Rhode Island Holiday and Vacation Travel Information
Rhode Island is the smallest state in the nation, being approximately 37 miles from east to west and 48 miles from north to south. Within this area over one million people reside. Most of the residents live in or near Providence, the state capital and largest city. Providence lies at the northern reaches of Narragansett Bay. Because this city, like most others around the state, has existed for nearly 350 years it harbors many historical attractions. Providence is also a cultural center of the state. Not many vacation rentals by owner here but they are here!
Narragansett Bay is the most outstanding natural feature within Rhode Island. The bay leads 28 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean and Rhode Island Sound. It is the second largest estuary on the east coast of North America. The shores of this large body of water provide recreation opportunities for everyone in the state.
Rhode Island is nicknamed the Ocean State due to the 400 miles of shoreline within its borders. Many ocean side communities maintain public beaches for visitors and residents alike. In addition to these natural areas the state boasts 11 nature preserves and six state parks both with various facilities.
The large number of public beaches and piers provide ample water access for fishing, sailing, swimming, boating and whale watching. Inland recreation includes hiking, biking and camping. During the winter months many state parks are open for snowmobiling and cross-country skiing.
The large bodies of water surrounding Rhode Island make the climate temperate, although high humidity does exist. Summer highs usually average near 70 degrees F, with a few days, usually in July and August, reaching 90 degrees. Nights along the water can be cool, but usually temperatures remain at a comfortable level near 60 degrees. Winter temperatures average near 30 degrees for daytime highs. Snow is often changed to rain as it reaches the coast and doesn't last long if it does fall to the ground. The wind can be bitter during the winter months so be prepared with a wind breaking jacket.
The Blackstone River Valley illustrates a major revolution in America's past: the Age of Industry. Evidence of the way people lived during this turning point in history can still be seen in the valley's villages, farms, cities and riverways - in a working landscape between Worcester, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island. In 1790, American craftsmen built the first machines that successfully used waterpower to spin cotton. America's first factory, Slater Mill was built on the banks of the Blackstone River in Pawtucket, RI. Here, industrial America was born. This revolutionary way of using waterpower and labor spread quickly throughout the valley and New England.
Block Island National Wildlife Refuge comprises 66 acres of some of the most beautiful dune habitat on the Atlantic Coast. Simply by virtue of its location on the flyway, the refuge is an important resting stop, providing cover for large numbers of neotropical migrants and raptors. Additionally, the intertidal shoreline supports a significant roosting area for migratory shorebirds including the black-bellied and semi-palmated plover, sanderling and dunlin during both the spring and autumn migrations. In 1996, the threatened piping plover attempted to nest on refuge beaches for the first time in over a decade. Also, the refuge supports a gull colony of 1,000 pairs and a colonial wading bird rookery consisting of 30 black crowned night heron nests.
Of special note is the cooperative venture between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and The Nature Conservancy. It was recognized in 1993 that the two organizations working with local government would be able to more effectively protect and manage the increasingly valuable acreage owned by the three entities on the north end of the island. This has played an especially important role in the protection of the environment, as the refuge is an unmanned satellite managed by the mainland staff of Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge. Each year, the refuge hosts various school groups and researchers, as well as providing over 10,000 Island vacationers that pass through the refuge on the way to the famous North Light lighthouse an opportunity to view some breathtaking seascapes and undeveloped shoreline.
Ninigret NWR is located in Charlestown, Washington County, Rhode Island almost 30 miles south of Providence. The refuge, 407 acres, has experienced many "histories": created from run off from the glaciers of the last ice age 14,000 years ago through early Native American use and subsequent colonial period farming.
Refuge staff is attempting to restore the native coastal sand plain grasslands, a habitat in danger of completely disappearing from the southern New England coast. Over 30% of the endangered and threatened species in Rhode Island can be found in this area.
There is an extensive trail system avilable to hikers that will provide beautiful views of wetlands, grasslands, forested and shrublands, wooded swamps and a stretch of barrier beach, as well as Ninigret Pond. Ninigret Pond is Rhode Island's largest salt pond (at approximately 1700 acres) and is linked to the Block Island Sound via a man-made breachway.
Black ducks, Canada geese and diving ducks winter in large numbers on the pond. Osprey, harriers, kestrels and other migrating raptors frequent the refuge lands, too. On the beach, the Refuge staff manages an extensive federally threatened piping plover nesting program.
Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge is located in the Town of Middletown, Newport County, Rhode Island approximately 23 miles southeast of Providence and 5 miles east of Newport.
Sachuest Point contains a range of locally representative habitat types including salt marsh, brushlands, grasslands, beaches, rocky cliffs and dunes. Its primary value to wildlife is in providing feeding and resting areas for migratory birds.
This is reflected in the high species diversity and numbers present, especially during fall migration. More than 200 species of birds have been observed representing 15 orders and 32 families. The major groups seen in descending order are: waterfowl, raptors, shorebirds and passerines. Ten species of small mammals are found on the Refuge.
Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge consists of upland habitat (grassland, cropland, shrublands and coastal deciduous hardwood forest) and wetlands (brackish Trustom Pond, fresh and brackish salt marsh, fresh water ponds and wooded swamp). The refuge also includes over a mile of barrier beach between Card and Trustom Pond and the Atlantic Ocean (the Block island Sound). Trustom Pond is the last remaining undeveloped coastal salt pond in Rhode Island.
More than 280 species of birds have been observed on the Refuge and approximately 57 of those have nested on Refuge lands. The beach is preferred nesting habitat for the federally threatened piping plover and the State threatened least tern. Forty one species of mammals, ten species of fish and more than twenty species of amphibians and reptiles have been found on the refuge.
The Refuge has an extensive trail system, currently being developed into a handicapped accessible trail, that leads to some beautiful vistas of the salt pond and barrier beaches, as well as Block island twelve miles to the east.