Bristol, RI

A stately old town on the East Bay of Rhode Island.

The prosperous town of Bristol, RI, perched on a beautiful peninsula a few miles from Newport, may not be as well-known as its neighbor to the south, but while Newport is often jammed with people and cars, the tree-shaded streets of Bristol are usually pretty quiet. And Bristol has much of what Newport does: Well-preserved old homes, outstanding clam shacks, and parks, walkways, and bike paths on the water.

While Bristol itself has many attractions, it is close to other great areas, too. In addition to Newport, Bristol is a short drive (or bike ride) from Providence. And just up the road is quirky Warren, a burgeoning art colony. Southeast of Bristol is bucolic Little Compton, a town of stone walls and farmstands. In short, the Bristol area has a little bit of everything. This little Rhode Island town is surely worth checking out.


  • Population (2000 census): 22,469
  • Elevation: 50 feet
  • Area Code: 401
  • ZIP Code: 02089
  • Distance from Providence: 16 miles
  • Location: Map of Bristol, RI


  • Colt State Park–One of Rhode Island’s prettiest parks, Colt State Park has bike trails, picnic areas, and fantastic views of Narragansett Bay.
  • East Bay Bike Path–Extending nearly 15 miles from Providence, the East Bay Bike Path ends in Bristol. The Bristol stretch is perhaps the most scenic part of the path, with stunning views of Narragansett Bay and Bristol itself.
  • Fourth of July Celebration–Bristol has the distinction of having the oldest continuous fourth of July celebration in the United States. The first celebration took place here well over 200 years ago.
  • Quito’s Restaurant–Located at the end of the East Bay Bike Path (see above), Quito’s is one of the best clam shacks in Rhode Island.
  • William’s Grant Inn Bed & Breakfast–If you are looking to stay in Bristol, the William’s Grant Inn, a charming old bed and breakfast, is a top choice in town.