In 2000, I moved here from northern Connecticut to start my undergraduate studies at Providence College. I have to admit, it was a big change for me. I went from being able to ride my bike for miles without seeing a car, to crowded streets and the "big" city of Providence. Other than playing soccer and other outdoor sports, I quickly adapted to the world of gym workouts, which were pretty foreign to me as an 18 year old athlete. I had always been trained on a field or court, and spent the rest of my time climbing things and riding my bike. It took me a while to realize what Little Rhody had to offer in the world of outdoor fitness, but now I am a bigger fan than ever.
As far as New England goes, you are not going to get much more than Rhode Island has in terms of outdoor versatility. We have the city and all of the parks that go with it, the beaches, the hills and fields of northern RI, and lets not forget the trails of all over. Called the Ocean State, and what is more fun than water! Like I said, it took me a while to find all of these little gems, but now that I have, I would love to share them with you. It is spring, and the perfect time to get outside and really appreciate these places, and get a workout of course!
Here are my top 10 Rhode Island Outdoor Fitness Places
10- Cumberland Monastery, Cumberland, RI
Located right on 114 in the heart of the Blackstone Valley, this is one of the best places to go for jogging and walking trails. It is pristine, well maintained, and absolutely gorgeous. Bring a picnic, go for a jog, and enjoy this little hidden secret.
9- Citizens Plaza, Providence, RI
It may seem silly, but as a fitness professional, any place with a great set of stairs and a view of the city, is perfect in my eyes. Climb those stairs and adore the beautiful and historic buildings of Downtown Providence. Steps can be used for PushUps, Dips, Step Ups, Box Jumps, and Lateral Movements. Be creative, and you could have a heart pumping workout right in the heart of our historic city.
8- Watch Hill, Westerly, RI
Ok, we all know there could be 50 beaches on this list, but I thought I would pick one. Watch Hill is my favorite beach in RI because it is small, quaint, and has a lot to offer. Whether you walk on the beach, run, swim, or play volleyball, you are guaranteed to get a great and fun workout.
7- Burlingame State Park, Charlestown, RI
Simple park fun. Trails, open fields, and playgrounds make this one of the best RI parks to play and workout in.
6- Brown University Stadium, Providence, RI
The Brown Stadium steps can make for a super efficient workout. Walk up, Run the steps, or run the bleachers if you really want to challenge yourself.
5- The East Bay and Blackstone Valley Bike Path
Since I moved to RI in 2000, Rhode Island has made some major upgrades to its bike trails. The East Bay Bike Trail was the first to get constructed and get a face lift. It goes right along the water from East Providence all the way to Colt State Park in Bristol. Riding a bike for 14.5 miles (one way) along the water? How could anyone complain about that. The Blackstone Valley Bike Trail came next, and it has its own things to offer. Located right on the Blackstone River and spanning from Pawtucket to Woonsocket, it has some of the best views of the true history of Little Rhody. If you love these stunning mill buildings the way I do, you should definitely make it a priority to check it out.
4- Big River, West Greenwich, RI
Trail Heaven! Big River is home to some of the most beautiful trails in Rhode Island. If you love to hike, check it out. If you mountain bike, check it out. If you trail run, check it out. If you love beautiful places, check it out.
3- The Hills of Downtown Providence and the East Side
If you have ever run the Star/Jenkes hill, you know what I am talking about. Walking or running these hills that connect Downtown with the East Side of Providence makes for one of the best workouts around.
2- Brown Street Park, Providence, RI
After Brown Street Park got renovated a few years ago, it has turned into one of the places to go for an outdoor workout. Located right behind the Hope High School Track, it has tires, logs, rings, climbing ropes, balance beams, and pull-up bars. There is nothing you cannot do there, and you can even bring your kids to play!
1- Lincoln Woods State Park, Lincoln, RI
Lincoln Woods is definitely #1 in my book for outdoor fitness in RI. Horseback riding, running, biking, climbing, and swimming. It does not get much better than that. Bring your road bike for the 5 mile loop, or your mountain bike for the trails. There are several outdoor climbing areas for bouldering, and a beach/swimming area as well. If you haven't been to Lincoln Woods yet, go and find out why I ranked it #1!
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