Houses on the coastline in Narragansett, Rhode Island

8 cutest small towns in Rhode Island

Despite being the seventh-least populous state, Rhode Island is the second-most densely populated state behind New Jersey, given the small area. Check out the capital city of Providence, or come for the summertime beaches, some of the best in the US. You can expect impeccable services and attractions to suit all tastes on any season's visit.

The smallest state by area, Rhode Island, is a stunning place with a state park, an immense shoreline, and cute coastal towns under the famous New England charm. Rhode Island is a truly exciting place to discover, so choose one of these towns and enjoy the best of the Ocean State in the Northeast region of the United States.


Sandy beach in Charlestown, Rhode Island
Sandy beach in Charlestown, Rhode Island

Charlestown is a really cute town with a whole other vibe from its Rhode Island brothers. Find the traditional RI beauty you desire along the coastal beaches, through wildlife refuges, in-town sights, and fantastic attractions. The Fantastic Umbrella Factory offers a wide array of shopping options, where emus roam freely around. Swing by the Purple Shell, selling natively crafted jewelry from an authentic Eastern Native trading post.

Buy a traditional wampum or a nontoxic soy candle for home decor or a souvenir, and take advantage of the henna artist on-site. The Frosty Drew Observatory is open Friday nights to the public for free to check out the stars through the famed, high-powered telescope. Visit Charlestown in the summer for the beaches and stay for Rhythm & Roots, the annual Labor Day weekend celebration with music and hippies at the park. The fun small town with a laid-back vibe in the Ocean State is replete with seafood places like the Nordic, favored among the islanders.


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

Jamestown is a cute town with unique activities to try, surrounded by water and its own state park with an active lighthouse. Seek out unique attractions like new hiking trails, eerie abandoned military forts, and droolworthy seafood places under the classic charm of New England. Discover the small town on foot and rent a kayak to paddle to Dutch Island for the abandoned Fort Greble, active from the Civil War to World War II.

The park with Beavertown Lighthouse calls for strolls and scenic picnics that will keep you coming back throughout the vacation. Visit the nearby Conanicut Island Sanctuary and the picturesque Fort Wetherill State Park, or widen your horizons on board the Jamestown Newport Ferry to the Jamestown Village. If you purchase a round-trip ticket, you can get off and on at stops like Rose Island, Fort Adams, the Ann Street Pier, and Perotti Park.

Little Compton

Sakonnet Lighthouse and Harbor Little Compton Rhode Island
Sakonnet Lighthouse and Harbor Little Compton Rhode Island

Little Compton takes cute to a whole new level with a name like that, a serene seaside location, and a mighty story. The little oasis on the peninsula fought off the commercial powers that other towns could not and stayed authentic to its roots. There are no chain establishments to go along with the pristine nature theme surrounding the town. Little Compton boasts two gorgeous sandy beaches, the South Shore Beach and Goosewing Beach Preserve, for days along the sea and under the sun.

The coastal town will charm you many times a day, with everything from a glut of local shops to independent vineyards and farms close to each other. Take an art stroll through its many great art galleries and head to the pretty Sakonnet River on the edges of this lovely town. The beautiful Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyards is a 150-acre property for strolls, tastings, and award-winning wine on the on-site menu.


Houses on the coastline in Narragansett, Rhode Island
Houses on the coastline in Narragansett, Rhode Island

The historic town with a cool name welcomes visitors with two looming towers. These iconic landmarks are the remains of the original Pier Casino, now used for various social events. The cute seaside town is most lively during the summer months, when tourists flock for easy access to the sun, sea, and sand along Narragansett's scenic beaches. Visit the popular Narragansett Town Beach or the relaxed stretch of sand along the Roger Wheeler State Beach and Scarborough State Beaches for a family-friendly atmosphere.

Enjoy these clean and spacious beaches and head for the Coast Guard House with its to-die-for seafood menu and impressive view of the Bay. The inland Fishermen’s Memorial State Campground offers camping, fishing, hiking, and cycling, while the Block Island Ferry will take you out on the open sea. Check out the Towers fairytale-like architecture from its resort days in the late 18th century, which attracted long-haul vacationers, and the South Country Museum with artifacts from around the region.

New Shoreham

New Shoreham Mohegan Bluffs Block Island Rhode Island
New Shoreham Mohegan Bluffs Block Island Rhode Island

This only town on Rhode Island's Block Island is a real stunner, with a population of around 1,000 people living amid real wonders. New Shoreham grows in popularity every year with its beautiful beaches, delicious seaside restaurants, and other family-friendly attractions. The sweet island town calls for days of basking under the sun and swimming in the tranquil waters at Mansion Beach or Ballard’s Beach.

Visit Crescent Beach for some seclusion to recharge before climbing to the top of Mohegan Bluffs that overlook a sparkling sea. Enjoy the Clayhead Nature Trail on a stroll or Rodman’s Hollow Trail for birding and wildlife viewings. There is also the nearby Great Salt Pond for a scenic lakeside picnic. The classic Southeast Lighthouse and the North Lighthouse will tell you the maritime stories of the past in an Instagrammable setting with an authentic New England vibe.


The view of Sakonnet River and a small residential neighborhood in Tiverton, Rhode Island
The view of Sakonnet River and a small residential neighborhood in Tiverton, Rhode Island

Uncover Tiverton, the best-kept secret in the Ocean State near the Massachusetts border. Explore this charming town with a wealth of scenically historic buildings, cute cafes, ice cream parlors, and intriguing art galleries. Stroll along Tiverton's beautiful Sakonnet River with natural views for miles ahead. Get your caffeine fix at the Coastal Roasters with an Adirondack chair outside for observing local life during the day and some amazing sunsets in the evening.

The Weetamoo Woods and Audubon Emilie Ruecker Wildlife Refuge are great for hiking along the nature trails in the fresh forest air, like the 4.7-mile loop for all levels of activity through Weetamoo Woods with its beautiful wildflowers. Check out the family-run Sakonnet Farm for a fun family time. Wander amid natural sights and spend an unforgettable night at its refurbished Old Tiverton Four Corners Schoolhouse from the 1800s.


Drone overlook of Warren Rhode Island
Drone overlook of Warren Rhode Island

The tiny Bristol County town of Warren in Rhode Island is full of little things for everyone, like art galleries, quality restaurants, and boutique shopping opportunities along the cute streets. Enjoy easy access to the beautiful beach for swimming and lounging, or head on a stroll to the Audubon Society of Rhode Island for wildlife sightings. Reserve a whole day to dive into a whole other natural world at the Touisset Marsh Wildlife Refuge.

This creative enclave inspires new artists with a thriving scene of art studios, live theater performances, live music venues, and handmade jewelry shops all around, much to the joy of tourists. Seek inspiration at the castle-like George Hail Library, in nature at Burrs Hill Park on the waterfront, or from the sands along Town Beach. The Town Wharf is a great place for beautiful bike rides along the shoreline with views of departing ships and boats under the sails.


Westerly is a town on the southwestern shoreline of Washington County, Rhode Island
Westerly is a town on the southwestern shoreline of Washington County, Rhode Island

Westerly is a super-wonderful, relaxed town with cute local attractions like the Junk n Java cafe, which serves the best caramel iced lattes in the state. The humble town with a lot to see and do without the tourist trap vibe will quickly make you feel at home along its seaside with Westerly Town Beach for sunbathing and water sports. The Main Street hosts an array of shops like Christina's, a unique keepsake, and cute cafes to sit back and absorb local culture.

Check out the famous Perks & Corks across the road for martinis, along with many breweries for the evening. Wander through nature at Wilcox Park in the heart of downtown Westerly with a picnic or sledding during the wintertime. Join in on the park's upcoming Summer of Pops: Chorus of Westerly event for a fun evening full of food and community spirit with live music. You can also make a short trip to the nearby town of Misquamicut for a sunset drive-in theater experience.

The Takeaway

Discover these towns on your next getaway into the epic Ocean State, accessible for any budget for a vacation under New England charm. Enjoy sunny days at the beach and gorge on seafood, as well as take the incredible opportunity to hunt for unique souvenirs like Native American crafts and silver and gold jewelry that this state lovingly produces.

Made up of mostly coastal lowlands, RI is famous for its beaches and bays along the Atlantic Ocean. Head into the heartland or the west side of the state for a whole other vibe with the serene nature of dense forests, harbor hills, ponds, and lakes.

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