Editors' Picks: 20 of the Best Things to Do in Rhode Island!

Rhode Island, aka "Old Rhody," is the smallest state in America. But it packs a lot of punch. It's home to the White Horse Tavern (1673), oldest operating tavern in the states and its also where the Industrial Revolution took hold. The oldest library in America is situated in Rhode Island, and when you step outside of the stacks, there are amazing natural wonders associated with this tiny state.

From beaches and majestic summer houses, to lighthouses and tempting indoor activities, check out 20 of the coolest things about the Ocean State.

1. Norman Bird Sanctuary

Bring your binoculars and check out the many feathered creatures that hang out here during the spring. There are lovely hiking trails, too. (Middletown)

2. Walk The Cliffwalk

Rhode Island has some of the most spectacular scenery ever. Since 1975, this pretty 3.5 mile walk leads you past some of the most beautiful (and rocky) places in the state.

3. Green Animals Topiary Garden

More than 80 pieces of topiary dot these acres, sculpted to look like animals, birds and more. It's one of the oldest gardens of its kind in America.

4. Mohegan Bluffs

It's one of the most majestic views in all of Rhode Island. You get an amazing look at the Atlantic - miles worth - or you can simply stroll the beautiful beaches at the base of the cliffs. (New Shoreham)

5. International Tennis Hall Of Fame

Whether you swing a racket or not, you'll appreciate the fantastic museum and the elegantly-manicured grass courts that have hosted champions over the years. (Newport)

6. Newport Folk Festival

It's been a summer institution since 1959. Besides traditional folk music, there are crafts, food and contemporary music artists. (Newport)

7. The Flying Horse Carousel

Made in 1876, it's the oldest working carousel in America. These beautiful hand-carved horses are worth a look - and a ride. (Westerly)

8. The Breakers

Back in the Gilded Age, the rich built these little "shacks" as their summer hangouts. The Breakers is the gold standard of these cottages, with 70 rooms overlooking the Atlantic. Not bad for a beach house. (Newport)

9. The America's Cup Hall Of Fame

Sailing is hardwired into Rhode Island culture, and the America's Cup is the NASCAR of sailing. It's been a "thing" since the 19th century; see replicas of winning yachts, videos on boat building and more. (Bristol)

10. Beaches, Beaches, Beaches

Rhode Island has 400 miles of coastline, with a beach to appeal to any taste. If you want a chill one, try Third Beach in Middletown. Surfers will want to head to Easton's in Newport. And there's everything in between.

11. Waterfire

October is the last month to witness this amazing art installation that involves "firetenders." More than 80 bonfires are lit on the Woonasquatucket River, via boat, and there's music to boot. It's been called one of the Top 20 events In America by National Geographic. (Providence)

12. Roger Williams Park Zoo

It's considered one of the top zoos in the area-and one of the oldest In the countr -- attracting nearly half a million visitors each year. There are close to 200 species of animals from all over the world. (Providence)

13. Beavertail Lighthouse

America's 3rd old lighthouse (and the premier lighthouse in Rhode Island) offers stunning views, but the attached museum is also a fascinating look into the business of lighthouse keeping. (Jamestown)

14. The Redwood Library

Who knew that a library could be so interesting? This one is the oldest one in the country (founded, 1747) - and was once used as an officer's club by the British during the Revolutionary War. Take a tour and learn more. (Newport)

15. Blackstone Valley River Tour

Take a leisurely cruise by riverboat down this historic Rhode Island waterway. It's a lovely way to take in the foliage and the natural beauty of this waterway that once played a big part in the Industrial Revolution.

16. Culinary Arts Museum

Foodies will want to pay a visit to this museum that has preserved various cookbooks, menus, kitchen tools and more from many decades past. Yum. (Providence)

17. Armory Antique Marketplace

Step inside this 19th-century armory and explore the riches offered up. You'll find everything from scrimshaw to glassware, vintage jewelry and more. It's a great place for one-of-a-kind finds. (Newport)

18. Fort Adams State Park

It overlooks Narragansett Bay, and offers up some of the most spectacular sunset views anywhere on the planet. Settle in, or take a romantic winter stroll along the historic byway. (Newport)

19. Yawgoo Valley

When natural snowfall is light, machines crank it up to ensure that skiiers and snowboarders have what they need. Never let it be said that Rhode Island is a slacker in the snow department. (Exeter)

20. Rhode Island School Of Design

Since it's founding in 1877, it's been one of the top art schools in the country. Stop in and check out what's up on the scene. There are paintings, sculpture, photographs and much more. (Providence)

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