This Rhode Island Town Is The Perfect Destination For Scenic Views And Outdoor Adventures

Despite being the smallest state in the nation, Rhode Island is packed with things to do. Besides taking in the opulent Gilded-Age mansions and doing the famed Cliff Walk of Newport, and enjoying the cultural attractions of Providence, there's a little town along the way that deserves a stop too.

Bristol is a quaint bayside town, named by Visiting New England as the quintessential All-American Town, as evidenced by the red, white, and blue median strip that runs down one of the town's main streets. Discover Newport praises the town for its exquisite food, splendid scenery, and long history as a Colonial-era sailing port — all ready for you to discover during your trip here. The charming streets of the downtown area all lead toward the water, which surrounds this town on all sides; this is classic New England. But, hiding behind its spectacular setting is an outdoor paradise for adventure lovers too.

Outdoor activities in Bristol

Let's start with the water. Take a wander toward the shoreline, and you won't be able to miss the sailing boats bobbing on the bay. East Bay Sailing Foundation offers sailing lessons for adults and kids, as well as windsurfing classes and a chance to learn to sail on a hydrofoil. Kitesurfers can get their kicks at Colt State Park, which Unplug Kitesurf recommends as a great spot in the area. If you'd rather be close to the water but not in or on it, Travel To New England suggests fishing in Bristol Harbor, which you can do from the shore.

Landlubbers, don't despair! There are plenty of outdoor activities to keep you busy here too. Travel To New England writes about the hiking trails in Colt State Park, where you'll have picturesque views of Narragansett Bay. If you want to go further, the East Bay Bike Path stretches 14 miles from Bristol to Providence, with bayside views most of the way.

Scenery and culture in Bristol

Sticking around the harbor, Visiting New England recommends some of the waterfront restaurants for panoramic views as well as appetizing seafood. Head into downtown, where Visiting New England praises the colorful buildings and traditional storefronts, as well as the Colonial-era mansions. Discover Newport puts two of these sprawling estates on their list of things to do in Bristol: Blithewold Mansion and Linden Place Mansion. From Blithewold, there are pretty views over the bay and seven gardens to explore in addition to the vast house. Both mansions offer guided tours.

New England With Love suggests visiting the Herreshoff Marine Museum for a deep dive into the town's maritime history (or to learn to sail!), and a stop at Bristol Historical & Preservation Society, situated in a former jailhouse, for an insight into the town's rich history, dating back to its founding in 1685. Finally, for a different kind of beauty, visit the Bristol Art Museum, an especially good place to be on a rainy day, as proposed by Travel To New England.