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The Top 8 Can’t-Miss Scenic Drives in Rhode Island

Here's what you need to know...
  • Rhode Island is filled with natural beauty, rich history, and fascinating culture
  • A road trip is a great way to explore all that Rhode Island offers
  • Drivers should take necessary steps to stay safe on the road

Rhode Island may be the smallest state in the United States, but it nonetheless is unique and charming.

Its incredible history includes pivotal roles in the Revolutionary War, the jazz and blues music scene, and even race equality. This is a truly wonderful destination to explore, and one of the best ways to get to know more about Rhode Island is by taking a scenic road trip through the state.

Rhode Island is known as the Ocean State, so it is not surprising to learn that many of the more scenic views in the state are coastal or beach views.

There are also charming small towns, farmlands, resorts, historic buildings, parks, and more for you to see. In fact, you can spend several days or longer driving throughout the state and getting to know more about its history and culture.

Enter your zip code above to compare car insurance rates before your Rhode Island road trip!

The Top 8 Scenic Drives in Rhode Island


Rhode Island has an extensive network of highways as well as rural or suburban roads for you to explore. These are among the more popular scenic drives to include in your travel plans throughout the state.

#1 – Ocean Drive

Length of Route: 10 miles
Highlight: Historic landmarks, coastal views

Ocean Drive is a 10-mile route through Newport that takes you along the romantically rugged coastline and through gorgeous residential areas. There are numerous areas for you to get out and enjoy recreational activities that range from flying a kite to scuba diving.

Some of the top attractions to explore along or near this route are King Park, the New York Yacht Club, Brenton Point State Park, Gooseberry Beach, and others.

One of the great things about the locations along Ocean Drive is that many are not heavily frequented by tourists. This gives you a great way to beat the crowds while enjoying some of Rhode Island’s most beautiful scenes.

#2 – Blackstone River Valley

Length of Route: 24 miles
Highlight: Slater Mill Historic Site, Museum of Work and Culture

The Blackstone River Valley drive takes you across the state in a north-south direction and includes some views in neighboring Massachusetts.

This is a great drive to take if you want to learn more about the history and culture of the state because it includes opportunities to stop and explore the Slater Mill Historic Site in Pawtucket and the Museum of Work and Culture in Woonsocket.

You can also enjoy fabulous country views, including the opportunity to drive through a lovely covered bridge. Other notable points of interest to explore as time allows are the Blackstone Valley Visitor’s Center, Lincoln Woods State Park, and River Bend Farm Visitor Center.

#3 – Route 77

Length of Route: 42 miles
Highlight: Country roads, farmlands

If you want to see the more rural side of Rhode Island, traveling on Route 77 from Fall River to Sakonnet Point is a great idea. You will pass through the small communities of Tiverton Four Corners and Little Compton as you make your way down the road. There are several wonderful destinations to stop at along the way.

For example, you can stop at historic Gray’s Store in Adamsville, which is one of the oldest stores in the country. Horseneck Beach is a popular recreational spot with incredible views and plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. You can also stop by Sakonnet Winery to take in country views and sample great wines.

#4 – Route 102

Length of Route: 44 miles
Highlight: Easy drive along country roads, many great dining options

Route 102 is a great scenic drive to take if you want to avoid congestion and simply focus on the scenery in all directions.

This is a country road that has a great range of straight areas as well as curves and bends that make it a pleasure to drive on. With numerous small restaurants and food stands along the way, you may want to start your road trip on Route 102 with an empty stomach.

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#5 – Jerimoth Hill Loop

Length of Route: Varies
Highlight: Rhode Island’s highest point

Because of Rhode Island’s coastal location, you do not normally think about climbing to the highest point of the state when you think about touring the area.

However, with an elevation of 812 feet above sea level, Jerimoth Hill is the highest point in the state.

You can take a loop through Route 101 to tour the area by car, but you also should make plans to get outdoors and hike to the rock formation that marks the peak of Jerimoth Hill. This is a scenic area that you can enjoy exploring for several hours or more.

#6 – Route 1A

Length of Route: 39.6 miles
Highlight: Runs along the southern coast

Route 1A is a length of highway that runs parallel to Route 1 along the southern coast of Rhode Island, and some areas overlap with Route 1. This is a divided highway that takes you through the towns of Narragansett and South Kingstown.

You can make plans to stop at these towns for lunch and sightseeing, or you can continue your journey through Winnipaung Pond, Misquamicut State Beach, Charlestown, the Pawtucket River, and many other popular locations in the state.

#7 – Conanicut Island

Length of Route: 20 miles
Highlight: Jamestown, Fort Getty

A trip across Conanicut Island is a great way to see the beautiful sights along the coastline as well as to learn about the state’s incredible history.

As you cruise along Conanicut Island, you can enjoy breathtaking views of Narragansett Bay, and you can also stop at the 30-acre historic location of Fort Getty. Take time to get out and stretch your legs at the park. Here, you will find a fishing dock, camping facilities, and a boat launch site.

#8 – Shannock Village

Length of Route: Approximately 10 miles
Highlight: A historic district, country views

Shannock Village is a historic district located in southern Rhode Island not far from the coast. While the roads that you will travel across are rather short, you can spend a full day getting out and exploring all that this scenic area offers.

In the historic village, you will see an old mill, a manufacturing facility, and several beautiful homes with Greek-Revival and Victorian architecture that are dated to around 1850. This is a place where you definitely want to have your camera available to snap photographs.

Preparing for Your Scenic Drive

You can lose yourself exploring all that Rhode Island offers with these scenic drives. However, before you set off for your big adventures, ensure that you and your vehicle are properly prepared for the experience.

– Roadtrip Checklist

You should create a road trip checklist so that you can stay safe and comfortable on your adventure.

A smart idea is to get a vehicle inspection before you begin driving down the road. You may also schedule an oil change, tire check, and tune-up so that your vehicle runs well across the miles you intend to travel.

There are also some essential items you may want in your car. For example, an emergency roadside kit can be used if you have a breakdown or accident on Rhode Island roads. You also need to ensure that you have proof of insurance with you at all times.

– Comparison Shopping for Auto Insurance

When you pull your auto insurance card out before your trip, review your current coverage, and shop for a great deal on a new policy. Reviewing your policy regularly every six months can help you to avoid paying more than necessary, and it also will ensure that you always have adequate coverage that meets your needs.

While you need to find auto insurance coverage that is affordable for your budget, you also need coverage from a reputable and established provider. It is always a good idea to read consumer reviews and to check a provider’s A.M. Best rating before you make a buying decision.

– What’s required in Rhode Island?

Drivers in Rhode Island are required to purchase a minimum amount of liability coverage. This includes coverage of $25,000 for bodily injury per person or $50,000 per accident. It also includes $25,000 for property damage coverage.

There are instances when optional coverage may be beneficial, and some of the coverage options that you can buy include:

  • Collision insurance
  • Comprehensive insurance
  • Personal property coverage
  • Personal injury coverage
  • Towing reimbursement
  • Rental car coverage

If you are thinking about driving in Rhode Island without insurance coverage, you may want to think again.

The state actively searches a database for uninsured drivers, and government officials will send you an initial warning if they discover that you are uninsured. If you fail to respond, you may be fined and may lose your driver’s license.

Enter your zip code below to find car insurance coverage before you take off on your road trip!


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