Skip To Content

    30 Reasons Rhode Island Is The Most Underrated State In The U.S.

    What it lacks in size, it makes up for in awesomeness.

    When most people think Rhode Island, their first instinct is to make that joke about how it's neither a road nor an island.

    Paramount Pictures / Via

    hahahaha no one in Rhode Island has ever heard that before, good for you.

    Even though they probably don't pay Rhode Island any attention and barely even know where it is.

    Lifetime /
    Lifetime /

    Well here it is — and it's time to learn about why Rhode Island is actually a really awesome state.

    1. You might not realize it, but Rhode Island can give you that "world-class city" vibe you're looking for in its capital of Providence.

    SeanPavonePhoto / Via

    2. Many people dismissed Providence as a dying city near the end of the last century, but it's revitalized itself and proved it belongs on the same stage as other urban big-hitters.

    Yiming Chen / Via

    3. Providence has super diverse and unique neighborhoods that show off the vibrancy of the various communities in the state.

    4. And it's the diversity of Rhode Island that shines. There's a strong and vibrant Cape Verdean community in the state, as well as a prominent Portuguese community.

    5. Plus, Rhode Island's got a history of promoting religious freedom (thanks, Roger Williams), so it's no wonder it has both the first Baptist church and the first synagogue in the ENTIRE NATION.

    And the church has a pretty great sense of humor, to boot.

    6. Looking for a vibrant arts scene? Yeah, Rhode Island's got you covered.

    Flickr: owlpacino / Creative Commons

    RISD is one of the country's elite art schools, with alums ranging from Seth MacFarlane to Shepard Fairey to Dale Chihuly.

    7. And there's nothing like catching What Cheer? Brigade performing at the Newport Folk Festival.

    Flickr: 23418511@N00 / Creative Commons

    8. Just because Rhode Island is small doesn't mean it can't draw the big names.

    Flickr: deafredbear / Creative Commons

    From the Providence Performing Arts Center to the Trinity Rep, the theater and performing arts scene is incredible.

    9. At least once, you've got to check out the food, crowds, and brilliant flames of WaterFire.

    Flickr: calliope / Creative Commons

    Designed by an award-winning artist with work in cities including London and Paris. But no big deal, Providence is cool like that.

    10. Want more? Foodies can find a haven in Providence, named the top food city in America in 2012 by Travel + Leisure.

    Flickr: sklathill / Creative Commons

    Small state, SO MUCH DELICIOUS FOOD.

    11. Let's be real, they can find a haven ANYWHERE in the state.

    12. Coffee milk, a Rhode Island specialty, is basically a nectar of the gods.

    13. Like hot dogs? Try topping them with onions, meat sauce, and more. HOT WIENERS FOREVER.

    Flickr: julishannon / Creative Commons

    Although, for what it's worth, you should never think of these as just a type of hot dog. They are an institution.

    14. Want to get drunk the Rhode Island way? How about some Gansett?

    Flickr: jdn

    Hi, neighbor!

    15. Oh, and Rhode Island's got Del's. Enough said about that.

    Flickr: smcgee / Creative Commons

    16. Even with all of the buzz surrounding Rhode Island's restaurants and bars, though, you can still find hidden gems all around the state.

    17. There are less-than-hidden gems as well, like the humongous historic mansions along the coast in Newport.

    Mishella / Via

    Built by people like the Vanderbilts. If Rhode Island is good enough for the people who have brought us Anderson Cooper, that says something about the state.

    18. And Rhode Island just happens to have some of the most stunning coastline in the country, of course.

    Joshua McDonough / Via

    19. You can wander the charming seaport of Bristol or take in the shoreline at nearby Colt State Park.

    Flickr: powaking / Creative Commons

    20. Seriously, with all this gorgeous coastline, it's no wonder Rhode Island is called the Ocean State.

    Stuart Monk / Via

    The Rhode Island Constitution specifically protects the rights of the public to access and walk along the shore — it is, by law, public land.

    21. And with coastline comes AMAZING beaches all throughout the state.

    Flickr: 23185977@N08 / Creative Commons

    Spending the day at Narragansett Beach? Don't mind if I do.

    22. For real — if you're a nature lover, you've got to get yourself to Lil' Rhody.

    Mark Davis / Via

    Explore Block Island, for instance.

    23. But listen, what really makes Rhode Island special are all the amazing, fun-loving, unique people.

    Flickr: kevharb / Creative Commons

    24. They are super smart people, with universities located all across the state bringing the ~intellectual power~ to Lil' Rhody.

    Flickr: testdasi / Creative Commons

    From Brown to Providence College to Salve Regina and more.

    25. They are artists and dancers, spreading creativity and self-expression.

    Flickr: kairon_gnothi / Creative Commons

    26. There are athletes and entertainers, like the members of the Paw Sox baseball team, bringing the state together to enjoy a classic pastime.

    Flickr: librarygrrrl / Creative Commons

    27. They are historians, reflecting on the traditions that have made Rhode Island great and the people who have worked to create them.

    Flickr: woneffe / Creative Commons

    28. They are activists and givers, because no matter what, Rhode Islanders are always looking to give back to their communities.

    Like Rhode Islander (and Oscar nominated actress) Viola Davis.

    29. Basically, you can count on Rhode Islanders to come together to represent this state that they love.

    Flickr: oceanstater / Creative Commons

    Here are some Rhode Islanders celebrating July 4th in Bristol, which just happens to host the longest continuously running 4th of July celebration in THE WHOLE COUNTRY.

    30. Because, whether you live there or have only visited, once you've been to Rhody, the state never truly leaves you.