The Ocean State is a hot spot for tourism all throughout the summer for its smooth, sandy beaches and scenic views out over the deep blue Atlantic. But once the trees' leaves start to shift from earthy greens to vibrant shades of orange and red, Rhode Island takes on an entirely new image. From visits to wineries to some of the best festivals in the country, Rhode Island will keep you excited long after the sun sets on the summer.
Each fall, a gallery of 5,000 intricately-carved pumpkins takes over the paths lining Roger Williams Park Zoo. As you walk amongst the illuminated lanterns, the zoo projects special lighting effects along its Wetland Trail, transforming the space into an eerie Halloween scene. The festival is perfect for the family, but it's also open until midnight on weekends, giving you and your date ample time for a stroll through this enchanted fall festival.
The only of its kind on the Blackstone River, the Blackstone Valley Explorer river boat offers guided 45-minute tours to passengers as it cruises along some of the most important historical sites in the industrial revolution's past. The 40-passenger riverboat holds public tours each Sunday all summer all the way through mid-October, and with the fall colors just appearing along the Blackstone River Valley, you won't want to miss this tour.
When hiking and spending time at the beach are no longer options, take a drive! Your car windows still offer magnificent views of the Rhode Island coastline. You'll watch as the Atlantic Ocean passes before your eyes. Why not start this meandering drive of Ocean Drive at Fort Adams and make a side trip into Middletown for some apples at Sweet Berry Farm?
Find a slice of Bavaria in Rhode Island! At this two-day festival, you'll celebrate the end of summer with craft brews, German cuisine, and fun music. Tickets purchased are good for both days of the festival, so you're welcome to come back!
Every year, brass musicians from across Rhode Island take to the streets of Providence to celebrate their art and reclaim public spaces with joyful music! The event is typical of Providence's anti-mainstream culture, and is full of cacophonous fun.
Rhode Island offers warm summers for apple-growing and the even-better crisp fall season for apple-picking. No matter where you are in Rhode Island, an apple orchard isn't far, whether you go for an older family farm like the Barden Family Orchard or a more artisan experience at Sweet Berry Farm.
There are plenty of great pumpkin patches around Rhode Island. You'll find the perfect one to become your future jack o'lantern in no time. For a real pumpkin spectacular, visit Rocky Point Farm's Pumpkin Walk for fire pits, music, food, and plenty of pumpkins to carve yourself!
Catch the last rays of summer as you head into fall with the Rhode Island Seafood Festival, which occurs the weekend after Labor Day each year at India Point Park in Providence. Local live music acts play in the background as you get to sample some of the Northeast's best seafood!
Block Island is just a short ferry ride from the mainland of Rhode Island. While the island is most often frequented in the summer, the fall is a great time to visit if you want to avoid the crowds. Bring a bike and get ready to explore. Make sure to catch the "Taste of Block Island" festival in September every year.
A more sophisticated food festival, the Annual Newport Mansions Food and Wine Festival is sure to bring crowds to the enchanting ocean-side city. Sip from hundreds of award winning wines while lounging on the lawn of a Newport mansion, or attend a cooking demonstration and wine-tasting seminar.
With colleges in Rhode Island starting up again in September, students are gearing up to put on plays, host gallery shows, and perform in concerts. These aren't just for students to attend-these talented artists' work can be appreciated by all ages.
While Rhode Island offers several great hiking spots, Breakheart Trail is a moderate hike in Exeter most will appreciate. In the fall, you'll get to appreciate the trees' changing colors in this woodsy area surrounding a pond, without any of the terrible mosquitos or bugs.
The Cluny Country Fair in Newport takes place every year during the last weekend of September. With small rides, face-painting, carnival games and plenty of yummy food, your family won't want to miss out! Proceeds from the fair go to help the Cluny School.
WaterFire festivals take place in Rhode Island several weekends every fall. Bring a jacket as you settle in next to the Providence River, letting the bonfire smell blow over you. Shop from local vendors, browse the work of Rhode Island artists, and don't forget to grab a cannoli from Ron's Pastry!