“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”
– F.Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
We may be a little biased, but we love a good Rhode Island summer. We have great beaches, amazing food, vibrant culture, and great festivals. How many of the ideas on our Ultimate Summer Bucket List will your family get to this summer?
Want to check out some of these places, but don’t want to go alone? Join one of our Summer Bucket List Playdates! Throughout the months of July and August we’ll be organizing mini meet ups and some of our favorite RI locations – all of whom have been kind enough to extend some great discounts/specials to our readers. We’ll bring the snacks, you bring the kids! Make sure to sign up for our email for updates on the playdates.
And if you blast through this list and the kids are still crying out “I’m bored!”? Check out our Guide to Summer Camps!
Rhode Island Summer days can get LONG with the kids home from school. Keep these ideas handy for when the kids start complaining that they are bored. (Or just make them clean their room!).
- Have a water balloon fight.
- Make a blanket fort.
- Try one of these simple at home activities.
- Have a watermelon seed spitting contest.
- Let the kids stay up late and stargaze together.
- Make paper airplanes.
- Do a scavenger hunt of at-home items.
- Make a homemade slip n slide.
- Have a lemonade stand.
- Break out the sprinklers (or make your own!)
- Play capture the flag.
- Create an obstacle course in your own backyard.
- Ride bikes.
- Raining? Measure the rainfall!
- Have the kids collect interesting rocks and paint them. Find somewhere fun in the yard to make a “rock garden”.
- Go on a bug hunt.
- Have a sidewalk chalk “Art Show.”
- Have a dance party.
- Have too much fruit from berry picking? Make homemade sorbet with the kids.
- Go on a camp out in your backyard. This is great for sleepovers!
- Make S’Mores.
- Two words – sensory play!
- Spread some cheer to kids at Hasboro with Good Night Lights. At 8:30 people in various parts of the state gather to signal to kids in the hospital that they are thinking about them. Through blinking their headlights, shining flashlights, or turning lights on and off, Good Night Lights aims to spread some cheer. Check out their website for info on where people gather. Get a group together and go one evening this summer!
- Help your local fire fighters cool down by bringing ice cream/treats to firehouse (they might even let you see the trucks).
- Next time you’re at your local playground, teach your kids about taking care of their community by taking a few minutes to clean up.
- Even closer to home, pick up trash in your neighborhood.
- Didn’t quite get around to spring cleaning? Do a summer clean out and find toys/clothes/household items to donate.
- Go to the beach – yes, even with a baby!
- Explore a new playground.
- Cool off at a splashpad.
- Go for a bike ride or walk on the Blacktone River Bikeway.
- Go on hike with the kids!
- Go fishing, but don’t forget your license! RI Residents pay only $18, and you can buy online!
- Have a picnic lunch at Brenton Point.
- Have a picnic at Colt State Park.
- Get awestruck with local fireworks.
- Enjoy an outdoor concert at Burnside Park.
- Rent a kayak or canoe and paddle around Lincoln Woods State Park.
- Explore Swan Point Cemetery.
- Head to Spring Lake.
- Get up-close at Chepachet Farm’s Petting Zoo.
- Go camping.
- Go berry picking.
- Visit the farmers market.
- Tend the garden.
- Visit Slater Park and see an outdoor concert, visit the animals at Daggett Farm, ride the swan boats on the pond, enjoy the playground, and visit the home of the Rhode Island Watercolor Society.
- Organize a family bike ride from Barrington to Bristol.
- Take an overnight trip to one of these nearby destinations.
We asked our contributors what Rhode Island summer food they were dreaming of. This is what they had to say. What would you add to the list?
- Go to Red Parrot in Newport for nachos and a mudslide (and some Parrot Pizza for the kids!)
- Hit up Wrights for a family style chicken dinner.
- And don’t forget about Wright’s Dairy farm either!
- Have ice cream at Brickley’s.
- Discover some new clam shacks.
- Start the morning right with Allies Donuts.
- Drink all the Del’s!
- Enjoy a whole new level of comfort food at Blackie’s Bulldog Tavern.
- Grab a food truck lunch at Kennedy Plaza.
- End a day at the beach with an Awful Awful.
- Chowder, clamcakes, doughboys! Local favorite? Iggy’s, of course.
- Visit Olneyville New York System for an RI favorite, hot weiners.
- Sip a cocktail at Rooftop at the G.
- Have brunch at Castle Hill Inn.
Ditch the Kids
Summer fun shouldn’t be just for the kids! Here are our favorite ideas for things to do when you have a rare minute without them.
- Read some good fiction (and not the rhyming kind!).
- Visit a local coffee shop…alone.
- Spend an afternoon at a local brewery
- Get a babysitter and snuggle up with someone at WaterFire.
- Go on a wine tour.
- Date night!
- Have a picnic dinner on the beach.
- Yoga on the beach.
- Run on the beach.
- Do nothing on the beach alone! (possibly our favorite).
- See a movie- nothing PG allowed!
- Send the kids to Grandmas, and catch up on… sleep.
- Organize the years worth of photos.
Work on the house/yard to do list.
- Go kayaking.
We know summer can get expensive – here are some ways to stretch your budget this summer and a list of 27 local places to get in free. You can have an amazing Rhode Island summer without breaking the bank.
- Summer is the perfect time to hit up a story time. Contact your local library or bookstore for days and times.
- Michaels offers low priced activities for kids in the store (usually between $2 – $5). They are suitable for kids ages 3 and up, and while parents must remain in the store, they can shop while the kids complete the project. Check out your local store for schedules.
- Head to Newport to go for a walk on the cliff walk, play on Third Beach, check out the Newport Mansions, or explore the Green Animals Topiary Garden.
- Have you been to The Fantastic Umbrella Factory? This fun complex in Charlestown, RI has beautiful gardens and greenhouses.
- Go bowling- many of our locals have great summer prices!
- See how many lighthouses you can visit this summer.
- Or how many carousels you can visit in one day!
- Touch the sharks at Biomes Marine Biology Center.
- Spend the day at an art museum.
- Take a day trip to Block Island or Nantucket.
- Catch a PawSox Game.
- Go mini-golfing!
- Take a Whale Watching day trip.
- Pack up the family and catch a movie at the the Drive-In!
- Visit Beavertail Lighthouse and walk the rocks, picnic in the park, or grab a kite.
- Visit Roger Williams Park. Take a ride on the carousel, play on the playground, explore the zoo or botanical gardens, or just go for a walk.
- Get some rainy-day exercise at the trampoline park.
- Even if you can’t snag a babysitter, you can make a brewery tour with kids fun.
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