15 Pros and Cons of Living in Rhode Island

There are certain reasons you may love calling Rhode Island home, along with a few that might make you want to keep looking. So, before making your decision, let’s take a moment to compare the pros and cons of living in this state.

Pros of Living in Rhode Island

Close Proximity to Beautiful Beaches

Let’s talk about one of the best parts of Rhode Island – its stunning beaches! Located between Connecticut and Massachusetts, Rhode Island might be small in size, but it packs a punch with its 400 miles of coastline. 

Starting from Narragansett Town Beach, perfect for surfing, all the way to Easton’s Beach in Newport, known for its sea-facing restaurants, there’s something for everyone. Not to mention Block Island which lures visitors with its picturesque beaches. 

Rich History and Cultural Heritage

We know Rhode Island isn’t a big place, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it doesn’t pack a historical punch. This tiny state is chock-full of amazing stories and traditions. It was one of the 13 original colonies, which gives it some serious cred in the history department:. 

  • The Newport Mansions: They’re like walking into a history book, except way more fun. The “summer cottages” of the rich and famous from yesteryears will have you daydreaming about what it would be like to live in the Gilded Age.
  • The Freedom Trail: History buffs will love this. Follow a 2.5-mile-long trail through historic sites in Rhode Island. 

As well as history, Rhode Island has a deep cultural heritage that influences life today. There’s a rich mix of cultures from all corners of the globe, making for a pretty unique way of life. Think religious festivals, cultural events, street parades, and a whole lot of fun. Not many places can offer this kind of cultural richness in such a compact space.

Delicious Food Scene

Be it clam cakes, clam chowder, or some native quahogs, you’re in for a treat. Don’t eat seafood? No worries – there’s more! Rhode Island offers foodies a mix of cuisines. This place is serious about international foods as well – from Italian to Portuguese, Asian to Latin, the palette of tastes is wide-ranging. 

Accessible Outdoor Activities

Rhode Island may be tiny, but it’s loaded with opportunities for you to lace up your boots, hold on to your paddle, or grab your bike. 

Biking: Rhode Island has splendid bike routes if cycling is your thing. The East Bay Bike Path, for instance, is a smooth scenic route that offers a fantastic view of the bay. As you pedal, you’ll spot some ocean-living beasts, such as herons, swans, and even seals. 

Hiking: Despite being the smallest state, Rhode Island has plenty of hiking trails waiting for your footprints. You have some beautiful woods like Arcadia, offering countless trails that suit every level of hiker, from newbies to pros. 

Water sports: With an ocean surrounding nearly half its coastline, Rhode Island is ideal for water-sport enthusiasts. From boating and fishing to kayaking and paddle boarding, the possibilities are seemingly endless. 

Arts and Entertainment

You’ll find local bands performing at venues like The Fête and The Met Club. Music is in the air, from jazz styles to lively bluegrass banjo, and don’t forget the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra for the sonata lovers out there. 

The Ocean State is known for the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). It’s among the five best design schools globally. Plus, RISD’s art museum offers an impressive collection and a good dose of culture. 

Strong Sense of Community

Here, people look out for each other like one big family. Once you’re in Rhode Island, you become part of this wonderful ‘family’. 

Sociable events? Rhode Island is famous for those! From town-wide yard sales, wine tastings, farmer markets to annual quahogging days, there is always something happening. These events are key for mingling with your neighbors and forming lasting friendships. The shared joy of these community events fosters a wonderful social environment and deepens the sense of unity.

Convenient Size and Easy Commute

You won’t get lost in the urban sprawl that’s common in bigger cities. In fact, it’d be a challenge to get lost in Rhode Island. 

But the size of Rhode Island isn’t just about not getting lost. It’s also about how efficiently you can get around. Whether you’re heading to work or the local grocery store, travel times are often short. Plus, if you ever feel like an escape to the big city, Boston and New York are just a short drive away! 

Quality Education Opportunities

In Rhode Island, opportunities for quality education are basically on every street corner. 

Home to top-notch institutions like Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), the state provides learners of all ages a chance to expand their horizons. Here, you have the freedom to learn something new every day. 

Read also: 10 Richest Towns In Rhode Island

Cons of Living in Rhode Island

Challenging Job Market

Not everything is rosy in Rhode Island. The job market can get pretty tough. You might be wondering why. Well, we can point fingers at the limited number of industries in the state. 

The fields of healthcare and education account for majority of job opportunities. So if you’re a doc-to-be or a professor-in-the-making, things might be easier for you. But if you wish to make a mark in an industry like technology, you might have some hurdles to cross. 

But don’t lose hope. If you’re a go-getter, you’ll find a way. After all, the future is always unpredictable, and Rhode Island might just surprise you someday.

Expensive Cost of Living

Living in Rhode Island doesn’t come cheap. In fact, the cost of living here is higher than the national average. We’re talking about higher costs in healthcare, food, and the one that’ll burn a hole in your wallet: housing. According to the data, Rhode Island ranks as the tenth most expensive state in the U.S. to buy a house, according to Forbes. Better start saving those pennies! 

High Taxes

A case in point, property taxes here are on the higher side when you compare it to the national average. If you’re a homeowner in Rhode Island, this means more money out of your pocket each year. It’s not just the homeowners who feel the pinch. If you’re renting, it’s just as likely that this cost will be passed down to you indirectly. 

And it doesn’t stop there. Rhode Island’s sales tax rate is higher than the average of most other states. So, when you’re out shopping, you might just find that your dollar doesn’t stretch as far as you might like. In essence, it feels like everywhere you turn, there’s a tax waiting to greet you like an old “friend”. 

Limited Healthcare Options

The choices you have aren’t as many as you might expect. This is just something you need to keep in the back of your mind.

The state has fewer hospitals and healthcare facilities compared to larger states. 

Limited Public Transportation

If you’re someone who doesn’t have a car or prefers to roam around using buses and trains, you’ll find this part slightly tricky. 

The primary public transportation system serving Rhode Island is the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA), which offers bus service throughout the state. However, it’s not as extensive or timely as you might be accustomed to if you’re coming from a large city. 

In some rural areas, public transportation options could be all but non-existent. 

Traffic Congestion

You may get stuck in traffic during peak periods, especially if you’re near Providence, the state’s capital. Gridlocks in the morning and evening commutes can turn a quick 10-minute drive into a marathon session of patience tests. 

So, if you’re planning a swift early morning jog or a quick grocery run, it might take a little longer than you’d like. 

Tourist Crowds in Popular Areas

Whether it’s trying to park your car in Newport or getting a table at that trendy new cafe in Providence, prepare for some waiting and the usual “excuse me.” manoeuvers in tightly packed areas. 

If crowded spaces keep you on edge, you might need to adjust your timing or plan your visits to these attractive locales in off-peak hours only. 

Is Rhode Island a Good Place to Live?

Rhode Island is a great place to live, work, and raise a family, with its cozy neighborhoods and scenic beauty. But when it comes to retirement, it might not be the ideal choice. The state isn’t particularly tax-friendly for retirees, often landing at the bottom of rankings for retirement destinations.

Leave a Comment