals with ingenuity who apply their imagination to the historical and breathtaking coastal gifts left to them by history and nature. Escape to the most welcoming landmass to ever pop out of the Atlantic. Unique shops, culture, and smiles await around every corner in the Ocean State.

East Greenwich

Street view of East Greenwich
Street view of East Greenwich, Rhode Island. Image credit digidreamgrafix via

Head to East Greenwich, a welcoming and friendly community of around 14,000. The local theatre, the Greenwich Odeum, hosts much bigger acts than a typical small-town theater. The historic site was built in 1926 in East Greenwich as vaudeville joints across America were booming. The town’s cultural assets have only continued to crystalize in the past century.

The YJ Contemporary Fine Art Gallery never stops cooking up its next bold exhibition. The gallery allows visitors to take their inspiration home, producing prints in-house in an array of mediums, including photo paper, canvas, and metal print. End a day in East Greenwich with newly made friends at the tasting room of LineSider Brewing Company. LineSider has over a dozen beers on tap, with enough choice to please every taste.


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

Tiverton has had since 1694 to learn how to welcome visitors and newcomers. The historic town touches the beautiful Mount Hope Bay. Once the fog burns off, Tivertonians enjoy a view of the Sakonnet River and the Portsmouth shoreline from Fogland Beach. Birdwatchers flock to Tiverton to try their luck at the Emilie Ruecker Wildlife Refuge. Baja’s Cat Café bills itself as a “Purr-fect” place for a coffee. Reservations are required to access the cat rooms. Enjoy a meal and watch the tides from within the nautical ambiance of the Boat House Restaurant. The Four Corners Gallery showcases the area’s vibrant art scene, collecting works from Tiverton’s surrounding area.


Beaches at Narragansett, Rhode Island.
Beaches at Narragansett, Rhode Island.

The population of Narragansett pulses between 15,000 and 35,000 depending on the time of the year. The beaches of Narragansett are that big of a draw for tourism in the summer; some opt to stay much longer than a few days. Photography buffs point their lenses at the Victorian Shingle-style landmark known simply as the Towers. The towers are the last surviving remnant of the Narragansett Pier Casino, a briefly popular spot during the Gilded Age until most of it burned down in 1900.

The Narragansett locals have built a vibrant cultural locus with the pieces of history bequeathed to them. The Coast Guard House Restaurant was once what its name implies in the 1800’s. Now, it is the best way to experience the welcoming vibe of coastal New England. Do not leave Narragansett without a glance at Point Judith Lighthouse. The last German U-boat sunk in WWII was a mere five miles from the site.


Main street in Warren, Rhode Island
Street in Warren, Rhode Island.

Stop in for a bite at Warren’s The Square Peg, a welcoming spot serving local food in a building built circa 1790 in the town’s charming Historic District. Warren’s residents have assembled a one-of-a-kind experience with unique shops around every corner. The eye cannot miss the purple and yellow exterior of Imagine Gift Store. The inside is just as wonderful as the outside. Located in the historic Lyric Theater building, Imagine Gift Store was voted “Best Gift Store in Rhode Island” in 2015.

The tasting room at Sowams Cider Works Company allows visitors to sample an array of ciders fresh from the spout. Get ready to get loud at Warren’s legendary music venue, the Galactic Theater. The Galactic also screens silent films and other interesting audio/visual media they have amassed over the years.


Sachuest Beach, Middletown, Rhode Island.
People enjoying the beach in Middletown, Rhode Island.

It is a mere 100-yard hike to Middletown’s spectacular Purgatory Chasm. The chasm was once an invitation to daredevils, but the slow separation over the years has widened it to the point where it can only be admired. George Berkley’s Whitehall is a 1720s building that was the center of the region’s philosophy and culture for many years. It has been maintained by the National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in Rhode Island since 1899. The suggested donation for a visit to the breathtaking sight is $5.

Whitehall still hosts fascinating lectures and scholars in residence who continue to inspire Middletown and the surrounding area. The 60-acre Newport Vineyards has an exceptional restaurant, allowing visitors to eat and drink the area’s terroir. Do not leave town without admiring the endless skies at Second Beach.


University of Rhode Island library in Kingston
University of Rhode Island library in Kingston. Image credit wolterke via AdobeStock

The population of Kingston sits around 7,000, not including the University of Rhode Island students who enrich the already vibrant cultural landscape. The Courthouse Center for the Arts provides classes to kids and adults and keeps Kingston’s art and culture scene fresh. Kingston’s most welcoming spot is undoubtedly International Pocket Café, an exploration of the Mediterranean’s best handheld delicacies. Visit the laid-back, friendly tasting room at Sons of Liberty Distillery. The company has distilled single malt whiskies from locally beloved beers since 2011.


Westerly on the southwestern shoreline of Washington County, Rhode Island.
Downtown Westerly, Rhode Island.

Locals and tourists love Westerley’s Watch Hill beach, found just behind an antique flying horse carousel that comes straight out of a turn-of-the-century New England boardwalk. The spectacular, 1745-built Watch Hill Lighthouse will make it hard to put down the binoculars and join friends on the beach. The 14-acre Wilcox Park in the middle of Westerly is a meeting place for the vibrant town. The enormous fountain and stately arboretum inspire local artists. See the results at the Granite Theater, located in a restored Greek Revival-style church. Learn the local history at the Babcock-Smith House Museum. The artifacts are housed in a circa 1734 Georgian mansion.

Rhode Island is a welcoming state that loves sharing its gifts with visitors. Keeping Rhode Island beautiful is the responsibility of both locals and the "short-term-locals" popping by for a visit. Take care to leave no trace of visits to state parks and wildlife areas. Please consider supporting Native American businesses whenever possible. The Narragansett People inhabited Rhode Island 30,000 years before the arrival of Europeans. The Block Island Historical Society offers more information about the state’s Native American Heritage. Ferries to Block Island leave from Point Judith and Newport as well as New London, CT, and Long Island, NY.

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