5 Perfect Rhode Island Spots for a Picnic
Grab some supplies and head to one of these destinations.
Everyone loves a picnic — dining outdoors by the water or cityside. It’s a way to get the gang together without the hassle of a dinner reservation, and you can bring your furry friends. We’ve included spots for every occasion as well as local businesses that offer picnic packages, from a simple sandwich to a full-blown meal. (Looking for more of a catered experience? Check out our roundup of local picnic purveyors here).
Prospect Terrace Park, Providence
Overlooking the skyline of the capital, this hilltop park is the perfect spot for a city picnic without all the hustle and bustle. Located on the outskirts of the Brown University campus on the East Side, a historic statue of Roger Williams stands tall at the entrance facing west, and visitors (both local and out of town) can trace the skyline and identify some of the most notable buildings, such as the Superman Building and Providence Graduate Hotel. Catch spectacular sunsets as the sun slips below the horizon and illuminates the cotton candy sky. 60 Congdon St., Providence, visitrhodeisland.com
India Point Park, Providence
Located at the base of the city with access to the Seekonk and Providence rivers, this open park has been home to many outdoor concerts, festivals (including the annual Cape Verdean Independence Day Festival and Rhode Island Seafood Festival), yoga in the park and more. The tree-lined park runs parallel to I-195 and has plenty of spots in the sun and the shade. Spread out a blanket on the hillside next to the cascading steps connecting to the East Side for full sun or park it on the dock. Grab a brewski at nearby Narragansett Brewery or extend the day with a ferry trip to Newport (the Providence ferry terminal is just steps away). For the kiddos, a giant jungle gym sits on the far east end of the park. 201 India St., Providence, friendsofindiapointpark.org
Narragansett Gazebo, Narragansett
If you can find a parking spot along the sea wall, you’re in luck! This corner plot of land is surrounded by local hotspot restaurants, the pier and Narragansett Town Beach. If the beach gets too crowded, spread out your blanket on the grass and take in the ocean breeze. A small, quaint gazebo lies in the center of the greenery, which is home to summer concerts Fridays at 6 p.m. Throughout the season, the gazebo and adjacent Veterans Memorial Park host art festivals, the annual Calamari Festival and Endless Summer Festival, so there’s always something to eat, watch or do before or after a picnic.
Know before you go: The area is completely uncovered, so bring lots of sunscreen! Beach Street/Ocean Road, Narragansett, narragansettri.gov
Newport Polo Grounds/Glen Farm, Portsmouth
Pack a lunch and grab a spot on the famous polo grounds of Glen Farm. Originally used by Colonists for breeding prized livestock, the well-groomed fields and fully restored barn buildings are now home to the Newport International Polo Series. Situated just a short walk away from Sandy Point Beach, visitors can feel the ocean breeze flow over the open field. Just bring your own lawn chair, blanket and lots of sunscreen as there are few shady spots. The polo grounds are only available for picnics on game days with paid admission, sold at the gate or online. 250 Linden Ln., Portsmouth, nptpolo.com
Colt State Park, Bristol
Besides the beloved Fourth of July parade, Bristol offers up seriously scenic parks and water views. Tucked away from the charming Bristol waterfront are 464 acres of green overlooking Narragansett Bay. Enter the park and say hello to the two large bronze bulls, Conrad and Pomeroy (named after Samuel Pomeroy Colt, whose farm once stood on the site), sitting atop the marble columns. With four miles of paved pathways and hiking trails, getting around on foot or wheels is a breeze. The park is separated into three areas with restrooms and picnic tables, some of which are sheltered, and can be reserved by calling the park’s office. Looking for an intimate spot for private weddings? Check out the Chapel by the Sea, an outdoor arbor with stone benches for guest seating, and follow up with a reception held at the adjacent pavilion. Take a short walk over to the Bristol Town Beach, playgrounds, baseball fields, tennis courts or the Quinta-Gamelin Community Center for more family fun. No matter where you choose to gather in the park, you’ll get sweeping water views.
Know before you go: This park has a strict carry in, carry out policy requiring all visitors to dispose of their own trash elsewhere to keep the park clean. Route 114, Bristol, riparks.com