The Best Outdoor Places in Providence, RI

Providence, RI Botanical Center

Headed to Providence, RI this Weekend?   Don’t limit yourself to the downtown shops.  Providence has an array of outdoor activities and natural sights that are worth a visit.  

1. Blackstone Park and Boulevard

Located in the beautiful East Side of Providence, Blackstone Park is a 1.6 mile-long street cared for entirely by volunteers. Bordering the Blackstone Park Conservation District, this 45-acre woodland contains two ponds and open meadow areas, both teeming with wildlife. The Boulevard has a hundred-foot-wide median, lined with bushes and trees, perfect for taking a stroll or going on a jog.

2. Benefit Street Walking Tours

Providence Benefit streetThis walking tour brings you through one of Providence’s most beautiful neighborhoods, allowing you to take in restored buildings and scenic views of the Providence waterfront.

3. WaterPlace Park and Riverwalk

This park, developed in the 1990s, consists of a walkway along three rivers that meet in the Providence downtown area. It includes winding footbridges, a circular boat basin, and venues for outdoor performances. Home to the Waterfire art installation, it combines fire on the water with broadcast music.

4. Roger Williams Park

Just off Elmwood Avenue, lies Roger Williams Park. This 435-acre park consists of a zoo, a planetarium, a museum, a carousel, and dozens of pathways for hiking or jogging. The park hosts multiple public events and is a great place to take the kids.

5. Newport Cliff Walk

Providence walkWinding along Newport’s shoreline, you’ll find Newport Cliff Walk, a 3.5-mile elevated trail. The equally paved and unpaved path exposes gorgeous views of Narragansett Bay, as well as wildlife that lives in the rocky coves. The walk also includes visibility of some of the city’s most prolific mansions, including Beechwood, Marble House, and Rosecliff.

6. Lincoln Woods State Park

Just a quick drive from Providence, Lincoln Woods is an inland park with numerous multi-use trails, freshwater swimming opportunities, and even horse trails. It provides a fantastic opportunity for you to take a dip, enjoy a picnic, or go on a rigorous jog in the woods.

7. Watson Farm

Spanning 265 acres, Watson Farm opened in 1789 and is still in operation today. You can take a self-guided tour, attend an outdoor workshop, and stroll among farm fields with grazing livestock. While the house itself is not open to the public, you can peruse other attractions the working farm has to offer. Make sure to stop and buy some grass-fed beef or lamb!

8. Francis C. Carter Memorial Preserve

This expansive nature preserve (second largest in the state) is located in Charlestown and is home to a variety of plant and animal life. Spot white-tailed deer, pitch pine, scrub oak, and vernal pools teeming with aquatic wildlife. Located on the floodplain of the Pawcatuck River, the area can get damp; however, it provides a lovely venue for an afternoon walk, some wildlife spotting, or even recreational hunting.

9. North Light Lighthouse and Beach

lighthouseOn the grounds of the National Wildlife Sanctuary, this lighthouse contains walking and hiking trails, though you can’t climb up into the lighthouse. There is also a gorgeous sandy beach that is open most days of the week.

10. Rodman’s Hollow

Rodman’s Hollow is home to a 230-acre glacial outwash basin that helped form the groundwork for conservation efforts in the state of Rhode Island. In this spot, you’ll have the opportunity to view rare local wildlife, such as the state-threatened northern harrier, and unique plants like the endangered bushy rockrose. With walking trails and scenic views, this spot is a beautiful historic place to spend an afternoon.   

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Rachael Baihn

Rachael is an avid gardener, both indoors and in her backyard sanctuary. She can often be found exploring nature off the beaten track or enjoying the company of local neighborhood dogs.