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2 Wonderful National Parks in Rhode Island

Downtown Providence, Rhode Island beside a blue river. Both national parks in Rhode Island have visitor centers in Providence.

Did you know that there are 2 national parks in Rhode Island? They focus on the right to religious freedom that began with Roger Williams as well as the industrial revolution in the United States. Below, you’ll find a complete list of the national parks in Rhode Island along with itineraries, maps, and a free checklist.

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Map of National Parks in Rhode Island

A map displays the state of Rhode Island in blue and each of the national parks in Rhode Island in green

National Parks in Rhode Island Road Trip Itinerary

A map shows Rhode Island with the surrounding states shaded. There is an itinerary for a road trip to the national parks in Rhode Island as part of the map.

Fly in/out: Providence

Day 1: Start your tour of Rhode Island in its capital of Providence. Located downtown, Roger Williams National Memorial has a small visitor center and beautiful park. Take a stroll through and read their wayside to learn more about Williams’ quest for religious freedom.

Day 2: Next, spend a full day exploring the Blackstone River Valley. Begin in Pawtucket just outside of Providence at the first cotton spinning mill powered by water. Then, travel north to Blackstone River State Park, Slatersville, and into Massachusetts to see Whitinsville and Hopedale. Self-guided walking tours are available to help you learn about the beginning of the age of industry in Rhode Island.

An image of a white lighthouse with red stripes. The text on the image is encouraging you to download a checklist of the national parks in Rhode Island by signing up for e-mail notifications.

Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park

An old rusted bridge over the Blackstone River, one of the national parks in Rhode Island

NPS Photo

The Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park is the perfect blend of outdoor recreation and historical significance that makes it one of the finest national parks in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Straddling the state line, the park includes sites in each state. Three places you can visit in Rhode Island include the Slater Mill, Blackstone River State Park, and Slaterville.

The Slater Mill in Pawtucket was the first successful water-powered cotton spinning mill in America. This led to the industrial revolution in the area, all thanks to the power of the Blackstone River and Pawtucket Falls. For a small fee, you can tour the Slater Mill Historic Site.

Blackstone River State Park features the Kelly House Museum (free), a well-known Bikeway, boat launches, and picnic spots. On the other side of the river, you can also visit Ashton Mill Village.

Finally, the small town of Slaterville is the prime example of a mill village. If time allows, I highly recommend taking part in their self-guided walking tour. In 2007, the mill was refurbished into an apartment building.

How to Get There: The park has five main locations spread out between northern Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts. Visit this page to learn more.

Map: download here

Things to Do: Ranger programs, museums, self-guided walking tours

Park Entrance Fee: None, though there may be minimal fees charged by park partners such as the State Park or Historic Mill Site

Where to Stay: Hampton Inn, Courtyard, Twin River Casino, Residence Inn

Official Website: click here

Speak to a Park Ranger: Call (508) 234-4242

Roger Williams National Memorial

A sign welcoming visitors to Roger Williams National Memorial in a small park in Providence. Roger Williams is one of 2 national parks in Rhode Island.

Roger Williams was the founder of Rhode Island. Due to his differing religious beliefs, he was banned from Massachusetts and inspired to create a refuge where anyone could worship any religion. He founded Providence in 1636 and established his religiously free colony there in today’s Rhode Island capital.

Located in downtown Providence, one of the national parks in Rhode Island is a small park with a walking path. Along the way, signs explain the journey Roger Williams took to secure religious freedom in the state. Williams found a spring where the park is located today, which inspired him to build a house across the street. Just a few blocks away is the First Baptist Church in America, started by Williams in 1638.

In addition to encouraging free religion, he also sought to separate the church and state. He believed religion should not play a part in politics or government. This legacy lives on in both the Rhode Island Charter and the First Amendment in the United States Constitution.

“All were free to walk as their conscience persuades them.”

To explore more of Providence and its beginnings, visit Waterplace Park, Prospect Park, the Old State House, the John Brown House Museum, the present-day Rhode Island State House, and the grounds of Brown University.

How to Get There: Roger Williams National Memorial’s main visitor center and park are located along the Moshassuck River between Canal Street and Main Street, bordered by Park Row West.

Map: download here

Things to Do: Museums, historic tours, self-guided walking tours, ranger programs

Park Entrance Fee: None

Where to Stay: Omni, Marriott, The Dean, Christopher Dodge House, Hampton Inn

Official Website: click here

Speak to a Park Ranger: Call (401) 521-7266

Pin National Parks in Rhode Island

Did you know that there are 2 national parks in Rhode Island? Download a complete list along with itineraries, maps, and more. | National Parks in Rhode Island | #rhodeisland Did you know that there are 2 national parks in Rhode Island? Download a complete list along with itineraries, maps, and more. | National Parks in Rhode Island | #rhodeisland Did you know that there are 2 national parks in Rhode Island? Download a complete list along with itineraries, maps, and more. | National Parks in Rhode Island | #rhodeisland Did you know that there are 2 national parks in Rhode Island? Download a complete list along with itineraries, maps, and more. | National Parks in Rhode Island | #rhodeisland

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