Putting the RI in Spring

Stop and smell the flowers at some of the state's most beautiful public gardens


Warm weather means sunny afternoons spent exploring. When the trees are in bloom and there are flowers everywhere you look, take a moment to appreciate some gorgeous green (and pink, purple and yellow) spaces around the state.

The Kinney Azalea Garden in South Kingstown is a hidden gem that’s perfect for a visit in May when the azaleas are in bloom. Thousands upon thousands of flowers line the paths, and admission is free. Bring the family for a stroll, or bring a book and plan to spend the afternoon.

Charlestown’s Fantastic Umbrella Factory is a destination worth exploring, complete with a cafe, international shopping bazaar, nursery and animals to feed. There’s also a sculpture garden and a bamboo forest.

Wilcox Park is a Victorian garden in the center of downtown Westerly. In the summer months, there are regular concerts and plays performed al fresco, but the scenic space is ideal for a stroll any time of year, with a unique population of dwarf trees and manicured gardens, including a daylily collection.

Pawtucket’s Slater Mill is an important part of Rhode Island’s history, and not just for its role in the Industrial Revolution. The living history museum is also home to The Slater Mill Historic Garden, a kitchen and flower garden grown from historically correct seeds.

Providence’s Roger Williams Park Botanical Center is New England’s largest indoor botanical center, which means you don’t need to wait for a sunny day to enjoy it. In spring, the outdoor gardens are in bloom with peonies and magnolias, and there’s a rose maze to explore.

Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum in Bristol has 33 acres of some of the most beautifully landscaped grounds you’ll ever find, including a rose garden, a water garden, a rock garden, vegetable and cutting gardens and greenhouses, all with winding paths just asking to be explored.

Bristol’s Colt State Park
has picnic grounds, playing fields and views for days. Though you’ll be tempted to stay by the water – saltwater fishing is allowed – make sure to take some time to explore the ornamental flower gardens.

Green Animals Topiary Garden
in Portsmouth is the oldest topiary garden in the country, and features more than 80 topiary pieces in the form of animals, birds, ornamental shapes and geometric designs. The grounds are also home to flower gardens, an orchard and a Victorian home.