28 Famous Landmarks in Rhode Island to See

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Green trees in front of a stone building with a dome and a rectangular stone building
Rhode Island is known for its many landmarks, like the Rhode Island State House

Rhode Island is a popular tourist destination in New England. If you haven't visited before and want to know: "What is Rhode Island known for?" This article can help answer that question!

Rhode Island is known for its beautiful beaches and coastal towns. There are also numerous famous landmarks in Rhode Island. These landmarks range from cultural attractions like the International Tennis Hall of Fame to historical sites such as Fort Adams State Park.

Natural landmarks are also abundant in Rhode Island. Outdoor places to visit include Mohegan Bluffs and Narragansett Town Beach.

To discover all of the must-see landmarks in Rhode Island, continue reading!

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  • 28 Rhode Island landmarks

28 Rhode Island Landmarks

Rhode Island Landmarks Map

A map of Rhode Island landmarks. Use the map to explore all of the points of interest.

A large stone building with a domed roof with steps, trees, and grass in front of it
The Rhode Island State House in Providence was built in the 1890s

Rhode Island State House

The Rhode Island State House is located in the capital city of Providence. It was constructed in the 1890s and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.

The building is the seat of the Rhode Island General Assembly, and visitors can tour the state house to learn more about politics in Rhode Island.

Providence Performing Arts Center

An iconic cultural place to visit in Rhode Island is the Providence Performing Arts Center. Opened in 1928, the venue hosts many performances, including Broadway shows, concerts, and comedy shows. The interior of the building is something to see as well! It features ornate carvings and other Baroque-style decorations.

One of many famous landmarks in Rhode Island from the 19th century is Fort Adams
Fort Adams is one of many famous landmarks in Rhode Island from the 19th century

Fort Adams State Park

One of the most famous historical sites in Rhode Island is Fort Adams State Park in Newport. Established in 1965, the park preserves Fort Adams, a coastal fort built in 1799 and used until 1953. The fort was notably used during the War of 1812.

Today, you can explore the fort and the grounds surrounding it. You can also enjoy views of Narragansett Bay, picnic, boat, and much more! Summer concerts, like a jazz festival, are held at the park too.

A small lighthouse with snow on the ground around it and water to the side
Castle Hill Lighthouse is one of the landmarks to see along Ocean Drive

Ocean Drive Historic District

Another of the National Historic Landmarks in Newport is the Ocean Drive Historic District. The district covers the street of Ocean Drive, which runs along the coast.

Some landmarks within the 1,509-acre district include Castle Hill Lighthouse and Brenton Point State Park. You can drive through the area, stopping at attractions and admiring beautiful coastal views when visiting.

One of the most fun famous landmarks of Rhode Island is the Flying Horse Carousel in Watch Hill. The classic horse carousel was constructed in 1876 and can still be ridden today.

Twenty horses feature in the design, and while some small restorations have taken place over the years, the wooden bodies of the horses have not changed since the 19th century.

A small brick lighthouse next to a red brick house surrounded by grass and blue sky
Southeast Lighthouse on Block Island is over 140 years old

Block Island Southeast Lighthouse

Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1997, the Southeast Lighthouse on Block Island opened in 1875. The lighthouse is located on Mohegan Bluffs on Block Island and was considered state-of-the-art when constructed in the 19th century.

You can learn more about the lighthouse and its uses by visiting an on-site museum. Of course, you also get to view Southeast Lighthouse, which has stood in Rhode Island for over 140 years.

A white chapel building with trees, grass, and brick houses around it on a clear day
First Baptist Church in America is home to the oldest Baptist congregation in the US

First Baptist Church in America

Rhode Island’s First Baptist Church in America, also known as the First Baptist Meetinghouse, is home to the oldest Baptist church congregation in the United States. The congregation was founded in 1638, and the church itself was constructed in 1775, the first of its kind in Providence.

This place of worship is still actively used today for church services and other events. You can also look around the church when services are not in progress.

Gilbert Stuart Birthplace & Museum

One of the interesting cultural Rhode Island landmarks and tourist attractions is the Gilbert Stuart Birthplace. The American portraitist was born in the Saunderstown home, now a museum, in December 1775.

Those visiting today can explore the house, which features restored 1700s furniture and exhibits on the artist's life and works. The site also has a working gristmill, scenic gardens, and hiking trails.

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A half globe stone structure sitting on a path next to grass on a cloudy day
The Portuguese Discovery Monument is a notable feature in Brenton Point State Park

Brenton Point State Park

A beautiful outdoor area in Newport, Rhode Island, is Brenton Point State Park. The 89-acre park was established in 1976 and sits on the southwestern tip of Aquidneck Island.

In the park, you can follow some walking trails, enjoy a picnic, and take in the views of Narragansett Bay. You can also see the Portuguese Discovery Monument dedicated to Portuguese navigators from the 1400s.

Ocean water next to rock cliffs covered in greenery with a house sitting on them
Strolling along the Newport Cliff Walk allows you to enjoy scenic coastal views

Newport Cliff Walk

Newport’s Cliff Walk is a renowned public access path and National Recreation Trail that stretches 3.5 miles. The route takes you along the shoreline and features wildlife, wildflowers, and coastal views.

Interestingly, it was the first National Recreation Trail in New England and the 65th in the country. As you follow the trail, you’ll also find 16 markers with QR codes. When you scan them, you can find out more about the historical landmarks nearby.

General Nathanael Greene Homestead

Also known as Spell Hall, the General Nathanael Greene Homestead was constructed in 1770. It was home to the Revolutionary War general from 1770 to 1776.

The home was opened as a museum in 1924 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. Visitors to the homestead can explore the rooms, decorated as they would have been when Greene lived there.

Old-fashioned buildings sitting beside a river with trees and grass around them
Slater Mill was constructed to resemble cotton mills in England in the 1700s

Old Slater Mill National Historic Site

Old Slater Mill is located in Pawtucket and was opened in 1793. The cotton mill was built to resemble those found in England at the time. Merchant Moses Brown commissioned the mill, and it was designed by Samuel Slater, who had recently immigrated from England.

This landmark is found next to Pawtucket Falls, and for good reason. The site was carefully chosen as a strong source of water was needed to help the mill function.

A small lighthouse surrounded by rocks and water under a clear blue sky
Castle Hill Lighthouse has been used to navigate ships for over 100 years

Castle Hill Lighthouse

Located in the Narragansett Bay in Newport, the Castle Hill Lighthouse remains a vital navigation tool to this day. The lighthouse was constructed in 1890 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

While you can’t go inside the lighthouse, it’s a popular photo-op location, with everyone from tourists to wedding parties taking pictures of this nautical attraction.

Governor Henry Lippitt House Museum

Another of the historical places in Rhode Island that will teach you about state history is the Governor Henry Lippitt House Museum. The museum is found within the former residence of the 33rd governor of Rhode Island, Henry Lippitt.

The house was built in 1865, and Lippitt's descendants lived there until 1970. The house was then sold and opened as a museum in 1981. Visitors today can explore the regal Victorian home and learn more about Rhode Island in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

LeeSnider/Depositphotos.com
Sculptures made from greenery in a garden with red, yellow, and purple flowers
Green Animals Topiary Gardens feature plant animals and other sculptures

Green Animals Topiary Gardens

Green Animals Topiary Gardens is one of the fun and unique famous places in Rhode Island. The gardens feature a variety of topiary displays made to look like animals. Creatures to see include elephants, giraffes, and bears.

Along with the plant sculptures, the seven-acre gardens feature beautiful floral displays. If you're visiting Rhode Island with kids, a trip to Green Animals Topiary Gardens has to be on your to-do list!

Casey Farm

Casey Farm is an 18th-century farm in South County. The farmland covers 300 acres and was first used in around 1750. Today, the farm is still used to grow some local produce, and it’s open to visitors.

During a visit, you can tour the farm and learn more about its uses over the last 250-plus years. You can also see a family cemetery, where six generations of the Casey family are buried.

kmlPhoto/Depositphotos.com
A small silver structure with a domed roof that says "Frosty Drew Observatory"
You can look up at the galaxies at Frosty Drew Observatory

Frosty Drew Observatory and Science Center

An interesting educational landmark to visit is the Frosty Drew Observatory. The astronomical observatory was opened in 1988 and is located in Charlestown, Rhode Island.

The observatory is open to visitors in the evening and has exhibits on astronomy. You can also find a selection of telescopes that allow you to look up at the galaxies.

Museum of Work & Culture

Another educational landmark is the Museum of Work & Culture in Woonsocket. This museum is owned by the Rhode Island Historical Society, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute. Exhibits focus on the city’s manufacturing history, especially relating to the textile industry.

Visitors can learn more about those who lived and worked in the area during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Some interactive exhibits also allow you to try craft and textile projects.

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An orange building with a "Museum of Art Rhode Island School of Design" sign on it
The RISD Museum has a collection of 100,000 artworks

The Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design

One of the famous places to visit in Rhode Island for art lovers is The Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design. It is also known as the RISD Museum. The museum is located in downtown Providence and was founded in 1877.

Within the art gallery is a collection of over 100,000 pieces. These works include sculptures, ceramics, paintings, and more. You can also discover pieces from various eras, including ancient Greek, Egyptian, and Roman artifacts, 18th and 19th-century works, and more modern items.

William Watts Sherman House

Constructed in 1875 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970, the William Watts Sherman House is an exciting piece of historical architecture.

The home sits next to the President's House and the National Museum of American Illustration in Newport. It was designed by H. H. Richardson, and is now owned by Salve Regina University and used as student accommodation.

A sunrise over rocks surrounded by water with a light fog over it
Sunrise and sunset at Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge are spectacular

Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge

Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge is one of the best natural landmarks in Rhode Island. Located in southeastern Rhode Island on the Rhode Island Sound, this 242-acre site is home to more than 200 bird species and various other animals.

You can follow coastal nature trails at the refuge, and look out for wildlife as you explore. Notably, the park is home to the second largest population of harlequin ducks on the Atlantic coast. You may be able to spot these birds if visiting between November and March when they migrate to the area.

A small lighthouse next to white houses with red roofs surrounded by cliffs
Beavertail Lighthouse is one of the oldest in the US, having been constructed in 1856

Beavertail Lighthouse Museum

In Jamestown, Rhode Island, Beavertail Lighthouse Museum features a lighthouse constructed in 1856. The lighthouse is one of the oldest in the US and sits at the entrance to Narragansett Bay.

When visiting the lighthouse, you can climb the 49 steps to the top of the structure and learn more about its uses since the 19th century.

Colt State Park

Covering 464 acres, Colt State Park is another of the must-visit outdoor areas in Rhode Island. At the park, you can hike or bike trails, hang out on grassy lawns, and enjoy views of Narragansett Bay. Other things to see in the area include Coggeshall Farm Museum and Bristol Town Beach, which sits next to the park.

Cliffs with grass and a house on them and ocean water and a sandy shore below them
Mohegan Bluffs comprises 150 feet cliffs with a secluded beach at their base

Mohegan Bluffs

Found on the southern shore of Block Island, Mohegan Bluffs comprise clay cliffs that reach 150 feet high. Along with marveling at the cliffs, you can follow 141 steps to a beautiful beach at the base of the cliffs. Mohegan Bluffs is one of the famous sites in Rhode Island that you can’t miss if you enjoy visiting natural landmarks.

Roger Williams Park

A beautiful place to relax outdoors in Providence is Roger Williams Park. The 427-acre city park has pretty gardens, ponds, and lots of green space.

You can also visit the Roger Williams Park Zoo and the Roger Williams Park Museum of Natural History and Planetarium. In addition, a variety of events are hosted here throughout the year.

Narragansett Town Beach

There are many great beaches in Rhode Island, with one of the best being Narragansett Town Beach. Visitors can enjoy 19 acres of sandy shores and beachside shops and eateries. It’s also an ideal place to swim, surf, and spot wildlife, including many shorebird species.

wlowe5051@gmail.com/Depositphotos.com
A round building with a pointed roof on a street with two black lampposts
The Crescent Park Looff Carousel opened in 1895 and is still used today

The Crescent Park Looff Carousel is another famous carousel in Rhode Island. This carousel is located in East Providence and was first opened in 1895.

Sixty-one hand-carved horses are featured in the carousel’s design, along with one camel, two chariots, and two single coaches. After 125 years of use, the carousel finally had to be closed for restoration, but it will open again soon!

Thousandwords/Depositphotos.com
A tennis court with a green lawn and a long building behind it on a clear day
The International Tennis Hall of Fame is a renowned sports attraction in Rhode Island

International Tennis Hall of Fame

Located in Newport, the International Tennis Hall of Fame is a globally famous landmark in the sports world. The museum-style attraction honors the best tennis players and other sports contributors.

The site has also hosted tournaments, including United States Lawn Tennis Association events. At the museum, you can see memorabilia, including tennis rackets and awards, and exhibits on tennis stars.

In Summary

You can discover an array of cultural, natural, and historic landmarks in Rhode Island. Visitors to this New England state will have no shortage of memorable attractions to see. Whether you enjoy museums, being outdoors, or learning about history, there's something for you in Rhode Island!

This article was edited by Loredana Elena.

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Written by Alli Sewell

allisewell WRITER Currently based in Canada, I've also lived and worked in the UK and Brazil and travelled in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. I love finding the best photo-ops and food and drink locations wherever I go!


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