Sadly, Rhode Island often gets a bad rap. Especially from many people living in the Northeast, who call it the “armpit” of New England. Maybe it’s a size thing, being picked on because it lacks overall land mass as compared to many other states. Regardless of the reasons, the putdowns are unwarranted; Rhode Island is full of many beautiful, charming cities and towns, many of which people would be thrilled to visit or move to. And that’s why we searched the web to find the best places to live in Rhode Island, according to experts, and we’ve listed them here for you.
Research reveals why states like Rhode Island easily go unnoticed. It’s because most Americans stick to the same vacation spots, not venturing outside of what they are familiar with to explore new locations. A recent survey finds that three in four people always vacation in the same, or similar types of places. The survey of 2,000 adults probing their willingness to step outside of their vacation comfort zone shows that people in the northeast are the least likely to stray from their favorite kinds of vacation destinations. Still, those who have revisited a vacation spot (68%) reveal that they prefer to incorporate new experiences and sights at these comfortable destinations (55%).” This survey, conducted by OnePoll for the West Virginia Department of Tourism, finds that of the 62 percent of those who dared to visit somewhere they weren’t sure about, 89 percent ended up being happy that they visited a new location.
If you haven’t visited Rhode Island yet, you might want to start planning a trip. The smallest state in the United States is renowned for its rich history, captivating coastal beauty, and vibrant cultural scene. It earned the nickname “The Ocean State” due to its extensive coastline and picturesque beaches. Rhode Island is famous for its historic landmarks, including the opulent Gilded Age mansions of Newport, such as The Breakers and Marble House. The state is also home to prestigious institutions like Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design, contributing to its reputation as an intellectual and artistic hub. Additionally, Rhode Island is celebrated for its delectable seafood cuisine, particularly clam chowder and fresh lobster rolls. The state’s unique charm, captivating landscapes, and significant cultural contributions make it a beloved destination for visitors and residents alike.
Ready to make the move to this happening hub? Below is our list of the best places to live in Rhode Island, as chosen by travel experts. Of course, we want to hear from you. Comment below to let us know which Rhode Island community tops your list!
The List: Best Places to Live in Rhode Island, Per Experts
Barrington made just about every list we reviewed, and on most, it was in the number one spot. “This suburb of Providence is the most popular and highly sought after place to live in Rhode Island and it’s easy to see why. Starting with the outstanding public schools, parents can rest assured that their little ones will receive a top-notch education here in Barrington. Schools here boast A+ ratings from elementary level right through to high school. As you would expect with such a popular area, and with so many properties overlooking the Providence River, house prices here are a little dearer than the national average. A small price to pay when you think about the great commenting options, the social life created by this warm community and of course job opportunities too,” writes The Crazy Tourist.
Movingist lists Barrington as the best spot for families. “Barrington is a residential suburb, located to the Southeast of Providence in Bristol County. New settlers with families mostly consider this place because of its quaint rural surroundings, safe communities, and A+-rated public and private schools. Most of the population falls in the age group of 18-50 years, thus contributing to active outdoor and socializing activities like marathons, music concerts, sports events, and minimal nightlife. Barrington’s property prices are well above the national average of other cities, owing to its popularity, proximity to the Providence River, good educational facilities, extensive greenery, and affluent residents. So, yes, Barrington, Rhode Island, is quite wealthy.”
“A suburb of Providence, this neighborhood has a lot going for it that has led to it being the most popular place to live in this state. One of the best features is the public schools, which are considered the best in Rhode Island. Residents also enjoy being part of a warm community and having plenty of activities to give them a good social life. The property options are also excellent and diverse, but house prices are higher than the average for the state,” writes Money Inc.
Blackstone was just edged out for the top spot by Barrington on Placeaholic’s list: “Blackstone still deserves to be mentioned here as it holds a historic significance for the American Industrial Revolution unlike any other place in the world. On top of that, Blackstone is known for its serene landscapes, making it a perfect location for both young professionals and families alike. The crime rate is extremely low, making this one of the safest places in the state, and there are more than a handful of amazing amenities for you to take full advantage of. You can also go through many outdoor activities such as cycling and rafting on the Blackstone River Valley, and of course, there are dozens of gyms and fitness parks that are sure to keep your blood pumping too.”
Encompassing a bit of a broader area, RI Home Store loves the whole Blackstone Valley: “As one of the birthplaces of the American Industrial Revolution, Blackstone Valley holds a lot of historic significance for the people of Rhode Island. Prospective residents are attracted to Blackstone Valley for its low crime rates, vibrant social scene, and varied employment opportunities. With a population of just over 6,000, it also boasts an intimate community vibe. The area is popular with both families and young professionals. It is well suited for those looking for an urban environment that doesn’t compromise on the sense of community they crave. The biggest criticism we hear about Blackstone Valley is the lack of public transport. If you don’t have your own car, this is something you may want to consider.”
Though Blackstone is conveniently located, it’s not without drawbacks, as The Crazy Tourist points out. “Blackstone is a neighborhood in central Providence, along with the Seekonk River. Residents here have access to some brilliant schools, many of which are performing above the national average. Commuters have a direct route to Boston, New York, and Connecticut which means that there are some great job opportunities from within easy reach of the Blackstone area. Residents do note, however, that public transport in the area could do with improvement. Right now, it is important to own your own car living here unless you’re lucky enough to land a job within walking distance of your home.”
3. South Kingstown
North and South Kingstown battled it out on each list we reviewed, but experts give the slight edge to the southern part of town. Movingist says, “South Kingstown is the largest area suburb in Washington County, RI that bears a stark resemblance to the Kingston area. Other appealing indices of South Kingstown include diverse landscapes, leisure recreations, and lower crime rates. The only disadvantage is its higher cost of living than other areas in RI.”
“This town has a sparse suburban feel, and it is a popular area among families. This is predominantly due to the highly rated public schools in this area. There are also some nice outdoor spaces and plenty of family-oriented activities to enjoy. Other appealing features of South Kingstown include the leisure activities in the area [and] the diversity of the community,” writes Money Inc.
And if you’re wondering what the differences are between north and south, Placeaholic explains the contrast. “If you liked the idea of North Kingstown but you wanted to focus more on the family raising aspect, South Kingstown may be the preferred option for you. This is because, while North Kingstown has a great public school system, it’s nowhere near as credentialed as South Kingstown’s. On top of that, South Kingstown’s streets are considered to be safer and cleaner, and you also get access to the East Matunuck State Beach for when you’re bored, and you want to relax for a while after work which is always nice to see.”
4. East Greenwich
The Crazy Tourist says this town is perfect for renters. “With median monthly rent coming in at under $900 a month, this is a more affordable renting area. If you’re looking to buy a property in East Greenwich you had better start saving, median home value is $413,300. That said, there are 3-bedroom properties on the market for under $250,000, which is very reasonable for this affluent area. Public schools and amenities are all in good working order around here. Crime statistics are low, making East Greenwich one of the safest suburbs in the state.”
Movingist considers this the best town in Rhode Island to raise a family. “East Greenwich is a waterfront suburb in Kent County This suburb is one of the most affordable places to reside in Rhode Island because of its cheaper rental homes, cost of living, and home prices. It also offers access to top-rated schools, essential amenities, vibrant nightlife, clean beaches, and family-oriented outdoor recreations. The weather in East Greenwich RI remains hot and humid in summers, [cold] and snowy in winters, and partly cloudy throughout the year. High property tax and prices, education fees, and fewer job opportunities are some cons of this city.”
“East Greenwich is a suburb of Providence with a population of 13,970. East Greenwich is in Kent County and is one of the best places to live in Rhode Island. Living in East Greenwich offers residents a dense suburban feel and most residents own their homes. In East Greenwich there are a lot of restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. Many families live in East Greenwich and residents tend to lean liberal. The public schools in East Greenwich are highly rated,” adds Niche.
“With 5,405 residents, Jamestown is situated on Conanicut Island, the second largest island in Narragansett Bay. This unique location tends to attract families and retirees. The neighborhoods provide beautiful scenery, quiet neighborhoods, great education, and a close-knit community. If you enjoy beachfront summers and snowy winters, the weather is great year-round. Jamestown is known for its coastal views, historic farms, locally owned businesses, and award-winning restaurants,” writes All My Sons Moving & Storage.
If you’re considering moving to Jamestown, you should know that you’ll need to reach deep into your pockets. According to Only In Your State, “Almost all of Jamestown is located on Conanicut Island in Narragansett Bay. With a population of 5,405, the town has a great elementary school and middle school, but no high school – students move on to high school on the mainland. It isn’t cheap to live on the island though. Forbes lists Jamestown as the 44th wealthiest town in America.”
Placeaholic ensures that you get what you pay for in Jamestown: “Jamestown offers you the full package when it comes to leisure and fun. It’s often ranked amongst the top 10 best places to live in while in Rhode Island, with the only real downside to living here being the expensive prices that you need to pay to fully relocate here. But keep in mind that those high prices come with low crime rates and a really good school system that has often times received the highest rating from the US Department of Education.”
You may also be interested in:
- Best Places to Live in America
- Best Places to Live in Connecticut
- Best Places to Retire in the U.S.
- Best Small Towns in America
- The Crazy Tourist
- Money Inc
- Only In Your State
- RI Home Store
- All My Sons Moving & Storage
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