16 Great Playgrounds in Rhode Island
Create your own park tour and hit up several of these sweet spots for kids in one day.
Editor’s Note: This post was updated on October 1, 2018 from a post that was published in 2015. Additional updates will be made over time.
My kids and I are into discovering new playgrounds. We’ve hit up different towns surrounding where we live and traveled far to test out slides, sandboxes and merry-go-rounds. Here’s a round-up for families looking to spend an hour or two having fun at public playgrounds while enjoying the cool fall air. Plus explore nearby places where you can grab a kid-friendly lunch or dinner. Is a playground you love not mentioned? Please add it in the comments!
1. Brandon’s Beach
Burnside park, 40 Kennedy Plaza, Providence
This playground is located right in the urban center of Providence in Burnside Park. It was created in memory of Brandon Goldner, the son of Hasbro Chairman and CEO Brian Goldner, and his wife, Barbara. Brandon died in 2015 of an accidental heroin overdose, and his parents wanted to celebrate his life and the memories they created together as a family through creating the playground. It has creative exploration areas where kids can play in the middle of the city. The playground features structures that look like the masts of a ship, complete with netting sails and rigging for climbing and ropes for tightrope-walking. There’s a giant swing that can fit several children at once, as well as regular swings, a slide and jungle gym, musical instruments like upright xylophones and a spinning wheel that’s a twist on a merry-go-round. My kids had fun playing with kids from all different cultures in the heart of the city.
Grab Lunch: Food trucks visit Kennedy Plaza along Washington Street on Wednesdays through Fridays between the hours of 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Some other fun places for kids within walking distance are Friskie Fries, UMelt and Luxe Burger Bar.
2. Hugh Cole Playground
50 Asylum Rd., Warren
This is our favorite park for its separate toddler and big-kid play areas. Climbing forts are made from recycled plastic, and play areas include a fisherman’s boat, tiny clam shacks, play houses and storefronts, a deep-sea themed climbing wall and a huge sandbox complete with construction trucks. There’s also a pavilion for performing, basketball courts and a woodland walking path that leads to gorgeous waterfront views overlooking the Kickemuit River.
Grab Lunch: The Square Peg, 51 Miller St., Warren, 401-215-3831, squarepegwarren.com (Closed Sundays and Mondays)
3. Park at Warren Town Beach
Water St., Warren
Enjoy the waterfront views and town beach at this little park close to downtown Warren and adjacent to Burr’s Hill Park. There’s a climbing structure and slide for the little ones, various seesaws and swing sets and a merry-go-round, too.
4. Pirate Ship Park
250 Water St., Warren
Photo by Angel Tucker.
This is a small park on Water Street in downtown Warren. The major draw is the giant pirate ship that kids can climb onto and say, “Ahoy Matey!” There’s also a swinging gate and picnic tables.
Grab Lunch: Federal Hill Pizza, 495 Main St., Warren, 401-245-0045, federalhillpizza.com (Lunch hours, Fri.-Sun)
5. Peck Center Playground
Town Hall Dr., Barrington
Located behind the Barrington Town Hall, this park caters to both big kids and the little ones, too. You’ll see a giant spiderweb-like jungle gym, and a wooden climbing tower with two big slides. A separate toddler area, covered with soft padding for tear-free slips and falls, contains drawbridges, mini climbing walls, alligators and a stationary fire engine.
Grab Lunch: Crepelicious, 60 Maple Ave., Barrington, 401-337-5945, crepeliciousri.com
6. Friends of Gladys Potter Garden-Humboldt Playground
Humbolt Street at Elton Street, Providence, facebook.com/hparkfriends
The renovated park is heaven for children who enter behind its heavy wrought iron gates. Take a look inside the free library for a good book to read, or sail right past and go directly to the new wooden boat, playhouse and swings. Kids can bring bikes and pushcars to ride along the park’s winding tree-lined paths, just make sure to bring everything home with you as you can no longer leave toys here. There’s also a sandbox circle filled with construction trucks, sand pails, shovels and more.
Grab Lunch: Red Stripe, 465 Angell St., Providence, 401-437-6950, redstriperestaurants.com
7. Tot Lot
Ninth St., Providence
Photo by Richard Staples from 9th Street Tot Lot Facebook page.
The Tot Lot is just what you’d expect from the name; perfect for toddlers. There’s a jungle gym for climbing, swings and a giant sandbox. Families can no longer leave playhouses, toy cars and buggies (because of liability) so the park looks very different now. But the sandbox with trucks, shovels and more ensure any kid will have a ball at this park.
Grab Lunch: Gregg’s, 1303 Main S., Providence, 401-831-5700, greggsusa.com
8. Lippitt Park Playground
1015 Hope St., Providence
This is a favorite park to stop at before or after the Hope Street Farmers Market (depending on my perishables). I love this park mostly because there are always other kids there for impromptu playtime, although that can also be overwhelming if you have a little one who wants to keep up with the big kids. It has your usual suspects like slides and a climbing tower, but what really sets it apart are all the interactive gears and levers that kids can tinker with along the perimeter.
Grab Lunch: The Wurst Window at Chez Pascal, 960 Hope St., Providence, 401-421-4422, chez-pascal.com/#dogs
9. Cabral Park at Fox Point
515 Wickenden St., Providence
We hit up this park this [past summer for the splash and spray area, but my toddler was so enthralled with the playground, he never wanted to go into the water park. He had fun climbing the structure, running up the ramps, traversing the bridges and plummeting down the winding slide.
Grab Lunch: Tallulah’s Taqueria, 146 Ives St., Providence, 401-272-8226, tallulahstaqueria.com
10. imPossible Dream playground
575 Centerville Rd., Warwick, impossibledreamplayground.org
Photo from impossibledreamplayground.org.
A child’s dream come true and Rhode Island’s first integrated playground that is accessible to children of all physical abilities. The playground is filled with swings, slides, see saws, sand boxes, fantasy play houses, miniature golf, an activity center, picnic areas and accessible rest rooms.
Grab Lunch: Five Guys, 300 Quaker Ln., Warwick, 401-828-3100, fiveguys.com
11. Rockwell Park
John Street and Thames Street, Bristol
After lunch or dinner at Aidan’s, playtime is in order. What better place than a park by Bristol’s docks? Take in the water views as your little one swings, slides and climbs.
12. Bristol Town Beach Playground
50 Asylum Rd., Bristol
Another waterfront gem located close to Colt State Park and the East Bay Bike Path, this playground is surrounded by picnicking areas, ball fields, basketball courts, a volleyball net and a skateboard park. This park has a climbing gym with slides, swings and more. You also have access to the biggest sandbox ever, the beach!
Grab Lunch: Beehive Cafe, 10 Franklin St., Bristol, 401-396-9994, thebeehivecafe.com
13. Pawtuxet Village Playground
Commercial St., Cranston, facebook.com
This park has a colorful jungle gym, swings, a fire truck, a play boat and a free library. Kids love jumping inside the boat and imagining going on a seaside journey. BYO fishing poles!
Grab Lunch: Fellini Pizzeria, 2190 Broad St., Cranston, 401-467-5992, fellinipizzeria.com
14. Misquamicut Beach Playground
257 Atlantic Ave., Westerly
Take one last trip to the beach (we’re not talking about swimming and fun under the summer sun!). Kids can climb the jungle gym, towers and rock wall.
Grab Lunch: Paddy’s Beach Restaurant, 159 Atlantic Ave., Westerly, 401-596-2610, paddysbeach.com
15. Wilson Park Playground
80 Newtown Ave., North Kingstown, northkingstown.org
For those who like to bike, kayak and swim, this park is a hit. The playground has all the usual suspects of swings, climbing towers and more, but you can also take advantage of all the nearby recreational facilities like a bike path, ball fields and boat ramp.
Grab Lunch: Shayna’s Place, 45 Brown St., North Kingstown, 401-294-8740, shaynasplaceri.com
16. Hasbro Boundless Playground
1000 Elmwood Ave., Providence, 401-785-9450, rwpzoo.org/carousel
There’s a special toddler area, complete with a soft padded surface for boo-boo-less spills, as well as a sit-and-steer school bus, a tunnel, a toddler slide, baby swings and more. There are two separate jungle gyms, one built for little ones and one geared for older children, so you don’t have to worry about your youngster being out of your reach or getting caught up in the mix with the big kids. On the toddler side, there are lots of ramps to run down, a fun slide made with metal tubing that makes fun noises when kids dive down it, as well as several other slides of varying heights and lengths. After the playground, we entertained ourselves with $2 trips around the carousel (accompanying adults with toddlers ride free).
Grab Lunch: Olga’s Cup and Saucer, 103 Point St., Providence, 401-831-6666, olgascupandsaucer.blogspot.com