Rhode Island

Best of Rhode Island | 2023 Summer Travel Guide

With an eye on what’s new for 2023, Yankee’s editors round up the best attractions, eateries, and hotels in top Rhode Island travel destinations.

By Yankee Editors

Apr 29 2023


A working roadside farm in Little Compton, Rhode Island.

Photo Credit : Mark Fleming

With an eye on what’s new for 2023, Yankee’s editors round up the best attractions, eateries, and hotels in top Rhode Island travel destinations. Headed to Block Island? Check out our spotlight guide to Block Island for the best things to do, best restaurants, and best places to stay while you’re there.

Destination Brewery | Tilted Barn Brewery, Exeter

What started as a hops farm has blossomed into a beer lover’s paradise. Kara and Matt Richardson’s Tilted Barn farm recently started brewing its own, then built a massive, two-story tasting hall and brewery. Some 15 rotating home drafts are on tap. The grounds offer plenty of outdoor seating and several firepits. Food trucks stop by daily, offering a variety of beer-friendly victuals. The original tilted barn still stands on the farm in the distance. tiltedbarnbrewery.com

Food Hall | Plant City, Providence

The world’s first plant-based food hall comes courtesy of Maine native and vegan evangelist chef Matthew Kenney. There are four restaurant concepts in this 10,000-square-foot space, with pizza, burgers, sandwiches, smoothies, a coffee bar, a bakery, Mexican food, and a cocktail bar. It’s so minimalist and modern, with a lovely outdoor patio, you’ll forget all about the meat. Look for sister restaurant Plant CityX, complete with vegan drive-through, in Middletown.

Historic Restaurant | White Horse Tavern, Newport

Established in 1673, this is America’s oldest tavern. The gambrel roof, wide pine floors, and hearths breathe history, but the menu spans the centuries, with lobster bisque sharing menu space with beef Wellington, chili-glazed pork belly, and duck confit. Living large? The caviar service will have you feeling like a Gilded Age magnate.

Native American Cuisine | Sly Fox Den Too, Charlestown

“Indigenous Flavor Served Fresh!” declares James Beard–nominated chef-owner Sherry Pocknett, a member of the nearby Mashpee Wampanoag tribe. She mixes outstanding indigenous fare with traditional American dishes at her roadside breakfast-and-lunch spot in the heart of South County. Corn cakes, nausamp (yellow corn grits), succotash, venison, quahog chowder, and bison are just some of the Native American dishes that delight curious customers.

New Restaurant | Beech, Jamestown

Sure as the beech tree outside, which has sprawled roots and splayed branches for 150 years, this island hangout, formerly Trattoria Simpatico, came back last July with a new, year-round identity and reimagined indoor-outdoor spaces including the upstairs Tree House, perfect for private events. Chef-owner and Jamestown native Kevin Gaudreau, a Simpatico veteran, is wowing diners with seasonal menus focused on local seafood and fresh-made pastas. Scrumptious Saturday and Sunday brunch selections are surprisingly affordable.

Pizza | Pizza Marvin, Providence

James Beard–nominated chef-owner Robert Andreozzi has revolutionized pizza in Providence. His three-tiered Pizza Master electric oven churns out perfect pies with crispy, New Haven–style crusts. And the focaccia-square slices are nothing short of spectacular. Lots of locals stop in for carry-out, and there are tables inside and out for those who wish to stick around. Fresh-shucked littleneck clams and oysters are great starters, as are creatively crafted cocktails and beer.

Seafood Shack | Aunt Carrie’s, Narragansett

A day on Scarborough Beach, followed by chowder and clam cakes at Aunt Carrie’s, what could be better? Only a full meal of fried calamari or a lobster BLT on homemade bread, followed by a slice of blueberry pie from the on-site bakery. Since 1920, this family-run business has brought a from-scratch ethos to our favorite summer foods.

Vegan RESTAURANT | Foglia, Bristol

Chef-owner Pete Carvelli burst onto the Rhode Island restaurant scene last year, turning heads and palates as his vegan gem just off Main Street racked up loads of loyal diners and was named Best New Restaurant by Vegetarian Times. Pizzas, spaghettini, and farro-fennel sausage round out the inventive menu at this intimate café/bistro, deliciously showcasing Carvelli’s mission to create casual, creative plant-based fare palatable to vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike.

Budget Stay with a View | The Shore House, Narragansett

For a beachy getaway that won’t break the bank, consider one of the more basic options at this hotel with diverse room types across three buildings, including several that are ADA-compliant. Get here before July or after Labor Day for the best deals. Even if you’re not springing for a room with an ocean view, you’ll see the sea from a veranda table at Sea Craft restaurant or an Adirondack chair on the lawn.

Green Hotel | Weekapaug Inn, Westerly

This Relais & Châteaux property pampers its guests as it protects its setting on lovely Quonochontaug Pond with vegetated buffers of native plants and erosion-fighting stone borders. Meanwhile, the resort’s geothermal heating and cooling system runs on a closed loop to avoid impacting the sensitive coastal environment. Plus, no food travels more than 155 miles to reach the property’s kitchens, and all scraps are composted and repurposed into soil for farms in the region.

Hotel Restaurant | Cara at The Chanler Hotel at Cliff Walk, Newport

The awe-inspiring sights abound at this Forbes Five-Star restaurant, from the sunset views of the neighboring Cliff Walk and Easton’s Beach to chef Jacob Jasinski’s extravagant five- and eight- (!) course dinners. Wines are curated nightly for each dish, drawn from a list recently recognized by Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence.

Luxury Suite | Tower Suite at Ocean House, Watch Hill

With a polished spiral staircase and four levels to explore including a rooftop deck, you’ll feel atop the world yet anchored in the most splendid of seacoast settings. Fir paneling and a crow’s nest lend a ship-like aura, while Greenwich-based designer Cindy Rinfret’s graceful styling, in shades of sea and creamy clouds, takes a cue from ocean views. Stand by the slate fireplace, and you can see three states through arched windows.

New Hotel | The Beatrice, Providence

Somewhere, the late Beatrice DePasquale Temkin is smiling every time guests check into their swanky, apartment-style digs … every time they pick up this month’s book club read … and, certainly, when they clink glasses in the exclusive rooftop lounge or share pasta plates and mountains of glistening, chocolate-sauced gelato at Bellini. But hopefully, Providence’s long-reigning society queen, whose spirit imbues every facet of her namesake, not-quite-two-year-old hotel, averts her gaze when you discover your room’s heated toilet seat.

Pet Pampering | Paws on Pelham, Newport

In the heart of Newport, there’s only one B&B that takes dog-welcoming to extremes. With delightful doghouses or dog Murphy beds built into each of its 13 guest rooms, and canine-themed wall coverings and accent pieces all around, you and your pup or two will feel totally at home. Breakfast’s included for humans, and you’ll want to linger on the front porch or rooftop before setting out with dog-friendly sightseeing recommendations from the inn’s in-the-know team.

Editors’ Picks: Best Things to Do in Rhode Island in 2023

Animal Encounter | Breakfast with the Animals at Roger Williams Park Zoo, Providence

Never mind whether you’ll load up your plate with scrambled eggs or pastries from the hot breakfast buffet. The real choice is whether to start your day with elephants, giant river otters, or a zebra and a wildebeest. No matter how you slice your bacon, you’ll have access to animals and inner zoo workings that’s denied to the typical visitor. Plus, you’ll be inside the gates before anyone else. Make reservations for select dates.

General Store | Groundswell Café + Bakery, Garden + Home, Table + Provisions, Tiverton

Designer David Fierabend and his husband, John McDowell, have taken the mid-1870s general store and two antique houses at Tiverton Four Corners and created a new style of multipurpose shopping and dining destination that is highly Instagrammable. Duck behind the general store turned Parisian café for snaps in the flowery meadow before ordering cream-filled seasonal croissants; then scoop up eye-pleasing goods for gardening, decorating, and entertaining with joie de vivre.

Ghost Tour | Providence Ghost Tour, Providence

Clutch your lantern and tread carefully the cobblestoned streets Edgar Allen Poe once walked as your guide spins tales of specters whose business remains unfinished. For an even more thrilling night, sign on to assist with a paranormal investigation. Or book a ghost tour afloat, offered in collaboration with Providence River Boat Company or La Gondola Providence, and meet an entirely different cast of spooks.

Mountain Biking Spot | Woody Hill, Bradford

It’s been five years since the first 20 miles of sustainable trails were etched across four preserved parcels by local mountain bikers. Now 71 trails, all named after local craft brews, offer 33 miles of pure exhilaration for riders. There are wide, flowy trails for novices; flat, single-track options for speed lovers; and advanced trails with big technical features for those who really want to earn their Hobbit Juice (at Beer’d Brewing, just across the Connecticut state line).

New Attraction | Cape Verdean Museum, Pawtucket

At roughly four times its previous size, the country’s only museum devoted solely to the history and culture of Cape Verdeans now shares even more previously untold stories through imagery, artifacts, pop-up exhibitions, and events. Among the first African people to immigrate to America, Cape Verdeans were whalers, shipbuilders, and cranberry harvesters. Celebrating Cape Verdeans’ legacy throughout their diaspora is a passion-fueled endeavor for the museum’s all-volunteer team. Your visit’s an opportunity to relate to the universals that connect immigrants past and present.

Stargazing Spot | Ladd Observatory, Providence

Public open nights are a Tuesday tradition at Brown University’s landmark observatory, which has been altered little since 1891. Snag free tickets online and embark on a celestial journey nearly identical to the one experienced by 19th-century observers who peered through the same telescope. We know so much more now than we did then, yet you’ll still feel a chill of wonder and mystery.

Used Bookstore | Arc{hive} Book + Snackery, Warren

Choose an intriguing read and a comfortable seat inside this literary salon dressed in glossy woods and warm shades of pine and spicy mustard. Now, pair that mystery with a martini and locally farmed mushroom toast, or that juicy romance with Anchor & Hope’s fizzy piquette, plus baked ricotta with urfa biber for a bit of heat. You’ll be so enchanted, you’ll want to return on a “Tunesday” for live music or for Second Sunday Supper Club.

Check out our full 2023 Best of New England Summer Travel Guide to find our current editors’ picks in all six New England states.