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Rhode Island Fall Foliage: Small State, Big Color

It can be a little sad when summer comes to an end in Rhode Island, as it’s the Ocean State. Beach days are dwindling, delicious seafood shacks are closing, and daylight hours are shorter.

But you shouldn’t let that get you down, as this means another beautiful fall season is on its way! And it also means that gorgeous Rhode Island fall foliage will soon brighten the smallest state.

There’s nothing like color-changing leaves, and Rhode Island is one of the best states to view them. So, keep reading to learn about some excellent places where you can see this breathtaking phenomenon in Rhode Island.

rhode island fall foliage

When is the Peak of Rhode Island Fall Foliage?

Rhode Island is a little late to the party when it comes to fall foliage. In fact, it still looks and feels like summer throughout September and sometimes into the first week of October. Many people still go to the beach in September!

Cooler air doesn’t arrive until October. So, the peak of Rhode Island fall foliage tends to be mid-October into the end of October. While this may be a little later than other states, the changing leaves come just in time for Halloween!

Places to View Fall Foliage in Northern Rhode Island

Dramatic sky over Lincoln Woods, RI

1. Diamond Hill Vineyards – Cumberland

If you’re a wine lover looking to enjoy Rhode Island fall foliage, Diamond Hill Vineyards is the place to go! This family-owned winery is where you can simply relax on the porch, enjoy the views, and sip on different wines. Beautiful trees surround the vineyard, allowing for all different shades of fall colors. The building and vineyard are essentially smack in the middle of a forest area.

You can enjoy tastings, wine shopping, and walking through the vineyard, and they even offer garden parties. They offer wine by the glass or the bottle. And you can bring a picnic or snack on some of the cheeses and crackers they offer. Whichever activity you decide to do, be sure to stroll around to look at the different tree varieties. Be sure to take a bottle of vineyard-made wine home as well!

2. Swamp Meadow Bridge – Foster

There’s nothing like a New England-covered bridge! Swamp Meadow Bridge is a beautiful place to visit in the Foster area. It crosses over Hemlock Brook and sits on Central Pike. The bridge is in a very rural area of the state, offering miles of gorgeous towering trees.

Swamp Meadow Bridge is a traditional covered bridge with a pitched roof. And it’s smack in the middle of a green oasis that turns into a sea of Rhode Island fall foliage. It truly is one of the most picturesque spots if you’re looking to grab some colorful pictures. This bridge becomes the epitome of fall by the end of October!

3. Lincoln Woods State Park – Lincoln

Visiting Rhode Island’s first state park should be on your list when looking for Rhode Island fall foliage! Lincoln Woods State Park is a place filled with trails, a massive pond, and plenty of outdoor activities. The tree line that surrounds the pond is especially beautiful in the fall, as it reflects in the water below. It’s the perfect picture-taking opportunity!

Play a game of baseball, bring a picnic and admire the view, or simply walk the trails. Enjoy fishing, boating, and other activities while the leaves are falling. The park is 627 gorgeous acres of nature filled with wildlife and plenty of color-changing leaves!

4. Roger Williams Park – Providence

Take a trip to Roger Williams Park for family fun and the stunning warm colors of Rhode Island fall foliage. The park contains 435 acres of land where you can enjoy walking paths and spacious green grass for picnics. You’ll find tennis and baseball areas, gardens, a botanical center, a carousel, a museum, a zoo, and some gorgeous lakes. It’s the perfect place to have lunch and admire the foliage!

During the month of October, the zoo also welcomes Halloween with an event called the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular. They carve thousands of pumpkins every fall and put them on display throughout the zoo for you to walk through. So, you can enjoy the sea of colorful trees during the day and something fun and spooky at night. There’s nothing more fall-related than colorful leaves and pumpkins!

Places to View Fall Foliage in Central Rhode Island

Sea View through the tree in Goddard Memorial State Park, East Greenwich, Rhode Island, on sunset

5. Blithewold Mansion & Gardens – Bristol

The Blithewold Mansion and Gardens is a place that lies on Bristol Harbor. It contains the massive 45-room mansion of the wealthy Van Wickle family, stunning gardens, and an arboretum. You can tour the mansions or walk the grounds. And there are plenty of events throughout the year. And while the gardens are typically at the end of their season in October, the arboretum is full of color!

There are thousands of trees on the property, with some being native and others being exotic. Many of the trees are deciduous, meaning the leaves change colors and fall off in autumn. So, by the end of October, the property is breathtaking. The bright colors are a stunning backdrop to the mansion. This place captures the true essence of Rhode Island fall foliage.

6. Audubon George Parker Woodland Wildlife Refuge – Coventry

If you’re visiting Coventry, a nice place to see nature is at the Audubon George Parker Woodland Wildlife Refuge. There are four great trails for you to follow throughout the refuge, which contains over 800 acres of land. Much of the trails take you through the surrounding forests where you’ll find plenty of deciduous trees, streams, and animals.

It’s an excellent place to view local wildlife, get some exercise, and, of course, see the Rhode Island fall foliage. You can probably spend an entire fall day here, as there are many things to explore. It’s a conservation area. So, much of the refuge contains untouched nature and historic things like carriage roads and cairns (landmark stone piles).

7. Goddard Memorial State Park – Warwick

Warwick has a beautiful place called Goddard Memorial State Park, which contains fields, a beach, and plenty of forested areas. This park actually has 62 species of deciduous trees, which means there are plenty of colors to photograph! You can enjoy these bursts of colors on walking and bridle trails. Or you can use one of the 355 tables to enjoy lunch while admiring the beauty.

The beach is a great place to relax, even on a chilly fall day. Trees line Greenwich Bay, creating a border of warm colors. And it’s an amazing sight when those Rhode Island fall foliage colors reflect into the water.

Places to View Fall Foliage in Southern Rhode Island

Rocky beach of Brenton Point State Park in Rhode Island

8. Ninigret Park – Charlestown

Ninigret Park is like an outdoor recreation area in the middle of the woods that’s great for outdoor family entertainment. You’ll find a pavilion, ball courts, and playgrounds. It even has a small pond equipped with a beach! There are miles of paths where you can walk, bike, rollerblade, or jog. It’s the perfect place to walk your furry friend, allowing you to enjoy the Rhode Island fall foliage together!

The best places to view the leaves are at Little Nini Pond or on the paths. This is where most of the trees are within the park itself. Trees also surround the entire park, as the Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge and Burlingame State Park act as borders. There’s definitely not a shortage of bright fall foliage!

9. Arcadia Management Area – Hope Valley

The Arcadia Management Area is the largest recreation area in Rhode Island. There are plenty of nature-related activities to do, including hiking, horseback riding, biking, fishing, and more! The area contains more than 14,000 acres of forest. So it’s like a color explosion by the time October arrives, with many shades of red, orange, and yellow.

Kayaking in the ponds within the area is by far the best way to view Rhode Island fall foliage. The area will look like something out of a movie with the glistening water and saturated colors. Kayaking through the trees will also get you some great social media-worthy pictures!

10. Brenton Point State Park – Ocean Drive – Newport

Ocean Drive is a long stretch of oceanside road that can show you the best parts of Newport. You’ll see the Atlantic Ocean on one side, along with forests and homes on the other side. It’s a breathtaking road. An excellent place to stop to view Rhode Island fall foliage is Brenton Point Park.

The park contains 89 acres of spacious grassy areas, picnic benches, grills, and plenty of forest. You can enjoy sightseeing, birdwatching, exercising, kite flying, fishing, and more. And there are some abandoned historic stables located in the back of the park. While you cannot go inside them due to safety reasons, they make a great focal point for fall foliage pictures. The colorful fall forest looks as though it is taking over the stables.

Take a Trip to the Northeast to Enjoy Rhode Island’s Fall Foliage!

There’s something magical about the fall season in Rhode Island. Color-changing leaves and crisp air are the perfect fall welcome, providing an overall inviting feeling. The Ocean State truly is one of the best places for a leaf-peeping trip with its abundance of forests. So, take a look at these location options and start making your Rhode Island fall foliage bucket list!

Are you looking for more seasonal fall activities in the Ocean State? Be sure to check out our blog posts on the best apple orchards and the best pumpkin patches to visit in Rhode Island!