Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Tiverton, RI

  • Published 2023/02/09

The town of Tiverton sits in Newport County, Rhode Island.

It’s a relatively big town, with a population of 16,359 according to the 2020 census.

Likewise, Tiverton is also a popular summer destination thanks to its two beaches, Fogland Beach and Grinnell’s Beach.

You can find these rivers on the Sakonnet River.

In 1694, a group of English colonists settled the area and incorporated it into a town.

The town once belonged to Bristol County in the Province of Massachusetts.

Then, a Royal Decree transferred Tiverton to Rhode Island to settle a longstanding boundary dispute between Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

As a historic town, Tiverton suffers no shortage of historic sites.

Likewise, the town presents various activity and recreation options for all manner of tourists.

Do you want to know more about Tiverton, RI?

Here’s a list of the best things to do in town:

Enjoy the Sun at Fogland Beach

The waters of Fogland Beach

Beyond My Ken, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Head to the south side of Fogland Point to reach this black stone beach, a favorite summer destination for sea-loving tourists.

For example, many kayakers and windsurfers love this beach.

The strong breeze that flows through the area makes it a year-round favorite windsurfing and kitesurfing attraction.

Big boulder at Fogland Beach's shore

Beyond My Ken, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can also swim in the water because the beach employs lifeguards.

Likewise, you can fish or walk around the beach.

Near the beach also lies a wildlife and nature observation preserve, so you can explore further.

Admire the panoramic view of the Portsmouth shoreline and Sakonnet River on clear days.

Rocky shoreline of Fogland Beach

Beyond My Ken, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Get Lost in the Weetamoo Woods

The Weetamoo Woods comprises 650 acres of coastal oak-holly, consisting of American holly trees and oaks commonly found in southern New England’s coastal areas.

You can also find a thickly forested wetland along with a grove of Atlantic white cedar near the sawmill and milldam.

Many of the trees in the Woods are 100 to 125 years old; some of them survived the destructive 1938 hurricane.

In geological terms, these trees are “middle-aged.”

Likewise, such a dense and mature forest can support nesting birds such as the worm-eating warbler, Baltimore oriole, and wood thrush.

You can also find raptors such as the red-tailed hawk, the horned owl, and the barred owl.

You can bring dogs or ride horses inside the area. However, you must leash your dog and keep a close eye on them.

Likewise, you can’t ride a horse in the open meadow.

Explore US History at the Cook-Bateman Farm

Side exterior of Cook-Bateman Farm's main house

Beyond My Ken, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can find this historical site at the corner of Puncatest Neck and Fogland Roads in Tiverton. This place is a colonial farm, with portions of the main farmhouse dating back from 1730 to 1748.

Over time, the farm underwent enlargements, happening between 1812 to 1820.

The farm went through a redesign to fit the trendy Second Empire style in 1870.

The farmhouse itself stands on 63 acres of farmland.

Look around to see the barn with a gambrel roof, put up in the late 19thor early 20th centuries.

Daytime view of Cook-Bateman Farm

User:Magicpiano, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There are also various smaller outbuildings near the farmhouse.

John Cook developed the property in the 18th century.

For over 200 years, only two families have owned the land.

Likewise, the property contains substantial evidence of Native American settlement.

In 1979, the National Register of Historic Places listed the Cook-Bateman Farm in its records.

Front exterior of Cook-Bateman Farm's main house

Beyond My Ken, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Spot Birds at the Sapowet Marsh

Another wildlife preserve you can visit is Sapowet Marsh, found on the Sakonnet River.

Admission to the place is free, though the beach might be small and rocky. However, you’ll enjoy splendid views of the river and its surroundings.

Many windsurfers and kayakers enjoy this place because a strong southwesterly wind blows through here regularly.

The state-owned 260-acre preserve also offers terrific birdwatching opportunities.

Bring your binoculars, for you can find such birds as the Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow here.

You might also find the Great Egret, Clapper Rail, and Snowy Egret.

During the winter, the Northern Harrier and Short-eared Owl might also appear.

Grab Specialty Cheeses at The Cheese Wheel Village Market

Bring home interesting souvenirs by grabbing gourmet cheeses at The Cheese Wheel Village Market in Tiverton.

The market offers a diverse selection of high-quality artisanal cheeses and other products like jams and charcuterie.

You can also grab several other provisions from the store. What provisions are these?

Spice up your next meal with deluxe vinegar, specialty oils, finishing salts, and olives.

Likewise, you can buy local and imported crackers, bread, and cookies there.

They also sell eggs, dairy products, soaps, and honey, all made straight from the farm.

Step Back in Time at Tiverton Four Corners

Exterior of a cafe at Tiverton Four Corners

Beyond My Ken, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s only right for a historical town like Tiverton to let tourists step back in time, almost literally.

Drive to Tiverton Four Corners to see what it’s like to live inside a traditional rustic 18th-century New England village with modern conveniences.

This district contains a variety of shops and galleries where you can meet artists at work and buy their pieces.

Likewise, you can buy top-quality goods from the shops, or browse items in a laid-back setting.

Old exterior of a building at Tiverton Four Corners

Phillip Capper from Wellington, New Zealand, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The district also features a bunch of restaurants that satisfy all kinds of palates.

For example, you can try gourmet cheese, a charcuterie platter, handmade ice cream, pastries, or a full sit-down meal.

Many of these stores have won awards, as well.

If you want to spend the night in the village, then book a stay in the 19th-century School House.

The building retains its original design and look, but it has undergone extensive refurbishing to fit modern standards.

Exterior of a shop at Tiverton Four Corners

Beyond My Ken, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

See the Butterflies at The Butterfly Zoo

Besides birds and other wildlife, Tiverton also features a beautiful butterfly.

The city hosts The Butterfly Zoo, a preserve dedicated to butterflies and their colorful brilliance and role in nature.

For more than 20 years, the zoo has awed numerous families with its butterfly exhibits.

Currently, the zoo runs the 3rd oldest and continuously operating, live butterfly exhibit in the country.

Get up close and personal to the most beautiful butterflies in the world.

For instance, you’ll find green birdwing butterflies from New Guinea or zebras from Costa Rica.

Many of these butterflies come from all corners of the world, such as South America, Africa, and the South Pacific.

Likewise, you can enter the zoo greenhouse to check out its live tropical exhibit.

The butterflies inside should put on a show for you.

The guides will also share important information about the butterflies.

Grab a Bite at the Sakonnet River Grille

Spending the day doing tourist activities should make anyone hungry.

When hunger strikes, bring your family to the Sakonnet River Grille for a nice hearty meal.

The Gorman family owns the place, and they provide diners with fresh, delicious meals served quickly in a comfy setting.

Their menu also offers meals prepared from locally caught seafood.

You can also try their tender Babyback Ribs, whose meat falls off the bone, plus their slow-roasted prime rib.

Experience deluxe big city meals dashed with small-town flavor!

Spend the Day at Fort Barton

Name sign of Fort Barton

JBowie17, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Another historical site you can visit in Tiverton is Fort Barton, an old defensive installation rising 110 feet above sea level.

It also has an observation tower that lets you see every corner of Narragansett Bay.

The fort’s position made it an important lookout point during the American Revolution’s early years.

The British captured Newport and Aquidneck Island in 1776, making Tiverton a fort for American sympathizers and headquarters of Colonial forces.

The fort would get its name from Lieutenant Colonel Barton, who led an American raid to capture the British General Richard Prescott.

The Newport Historical Society received Fort Barton in 1923 when Dr. Roderick Terry donated the property.

Today, Fort Barton contains a park where you can see the remains of the original earthworks.

The observation tower still stands, too.

Then, you can explore the nearby woods to the east, following the Sin and Flesh Brook.

Try Your Luck at the Bally’s Tiverton Casino

If you ever wanted to win big in Tiverton, drop by the Bally’s Tiverton Casino and Hotel.

The casino is open 24 hours, so you can play all day if you want.

What can you play in this place?

The casino offers several games, such as Three Card Poker, Craps, Blackjack, Roulette, Mini-Baccarat, and Pai Gow Poker.

Likewise, you can play slots; just pick one stall out of the 1,000 video slots that feature modern games and the old-school classics.

For betting people, the casino also has the Sportsbook, which lets you bet on all your favorite collegiate and pro sports.

Traverse the Walkway at Sakonnet River Bridge

View of Sakonnet River Bridge

Faina Gurevich /

Sakonnet River Bridge is one of the more subtle tourist attractions in Tiverton.

Built in the 50s, this bridge serves to connect Tiverton to its neighboring city, Portsmouth.

It extends to almost 3,000 feet in length.

But what makes this bridge a cut above the rest is its dedicated lanes for pedestrians and bikers.

View of Sakonnet River Bridge

Faina Gurevich /

Aside from the usual roadway for four-wheeled and more vehicles, there’s a 13-foot wide pathway for those who prefer to walk and ride on their bicycle.

This spot offers scenic overlooks of the Sakonnet River.

When you cross the bridge at night, you’ll find yourself surprised at the stunning LED architectural design.

While you’re there, keep an eye out for the bronze seal plaques for both cities and the state.

You can get to Sakonnet River Bridge from Main Road.

View of Sakonnet River Bridge

Faina Gurevich /

Bring Your Family to Grinnell’s Beach

If you’re looking for a day of family fun, bring your family to Grinnell’s Beach, a small but fully equipped beach in Tiverton.

Just go south of the Stone Bridge Pier, off Main Road, to reach the place.

This pier also lets you fish, so you might want to bring your rod and bait.

Anyway, the crescent-shaped Grinnell’s Beach presents complete amenities such as changing rooms, showers, and a children’s play zone.

During the summer, a lifeguard watches over the designated swimming area.

Likewise, the beach also gives a gorgeous view of the nearby Gould Island and Sakonnet River.

Grinnell’s Beach is perfect for a whole day of family-friendly fun.

Observe the Animals at the Emilie Ruecker Wildlife Refuge

Body of water at Emilie Ruecker Wildlife Refuge

Beyond My Ken, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This wildlife refuge is open from sunrise to sunset, and it covers 50 acres of property.

Exploring the area also involves an easy hike, stretching for 1.6 miles.

The property comprises woods and a salt marsh, with trails crossing through the area and winding along the Sakonnet River.

Likewise, the trails offer plenty of stopping points where you can take photos or simply admire the flowing river.

Trail lined with trees at Emilie Ruecker Wildlife Refuge

Beyond My Ken, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bring your binoculars, too, because the preserve is an excellent spot for birdwatching.

You can spot such birds as the glossy ibis, great egret, the osprey, and snowy egret.

Likewise, you can find other birds like the yellow-bellied sapsucker, American redstart, yellow warbler, and Cooper’s hawk.

Other wildlife living in the area include foxes, deer, crabs, and harbor seals.

Enjoy a Nice Cup of Joe at Coastal Roasters

Start your adventure in Tiverton right by getting a hot cup of coffee at Coastal Roasters.

This micro-roaster prepares various coffees, from organic to fair trade and specialty drinks.

Besides coffee, the store also offers teas (hot and iced), along with espresso beverages and locally baked pastries.

You can also grab frozen smoothies there if you find the day too hot.

Coastal Roasters also prepares specialty coffees around the world using artisanal techniques.

You can buy them whole bean, or you can have them ground to order.

The store is also along the waterfront, giving you a nice view while you sip your coffee.

Don’t miss out on one of Tiverton’s snack attractions!

Start a Historical Excursion at Chace-Cory House

EXterior view of Chace-Cory House

Beyond My Ken, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Want to add a historical tour to your Tiverton itinerary?

Then, don’t forget to put in Chace-Cory House.

This historical home brings to life the old New England architecture with its gambrel roof and a period garden in the back.

Its exact origins were unknown but its earliest records reveal that the Chace family built the house and Andrew Cory was its owner a few years later, in 1816.

The home also has an outhouse.

If you’ve got the time, sign up for a tour around this preserved homestead and learn more about the lifestyle of Tiverton residents in the past.

Near Four Corners, Chace-Cory House is on Main Road.

Spend the Day at the Pardon Gray Preserve

The 230-acre Pardon Gray Preserve offers an afternoon’s worth of laid-back adventure for the whole family.

You can explore the farm and forest preserve sitting next to the Weetamoo Woods Open Space.

Likewise, you might even learn more about the history of Tiverton because the Pardon Gray Preserve is also a historic site.

In 1676, the Proprietors of Pocasset bought the land from the Plymouth Colony.

Today, the land still carries colonial artifacts, such as the old well house and the land’s original stone walls.

The old well house is now a visitors’ kiosk.

However, the preserve’s main attraction is the Gray Family Historical Cemetery, sitting in the middle of the property.

The preserve’s namesake, Pardon Gray, helped supply food and other rations to the soldiers at Fort Barton during the American Revolution.

September is a lively month at the preserve since the Tiverton Land Trust hosts the event A Country Day at Pardon Gray every year.

This event is an old-school country fair filled with various rides, games, and live entertainment.

Keep an Eye Out for Stone Walls at Basket Swamp Preserve

Sign in Basket Swamp Preserve

Kenneth C. Zirkel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tiverton’s preserved nature areas are truly a masterpiece.

And Basket Swamp Preserve further proves this point.

Sitting on about 96 acres of unbridled woodlands, this preserve is famous for its oak and holly foliage.

Its 2-mile trails are mostly level.

While on your trek, you’ll come across a multitude of stone walls, offering a nice change of scenery to its usual grassy and earthy landscapes.

You can find Basket Swamp Preserve on Cornell Road.

Check Out Art at the Four Corners Arts Center

You can find the Four Corners Arts Center at the historic site of the Soule-Seabury House, dating back to 1800.

This center is unique because its activities are mostly outdoors, held on an acre or more landscaped grounds.

During your visit, make sure to hang around for exhibits, live concerts, theater performances, and outdoor dance.

Likewise, the center holds special events from time to time.

Moreover, the Four Corners Arts Center features a Sculpture Park, which began in 1991 with Elise Brewster’s “Bridges.”

Since then, the center has displayed sculptures from regionally renowned artists and university students every summer.

The arts center also hosts youth and adult art workshops.

Have Fun Outdoors at Tiverton Town Farm

The outdoor recreation opportunities that Tiverton Town Farm provides for everyone of all ages make the site visit-worthy.

Though not necessarily a farm as the name suggests, this facility spans three-square miles.

But before becoming a go-to spot for family hangouts, this area was once a detention facility for the less privileged.

In 1832, the facility welcomed inmates, and it went on to welcome more until 1955.

Several years later, the site has transformed into an outdoor center with a playground, fitness areas, and sports courts.

Ready your tennis and pickleball skills because, at Tiverton Town Farm, you’ll be using them!

This center is on US Highway 77.

Go on a Challenging Hike over Pocasset Ridge Conservation Area

For an unassuming excursion within nature, you can never go wrong with Pocasset Ridge Conservation Area.

This preserve highlights the beauty of unbroken forest settings.

Complete with rocky terrain and challenging slopes, this preserve is a massive hit among novice and expert hikers.

Birdwatchers also find this nature preserve a good spot for bird study.

Get your peaceful retreat at Pocasset Ridge Conservation Area on Main Road.

Final Thoughts

Tiverton offers plenty of historical and natural attractions to satisfy the diverse palate of modern tourists.

Likewise, its shops contain unique specialty items you can bring home to your friends.

You’ll want to recommend this place when you get home.

Book your Tiverton trip today!

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