A gondola travels along WaterFire in Providence. (visitri.com)

Visiting the United States? There are 50 states to see. If you like quaint towns in close proximity to big cities like New York and Boston, then Rhode Island’s for you!

Rhode Island’s coastline is filled with inlets and bays, leading to the state’s nickname as the “Ocean State.” From observing wildlife in Narragansett Bay to sailing in Newport, coastal activities abound.

Even artistic activities center around water in this tiny state — several times a year the rivers of Providence glow, drawing crowds to watch the beauty that is WaterFire. An art installation of bonfires on top of water, the lighting brings locals and tourists downtown to watch and also to enjoy the craft vendors and musical performances on the nearby banks.

Prefer to stay on solid ground? You can “Cliff Walk” in Newport, gazing out at the ocean or, with a turn of the head, at the gorgeous mansions lining the coast.

Read more about Rhode Island and check out the other 49 states. If you need a visa to visit, here’s how to get one.

(State Dept.)

Sail away

Newport, Rhode Island — known as the sailing capital of the world — hosted the America’s Cup yachting race for more than 50 years.



Designed by artist Barnaby Evans, WaterFire features 80 individual bonfires along the rivers of Providence. Travel alongside the fire in a gondola, or walk the paths interacting with street performers, artisans and chefs.

(Flickr/liz west)

Fabulous food

Providence is home to several universities, including Johnson and Wales, which has a globally recognized culinary school. Many graduates stick around, giving Rhode Island some of the best restaurants in the country.

(Newport Restaurant Group)

Cliff Walk

Beautiful scenery surrounds this walk, whichever way you look. Take a tour of the summer “cottages” built by wealthy New York families such as the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers. You might even catch a glimpse of Taylor Swift on vacation — she too owns a summer house in Rhode Island.

An aerial view of the Cliff Walk along Newport’s rugged coastline. (© AP Images)