Four Must-See Spots for Rhode Island Foliage

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Looking to get your foliage on?  If so, there’s no finer spot than Rhode Island. We’ve got a whole lot of awe-inspiring autumn scenery packed into our scant 1,045 square miles. To help get you started, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite spots for taking in the trees as they undergo their annual metamorphoses. Let’s count them down.

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1. Colt State Park

Oft-dubbed the “gem” of Rhode Island’s State Parks System, this 464-acre sanctuary in Bristol offers visitors the quintessential New England experience. Amble along curving paths past gracious lawns and old brick walls before stopping for a picnic while taking in panoramic views of the Narragansett Bay. You might even catch a lucky glimpse of a bride or two at this uber-romantic wedding spot.

Prefer a two-wheeled roam over a two-footed one? The park offers four miles of bicycle trails along the spectacular shoreline.

2. Roger Williams Park Zoo

Spanning 435 acres and nine miles of winding country roads, Providence’s Roger Williams Park Zoo is home to more than just a magnificent menagerie of animals including everything from eagles to elephants and red pandas to pythons. It’s also home to some of the region’s best scenery thanks to a breathtaking botanical garden, rolling meadows, garden after garden, and even a charming Victorian carousel offering $2 rides to both the young and young at heart.

Don’t forget your camera: the Zoo’s Japanese garden offers one of the state’s most sought-after photo ops.

3. Waterplace Park and RiverWalk

This four-acre urban park is the epicenter of Providence’s downtown area located near the junction of  the Woonasquatucket, Providence, and Moshassuck rivers. Perhaps best known for playing host to the sensational WaterFire art installation, the park holds plenty of allure for leaf peepers, including the tree-lined RiverWalk, not to mention transportive cobblestone pathways, plazas, and pedestrian Venetian-inspired footbridges -- all nestled within the bustling capital city. Feeling tired from all that walking? Consider taking in the sights from an authentic Venetian gondola instead.

4. Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum

With 2,000 species of vegetation, trees dating back to the 1870s, and a “Great Lawn” -- once used for drying canvas sails -- looking out over Narragansett Bay, it’s not exactly a surprise that this local landmark was declared to be “one of the five best public gardens in New England” by Yankee Magazine. Explore the lavish grounds on your own; take an organized “Wednesday Walk-Around” or “Saturday Stroll;”  or participate in an event, such as creating an autumnal tablescape or learning the techniques of proper stone wall building.

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If you haven’t yet been leaf peeping in Rhode Island, you’re missing out on one of the country’s greatest natural treasures, but there’s still time to get in on the show. Little Rhody can’t wait to show you what it's got!