Rhode Island Scenic Byways

Rhode Island byways

The Ocean State

Rhode Island is known as “The Ocean State” due to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the fact that 14% of the state’s total area is made up of bays and inlets. Interestingly enough, Rhode Island is considered one of the New England states, and is also the smallest United States by area, taking up only 1,214 square miles (3,155 square kilometers). While Rhode Island was the first state to denounce British rule and formally renounce its allegiance to Britain, it was the last of the original thirteen colonies to sign the constitution.

One interesting fact about Rhode Island is no one is entirely sure where this state got its name. Some historians note that an early Explorer in 1524 may have given this area its name by comparing the island near the mouth of Narragansett Bay to the island of Rhodes in Greece. Others note that the reddish appearance of the area during the fall, which was commented upon by a Dutch Explorer, may have also contributed to the name. Either way, Rhode Island was originally made up of four colonial settlements, that merged into the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, before changing its name officially in 2020 to remove any negative associations with plantations and the United State’s history of slavery.

While Rhode Island may be the smallest state, that doesn’t mean that there is any limit to the number of incredible places to visit. Whether you’re looking to explore Providence, the largest city in Rhode Island and the state’s capital, or looking to explore some of the more natural features of the state, there is plenty for you to do during your visit here. Rhode Island is home to countless state parks, including colt State Park and Fort Adams State Park, and this state showcases the beautiful foliage and incredible architecture that New England is known for.

While the state may not have a large number of hiking trails, as its highest state point is only 812 feet (247 meters) above sea level, that doesn’t mean there is any shortage of byways or scenic walking trails to explore within this incredible state. Those who are a fan of exploring the coast will find the Atlantic Ocean a bit colder than they expect but will be appreciative of the waterways, inlets, and beaches that make up this incredible state.

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Whether you find yourself exploring The Ocean State for its incredible coastline or are looking to take advantage of the various urban areas found within Rhode Island, there are plenty of attractions that are sure to capture the imagination, and many scenic byways to help you see the heart of this state in new and interesting ways.