Kayaks in Rhode Island by Patrick Franzis via Flickr Creative Commons

With more than 400 miles of prime New England coastline and islands, Rhode Island has the sea at the very heart of its appeal. The finest resort towns like Newport are located on the coast, providing a vacation haven for the wealthy for more than a century. Sailing is synonymous with towns like Newport, while fishing and boating of other forms are the prime recreation activities both along the mainland and on the islands.

Plenty of relaxation is available on the 100 or so beaches in Rhode Island. They are best enjoyed during the height of summer, but remain absolutely beautiful all year. Inland, the state offers a diverse topography, with miles of wooded hiking trails, biking paths, and rivers for kayaking and canoeing. More than 40 golf courses are scattered throughout the state, and there are some real beauties along the coast.

Rhode Island may be America’s smallest state, but it has more than 100 charming beaches to choose from. Places like Narragansett Bay, Newport, and Block Island, offer dozens of different beaches, each with its own attractions. Some are good for swimming, while others are very popular for surfing. You can learn to surf or rent gear in July and August at outfitters like Peter Pan Surf Academy in Narragansett.

Fishing, both along the coast and in the fresh water rivers, is among the best in New England. From shoreline fishing to deep-sea outings, saltwater angling is a major draw in Rhode Island. Companies like Big Boy Fishing Charters and Adventure Charters have been guiding anglers for decades and know all the secret spots. Striped bass is the local favorite, but the ocean also holds plenty of swordfish, marlin, and giant bluefin.

One of the most rewarding pastimes in Rhode Island is to spend the day on the water. Every town on the coast has charter companies that run sea cruises of all kinds. The captains who call Rhode Island home are among the best in the world, and can take you on half-day, full-day, or even multi-day adventures. Both Newport Sailing Tours and Dream Weaver Charters have sailboats and captains stationed in every harbor.

Both along the coast and throughout the countryside of Rhode Island, golfers will discover more than 40 quality courses to play on. The golfing season may be short in Rhode Island, but the terrain is perfect for fun and challenging rounds. South County has the bulk of the courses, with several standouts like Carnegie Abbey Club and the Triggs Memorial Golf Course. Most of the state’s courses are open to guests.

There are hiking trails all over Rhode Island. Some of the most scenic, such as Newport’s Cliff Walk and the Block Islands Greenways, are located along the coast. Head inland and there are longer more challenging walks, such as the 72-mile North South Trail. All of the state parks have well-marked trails that offer everything from casual nature walks to all-day hikes.

Rhode Island is also an ideal place for biking. With more than 100 miles of bike paths and a statewide greenway system of urban tracks, you can pedal to just about anywhere in the state. Companies like Coastal Biking Adventures arranges tour along the coast and to the islands.

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