Rhode Island Summer Staycation Ideas

Some years we have time and money for an out-of-state vacation. Some years we don’t, but that doesn’t mean we sit at home watching TV for our week of vacation. Oh no! We make our staycation feel like a vacation!

I’ve discovered a plethora of free or inexpensive family activities to enjoy for a Rhode Island Staycation. Today I’m sharing my plan for a frugal 5 day RI Staycation!

Staycation Rhode Island | EverydayFamilyLiving.com

Day 1: Visit Roger Williams Park.

In the morning pack a picnic lunch and head to one of Rhode Island’s best kept secrets – Roger Williams Park. First stop on your itinerary is the RWP Natural History Museum. For $2 per person (children under 4 – FREE) you can roam the museum learning about rocks, animals, and the American space program. For an additional dollar per person you can enjoy the planetarium show.

Once you’ve seen all there is to see, head outside and select a spot on the rolling green lawn to spread your blanket and eat your PB & J picnic.  The grassy areas of RWP are perfect to toss around a frisbee or football, fly a kite, or play bocce.

How you spend the rest of your afternoon will depend a great deal on your family. If you have small children I recommend the (free) playground and Carousel ($2 per person). If your children are too old for a playground then I recommend the RWP Botanical Center for $3 per person (under 12 yrs. – $2). Or you could just explore the pond and many paths through the park.

Temple of Music at Roger Williams Park | EverydayfamilyLiving.com

Day 2: Visit Downcity Providence.

I recommend you begin your day in Providence at the Roger Williams National Memorial.  It’s Rhode Island’s only National Park AND it’s FREE. The visitor center is staffed by very knowledgeable and, in our experience, friendly park rangers who can answer all your Providence-related questions. While at the Memorial be sure to watch the video explaining Providence’s history and let your child pick up a Junior Ranger Booklet.

Just a short walk up the hill is the Rhode Island Statehouse which is also open to the public and free for self-guided tours. Follow the link to read a post I wrote after my family visited the Statehouse. You’ll also want to pick up a FREE copy of the Kid’s Rhode Island Statehouse Activity Booklet.

The lush lawn on the south side of the Statehouse just begs to be used for picnics and frisbee games. Anyone can use the lawn. You don’t need to ask for permission.

You might also experience Providence’s WaterFire. This is a festival of sorts with changing entertainers and activities located in Providence’s Waterplace Park and Riverwalk on select weekends during the summer. Admission is free though specific vendors may charge a fee for their activities and food.

Day 3: Visit the Beach.

Pack up your beach gear and head to a beach on Rhode Island 400+ miles of coastline. For a list of Rhode Island beaches visit here. Be aware that some beaches are free (Buttonwoods Beach) while others charge a fee (Scarborough Beach). Their facilities and surf also vary.

Warwick City Park Beach Buttonwoods | EverydayFamilyLiving.com

Day 4: Visit Beavertail Lighthouse.

Beavertail Lighthouse is one of my favorite locations in Rhode Island! As a working lighthouse you aren’t allowed up to the light but during the summer you can tour the small museum located in the old keeper’s quarters. The museum is free and full of fascinating artifacts.

Below the lighthouse are cliffs easily accessed for active families to climb and explore. My children love looking in the tide pools for fish, periwinkles, sea stars, and crabs. They also enjoy the hint of danger created by crashing waves and slippery rocks. My children have been climbing the rocks since they were toddlers so the danger isn’t that great (in some places).

If you explore the grassy fields north of the lighthouse you will discover abandoned World War II bunkers. It’s easy to imagine men standing guard over the entry way to Narrangansett Bay watching for enemy ships and submarines. If history relics don’t capture your attention the amazing ocean view definitely will!

Day 5: Visit the PawSox.

After 4 days of hiking, climbing, and swimming it’s time to sit and rest. There’s no better place for that than McCoy Stadium while watching the Pawtucket RedSox play baseball!! This is not a free activity, but, at $8 for adults and $5 for children, admission is fairly inexpensive.

Be sure to take your baseball glove to catch foul balls AND a jacket or blanket if attending a night game – even in summer. Oh! Don’t forget to purchase a dough boy from the snack bar. We prefer them with covered in powdered sugar.

There you have it — my plan for an inexpensive 5 day Rhode Island Staycation. I haven’t even scratched the surface of what Rhode Island offers families for fun and entertainment!!

To discover more great RI sites (though not all cheap) visit my Discover Rhode Island post.


What does your RI staycation look like?


Linked to:

Visit Rhode Island | EverydayFamilyLiving.com







  1. I love your ideas! We like to head into MA and check out Purgatory Chasm, too… but staying in RI Newport, Jamestown, and a playground hop are all fun times we have!
    Chelley @ A is For Adelaide recently posted..Marvelous MondayMy Profile

  2. Stephanie Kay
    Twitter: stephmommybrain

    Chelley, we love Purgatory Chasm in MA! We like to take flashlights and explore the little caves the boulders make. I’ll have to write another post about all our favorite Massachusetts staycation activities. :)

  3. Mary Larsen
    Twitter: Mary__larsen

    My favorite staycation Rhode Island venue is Breton Point in Newport – where I fly stunt kites :)
    Mary Larsen recently posted..A Study In Pink: How Nail Polish Saved My Sanity: Creating Healthy Habits For Moms #HerHealth #shopMy Profile

    • Stephanie Kay
      Twitter: stephmommybrain

      We haven’t done much in Newport as a family. Probably because it’s ALLLLLLLL the way over the bridge. 😉 But we have flown kites at Goddard Park in Warwick.

  4. Great ideas! I’ve visited – and enjoyed – all 5 suggestions here. I’d also recommend a trip to Bristol. Walk around the Mt. Hope farm grounds (peaceful location, beautiful views), then picnic in Colt State Park!
    Jane – Mom Generations recently posted..Tyson® Day Starts Products Twitter Party 5/21 at 8PM (ET) #TysonDayStartsMy Profile

    • Stephanie Kay
      Twitter: stephmommybrain

      We also enjoy Bristol. Colt State Park is gorgeous! Coggeshall Farm, Audubon Education Center, and the East Bay Bike Path are super close. That would make a great day 6. :)

  5. Great ideas Stephanie!! Love this list! :-)
    Melissa Hillas recently posted..Gypsetgirl Travel Tip Tuesday ~ Tipping in Foreign CountriesMy Profile

  6. I love this idea. We always come up with a list of things we want to do in RI each summer and somehow Block Island has never gotten checked off. Our must dos always include the Bike Path, climbing on the rocks at Beavertail, Aunt Carrie’s and Iggy’s, and many of what you have already listed.
    Tamara @ We3Travel recently posted..Visit RI’s Scenic Towns with Experience Rhode IslandMy Profile


  1. […] Once May arrives I feel like a ROAD TRIP!!! Travel isn’t in our plans for another couple of months but that doesn’t stop me from thinking about vacation destinations, pinning tips for traveling with kids, or writing Rhode Island staycation ideas. […]