Explore the past

For more than 100 years, RI’s state parks have lived up to the ideals on which they were founded when Lincoln Woods State Park was established in 1905. This vast system of parks, beaches, campgrounds, and bike paths are some of our most treasured places. They’ve provided countless families with memories and opportunities to breathe fresh air, enjoy nature, and have fun.

Rhode Island’s state park system has expanded to include over 8,200 acres of land, including parks, beaches, campgrounds, bike paths, historic sites, picnic areas, trails, athletic fields, dams, fishing access, and boat ramps. This network attracts upwards of nine million visitors each year and hosts high-profile national and international events such as the Newport Jazz Festival, Newport Folk Festival, and Volvo Ocean Race. They also are an important contributor to the state’s economy and ability to attract new people and businesses to Rhode Island. Each year, our parks contribute an estimated $312 million of economic output and support over 3,700 jobs. The state park system today represents a commitment by the State of Rhode Island to the preservation of its scenic natural resources and the provision of outstanding outdoor recreation opportunities for Rhode Islanders and visitors.

Celebrating over 100 Years of Rhode Island State Parks tells the story of the state parks - from a visionary plan in the early 1900s to the network of historic and magnificent green spaces and greenways that it is today. Celebrating over 100 Years of Rhode Island State Parks features stunning footage, interviews with Park staff, and personal stories of families who enjoy these precious natural areas.

A written history of the Rhode Island State Parks, written by Albert T. Klyberg, L. H. D., can be found here.