Tuesday, July 17

Rhode Island running

Welcome to the state where I grew up!
Today's post is a long-overdue addition to the running travel guide series.
Image source
The tiny state of Rhode Island, which is the smallest state with the longest name,* is a runner's paradise with miles of bike path and hiking trails. (I suspect the state has more miles of bike path per capita than any other state, but I'm still digging up the data to verify my hunch.)

Here are just a few of my favorite places to run in Lil Rhody.

Coastal Communities
  • Barrington, Bristol:
    • The East Bay Bike Path is a 14.5 mile route that hugs the coast between Providence to Bristol. The route is flat, with plenty of views out over the water, but is less shady than other bike paths in the state.
    • Colt State Park is another local running favorite.
  • Kingston, North Kingstown, South Kingstown:
    • One of my favorite places to run in the southern part of Rhode Island is the William C. O'Neill Bike Path (known to locals as the "South County Bike Path"). The route is shady and flat, with plenty of varied scenery (from woods to marshes and through tiny, quaint New England towns).
  • Narragansett:
    • No run in Narragansett would be complete without a run along the sea wall, past the Coast Guard House and under The Towers. The local newspaper, the Narragansett Patch, offers several suggestions for specific running routes.
    • Narragansett Towers seen in the distance from Narragansett Beach
  • Newport:
    • The 3.5 mile Cliff Walk is a tourist attraction that also brings out plenty of locals. Just beware that while the path is flat and easily navigable in most places, there are a few spots with uncertain footing. Walk, don't run, those spots. This route is best early in the morning or on weekdays when tourist crowds are light.
      View from the Cliff Walk in Newport
    • Also, consider meeting up with the Fun on the Run (social run club) group or the Newport Run & Chug Club.
  • Cranston, Warwick:
    • The Tuesday Night Turtles meet every week for a run, starting from Pawtuxet Park. The group also hosts weekly Sunday runs.
  • Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket:
    • The Blackstone River Bikeway is my go-to spot for running in northern Rhode Island. Nearly 50 miles in length, the path offers flat and shaded out-and-back run options of any distance.
      Bridge over the Blackstone River
      Blackstone River
    • The 2.5 mile route around Olney Pond in Lincoln Woods is another local favorite and offers a hillier workout.
  • Providence:
    • If you're going to be in Providence, Waterplace Park is a tempting place to run, but the cobblestone walkways are rough on the ankles. Save the park for a stroll during one of the summertime WaterFire events.
      Waterplace Park during WaterFire
    • Instead, hit the East Side for a hilly run through historic residential neighborhoods and the Brown University campus.
    • For a less hilly but equally beautiful run, the locals head to Blackstone Blvd, a tree-lined street with a wide pedestrian path that runs the length of the oversized median.

Other Rhode Island Running Resources:
  • The Rhode Island Road Runners organize weekly workouts in Smithfield and Johnston, and host a series of races throughout the year.
  • You can find a detailed list of Rhode Island running clubs from Running in the USA

*The official name of the state is "State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations." And while we're talking about names and trivia... No matter what they tell you on Family Guy, there is no town of Quahog (but there are plenty of similarities between the cartoon and real-life places).
Image source

Are you involved in a Rhode Island running group, or do you have a favorite running route that is not listed here? Send me the info and I'll add it to the list.

For more reviews of running routes and other travel information, see Places I've Run.


  1. I love R.I. Such a beautiful state--and how can you go wrong with any of those runs?

  2. I lived there for four years (for college). You can't mention running in PVD without mentioning Blackstone Boulevard!

    1. I thought of that one **after** posting time. Will go back and update immediately!

  3. Probably no surprise, but I love this post- that trivia about Rhode Island's name is one of my favorite bits of trivia ever, and YAY for mentioning WaterFire and Narragansett! :)


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