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Bristol, Rhode Island Will Make You Wonder Why More People Don't Know About This Coastal Gem

Downtown Bristol, Rhode Island will make you wonder why more people don't know about this small town coastal destination.
Downtown Bristol.

by Eric J. Hurwitz. Article updated on Aug. 19, 2017.

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If you're looking for that proverbial "All American town," and the ultimate quaint coastal New England destination, then Bristol, R.I., is the place to go.

Known as the "most patriotic town in America," Bristol abounds with American community spirit with American flags displayed throughout town and a red, white and blue median strip in its downtown.

Red, white and blue media nstrip in Bristol, Rhode Island
Quaint downtown and a red, white and blue stripe down the middle of the road in Bristol.

The oldest Fourth of July celebration in America, beautiful historic and incredibly well-maintained Colonial homes (one after the other on Hope Street), town buildings, bed and breakfasts (like the historic
William's Grant Inn), and museums only augment the All-American" town look perhaps more than any other town we've visited in New England.

Williams Grant Inn, Bristol, R.I.
Williams's Grant Inn.

Bristol -- located on the east side of Rhode Island, 20 minutes from Providence -- has a distinct advantage of being located on scenic Narragansett and Mt. Hope Bays. You can get pleasing glimpses of the water from the downtown, even better views from waterfront restaurants like the Lobster Pot (we love their seafood selections) at 119 Hope St., and Quito's Seafood Restaurant at 411 Thames St., as well as incredible panoramic views driving the majestic Mt. Hope Bridge.

Quito's Seafood Restaurant in Bristol, R.I.
Quito's Restaurant in Bristol.

Downtown, you'll find the local coffee, book, toy, art and boutique and specialty shops that, unlike other towns, aren't in business to show off and rip you off. Rather, the shops, in all their festive storefront colors, faithfully serve the community and also happen to catch the interest of visitors. There's a peaceful aura downtown, almost like the way life was before mega development in the suburbs (Rhode Island is so small that every town in this state seems like a suburb of Providence).

By the water in downtown Bristol, Rhode Island.
State Street leads to the water in downtown Bristol.

The downtown's tree-lined presence becomes further enchanced by hanging flower baskets -- the type of place we see in Hollywood movies but rarely see in 21st century real life.

Flower basket and historic home in downtown Bristol, R.I.
Downtown pride with well-maintained homes and hanging flower baskets in downtown Bristol.

Downtown Bristol RI is sure one of New England's nicest central districts
Bristol: the perfect walking town.

Historic buildings abound like the Linden Place Museum at 500 Hope St., a Federal style mansion dating back to 1810 that offers exhibitions and tours of local history.

Linden Place Museum in Bristol, Rhode Island
Linden Place Museum in Bristol.

Independence Park stands as one of the most beautiful downtown parks in southern New England. The paved walkways lead to scenic bay views virtually everywhere...

Independence Park in downtown Bristol, R.I.
Independence Park in Bristol.

Views from Independence Park in Bristol, R.I.
Water views from Independence Park in Bristol.

On the outskirts, you'll find golfing and boating opportunities, but perhaps the best drawing card attractions are Colt State Park and the East Bay Bike Path. Colt State Park offers 464 pristine acres of a true nature's paradise with sweeping views of Narragansett Bay, open lands, picnic areas, and places to walk. The East Bay Bike Path -- a 14-plus mile bike path with many water views running from Providence to Bristol -- is accessible through Colt State Park. Next to Colt State Park is a town beach with nearby playing fields, a snack bar, and a playground complex for the kids.

Colt State Park inBristol is one of the nicest places to walk in Rhode Island.
Colt State Park.

Also, try to catch a sunset at Colt State Park. They are often remarkalbe and memorable.

Sunset at Colt State Park in Bristol, R.I.
Colt State Park at sunset.

Wouldn't you love to ride the East Bay Bike Trail in Rhode Island right now?
East Bay Bike Trail.

It's hard to imagine a more pleasing town than Bristol, as its American spirit, community pride, historical preservation, peacefulness and things to do make it a top choice as a small-town to visit when visiting New England.

Beautiful downtown Bristol, Rhode Island
Idyllic downtown scene in Bristol.

Log onto Explore Bristol for more information on this great Rhode Island town

Please share the Bristol graphic below on Pinterest. Thanks!

What to see and do in beautiful Bristol, R.I.

Related articles:

How to enjoy a day trip in Warren, Rhode Island
Get Newport, Rhode Island travel tips

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The Best Diners in New England -- If you love classic diners, New England has them! In my book, I write in detail on 50 top local diners.

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