Take a Ferry Ride in Narragansett Bay
The Rhode Island Department of Transportation offers a ferry service with stops in Newport and Providence, and most recently, Bristol.
Skip the beach traffic and head to the docks. The Rhode Island Department of Transportation’s Providence to Newport ferry now includes weekend service to Bristol. This additional service stop, which is new this summer, runs through Labor Day Weekend and allows locals and tourists alike to check out the East Bay while avoiding the frustration of summer traffic (and parking!). To explore the full ferry schedule, click here.
Once you step off the ferry in Bristol at the State Street Pier, spend a day exploring the seaside town. See history come alive at Linden Place Mansion, take a walk or ride your bike at Colt State Park and grab a bite to eat at the Beehive Cafe. The dock is a short walk away from Hope Street which is bustling with other restaurants, quaint stores and more.
The ferry also accommodates riders from Newport and beyond who are looking to spend a night at WaterFire. You can stay in the capital city until about 10:30 p.m. and will return to Bristol and then Newport as the final stop around midnight.
“Aside from the ferry that transports people from Jamestown to Newport and the ferries that go to Block Island, there are no ferries in Narragansett Bay itself,” says Charles St. Martin, chief of public affairs at the RIDOT. “Our director feels very strongly that it is one of the state’s greatest natural resources. Water transportation is common in other parts of the country in bays such as ours. Many folks also can’t get out on the water as they don’t have their own boat, so this service provides opportunities to get out there.”
According to St. Martin, the ferry service uses funding from federal grants for congestion mitigation like air quality improvements. Cars are taken off the road which reduces the congestion, parking, other traffic issues and more. Tickets cost $11 each way per adult and $5.50 each way for children ages three through twelve, seniors and people with disabilities. Infants ages two and younger are free. Plus, bikes and pets are allowed on board for no additional charge. Click here to purchase a ticket. Tickets are also available at the Providence ferry terminal at 25 India St., at the Bristol Maritime Center on 127 Thames St. and in Newport at the ferry terminal in Perrotti Park. However, advanced reservations are recommended. For additional information, visit ridethebayri.com.