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The Absolute Best Time to Visit Rhode Island in 2024

The Absolute Best Time to Visit Rhode Island in 2024

What's the best time to visit Rhode Island?

The best time to visit Rhode Island is in the summer (June-August), when the weather is perfect for beaches and the state hosts numerous festivals. Coastal temperatures average around 80 degrees, with ocean water warm enough for swimming by August. Key events like the Newport Jazz Festival and Rhode Island Pride highlight a season full of activity, with all local amenities and businesses fully accessible.

Rhode Island may be small, but it is mighty—this New England state is packed with fun things to do. Many visitors head to Providence, the state capital and home to historic buildings, world-class art, and a famously libertine nightlife scene.

Its gorgeous seaside has great beaches and family-friendly beach towns such as Narragansett — and historic mansions built by celebrities that want to enjoy the scenery, such as The Breakers at Newport.

Rhode Island has a lot to see and do, especially if you visit when the weather is nice. Keep reading to learn more about the best, least busy, cheapest, and worst times to visit — you’ll be glad you did!

Overall Best Time to Visit Rhode Island

Fall colors and foliage view of the Blackstone River during the best time to visit Rhode Island

The Blackstone River in Cumberland, Rhode Island off Rt. 116 bridge with beautiful autumn foliage and fall colors on ‎March ‎27, ‎2019/Mike Fig Photo/Shutterstock

The best time to visit Rhode Island is in the summer (June-August), which is perfect beach weather and when there are the most festivals. The state, like the rest of New England, has a continental climate with four distinct seasons.

While winter can get chilly, summer weather is usually glorious. In Providence, the average high temperature in July is 83 degrees, and there are only nine days of rain the whole month.

This is perfect weather for enjoying some al fresco dining, exploring the city parks, or spending the whole day outdoors. If you’re visiting with the goal of heading to the beach, then you definitely want to visit in the summer when the weather is the best.

In Narragansett, average high temperatures in July and August are around 80 degrees. More important is the water temperature, which reaches 71 degrees by August — finally good temperatures for swimming, as the ocean is cold for most of the year.

A lot of Rhode Island’s smaller towns, especially the beach towns, are seasonal destinations. During the off-season, many businesses and attractions shorten their hours or close entirely.

Visit in the summer, and you’ll be able to enjoy beach bars, fish shacks, and other quaint attractions without being disappointed by closures. Plus, many public beaches only have lifeguards from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Going to the beach during the peak summer months means that you will have all the amenities you would wish from a beach day at your fingertips.

Summer is also the peak festival season in Rhode Island. Providence, the state capital, has some of the best. The most famous is Rhode Island Pride, which draws visitors from all over to this famously LGBT-friendly city in June.

Other must-see events include:

Other towns also have packed cultural calendars in the summer. Newport has several world-class events, including the famous Newport Jazz Festival (July/early August). No matter where you go in Rhode Island in the summer, you’re bound to find something fun to do.

Cheapest Time to Visit Rhode Island

Newport City Old Harbor view showing why you should visit Rhode Island

Ramunas Bruzas/Shutterstock

The cheapest time to visit Rhode Island is in the winter (January-February), when you can get deals on accommodation and flights. How much you save in the winter will depend on when you visit.

Hotel prices in Providence don’t fluctuate by much throughout the year because the capital is a popular year-round destination.

Still, by visiting in the winter, you will pay hotel prices that are 15-25% less than during the peak summer season. However, you can save on other costs in Providence by visiting in January or February.

If you want to go shopping, many retailers have sales in January after the holiday shopping season is over. January also has another edition of Providence Restaurant Week, when many restaurants in town offer discounted specials.

Outside of Providence, you can get much bigger savings because other towns have bigger seasonal variations in demand.

Even glitzy Newport has winter discounts. During the off-season, you can save 30-50% on hotel rooms in this town. If you are flying to Rhode Island, then the best time for bargains is in January or February.

Least Busy Time to Visit Rhode Island

Beavertail Lighthouse Park with a buoy on the ground at sunset during the least busy time to visit Rhode Island

Romiana Lee/Shutterstock

The least busy time to visit Rhode Island is in the winter. However, we recommend visiting in either spring or fall to take advantage of fewer crowds and decent weather.

Winter’s low visitor numbers continue well into spring, and it takes a while to warm up. Average temperatures in April in Newport are around 54 degrees Fahrenheit. Spring is also fairly rainy.

You may get lucky and have days and days of sunshine, or spend your whole trip carrying around an umbrella. The unpredictable weather means fewer tourists, so you can enjoy popular attractions such as The Breakers without waiting in long lines or jostling for space.

Spring also has low hotel prices, only slightly higher than the winter. The festival calendar is starting back up again. One of Providence’s most famous events, WaterFire, starts up again in March.

This festival, which happens sporadically from spring to fall, lights up the river with floating bonfires. There are other accompanying events, such as art installations and food stalls.

Fall has more visitors than the spring, but you can still avoid the worst of the summer crowds. Crowd numbers dip after Labor Day, but temperatures often do not.

September in beach towns such as Newport is still pleasantly warm, with average high temperatures of around 71 degrees, and the ocean is still warm enough for swimming. Early fall is a good time to visit the beach but beat the crowds.

Away from the seashore, fall in Rhode Island brings colorful scenery as the leaves change color.

Admire the fall foliage and go birdwatching in areas such as Napatree Point Conservation Area. Venture away from the major towns for seasonal activities such as pumpkin patches and apple picking.

Fall is also the best time to experience Providence’s university culture. Students are coming back into town, and university-affiliated cultural institutions are beginning their work again.

Worst Time to Visit Rhode Island

Prospect Terrace Park during summer showing the worst time to visit Rhode Island

Richard Cavalleri/Shutterstock

Weather-wise, the worst time to visit Rhode Island is during the winter. However, you can still find a lot to do even when the weather is chilly.

Winter in Rhode Island is chilly, like in the rest of New England. In Providence in January, daytime temperatures reach a maximum of 37 degrees Fahrenheit, while at night they can get as low as 21 degrees Fahrenheit.

Winter is usually very snowy, which can cause travel delays and headache-inducing traffic. The official Providence tourist board reminds tourists to pack layers and warm clothing if visiting in winter.

If you aren’t dressed properly, the cold weather and snow can make you miserable as you try to walk around. Sometimes, the snowy and cold weather just adds to the experience. Around Christmas, the bite in the air makes the holiday decorations and celebrations even more magical.

Rhode Island has a lot of fun holiday-themed events, such as the Blackstone Valley Polar Express (November-December). Newport organizes a Holiday Lantern Tour, when the mansions are even more beautiful than before.

In January and February, the festive spirit may be gone, but you’ll save some money on your trip. Plus, there are always indoor attractions to enjoy, such as the museums and restaurants.

Frequently Asked Questions

Photo of quaint Newport pictured in the downtown area on a nice calm day in December, one of the worst times to visit the area

Newport, RI USA – December 19, 2020: The historic seaside city of Newport, Rhode Island features iconic architecture, whimsical signs and colorful displays of nature/George Wirt/Shutterstock

Here are a few of the most common questions people have asked about visiting Rhode Island:

How many days do you need in Rhode Island?

You should spend at least seven days on your trip to Rhode Island if you want to see the whole state. You need time to explore Providence, Newport, and some other small towns.

When is the best month to visit Newport, Rhode Island?

September is the best time to visit Newport. The weather is warm and pleasant, but it’s far less crowded than in the summer.

When is the best month to visit Providence, RI?

The best month to visit Providence is June, which has the best festivals of the year. The weather is also nice.

Why do tourists go to Rhode Island?

Tourists head to Rhode Island to see the historic mansions, beautiful seashore, and to explore the cultural scene of Providence.

Is it expensive to visit Rhode Island?

The answer depends on which parts of Rhode Island you are visiting. High-end beach towns are expensive to visit, but the capital is one of the most affordable major cities.

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Rhode Island?

Rhode Island is at its best in the summer, when the weather is warm and the beach towns are open for business. If you’re not interested in beaches, visit in the fall when crowds are more manageable.

So, with so much to see and to and plenty of amazing times to visit, what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience for yourself all that Rhode Island has to offer. Happy travels!