25 Things To Do in Rhode Island This Summer

two girls hugging on beach
Photo by Vitolda Klein on Unsplash

There is no shortage of things to do in Rhode Island this summer! You can find something for everyone (and every budget) with many free or low-cost activities that won’t break the bank. These are especially great for those of us with somewhat unpredictable toddlers. There are also opportunities to “bougie” it up with your family and go for a full-on luxury staycation! Consider this your bingo card, bucket list, and blueprint of fun things to do this summer in Rhode Island.

Things to Do All Summer Long in Rhode Island

  • WaterFire Providence –  Whether it’s your first time or your twenty-first time, there’s something so unique and magical about WaterFire Providence. It’s an excellent activity for out-of-town guests and homegrown Rhode Islanders alike!
  • Attend a Polo Match—Break out your floppy hat! Get ready to stomp the divots. Pack a picnic and bring your beach chairs. This is a significant family-friendly (and dog-friendly) activity! Lawn seats are $20 for adults, and kids under 15 are free.
  • Go to the Rustic Drive-In. With the cost of going to the movies these days, a drive-in is the best bang for your buck, especially with a large group, since you’re paying by the carload and not per person.
  • Enjoy a Del’s Lemonade –  No summer in Rhode Island is complete without a few (dozen) Del’s lemonades! (note: some locations are cash-only!)
  • Pedal down the tracks with Rail Explorers—This is such a fun and unique experience. Take in the beauty of Rhode Island in these open-air pedal-driven carts. (Think paddle boats but on train tracks!)
  • Check out the Audubon Nature Center and Aquarium –  Enjoy a nature-filled hike, bird-watching, and even an aquarium! The center offers sensory-friendly days, as well!
  • Roger Williams Park Zoo and Carousel Village—A visit to the Zoo should be on everyone’s list of things to do in Rhode Island this summer! Admission: Adults (13+) $21; Children (2-12) $15; Babies (0-1): Free.
    If you’re a regular, I highly recommend getting a family membership. Consider the family plus membership so Grandma and Grandpa can come along, too! It pays for itself in just a few visits. Don’t have a ton of time (or money) to spend? Check out the Carousel Village just down the street from the zoo. Carousel admission = $2/ride and $3/train ride. Bonus: There’s a cute snack bar and playground there too!
  • Beach Day! Summer in Rhode Island is synonymous with BEACH! We have tips and hacks for your beach trip and pointers on making the day as peaceful as possible with little ones. Check out Rhode Island State Beaches (my favorite kid-friendly state beach is Roger Wheeler). Looking for a luxurious beach experience that will make you feel like you’re at a resort? Check out Andrea Beach Bar,  where you can reserve a specific beach spot (and have drinks and food brought to you by servers!) It’s a splurge but worth it for a stress-free beach trip with or without the kids!
  • Eat at a Food Truck (or two)! Rhode Island has some of the best food trucks around. Check out these regular food truck events:
  • Play a round of Mini golf and more at Mulligan’s Island –  Mulligan’s Island is “Southern New England’s favorite outdoor family entertainment center,” especially for your sports-loving family members! Spend the afternoon at the batting cages, mini golf, pitch and putt, and driving range!
  • Let the kids (and maybe Jesus?) take the wheel at Seekonk Grand Prix –  Seekonk Grand Prix offers go-carts, bumper boats, a ropes course, a rock wall, mini golf, and an extensive arcade.

Boat and Nautical Activities

  • Sail Away to Block Island –   Talk about a staple thing to do in Rhode Island this summer! Whether you’re looking to do a day trip or an overnight, getting there couldn’t be easier with the Block Island Ferry!
  • Go Boating (without needing a captain’s license!) Paddle boats and boating in Roger Williams Park are great ways to spend summer in Rhode Island. This is a budget-friendly and less intimidating way to enjoy boat life, particularly if you’re like me and prefer to see land at all times!
  • Visit Narrow Rivers Kayaks,  which are open from May to October. They offer full-day and multi-day kayak, canoe, and stand-up paddleboard rentals (and used equipment sales).

Date-Specific Activities/Events

  • Pride Fest – Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Downtown Providence –  Celebrate the LGBTQ community with fun for the whole family!
  • Juneteenth Festival  Saturday, June 22: Celebrate Juneteenth with Rhode Island’s 6th annual festival in downtown Providence.
  • Rhode Island Philharmonic Summer Pops Series –  A fantastic night of outdoor music by the talented RI Philharmonic Orchestra. Narragansett July 12, 8 pm; North Beach Clubhouse – Providence, July 31, 7:30 pm RWP Temple to Music; Pawtucket September 7, 6:30 pm Slater Park – Not only is this a great way to experience a live orchestra, but it’s also FREE!
  • Wickford Arts Festival – July 13th and 14th, North Kingstown – A great way to celebrate local and nationally known artists and discover new favorites! This year is the 61st anniversary of the Wickford Arts Festival. Free admission

Rainy Day Plans (because, well, Rhode Island weather)

  • Check out your library! (See what I did there?) So much is happening at your local library, especially regarding kids’ programming. And it’s all free: story hours, traveling exhibits, music time, storytellers, and more!
  • Visit the Providence Children’s Museum –  If you’re looking for hands-on activities, the Providence Children’s Museum is the place to be! From building blocks to water tables, when you’re ready to head home, you’ll forget that it was a rainy day.
  • Have an Artist’s Day at the RISD Museum—Have your kids bring their sketchpads and pencils/crayons and find a piece of art they want to imitate. Once everyone is done, you can even have a gallery exhibit at home! Bonus: Admission is free on Sundays from 10 am—5 pm and Thursday evenings from 5 – 8 pm.
  • Visit CW Lanes and Games. Did someone say Bowling and Laser tag?
  • Check out Ryan Family Amusements  – Playing arcade games is a great way to spend a rainy summer day in Newport.
  • Electromagnetic Pinball Museum and Restoration – Pinball fanatics unite! (Pawtucket) $10 per person free-play pinball and arcade All-Day! No Tokens or Quarters are needed!
  • Check out the Museum of Natural History and Planetarium—Roger Williams Park—$2 museum admission (children under four free) OR $5 (which includes a ticket to the planetarium show) (Note: Children must be four years old to attend the planetarium show).
There is so much to do right in our little state! What activities and outings do you have planned in Rhode Island this summer? Let us know in the comments!


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