What to Do in Rhode Island This Summer

If you’re thinking about visiting Johnson & Wales University’s Providence Campus, summer is an amazing time to visit! There’s nothing like summertime in Rhode Island. This little state offers so much to explore, and our campus is just a short drive (or walk!) from great summer activities.

We should also note that for students entering their senior year of high school, a visit to JWU could earn you grant money. If you attend an on-campus visit before December 31 of your senior year in high school and complete your JWU application, you could receive a Visit Grant of up to $1,000 annually, which automatically renews each year for up to $4,000 while at JWU. Even more reason to come visit this summer!

You can turn your visit to JWU into an exciting summer adventure — here’s what to do in Rhode Island in the summertime.

1. Head to the Beach

In the summer, everyone wants to go to the beach! Rhode Island is known as the Ocean State because of the many miles of coastline — there are so many great beaches you can visit, such as Narragansett Town Beach, East Beach, Misquamicut Beach, and many others.

2. Grab a Del’s Lemonade

A Del’s frozen lemonade is a must-have Rhode Island summer drink. They even have different flavors for you to try, and plenty of locations and mobile trucks close to the beach.

lemons cut in slices

3. Experience WaterFire

WaterFire, a Rhode Island tradition, is an outdoor art installation on the Providence River. It’s just a short walk from our campus, which is why we offer the JWU Walk & WaterFire visit experience. You can start the day with a student-led walking tour of our Downcity Campus, then grab dinner or explore the city before you head to WaterFire.

4. Enjoy Some Fresh Seafood at Great RI Spots

Being close to the ocean means there’s always fresh seafood to enjoy. Here are a few suggestions.

Dune Brothers Seafood

Dune Brother's is just a short walk from JWU and offers outdoor seating. Their menu features fish ‘n’ chips, signature sandwiches, clam cakes and chowder.

Iggy’s Doughboys and Chowder House

A Rhode Island tradition, Iggy’s is known for their delicious bowls of chowder, clam cakes and doughboys. They have locations in Warwick and Narragansett.

Matunuck Oyster Bar

Matunuck Oyster Bar grows its own oysters, vegetables and shellfish — it doesn’t get any fresher than that!

Finn’s Harborside

Finn’s is a family-owned restaurant located right on the water in East Greenwich. It’s a popular summer spot.

These are just a few options — there are so many more great seafood restaurants to try!

clam chowder in a bread bowl

5. Explore Historic Newport

In the Gilded Age, Newport was the summer spot for New York’s wealthy families. Their “summer cottages” (which are actually mansions) are still standing today and you can take a tour of them to learn about their history.

You can also cruise around on a moped or mini coupe rental to explore the downtown shops and restaurants, Fort Adams State Park, Ocean Drive and more.

6. Attend a Music Festival or State Fair

There are plenty of fairs and festivals throughout the summer. Here are a few options.

Newport Music Festivals

While exploring Newport, you might enjoy attending one of the numerous music festivals that happen there throughout the summer. There is a Folk Festival, Jazz Festival, Classical Festival, and many other events to enjoy.

Washington County Fair

The Washington County Fair runs from August 16-20 for five days of fun! There’s music, midway rides, tractor and truck pulls, livestock shows, and so much more!

Wickford Art Festival

Check out a variety of arts and crafts from over 200 artists at the Wickford Art Festival.

Federal Hill Summer Festival

Kick off the summer and Father’s Day weekend at the Federal Hill Summer Festival! Enjoy the 25 restaurants, tons of vendors and retailers along Atwells Avenue, and live music on three different stages.

Check out the full list of events happening around Rhode Island.

two girls and a boy enjoying a festival

7. Take a Boat Cruise

Get out on the water and take in the beautiful coastlines of Rhode Island on a cruise.

Newport 4th of July Fireworks Funk & Soul Cruise

Celebrate the 4th of July by hopping aboard the Coastal Queen to watch the fireworks on the water and enjoy some funky soul music.

Gansett Cruises

Take a boat tour or sunset cruise around Newport Harbor and Narragansett Bay with Gansett Cruises. Cruises run every day at a variety of times.

Newport Pride Drag Cruise

Celebrate Pride Month in style on the Newport Pride Drag Cruise, featuring a drag performance by The Trailer Park Girls!

Newport Charter Group

Charter a private yachting experience with Newport Charter Group to explore historic Newport on a 33’ boat, Camelot.

a girl watching the sunset on a cruise

8. Do Some Shopping

Shopping is never a bad idea, and there are even outdoor options so you can still enjoy the beautiful summer weather.

Providence Flea Market

Providence Flea is an outdoor market open every Sunday during the summer, from June through September. It's just a short walk from our Downcity Campus.

Plainfield Pike Flea Market

Plainfield Pike Flea Market is another outdoor market open from 6 am to 1 pm every Sunday in the summer. It spans 10 acres and features over 200 vendors.

Providence Place Mall

Providence Place has four floors and a variety of stores such as Aéropostale, H&M, Footlocker, Bath & Body Works, and more! Providence Place also features Dave & Busters and Showcase Cinemas with an IMAX theater for when you want to stay inside to beat the heat. It's just minutes from our Downcity Campus, too.

Casey Farm Market

From May to October, Casey Farm opens its outdoor market, which features a lot of goods, produce, and food from vendors and businesses around the state! Everything has been grown and produced in Rhode Island. It's a popular summer event that supports the local community.

Schoolyard Market

This farmers-makers market features 25-35 vendors selling produce, food, beverages, and other goods. It's set up at Hope & Main, a culinary incubator that helps launch small businesses in the state. The market is open every Sunday from 10 am-2 pm.

9. Other Activities to Enjoy

Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC)

PPAC is right by our Downcity Campus and offers a variety of popular Broadway shows and musicals, concerts, comedy shows, and more. You can check out the schedule to see if anything interests you.

The Great Escape Room

Escape rooms are a fun, family-friendly activity if you love to solve puzzles and mysteries. This location has four different rooms to choose from.

Roger Williams Park Zoo

The Roger Williams Park Zoo, located in the middle of a beautiful 427-acre park in Providence, is a great spot to walk around and see over 150 different animals! Both the zoo and the surrounding park also offer tons of summer events to enjoy.

I hope you'll consider a visit to JWU and Rhode Island this summer — as you can see, there are plenty of fun things to do!


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