Even though residents and visitors to Providence need to remain 6 feet apart, there are still plenty of socially distanced activities. There are loads of beaches and trails throughout and around the city where families can go and spend some time outdoors. Summer definitely hasn’t been canceled in Rhode Island; there’s so much to do!
The Best Trails in Providence
Maxwell Mays Wildlife Refuge
The Maxwell Mays Wildlife Refuge is 295 acres of nature’s beauty only 30-minutes outside of Providence. Donated to the Audobon Society by the late Rhode Island Artist of the same name, the refuge offers five miles of walking trails. The trails meander through upland forests, wetlands, and open meadows. Carr Pond, the 11-acre centerpiece of the refuge, is home to playful river otters and indigenous species of fish. Birdwatching enthusiasts frequently opt to rent the lakeside cabins to keep an eye out for Barred Owls, Scarlet Tanagers and Wild Turkey.
East Bay Bike Path
The East Bay Bike Path is nearly 14 miles of paved pathway from Providence to Bristol. The path lies beside an abandoned railroad line and continues rolling past Narragansett Bay. There are 8 parks between the two cities that are connected by this cycling trail giving travelers a wonderful look at several ecosystems in the area. The trail travels through marshland, over bridges, and around quiet coves. East Bay Bike Path is appropriate for cyclists of all skill levels.
Ten Mile River Greenway
Named for the river it follows and not its length, Ten Mile River Greenway is three miles long. This gentle pathway is perfect for both hikers and cyclists looking for an afternoon of natural beauty. The trail winds through leafy forests with plenty of points to hop off the trail and go down to the riverbank. Approximately 2 miles into the hike, visitors should keep their eyes peeled for a historic tan-colored building. This building is home to the 1985 Looff Carousel. Charles I. D. Looff was a prolific American carver and built 40 carousels in his career, including the first carousel in Coney Island.
Narragansett Town Beach
Catch some sun and surf at Narragansett Town Beach. The early morning swells can get up to 4 feet, making this the go-to surfing spot for Rhode Islanders. The beach has soft sand and very little shade, an excellent place to get a tan. In accordance with CDC guidelines, parking has been limited at the beach and some amenities may be closed. It is advisable to bring your own picnic for the day.
East Beach at Watch Hill has the quintessential New England beach aesthetic. It may be that photo-perfect look that drew Taylor Swift to buy a multi-million-dollar beach house here several years ago. Playground for the stars, East Beach is also open to the public. This windy beach is another surfer hang out and popular with a younger crowd. The beach boasts unobstructed views of Block Island with its dramatic clay cliffs and bluffs.
Frosty Drew Observatory
New England stargazers have been flocking to the Providence area since the late 1980s because of the Frosty Drew Observatory. Onsite events have been temporarily canceled in accordance with CDC guidelines but are expected to resume later this month. In the meantime, the observatory is offering remote versions of their stargazing events. They will be streaming live views of the cosmos using their telescopes and high-powered cameras accompanied by commentary from resident astronomers. Their website is full of information about what to look for and where using personal telescopes.
Meliville Pond Glamping
Camping is another wonderful way to see the stars while still social distancing. Glamp in style at Melville Pond by renting a vintage Airstream camper. The renovated, 1970s Airstreams are retro yet spacious. They offer all the comforts of home including hot water and a real bed (not a cot or pullout)! There’s a fire pit outside the camper for cooking. Enjoy toasting marshmallows while gazing up at the starry night sky.
Yoga for Health and Wellness
It has been proven that animals reduce cortisol levels (a stress-inducing hormone) and lower blood pressure. It makes perfect sense to integrate animals into other health practices like yoga. Simmons Farm is offering Goat Yoga to promote holistic wellness. The classes take place in a large field, great for social distancing, and are focused on muscular health. The young kids help promote muscle conditioning and strengthening as they climb on participants. The cuteness overload is sure to release all the happy dopamine hormones!