Landmarks in Rhode Island – 10 Most Famous

As you travel through Rhode Island, there are several landmarks that you must see along the way.

Rhode Island has a long history in the United States, and these landmarks mark different points during that time, giving you the opportunity to see Rhode Island’s past and how it impacted the country.

Famous Landmarks in Rhode Island

1. The Breakers

The Breakers

Located in Newport, Rhode Island, The Breakers is found alone on Ochre Point Avenue and is one of the largest mansions in the area.

Once the summer home of Cornelius Vanderbilt II, the 70-room mansion was designed with a Renaissance theme in 1895. The entire property is designed to be fire-resistant, with no wooden parts found throughout the home and steel used throughout the foundation and wall structure.

In 1971, it made the National Register of Historic Places in 1994. Currently, this property is owned by the Newport Preservation Society. It is open for visits year-round and operates as a museum to help fund the Bellevue Avenue Historic District.

This society obtained ownership of the property in 1972, and the third floor is home to family members who live there, per the purchasing arrangement.

2. RISD Museum

RISD Museum

While in Providence, it is essential that you stop by the Rhode Island School of Design, or RISD Museum as the largest art museum in the state. It is also among the top 20 art museums in the country.

When you visit this museum, you will be exposed to seven curatorial departments that give you an overview of arr in the area. As you tour this facility, you will find art that is both local and international giving you an insight into all areas of the art world.

The different areas include ancient, Asian, contemporary, decorative, costumes, paintings, and sculptures through 1960. No matter what type of art you are interested in, the RISD Museum has something to capture your attention.

Throughout the year, you can also find special events held at this museum to attract local art lovers.

3. Fort Adams State Park

Fort Adams State Park

One of the best green spaces in Rhode Island is Fort Adam State Park. Like several properties in the area, the original owner of this space was William Brenton and This space is open to the public, allowing residents and tourists alike to enjoy the historical space in Newport.

For nearly a century, this space was a large fortified harbor utilized by the military. Today, this park is available to the public and is now home to several festivals, including the Newport Jazz Festival.

Those who live in the area know that this park has one of the best beach spots at Fort Adams Beach. There are a number of conveniences available for guests, also, making it a great place to park and visit the beach.

If you are interested in taking a guided tour of Fort Adams State Park, these are offered throughout the year at certain times during the week.

4. Marble House

Marble House

Another large mansion located in Newport is the Marble House, built in 1892. This property also belonged to the infamous Vanderbilt family, specifically Alva and William Vanderbilt.

When you first pull into the property, you will notice a resemblance to the White House and the academic approach of the Beaux-Arts theme happening throughout the property.

This property has been listed as a National Historic Landmark since 2006 and now operates today as a public museum for those wanting to visit any time throughout the year.

It is not as large as some of the other mansions in the area, but it does take a U shape in design with four different levels.

As you tour this property, you will see a big transition between this design and The Breakers despite having the same builder, Richard Morris Hunt.

5. Colt State Park

Colt State Park

At over 460 acres, the town of Bristol is home to Colt State Park which is essential for anyone in the area to stop by and enjoy.

This property in its early years was owned by Samuel P. Colt the relative of Samuel Colt, the legendary gun manufacturer. It meant that this property would be used for public use by Rhode Island, and they took over maintenance of this property in 1965.

The park offers a number of amenities for visitors to enjoy, including hiking trails, horse trails, boating options, and green space to enjoy picnicking. There is also an observation tower that allows you to take in the different views offered around the park.

6. The Elms

The Elms

Right on Bellevue Avenue is another mansion that you must visit when you are in Newport. The Elms is a large home designed as a summer home in 1901 for Edward Julius Berwind.

This property also has a French influence and is built with Gilded Age standards of no wood throughout the home. Some of the best features of this property are the influence that is placed on the landscape and the gardens.

The conservatory is designed to house a variety of different plants and is a popular feature of this home. In 1996, this property was declared a National Historic Landmark and has been open for the public to enjoy since that time.

Those who tour the property also get to enjoy the additional structures at the edge as a way to enjoy the past and show a level of appreciation.

7. Old Slater Mill National Historic Landmark

Old Slater Mill National Historic Landmark

On the riverbank in Pawtucket, Rhode Island is the Old Slater Miller, an addition to the National Historic Registry in 2014.

This water-powered textile mill gives a glimpse into the past of the area, seeing how these mills were utilized to provide materials to the local communities. This mill in particular is modeled after European mills that were taking cotton and spinning it into the yarn needed by families.

Today, this mill is utilized as a public museum and is easily accessible for locals and those traveling from out of town.

8. International Tennis Hall of Fame

International Tennis Hall of Fame

Many folks in Rhode Island have an appreciation for tennis, and you may share that same love.

Right in Newport is the International Tennis Hall of Fame which is meant to show honor and respect to some of the best players to ever play for the United States and other countries across the world.

Tennis lovers find this to be a great stop, especially if your travels take you through Rhode Island at any point. In addition to players, you will find tributes to coaches and others who have made an impact on the sport.

This museum is located within the Newport Casino, another mansion in the area that housed the National Tennis Club on the courts on the property. They are open throughout the year and you can also request a guided tour.

9. Beavertail Lighthouse Museum

Beavertail Lighthouse Museum

As soon as you enter Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island through the water, you are greeted by Beavertail Lighthouse Museum.

First erected in 1856, this lighthouse is one of the best-preserved lighthouses in the state, and is still able to fully function. In 1989, after being consumed by the U.S. Coast Guard, this lighthouse was turned into a museum to be utilized during the day for the public.

As you tour the museum part of the property, you will find numerous information about lighthouse history in Rhode Island and the surrounding areas.

There is always a lighthouse keeper on-site to maintain the property and keep it in working condition.

This area did undergo some damage in the 1930s due to storms in the ocean, but this has since been repaired and maintained by the United States Lighthouse Board before the U.S. Coast Guard became involved.

10. Brenton Point State Park

Brenton Point State Park

Located on Narragansett Bay, Brenton Point State Park offers direct ocean access to the public and is a popular location for locals and visitors to enjoy throughout the year.

There is a lot of history on this 89-acre property, with the Park Ranger barracks housed in the servant quarters part of the property.

The manor that once stood on the property was destroyed in the 1960s, but you can still visit the original carriage house and stables which have been preserved.

Those who visit Brenton Point State Park take advantage of the different activities available. You can enjoy fishing, hiking, or even kite flying with the breeze coming out of the bay.