Don't count Rhode Island out because it's tiny; this state -- spanning a mere 37 by 48 square miles -- packs a big punch. With a population of just over a million people, "Little Rhody" is the country's second most densely populated state behind New Jersey. As if 440 miles of stunning coastline aren't enough to stake Rhode Island's claim as a truly remarkable place to live, "Little Rhody" is also home to a whopping 20 percent of America's historic landmarks. Whether you're looking for a change of scenery or just a change of apartment rentals, you're sure to find what you need in this small but mighty state.
Renting in Rhode Island
When apartment searching in Rhode Island, keep in mind that this state is in constant flux thanks to a demographic heavily influenced by tourists as well as university students. Finding apartments in some of these areas is easier than others, so give yourself enough time to get a lead on the perfect place. Also, each city and neighborhood has its own distinctive feel, so giving a prospective neighborhood a walk-through first can be a useful apartment locator. Prices range according to where you live. In other words: if you're looking for water views, be prepared to fork over some serious clams.
One of Rhode Island's most unique attributes is the access it offers to other New England and Mid-Atlantic destinations. Boston is just 45 minutes away, while a mere three hour drive gets residents in need of a big-city fix to New York city. Interstate 95 runs through Rhode Island making road trips a definite part of the future, while omnipresent Amtrak service and the T.F. Green Airport, mean getting where you need to go couldn't be easier.
Places to Live in Rhode Island
The state may be small, but it has a ton to offer you in terms of places to live. Check out the list below of the most popular cities in Rhode island.
Providence: Nicknamed "The Renaissance City," Rhode Island's capital city is a government, business and cultural center built around the bustling Port of Providence. Major regions of Providence include the East Side, which consists of Blackstone, Hope, Mount Hope, College Hill and Fox Point, the Jewelry District, the North End, which includes Wanskuck and Charles, the South side, which contains Upper and Lower South Providence, the West End and Elmwood, Summit, West Broadway, which includes parts of Federal Hill and the West End, home to Olneyville. A vibrant artist community thrives here thanks to a welcoming Arts and Entertainment District. Providence is home to a number of colleges and universities, so finding a place to stay during the school year can involve a rigorous search. Persistence eventually pays off and you are sure to find the apartment of your dreams in this vibrant city.
Newport: This seaside city is known for its historic mansions along the coast, including The Breakers, Rosecliffe, The Elms, Belcourt Castle and Marble House. Newport is also home to many other attractions, including the International Tennis Hall of Fame, the Newport Art Museum and its magnificent cliff walk. Popular neighborhoods include Fifth Ward, Yachting Village, Broadway, Van Zandt, Kerry Hill, Van Zandt, Bellevue, Historic Hill and Thames Street -- all of which offer distinctly unique vibes. Whether you're looking for a studio apartment or duplexes for rent in Rhode Island, Newport offers something for everyone when it comes to apartment rentals.
Narragansett: Nicknamed "Gansett," the population of this resort town doubles every summer thanks to an influx of tourists. It comprises the villages and neighborhoods of Saunderstown, South Ferry, Bonnet Shores, Jerusalem, Salt Pond, Mettatuxet, Narragansett Pier, Galilee, Point Judith and Great Island. This town is most well known for its amazing beaches, including Narragansett Town Beach, Scarborough State Beach, Roger Wheeler State Beach and Salty Brine State Beach, offering everything from picnicking to swimming. Fishermen's Memorial State Park is also a popular destination for camping. Apartment rentals may be a challenge to find during the summer, so get a jump start in order to edge out the tourists seeking summer shelter.
Pawtucket: The state's fourth largest city, Pawtucket offers residents plenty of New England charm, particularly for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy the many biking and hiking trails. Popular neighborhoods include Darlington, Downtown Pawtucket, Fairlawn, and Oak Hill.
Life in Rhode Island
The name of the country's tiniest state is misleading: Rhode Island is not technically an island. While surrounded on the south by Rhode Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean, it is bordered by Connecticut on the west and Massachusetts on the north and east. It's no surprise that Rhode Island residents typically enjoy being near the water. Nicknamed "The Ocean State" because of its signature oceanfront beaches, bays, inlets and waterways, Rhode Island offers delightful waterfront access and views for residents and visitors alike. There's a reason why Rhode Island's official nickname is "The Ocean State": a whopping 10 percent of its inland is under salt water, and a mere 30 minutes' drive from any point in the state brings you to water. Anyone with a bad case of aqua phobia may want to look elsewhere, but water lovers will find no better place to call home.
From Snail Salad to Coffee Milk
Rhode Island's culinary offerings are unique thanks to the state's immigrant history. A melting pot for immigrants from many different countries, Rhode Island's culinary heritage merges everything from chourico to seafood to the signature "Snail Salad," which can be found on restaurant menus throughout the state. Shellfish in general is popular here, including everything from quahogs to calamari to clam chowder.
Rhode Islanders also enjoy a good cup of joe. Coffee milk -- a mixture of milk and coffee syrup -- is the state's official drink, and the "Providence Journal" once reported that the state has the highest number of coffee shops per capita in the entire country.
Weathering the Weather
Rhode Islanders enjoy all four seasons: warm summers, cold winters, warming springs and cooling autumns. You'll need a good pair of snow boots in this spot; Rhode Island gets more than its fair share of everything from flurries to blizzards. Summers are short and hot, but cool air wafting in from the ocean makes life here a breeze. Invest in a good pair of Wellies while you're at it, because humid Rhode Island gets its fair share of rain. Think of it on the bright side -- it's what makes the flowers grow! The state also has hurricanes, so be sure to read up on hurricane preparedness.
Small on Area, Big on Culture
While most people may think of the animated television series "Family Guy," set in the fictional city of Quahog, when picturing Rhode Island, the state -- particularly glitzy, gilded Newport -- has been long been a destination for the rich and famous. Many films have been set here as well, including the original "The Great Gatsby," "High Society," "Meet Joe Black" and "Dan in Real Life." Not to mention that Paul D of Jersey Shore fame calls the Rhode Island town of Johnston his hometown. Rhode Islanders can be recognized by their distinctive way of speaking -- which many consider to be a blend of Boston and New York City accents. If you need a sip of "watah" in Rhode Island, the nearest "bubbler" is where you'll want to look.
Get Your Cheer On
Sports-loving locals have their pick of two minor league affiliates of popular Boston sports teams. Root, root, root for the home team at a Pawtucket Red Sox baseball game or cheer on the Providence Bruins as they take the ice. Rugby is big here, and the Rhode Island Rebellion rugby league team has a sizable fan base. Fans of football and soccer meanwhile can head to Gillette Stadium in nearby Foxborough, Massachusetts to take in a New England Patriots or New England Revolution game.
RI Renter Confidence Survey
Here’s how RI ranks on:
Apartment List has released Rhode Island’s results from the third annual Apartment List Renter Satisfaction Survey. This survey, which drew on responses from over 45,000 renters, provides insight on what states and cities must do to meet the needs of 111 million American renters nationwide.
"Rhode Island renters expressed general satisfaction with the state overall," according to Apartment List. "They gave most categories average or below-average scores."
Key findings in Rhode Island include the following:
- Rhode Island renters gave their state a C+ overall.
- The highest-rated categories for Rhode Island were public transit, which received an A, and commute time and recreational activities, which both received B+ grades.
- The areas of concern to Rhode Island renters are safety and low crime rate (D) and weather (D).
- Millennial renters are moderately satisfied with their state, giving it an overall rating of C+, while renters who are parents are less satisfied, giving it a D.
- Rhode Island earned similar scores compared to nearby Massachusetts (C+), but earned higher scores than Connecticut (D).
- Rhode Island did relatively poorly compared to other states nationwide, including California (A-), Texas (A) and California (B+).
- The top rated states nationwide for renter satisfaction include Colorado, Alaska, South Dakota, Idaho and Minnesota. The lowest rated states include Wyoming, Arkansas, Mississippi, West Virginia and Louisiana.