Wondering what to do in Rhode Island in the fall? Here are a few Rhode Island fall discoveries and activities that you should add to your fall itinerary.
Now, I bet if I were to ask you what came to your mind when you thought of the “Ocean State”, you’d say the beach, sailing, seafood, and summer. And so Autumn lovers would pass up poor little Rhode Island when searching for things to do in New England.
But, there are so many new Rhode Island discoveries to make this Fall and I’m so excited to share some of my favorite finds with you!
FACT: Real Girls Love Discovering New Fall Adventures in Unexpected Places!
If you’ve ever been to Rhode Island, you already know how freaking small the state it is. You could probably drive through it at the same time it takes you to respond to a few business emails from the backseat.
Somehow, don’t know how.. but somehow, I managed to find Rhode Island in the fall activities that didn’t revolve around sailing, eating lobster rolls, and sunbathing. Not that I’d be doing any of that anyway… I have Lupus, lol.
“Occupying a sliver of land so inconsequential that the names of its cities and towns have to be entered vertically on the map. It is foolish for something so microscopic to go around posing as a state.. You drive into Rhode Island, nod off for 10 or 20 minutes or embark on an interesting conversation and — zap — you’re in Massachusetts….”Good-bye Rhode Island, Smithsonian Magazine
[This post was originally posted September of 2020. Updated October of 2021]
Where to Stay in Rhode Island
While I would not recommend exploring the town of Tiverton if you’re a tourist because there’s not much to do. I found a great hotel-casino here! It’s good for a quick stay or if you have some extra cash and want to play. Okay, that rhyme was totally accidental I swear!
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. If I wanted to go to a casino, I’d just take a trip to Vegas. Well yeah… so would I!
But, believe me when I say that Tiverton is one of the cleanest casinos I’ve stayed in. So much so that I actually forgot it was a casino.
What I thought would be an inexpensive motel-type room ended up being surprisingly cute and comfy rooms. So much so that I was totally cozy just lounging in the hotel and rarely even went down to the casino.
The building is smoke-free, so it doesn’t have that typical casino-y smell to it. Which, if you’re not a smoker can be so unpleasant! Instead, the casino is clean, shiny, and might I add… still quite new. It has far fewer restaurant options, table games, and slot machines than a typical casino would. It’s a bite-sized casino.
So, while this may be a good place to stay if you’re in the area and need a hotel or even to gamble a bit, it’s not exactly the place if you’re into partying.
I was just looking for a hotel near the activities I had planned, so it fit my needs perfectly. The bonus was that it had a pretty decent gym.
In summary, it was clean, no smoking, a decent gym for a casino, rooms were cozy.
During my stay, I dined at the Casino Cafe & Grille. The food wasn’t spectacular. From the look of the restaurant, you’d think it was more upscale, but it was convenient to grab a quick bite.
They also have a nice little bar I grabbed a cocktail at.
Rhode Island is the US’ smallest state. It’s only 37 miles wide and 48 miles long.
Discover Fall in Portsmouth, Rhode Island
Where is Portsmouth?
This town is between Newport and Providence right on Narragansett Bay.
Since Autumn is my favorite season, I literally wait for it all year long. I’m like, Summer, you were beautiful, everyone loved you. But, please exit stage right.
The videos on their website are what first caught my eye. I’d never been on a railroad track before so I just had to try it! So glad I did because I ended up having a blast!
We started out on this multi-seater rail bike and pedaled on the track for 6 miles. Don’t worry, if you’re not as athletic.. being in a group, everyone shares the pedaling work. 😉
I really like how there was plenty of room between us and the next group so you could take your time and not feel rushed. As we were riding, we caught great views of Narragansett Bay. It was so refreshing to have the air in our face as we broke a sweat… lol.
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Rail Explorers has a sunset and morning tour option. We chose the Mimosa Brunch Tour which, actually sounds much more glamorous than it was.
The final stop was an outdoor seating area with a view of the Bay, a bonfire, and snacks. I call the brunch “snacks” because that’s all it was. The mimosas were in cans and “brunch” pretty much consisted of pastries.
When you get back, there’s a bonfire and lounge chairs which made for a really cozy setting for Fall. They also have outdoor games we played.
In summary, we had so much fun! The views are beautiful. Be prepared to eat before or after your ride. The brunch excursion is just continental breakfast. They offered us complimentary coffee, tea, and fruit before it was time to ride.
It was in the Narragansett Bay where Rhode Island became the 1st state to take military action against England by sinking one of her ships. Rhode Island was the 1st colony to declare its independence from Mother England.
Discover Fall in Providence, Rhode Island
I’ll admit, in the past, I haven’t been impressed by Providence, the capital. But, it’s definitely more appealing when Autumn makes an appearance so you can talk a walk around the city and enjoy the foliage.
If you’re like me, you use every excuse to dress in cozy sweaters, beanies, and knee-high boots while sipping hot apple cider. Another great Rhode Island Fall discovery is the WaterFire festival in Downtown Providence. Something about foliage and fire just does it for me… 😉
Local artist, Barnaby Evans creates quite the display with his award-winning art installations that light up 3 rivers in the city.
My sister and I started the festival off with some hot apple cider and were on the hunt for our next foodie find.
One thing I noticed is that Providence has a lot of bridges. Before the “big show”, we walked around and got a look at the rivers before they were all lit up.
Which is another thing… food! They had a great selection from local vendors. We ended up grabbing some delicious, steaming sausages with grilled peppers.. my fav. So yeah, I went into the festival hungry. Pretty much the only reason I go to any festival, to be honest.
But, what I didn’t expect was to witness such a heartwarming patriotic display. I went in November on a day that just so happened to be honoring US Veterans called, “A Salute to Veterans“. Each veteran participating in the ceremony was handed a lit torch that lit the installations in the water.
And then it was time to stand for the National Anthem. After watching a beautiful Fall sunset that turned into night, I gazed at the fire blazing on the water feeling very grateful for my freedom…
As I stood there, tears in my eyes, I thought of my Uncle Dave who served in the US Navy for much of his life before retiring as a Master Chief.
In summary, it was a spectacular sight! The festival had a nice selection of food and the location in the city had great access to walking paths on the water.
You can find more info on Salute to Veterans here.
When it was time to go home, I walked under the spooky bridges. It reminded me of Phantom of the Opera. There were fire twirlers floating by me on gondolas while candelabras swung from the bridges. Every night the candles are lit.
Foodie Find: Dune Brothers
Speaking of Providence, I recently discovered an awesome foodie finds to share with ya’ll.
Okay. I may have snuck this place in my Rhode Island in the fall review. I couldn’t write about Rhode Island without at least one seafood-related thing!
One day, I was hungry and just wanted something real quick to tide me over. That’s when I discovered Dune Brothers. Now, it’s a foodie fave of mine. As it turns out, good things come from little shacks. 😉
And let me tell ya, they don’t skimp on the seafood! I was pleasantly surprised to find large chunks of clams when I took a bite of my chowder… Not to mention, it’s probably the best deal on seafood I’ve ever had.
So, if you are…
- A) in the area during the season
- B) looking for a casual spot
- C) a seafood connoisseur like me…
Hit up, Dune Brothers. 🍤 You won’t be disappointed. Items are reasonably priced and most are under $12.
The only bummer is that they are only open until Oct 12th. That is the one downside to New England, a lot of things are seasonal.
In summary, for a little shack, they know how to bring it on. Was impressed by the food quality. Seafood was delicious, fairly priced, & they did not skimp.
Dune’s Brothers is a seasonal place. I recommend you check their website or call for more info.
With 400 miles of coastline, it’s no wonder why Rhode Island’s nickname is “Ocean State”. Because of its small size, it’s said that no matter where you live in Rhode Island, you’re always 30 minutes from the sea.
Discover Fall in Newport, Rhode Island
I feel so lucky that I live in New England where I can hop from one charming city to the next whenever, especially in the Fall!
If you find yourself in Rhode Island in the fall season (or any time of year) for a limited time and want the perfect activity that sums up what the coastal New England culture is like, Newport all the way baby.
While I’m a huge fan of the cities’ Summer culture, the Fall in Newport is my favorite. But, then again, my birthday is in October… not like I’m biased or anything.😉
Take a Fall Stroll at Cliff Walk
If you’re going to stroll around in Rhode Island in the Fall, you may as well make a new discovery! I decided to take a day trip to Newport for dinner that served up delicious, seasonal food and take a stroll through Cliff Walk. It’s the first national recreation trail in New England.
It’s definitely one of those cities that’s lovely no matter what the season. Depending on when you go, the vibes are so different. It’s awesome.
Cliff Walk is a 3.5-mile stretch that you can walk from the east end of Bailey’s Beach to the west end of First Beach. I never do the whole thing but you can! I hear that you can finish it in a few hours at a leisurely pace.
Not only is it a relaxing walk, but the panoramic views are stunning. You have the waves crashing on one side and the beautiful century-old Guilded Age mansions just sitting and looking pretty on the other side. Like, “Ha… keep movin’… you know you can’t afford me”. 😂
What mansions do I have access to from Cliff Walk?
Just taking a drive is so nice even if you don’t feel like walking! The views of the ocean are gorgeous!
Walk your dog, wander hand in hand with your honey.. or just go solo.
Something about the sea breeze, it’s very peaceful. Anytime I go to Cliff Walk, my racing thoughts come to a halt and I’m totally in the moment. Newport has that effect on me.
They don’t call it “Cliff Walk” for nothing. Depending on where you walk, there could be an abrupt drop of 70 feet just 2 feet from the path. So be careful, look down, don’t walk too close to the edge.
When you’ve worked up an appetite, there are many restaurant options in the area.
In summary, the Cliff walk is always a great time. I would highly recommend it. Restaurants, historic mansions, lovely waterfront hotels nearby.
Foodie Find: Dinner in Newport
The Vanderbilt Grill (The Gwynne)
Update: The Vanderbilt Grill has since changed to The Gwynne. You can make a reservation here.
Craving something cozy and quaint, I stopped by The Vanderbilt, a vintage mansion built in 1909 that has since been restored and turned into a charming hotel. It was actually built by a Vanderbilt. Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, who the hotel restaurant is named after.
Bring on the courses!
As soon as I opened the menu, my eyes darted straight to “Tasting Menu”. It took all of 5 seconds to say yes.
Eating a delicious meal is nice. But, eating multiple courses with wine pairings? Even better!
This way, you get a little taste of everything yet, it’s spaced out enough so you’re not sitting there, unbuttoning your pants. It’s almost like I’m tricking my belly into thinking it can handle more than it can. This means, more room for dessert!
There were a total of 5 courses and 4 wine pairings. Here’s a little sneak peek. I’ll try not to make you too jealous… 😉
What My Taste Buds Thought
Every course and pairing was delicious! Even things I wasn’t sure would go well together. Guess that’s what happens when you’re a foodie up for anything. If only I had more to gobble up! 😊
One thing that I thought was so cute and made the dining experience so fun was the enthusiasm from our waiter. He was genuinely proud of the food and pairings he served us.
As he poured our next wine pairing, he would say things like, “Now, we’re going to take a little journey to the rolling hills of California”…
I notice little things like that. It makes the customer service experience so special.
I was very happy that I found this place! The food and setting were even more than what I had hoped for.
The restaurant gives you blankets to keep you warm and toasty, which I love! I snuggled up to the fire after eating and got cozy. It was very chilly that night so I was really looking forward to getting in front of the fire.
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So that’s it, folks! My Rhode Island in the Fall adventures in the best season of all, Autumn. I hope you Autumn lovers enjoyed my stories as much as I enjoyed sharing them with you! Hopefully, you got some ideas for a nice trip this Fall! Thank you for reading. 😊
What would you do in Rhode Island in the fall with a weekend to explore?
Would you like more of this type of content? Or maybe there’s something else you want me to write about?
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