Camping in Rhode Island
By Alex Murphy
Rhode Island, best known as the smallest U.S. State, is just over 1,200 square miles, making it smaller than some U.S. cities and Yellowstone National Park! However, as with many New England states, Rhode Island is full of history and culture. Plus, a significant part of the state is made up of water and has an abundance of beach access for campers visiting Rhode Island campgrounds.
Here's a look at the best camping in the Ocean State.
See a map of all camping in Rhode Island.
Rhode Island State Parks
Not surprisingly, many Rhode Island State Parks along the coast offer camping and sightseeing along the Atlantic Ocean. Many of these State Beaches are some of the best Rhode Island Campgrounds.
Charlestown Breachway State Park is one of the more popular destinations with plenty of RV camping sites. This beach is located on the Block Island Sound, and visitors can enjoy saltwater fishing and ocean swimming during the peak camping season. Be sure to book camping reservations early because the park does fill up, and it's important to note that not all of Rhode Island's State Beaches offer camping, such as East Matunuck State Beach, which is only open for day use.
Slightly away from the coast, visitors will find another camping area at Burlingame State Campground, which also has hiking trails and water access on a local pond. This State Park has tent sites and dry camping RV sites.
Rhode Island RV Parks
Another way to enjoy water sports and swimming areas along the coast is while camping at Rhode Island RV Parks.
Both Melville Ponds Campground and Meadowlark RV Park are located on Aquidneck Island in the southeast corner of the state and are probably best known for cities like Newport and quaint New England harbor towns.
A few other RV parks are located further north in the state, including Oak Leaf Family Campground.
Rhode Island National Parks
When it comes to National Parks in Rhode Island, everything is focused on history, from the early settlers to the Industrial Revolution. Here are some of the spots to enjoy history.
- Blackstone River Valley Historical Park is shared with Massachusetts and offers a glimpse into early textile mills and similar items as the Industrial Revolution began.
- Roger Williams National Memorial commemorates the founding of the modern state that started with Roger Williams and the colonial settlement of Providence, which is now the state's largest city.
- Touro Synagogue Historic Site is the oldest synagogue in the United States.
Free Camping in Rhode Island
Unfortunately, free camping in Rhode Island is not easy to come by, and the best options are across the state line in Connecticut.
Closest to the coast, you'll find North Stonington Rest Area Southbound. While the only thing provided is a parking spot, the area does provide easy access to get back on I-95.
Further north but still along the CT and RI state line is Beach Pond Boat Ramp Area that lets visitors enjoy picnic areas and a freshwater beach.
National Forests in Rhode Island
The National Forest Service does not manage any land in Rhode Island.