What Rhode Island Outdoor Activity Should You Have On Your Bucket List this Summer?
Whether you land on shark diving, parasailing or mountain biking, these adventurous activities are sure to get you out of your comfort zone.
Choose your own adventure…
Let’s Go Fishing
How big a fish are we talking?
A. The bigger the better. Bonus points if it has teeth.
B. Little fish, please. Something I can eat for dinner.
If you chose A: Try Shark Diving.
Dun dun … dun dun … If the sound of the Jaws score makes you want to jump in the water and swim with the beasts, then shark diving might be the activity for you. At Rhode Island Shark Diving, the team of oceanographers and filmographers based out of Point Judith does it without
the cage, making this experience as up-close and personal as you can get. After departing from Point View Marina, the R/V Warfish (read: research vessel) travels into the Atlantic Ocean, where the waters teem with blue and mako sharks along with sunfish, whales and seabirds. Lauren Romeiro, a videographer and marine biologist who runs the company alongside cinematographer Joe Romeiro, says the sightings are never the same twice. “A lot of people come on with no experience with sharks at all, and then they come out absolutely loving them and traveling all around and diving with their species,” she says. rhodeislandsharkdiving.com
If you chose B: Try Fly Fishing.
Rhode Island isn’t usually what comes to mind when people think of fly fishing — gurgling mountain streams with sweeping Western backdrops might be more fitting — but according to Jim Barr and Bob Hines of the Rhode Island School of Fly Fishing, the smallest state offers some of the best fly angling around. “Traditionally, when most people get started, they want to go out for trout fishing,” says Hines. “Once you realize that you can catch any species of fish on fly tackle, now we go after all different types of species.” The two Coast Guard captains have a combined ninety years of experience and offer guided trips and lessons in fishing and fly casting. Their favorite spots to take beginners include the Charlestown Breachway, Wood River and Narrow River. rischoolofflyfishing.com
Up in the Air
Free fall or smooth sailing?
A. I live for adrenaline.
B. I’m all about the views.
If you chose A: Try Sky Diving.
At Boston Skydive Center in Smithfield, participants can experience the adrenaline rush of jumping out of a plane at 10,000 feet — all while strapped to an instructor with years of experience. The center’s Cessna 182 is based out of North Central State Airport, where friends and family can watch from a viewing area as you leap from a plane and cruise to the ground with your parachute. Owner Dean O’Flaherty has completed more than 25,000 jumps in his career. His advice for new jumpers? “Stop thinking about it and just do it. If you start thinking about it too much, you’ll
talk yourself out of it.” bostonskydivecenter.com
If you chose B: Try Parasailing.
“Aloha” is how Kevin Pilger signs his emails, and a Hawaiian way of life is exactly what this California transplant is hoping to offer his customers at Island Style Parasail in Newport. Parasailing tours run from May to September and depart from Bowen’s Wharf, where customers can choose from 600-foot-line, 800-foot-line and 1,000-foot-line options. “The higher you go, the better your view,” says Pilger, who adds you can see Block Island on a clear day. “A lot of people think that it’s going to be this really exhilarating, fast ride almost like a roller coaster, but actually it’s a lot more peaceful than that.” islandstyleparasail.com
Grab Some Wheels
Pedal hard or sit back and relax?
A. No pain, no gain.
B. Does it come with cupholders?
If you chose A: Try Mountain Biking.
Rhode Island is home to nearly 500 miles of mountain bike-accessible trails, many of them maintained by the Rhode Island chapter of the New England Mountain Bike Association. Alan Winsor, chapter president, recommends beginners start with an easier area like the Big River Management Area, which offers 8,600 acres of trails for all skill levels just off Route 95. Once they’re comfortable, riders can hit up a more challenging system such as Westerly’s Woody Hill, where all the trails are named after local craft beers. Try out the Flying Jenny or the Captain’s Daughter before sipping the real thing at Grey Sail Brewing down the street. rinemba.org
If you chose B: Try Rail Explorers.
If hurtling down narrow trails on the seat of a mountain bike doesn’t sound like your idea of a good time, a leisurely ride along the former rail lines of Aquidneck Island might be more your speed. In Portsmouth, visitors can catch views of Narragansett Bay and enjoy the scenery from the comfort of their own railbike with Rail Explorers, the pedaling activity that takes riders along the tracks of the former Old Colony and Newport Railway. Tours include northern and southern routes as well as fireside, evening and brunch options (another mimosa, please). After your tour, duck into Newport or check out the Grand Bellevue dinner train for more rail-based exploring. railexplorers.net