SOUTH COUNTY/ BLOCK ISLAND
Clay Head Trail
Perched high above Block Island Sound, this meandering little trail offers pretty water views, side trips down to the beach, and a fun series of interconnecting grass trails known as "the maze." Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife: The path winds through a 120-acre preserve that hosts nesting and migratory birds. Corn Neck Rd., Block Island, 401-466-2474, blockislandchamber.com.
This 1,700-acre saltwater haven is made for paddlers who love sea kayaking but prefer the serenity—and uninterrupted miles—of quiet water to unpredictable surf. A stone’s throw away from Block Island Sound, Ninigret Pond offers plenty of calm, and has top-notch on-site equipment rentals. 562 Charlestown Beach Rd., Charlestown, 401-364-8000, kayakcentre.com.
Block Island Parasail & Watersports
Your kiddos will love the thrill of holding on for dear life on a banana boat in Old Harbor. Towed by a speedboat, the big yellow raft tears through the ocean. If that’s not enough, look into the company’s other adrenaline-pumping option: parasailing. One Old Harbor Dock, Block Island, 401-864-2474,
America’s Cup Charters (BEST OF)
Not only have these seven boats raced in the America’s Cup, but they also make up the largest fleet of 12-meter yachts in the world. Charter one for a private sail or go for the more wallet-friendly two-hour group cruise. You can participate or simply sit back and enjoy Narragansett Bay. Newport, 401-849-5868, americascupcharters.com.
Audubon Society of Rhode Island Environmental Education Center
The 141/2-mile East Bay Bike Path from Bristol to Providence passes right through the 28-acre McIntosh Wildlife Refuge, where the education center is located. Cyclists wanting to take a break can easily hop off and explore a variety of natural habitats, check out Rhode Island’s biggest aquarium, and experience the interactive environmental exhibits before heading back out to the bike trail. 1401 Hope St., Bristol, 401-245-7500, asri.org.
East Bay Bike Path
As it stretches from Providence to Bristol, this scenic, mostly flat—it’s on an old railroad line—141/2 mile path runs over bridges, through state parks, and alongside Narragansett Bay. Plan a much deserved rest stop at one of the many ice cream shops (Daily Scoop in Barrington, Fruity Cow in Warren, or DariBee in Riverside, among others) along the way. Veterans Memorial Pkwy., 401-253-7482, riparks.com/eastbay.
Just a half mile from Tiverton Four Corners, this five-mile trail (named for female sachem of the Pocasset tribe that wintered here) traverses several streams in its ascent to High Rock, a 170-foot summit that’s easy for the kids but still affords impressive views. East Rd., Tiverton.
Blackstone Valley Bicycle Path
This path will eventually be a 17-mile-long bikeway linking Woonsocket to Providence. The recently completed first leg stretches eight miles from Front Street to Woonsocket and is open to bikers, walkers, roller skaters, and baby strollers. Parking is available along the route. Front St., Pawtucket, 401-723-7892, cycleblackstone.com.
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