Rhode Island, United States

About Rhode Island

The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, more commonly referred to as Rhode Island, is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area. Rhode Island borders Connecticut to the west, Massachusetts to the north and east, and shares a water boundary with New York's Fishers Island to the southwest. Rhode Island covers an area of approximately 1,545 square miles (4,002 km) and is bordered on the north and east by Massachusetts, on the west by Connecticut, and on the south by Rhode Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. It shares a narrow maritime border with New York State between Block Island and Long Island. The mean elevation of the state is 200 feet (60 m). Located within the New England province of the Appalachian Region, Rhode Island has two distinct natural regions. Eastern Rhode Island contains the lowlands of the Narragansett Bay, while Western Rhode Island forms part of the New England Upland. Narragansett Bay is a major feature of the state's topography. Block Island lies approximately 12 miles (19 km) off the southern coast of the mainland. Within the Bay, there are over 30 islands. The largest is Aquidneck Island, shared by the municipalities of Newport, Middletown, and Portsmouth. The second-largest island is Conanicut; the third-largest is Prudence.

Rhode Island Tourism and Recreation

Historic sites in Rhode Island, especially the mansions of Newport and Providence and water sports such as the America's Cup yacht races are the main tourist attractions. Block Island is a popular resort. The Providence Place Mall, a 13-acre mega shopping complex with 150 specialty shops, restaurants, and cinemas opened in 1999. An architectural marvel, the shopping complex spans a highway, a river, and a train track bed. Rhode Island's state parks and recreational areas total 8,063 acres.

Rhode Island Climate

Average for the entire year is near 50 degrees, with April through June and September through mid-November being the most delightfully moderate seasons. January and February are the coldest months, with a mean temperature of near 29 degrees, and July and August are the warmest, with a mean close to 72 degrees. Freezing temperatures are common the latter part of November to the end of March. Seventy degree temperatures become common near the end of May, and cease with the close of September. During this period, there may be several days of 90 degrees and over, averaging 8 such days per year. Generally, the hottest days of the summer are in August.

Rhode Island has no regular "rainy" or "dry" season, with precipitation fairly evenly distributed throughout the year on one out of every three days. The annual average is a little more than 42 inches in both rain and snow, but can vary 25 inches to 65 inches. Occasionally, droughts are experienced during the summer months. Thunderstorms are responsible for much of the rainfall from May through August.

The first measurable snowfall of winter comes toward the end of November but may be as late as January. The last snow of the season is about the middle of March. The month of greatest snowfall is usually February, but January and March are close seconds. It is unusual for the ground to remain well covered with snow for any long periods of time.

Rhode Island Transportaion

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA), which has its hub in downtown Providence manages local bus transit for the state, serving 38 out of 39 Rhode Island communities. RIPTA has 58 bus lines, 2 tourist trolley lines known as LINK, and a seasonal ferry to Newport.The southern terminus of the MBTA commuter rail Providence/Stoughton Line is also in downtown Providence and connects to Boston. Ferry services link Block Island, Prudence Island, and Hog Island to the Rhode Island mainland.

Interstate 95 runs diagonally across the state connecting major population centers, while the auxiliary interstate 295 provides a bypass around Providence. Narragansett Bay has a number of bridge crossings connecting Aquidneck Island and Conanicut Island to the mainland, most notably the Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge and the Jamestown-Verrazano Bridge.

The major airports are T. F. Green Airport in Warwick and Logan International Airport in Boston. The commuter rail is in the process of being extended to T.F. Green airport, which will link the airport to Providence and Boston by rail.