12 Fun Things to Do in Rhode Island for Young Adults: The Biggest Thrills in the Smallest State!

by Flora Backup
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Ready to turn the smallest state into your biggest adventure? Our guide is bursting with the best things to do in Rhode Island for young adults, from thrilling surf spots to cool, quirky shops. Get set to explore, laugh, and make memories in the Ocean State!

Ready for a destination that’s as vibrant and adventurous as you are? Welcome to Rhode Island, a small state with a huge personality. This place is an absolute playground for the young and the restless. Think stunning coastlines, cool mansions, and a vibe that’s as lively as your favorite playlist.

Picture this: You’re strolling down Newport’s Cliff Walk, the ocean breeze in your hair, epic selfies with the Atlantic as your backdrop. Then, there’s the Newport Mansions – not your average history lesson, but a walk through the kind of luxury that’ll have you dreaming big.

And the food? Get ready to treat your taste buds! Rhode Island’s seafood is legendary. We’re talking lobster rolls that’ll make you forget about your diet, and oysters so fresh, they’re practically still telling tales of the ocean.

So, what are you waiting for? Rhode Island is calling out to your adventurous spirit. Pack your bags, bring your energy, and let’s discover why this little state is the next big thing in your travel diary!

The best things to do in Rhode Island for young adults right now

Fun Things to Do in Rhode Island for Young Adults

Our guide to young adult activities in Rhode Island has you covered, from beach bashes to cool city vibes. Let’s jump into a journey of fun, flavor, and unforgettable moments in the Ocean State!

1. Explore Newport Mansions Like Royalty

Ready for a dash of old-world glamour? Newport’s mansions are your ticket to a day of elegance and history. More than just ordinary homes, they’re sprawling palaces, each with a story to tell. The Breakers, Marble House, and The Elms – these names might sound like something out of a fairytale, but they’re real, and they’re spectacular. This is one of the unique things to do in Newport, Rhode Island, hands down.

Wandering through The Breakers, the grandest of them all, is one of the coolest activities in Rhode Island for young adults. Built by the Vanderbilts, it’s a symbol of the family’s social and financial preeminence in turn-of-the-century America. With its 70 rooms and a facade modeled after the 16th-century palaces of Genoa and Turin, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into another era. This makes it one of New England’s best places to visit.

Indulge in a day of refined charm and history by exploring Newport's mansions—an exquisite ticket to old-world glamour.
Indulge in a day of refined charm and history by exploring Newport’s mansions—an exquisite ticket to old-world glamour.

But it’s not just about the architecture. These mansions are steeped in stories. The audio tours, available via the Newport Mansions app, whisk you away to the Gilded Age, where luxury was a lifestyle and parties were legendary.

The gardens are a dream for anyone who loves the outdoors. Stroll through perfectly manicured lawns, and let the beauty of the old-world charm sink in. It’s a photographer’s paradise, so keep your camera ready.

2. Catch Waves at Narragansett Beach

Hit the waves at Narragansett Beach, a prime spot in Rhode Island for young adults seeking both adventure and relaxation. Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or just itching to try, this is your spot. The beach is famous for its soft sand and friendly waves, perfect for both pros and beginners. Picture yourself riding the waves, the ocean breeze in your hair, and the thrill of the surf under your feet.

But hey, if surfing isn’t your thing, no worries. The beach vibe here is laid-back and welcoming. Spread out your towel, soak up the sun, and enjoy the lively atmosphere. It’s a great place to chill with friends, play some beach volleyball, or just enjoy the ocean views.

Embark on a thrilling wave-riding adventure or simply unwind at Narragansett Beach, the ultimate Rhode Island haven for young adults.
Embark on a thrilling wave-riding adventure or simply unwind at Narragansett Beach, the ultimate Rhode Island haven for young adults.

As the sun sets, the beach transforms. The sky turns into a canvas of colors, making it a fantastic spot for an evening hangout. Gather around a bonfire, share stories, and make memories under the stars.

Tip: If you’re new to surfing, check out Warm Winds surf shop nearby. They offer lessons and gear rentals. And remember, the beach gets busy, so come early to claim a good spot. Pack some snacks and a cooler for a day of beach fun!

3. Gaze at Stars from Beavertail State Park

Ever wanted to stargaze from a stunning location? Beavertail State Park is your go-to spot. As the sun dips below the horizon, the park reveals a new, mesmerizing side. The dark sky, far from city lights, becomes a canvas for stars and constellations.

Bring a blanket, lie back, and watch the cosmos unfold above you. It’s a tranquil experience, perfect for unwinding after a day of exploring. The sound of the ocean adds to the serene atmosphere, making it an ideal spot for some quiet reflection or a romantic evening on the East Coast.

If you've ever wished to gaze at the stars from a breathtaking location, look no further than Beavertail State Park.
If you’ve ever wished to gaze at the stars from a breathtaking location, look no further than Beavertail State Park.

But Beavertail isn’t just for night owls. During the day, it’s a great place for hiking, picnicking, and enjoying panoramic ocean views. The rocky coastline is a photographer’s dream, especially at sunset.

Check the weather forecast for clear skies to ensure the best stargazing experience. A flashlight and some warm clothing are must-haves for nighttime visits. And remember, it’s one of the fun things to do with friends in Rhode Island, so bring your crew along for an unforgettable night under the stars!

4. Marvel at WaterFire Providence’s Fiery Spectacle

Light up your evening with a visit to WaterFire Providence. This event transforms the city’s rivers into a glowing wonderland. Picture this: over eighty bonfires floating on the water, casting a warm, enchanting glow. It’s not just a sight to see; it’s an experience to dive into.

As you meander along the river, the air is filled with the scent of wood smoke and the sound of crackling flames. Street performers, live music, and art installations add layers of magic to the night. Grab a bite from local food vendors, and let the vibrant atmosphere energize you.

The character of each WaterFire event is distinctive, marked by the illumination of bonfires and associated activities on specific evenings.
The character of each WaterFire event is distinctive, marked by the illumination of bonfires and associated activities on specific evenings.

WaterFire is a recurring event that typically takes place multiple times during its active season. The season usually runs from late spring through early fall, with events often scheduled on select weekends.

Each WaterFire event is a unique experience, with the lighting of the bonfires and accompanying activities happening on specific evenings. WaterFire is a top pick for young adult things to do in Rhode Island, perfect for an unforgettable night with friends or a dreamy date.

5. Discover Artistic Wonders at RISD Museum

Dive into a world of creativity at the RISD Museum in Providence. This isn’t your typical museum visit; it’s an artistic journey. With thousands of artworks spanning ancient times to modern days, there’s something to awe everyone. Picture yourself marveling at a Picasso, getting up close with a Monet, or exploring contemporary masterpieces.

The RISD Museum is a vibrant hub of artistic innovation, where history merges with creativity
The RISD Museum is a vibrant hub of artistic innovation, where history merges with creativity

The RISD Museum is a vibrant spot, buzzing with the energy of artistic innovation. It’s a place where history meets creativity, making it one of the most fun places to go in Rhode Island for young adults. Whether you’re an art aficionado or just looking for a unique way to spend your day, this museum offers an inspiring escape.

After exploring the galleries, take a stroll through the museum’s gift shop. It’s filled with unique finds, perfect for a souvenir or a gift. The museum offers free admission on Sundays, making it a great budget-friendly option.

6. Ride the Waves at Narragansett Surf School

Catch a wave and surf the day away at Narragansett Beach. This is where you turn those surfing dreams into reality. Whether you’re a first-timer or looking to polish your skills, Narragansett Surf School has got you covered. The beach is famous for its consistent waves, making it a surfer’s paradise.

Feel the thrill as you stand on your board, riding the crest of a wave. The exhilarating rush of the surf, the cool ocean spray, and the warmth of the sun combine for an unforgettable experience. It’s not just surfing; it’s embracing the ocean’s rhythm.

Secure your spot with Narragansett Surf School by booking a lesson in advance, especially during the peak season.
Secure your spot with Narragansett Surf School by booking a lesson in advance, especially during the peak season.

Narragansett Beach is also a vibrant spot to relax, play beach games, or simply soak up the sun. This makes it one of the cool stuff in Rhode Island for young adults looking for both adventure and relaxation.

Book a lesson with Narragansett Surf School in advance, especially during peak season. They provide all the gear you need. After your surf session, stick around to enjoy the beach vibe or catch a stunning sunset.

7. Embark on a Culinary Adventure at Federal Hill

Providence’s Federal Hill is a foodie’s dream, brimming with authentic Italian cuisine. From mouth-watering pasta to heavenly cannoli, every bite is a journey to culinary bliss.

Stroll down Atwells Avenue, where the scent of fresh garlic and simmering sauces fills the air. Choose from a plethora of restaurants and trattorias, each offering their unique take on Italian classics. It’s not just a meal; it’s an experience that tantalizes all your senses.

Federal Hill extends beyond dining, inviting exploration with lively street music, charming shops, and a welcoming atmosphere.
Federal Hill extends beyond dining, inviting exploration with lively street music, charming shops, and a welcoming atmosphere.

Federal Hill isn’t only about dining. It’s a vibrant area to explore, with lively street music, charming shops, and a warm, welcoming atmosphere. This makes it one of the cool things to do in Rhode Island for young adults seeking a blend of culture and gastronomy.

Visit during one of Federal Hill’s many festivals for an extra special experience. Make reservations for dinner, as the best spots fill up fast. Don’t skip dessert – the gelato and pastries here are a must-try!

8. Take a Scenic Journey Along Newport’s Cliff Walk

Newport’s Cliff Walk is a 3.5-mile trail that offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic on one side and the historic mansions of Newport on the other. As you wander this National Recreation Trail, you’ll be treated to a unique blend of natural beauty and architectural marvels. The path takes you through rocky shores, serene gardens, and the backyards of Gilded Age mansions. It’s a photographer’s dream and a history buff’s paradise.

Young adults seeking attractions in Rhode Island must visit Cliff Walk for a captivating and scenic experience.
Young adults seeking attractions in Rhode Island must visit Cliff Walk for a captivating and scenic experience.

Cliff Walk is a must-visit for young adults looking for attractions for young adults in Rhode Island. It’s perfect for a leisurely stroll, an invigorating jog, or a peaceful moment to soak in the ocean’s vastness. Wear comfortable shoes, as some sections of the trail can be rocky. Start your walk early to avoid crowds and fully enjoy the tranquility.

9. Navigate the Waves with a Kayak Adventure in Narragansett Bay

Embark on a kayaking journey in Narragansett Bay for an adventure that blends fitness with stunning views. Paddle through the calm waters, exploring hidden coves and picturesque coastlines. Whether you’re a seasoned kayaker or trying it for the first time, the bay offers a variety of experiences, from tranquil paddles to more challenging routes.

Rhode Island's Kayak Centre provides varied experiences, offering beginner-friendly tours and thrilling excursions for experienced paddlers.
Rhode Island’s Kayak Centre provides varied experiences, offering beginner-friendly tours and thrilling excursions for experienced paddlers.

As you glide over the water, keep an eye out for local wildlife. Narragansett Bay is home to a diverse range of marine life, making it a delightful experience for nature enthusiasts. The changing seasons offer new perspectives of the bay’s beauty, making this a year-round activity.

Kayaking in Narragansett Bay is one of the top fun activities in Rhode Island for adults. It’s a unique way to explore the state’s natural beauty and get a bit of exercise at the same time. The Kayak Centre in Rhode Island offers a range of experiences, from beginner-friendly tours to excursions for the more experienced paddler.

10. Conquer the Trails at Lincoln Woods State Park

Gear up for an outdoor adventure at Lincoln Woods State Park. This park is a haven for those who love to hike, bike, or simply enjoy nature. With miles of trails winding through lush forests and around Olney Pond, it’s a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely walk or an intense mountain biking experience, Lincoln Woods has trails for all levels. The park’s natural beauty changes with the seasons, offering a new experience every time you visit.

Lincoln Woods State Park stands out as a fantastic choice for young adults seeking exciting activities in Rhode Island.
Lincoln Woods State Park stands out as a fantastic choice for young adults seeking exciting activities in Rhode Island.

For things to do in Rhode Island for 18 year olds, Lincoln Woods State Park is a fantastic choice. It’s a place to challenge yourself on the trails, relax by the water, or enjoy a picnic with friends in a scenic setting.

Check the park’s map to find trails that match your skill level. If you’re into mountain biking, ensure your bike is in good condition for the rugged trails. And remember, the park is also great for a peaceful canoe or kayak trip on Olney Pond.

11. Revel in Retro Fun at Providence’s Arcade

Step into a world of nostalgia at the Arcade in Providence, America’s oldest indoor mall, blending history with hip vibes. Inside, you’ll find a mix of boutique shops, eateries, and a unique atmosphere that’s perfect for a leisurely day out.

The Arcade is ideal for those who love to explore quirky and one-of-a-kind shops. From vintage clothing to local art, each store offers something different. Grab a coffee from one of the cozy cafes and wander through this historic gem.

Experience a blend of history and hip vibes at Providence's Arcade, America's oldest indoor mall, stepping into nostalgia.
Experience a blend of history and hip vibes at Providence’s Arcade, America’s oldest indoor mall, stepping into nostalgia.

For activities for 20 year olds in Rhode Island, the Arcade in Providence is a standout. It’s a place to shop, eat, and soak in the cool, retro ambiance. Plan your visit during one of the Arcade’s special events or pop-up markets for an extra special experience. It’s a great spot for finding unique gifts or just enjoying a laid-back day in the city.

12. Catch a Flick at the Rustic Tri-View Drive-In

Step into a time capsule at the Rustic Tri-View Drive-In in North Smithfield. Imagine watching your favorite films under the stars, from the comfort of your car, with the night sky as your backdrop.

For young adults seeking fun in Rhode Island, the Rustic Drive-In is an exceptional choice. | Image Credits: Rhode Less Traveled
For young adults seeking fun in Rhode Island, the Rustic Drive-In is an exceptional choice. | Image Credits: Rhode Less Traveled

Pack your car with cozy blankets, your favorite snacks, and get ready for a double feature. Whether it’s the latest blockbuster or a timeless classic, the experience of an outdoor screen adds a magical touch. It’s the perfect blend of nostalgia and modern entertainment, making for an unforgettable evening.

The Rustic Tri-View Drive-In is a standout choice, especially for fun things to do in Rhode Island for young adults. To secure the best viewing spot, arrive early, especially on weekends. Check their online schedule for movie times and special events. Remember to tune into the drive-in’s radio frequency for clear movie audio in your car!

Frequently Asked Questions About Fun Activities in Rhode Island for Young Adults

Curious about Rhode Island for young adults? Here are the answers to all your burning questions!

What is Rhode Island famous for?

Rhode Island, known as the Ocean State, is famous for its stunning coastal scenery, rich history, and vibrant cultural scene. It’s home to beautiful beaches, the prestigious Ivy League Brown University, and the historic city of Newport with its famous Gilded Age mansions. Rhode Island is also renowned for its unique culinary delights, especially seafood dishes like clam cakes and the quintessential Rhode Island-style calamari.

What are some fun facts about Rhode Island?

Rhode Island is full of surprises! Despite its name, it’s not an island but does have over 400 miles of coastline. It’s the smallest state in the U.S. but has the longest official state name: “State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.” Rhode Island was the first of the thirteen original colonies to declare independence from British rule but the last to ratify the U.S. Constitution. Plus, it’s famous for hosting the first open golf tournament in the U.S. in 1895.

What is the biggest tourist attraction in Rhode Island?

The biggest tourist attraction in Rhode Island is the historic city of Newport, known for its majestic Gilded Age mansions like The Breakers and Marble House. These opulent homes offer a glimpse into the lavish lifestyle of America’s elite from the late 19th century. Newport also hosts world-class events like the Newport Jazz Festival and the Newport Folk Festival, drawing visitors from all over the globe. This coastal paradise is perfect for a weekend getaway and is also known as one of the best places to live in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island offers a plethora of engaging activities for young adults, ensuring there's something exciting for everyone to enjoy.
Rhode Island offers a plethora of engaging activities for young adults, ensuring there’s something exciting for everyone to enjoy.

Why is it called Rhode Island?

The name “Rhode Island” is steeped in mystery and debate. One popular theory is that explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano compared the area to the island of Rhodes in Greece. Another theory suggests that the name was given due to the red clay lining the shores. The official name, “State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations,” combines the names of the state’s two most prominent regions.

For young adults looking for things to do in Rhode Island at night under 21, what are some options?

Rhode Island offers plenty of night-time activities for those under 21. Enjoy a stroll along the scenic Newport Cliff Walk, catch a movie at the Rustic Tri-View Drive-In, or explore WaterFire in Providence, an art installation featuring over eighty bonfires along the city’s rivers. Other options include visiting the Roger Williams Park Zoo for its evening events or attending various cultural festivals and concerts that frequently take place across the state.

What are the best bars in Rhode Island for young adults?

Rhode Island has a lively bar scene, especially in Providence and Newport. For young adults, The Eddy in Providence offers a trendy atmosphere with creative cocktails. In Newport, The Fifth Element is a popular choice for its relaxed vibe and live music. O’Brien’s Pub, also in Newport, is great for its outdoor patio and vibrant social scene. These spots are perfect for enjoying a night out with friends, offering a mix of good drinks, music, and fun.

What are some things to do in Rhode Island for young adults?

Rhode Island is a playground for young adults. Adventure seekers can enjoy kayaking in Narragansett Bay or hiking in Lincoln Woods State Park. For a cultural experience, visit the RISD Museum or catch a performance at the Trinity Repertory Company in Providence. The state’s beaches are perfect for relaxation or surfing, and the vibrant nightlife in Providence and Newport offers a variety of bars, clubs, and live music venues.

What makes Rhode Island unique compared to other states?

Rhode Island’s unique charm lies in its blend of rich history, stunning coastal landscapes, and cultural diversity. Being the smallest state, it offers an intimate feel yet is packed with attractions from historic landmarks to beautiful beaches. Its culinary scene is notable for seafood and Italian influences. Rhode Island also has a strong artistic and academic presence, thanks to institutions like the Rhode Island School of Design and Brown University. This makes Rhode Island a good place to live in New England for those seeking a lifestyle that’s both culturally rich and delightfully livable.

Final Thoughts on Rhode Island Attractions for Young Adults

Rhode Island might be small, but it’s packed with adventure. From the historic mansions of Newport to the lively streets of Providence, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re into surfing, art, or just chilling at the beach, the Ocean State won’t disappoint.

Remember, fun things to do in Rhode Island for young adults are everywhere. So grab your friends, plan your trip, and get ready to make some unforgettable memories in this charming state. See you in Rhode Island!

The best things to do for young adults in Rhode Island for all types of travelers
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