Best Rhode Island Attraction: Roger Williams Park Zoo

Blithewold takes second place

With more than 400 miles of coastline, Rhode Island is characterized by the water. The smallest state in the Union isn't actually an island, but it does feature countless white sand beaches, secluded coves, seaside cliffs and photo-worthy lighthouses. Away from the shore, visitors can tour Gilded Age mansions, cruise through the Blackstone Valley or watch WaterFire light up Providence at night. 

Fort Adams State Park (Newport)
Fort Adams State Park is home to the largest coastal fortification in the nation. Visitors can tour the fort's walls, tunnels and overlooks, keeping eyes and ears peeled for the restless spirits of the soldiers who occupied the fort between 1824 and 1950. Hauntings aside, the fort also affords worthy views of Newport Harbor and Narragansett Bay. Photo courtesy of iStock / Pyroe
Cliff Walk (Newport)
For 3.5 miles, this public walkway hugs the Newport coast, offering walkers a glimpse into the backyards of the town's famed Gilded Age mansions.  Photo courtesy of iStock / arenacreative
Block Island
Tiny Block Island – only 11 square miles – lying just off the coast of Rhode Island - packs a lot of appeal in a small area. The landscape, comprised largely of rolling hills and rocky bluffs, makes it a favorite for hikers, while numerous public beaches and more than 300 freshwater pools are perfect for cooling off in the summer. Beautifully restored Victorian inns put the finishing touches on this great small town. Photo courtesy of iStock / j76n
Theatre By The Sea (Wakefield)
Housed in a historic structure in Wakefield, the Theatre By the Sea puts on Broadway-style productions throughout the year. The 2017 season includes titles like Mamma Mia!, Chicago and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Photo courtesy of Swampyank / Wikimedia Commons
Newport Mansions (Newport)
Touring the Newport Mansions, especially the magnificent Breakers and Rought Point, lets visitors experience the extravagant lifestyle of the well-heeled Gilded Age residents who once occupied them.  Photo courtesy of iStock / shunyufan
Touro Synagogue (Newport)
In 1658 several Jewish families with roots in Spain and Portugal founded a congregation in Newport, Rhode Island. The Touro Synagogue was dedicated over a century later in 1763, making it the oldest surviving synagogue in the United States. To this day, the facade and interior remain largely unchanged. Photo courtesy of Kenneth C. Zirkel / Wikimedia Commons
International Tennis Hall of Fame (Newport)
The International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport celebrates the history and heritage of the sport with a museum collection of some 25,000 artifacts. Nearly 2,000 objects are on display at any given time throughout the museum's three interactive galleries, The Birth of Tennis (1874 – 1918); The Popular Game (1918 – 1968); and The Open Era (1968 – Present). Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Steven Senne
WaterFire Providence (Providence)
Providence's immensely popular WaterFire was installed in 1994 by artist Barnaby Evans, and in the summer months, crowds of pedestrians line the landscaped riverfront to watch pyres light up to the sounds of music (often live). Photo courtesy of N.Millard/GoProvidence.com
Blithewold (Bristol)
A 33-acre estate overlooking Narragansett Bay, Blithewold is one of the nation's best examples of the Country Place Era. The 45-room mansion remains much as it once was, filled with family heirlooms and furnishings. The estate gardens showcase a collection of rare and unusual plants. Photo courtesy of liz west / Flickr
Roger Williams Park Zoo (Providence)
The 40-acre Roger Williams Park Zoo is one of the oldest zoological parks in the nation, home to more than 100 species of animals. Visitor favorites include a Komodo dragon, red pandas, zebras, African elephants, harbor seals and sloths.  Photo courtesy of N.Millard/GoProvidence.com

We asked a panel of Rhode Island travel writers to nominate their favorite state attractions, and for the past four weeks, our readers have been voting for their favorites. The results are in!

The top 10 winners in the category Best Rhode Island Attraction are as follows:

  1. Roger Williams Park Zoo - Providence
  2. Blithewold - Bristol
  3. WaterFire Providence - Providence
  4. International Tennis Hall of Fame - Newport
  5. Touro Synagogue - Newport
  6. Newport Mansions - Newport
  7. Theatre By The Sea - Wakefield
  8. Block Island
  9. Cliff Walk - Newport
  10. Fort Adams State Park - Newport

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Kim Knox Beckius (EverythingNewEngland.com), Bob Curley (RITravel.org) and Eric D. Lehman were chosen based on their knowledge and experience of travel in Rhode Island.

Congratulations to all these winning attractions.