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The Best Places to Consider Living in Rhode Island

living in Rhode Island

With the smallest state size in the country and a thriving dairy industry, Rhode Island attracts new residents from across the United States. Whether you’re heading here for the top-rated schools, a more peaceful existence, or the best clam chowder in the world, it helps to know where to live.

If you want to learn more about living in Rhode Island, you’re in the right place. We’ve put together this guide to help you learn more about RI living and discover the perfect area to buy your next home. No matter what your budget or lifestyle needs, we’re confident there’s a location on this list for you.

living in Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island (Photo via SeanPavonePhoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

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Here are the best places to live in Rhode Island:

Barrington

Barrington is a popular suburb, located south of Providence, with a population of just over 16,000. It has excellent educational facilities, making it a popular location for families moving to the area — especially those with young children.

Alongside providing everything you need for an excellent family lifestyle, Barrington will support your outdoor pursuits. As the sun sets over Barrington beach, you can enjoy leisurely walks. Or, if you prefer to get closer to nature, the Osamequin Nature Reserve is ideal for bird spotting.

As a result of its natural beauty and local conveniences, both property prices and the cost of living are slightly higher than the national average in Barrington. But the friendly people, an abundance of green spaces, and being close to the water make it a worthwhile investment.

Blackstone Valley

As one of the birthplaces of the American Industrial Revolution, Blackstone Valley holds a lot of historic significance for the people of Rhode Island. Prospective residents are attracted to Blackstone Valley for its low crime rates, vibrant social scene, and varied employment opportunities. With a population of just over 6,000, it also boasts an intimate community vibe.

The area is popular with both families and young professionals. It is well suited for those looking for an urban environment that doesn’t compromise on the sense of community they crave. The biggest criticism we hear about Blackstone Valley is the lack of public transport. If you don’t have your own car, this is something you may want to consider.

Bristol

As a historic Providence suburb, Bristol is steeped in culture and packs plenty of charm. Thanks to its deepwater seaport, Bristol is home to a thriving maritime industry with a strong track record. Whether you love to cycle, rollerskate, run, or walk, you can take advantage of the East Bay Pike Path. If you’re willing to venture far enough, traveling along the path will bring you closer to other areas of Rhode Island, too.

Although Bristol is a suburb of Rhode Island’s biggest city, it has a warm community atmosphere. Each year on the Fourth of July, people flock from throughout the state and across the country to celebrate there. When it comes to healthcare, groceries, and recreational activities, the area is lower or equal with the national average. But if you want to permanently immerse yourself in its marine-side lifestyle, you can expect to pay more than the national average for your new home. Once you see the excellent schools and low crime rate, though, you’ll soon find that it’s worth the price tag.

Cranston

Situated on the Western Shore of Narragansett Bay, Cranston is a mid-sized city that offers excellent livability. If you’ve always dreamed of a life by the coast, Cranston is the place for you. Cranston is home to a few of Rhode Island’s best beaches. Although they’re framed by the occasionally cold Atlantic Ocean, their scenery is stunning and there’s plenty of space for picnics and family enjoyment during the summer months.

Although the cost of living in Cranston is slightly higher than the national average, you get a lot in return. The crime rate is among the lowest in the state, and employment prospects are decent. If you’re into cycling, there’s a selection of waterside cycling trails that’ll make your daily exercise even more enjoyable. Local attractions include the Roger Williams Botanical Center, which is home to an impressive selection of native and international plant species.

Cumberland

With favorable house prices throughout the area, Cumberland is both affordable and desirable. It’s an excellent choice if you’re entering into the housing market for the first time. As a largely dog-friendly suburb, it’s an ideal place for relocating your four-legged friends, too. Art lovers are also likely to love life in Cumberland, mainly thanks to the selection of museums and galleries there. And, should you feel as though you want to try your hand at painting, there are lots of classes available locally.

When you’re not spending your time dining out at delectable restaurants, Cumberland offers a plethora of daytime activities as well. Southwick’s Zoo is especially popular among people of all ages as it showcases more than 100 species in a naturalistic setting. If you feel like spending some time out in nature alone, you can always head to Sneech Pond and reconnect with nature. Should you feel as though you’re destined for apartment living, Cumberland is the place for you. With plenty of new and old developments flourishing throughout the area, you have lots of options when it comes to choosing one.

Newport

Would you like to treat yourself to a colonial home that rests on the coast? Well, Newport may just be the place for you. When you live in Newport, you’re never too far away from a scattering of charming beaches. Each one offers astonishing scenery, as well as plenty of space for enjoying your usual outdoor pursuits. And if the beach isn’t for you, venture a little further inland to enjoy one of Newport’s many key shopping areas. Once you lose yourself at Long Wharf Mall, you won’t want to spend your money anywhere else.

Although Newport is one of the more covetable places to live in Rhode Island, you may need to brace yourself for the price. The cost of living is around 24 percent higher than the national average. But, if you can make it work, your investment will soon pay dividends. Public schools throughout the area offer a level of education that any parent would want for their child. And in 2019, there were no murders or negligent manslaughters. So if you want a safe space to raise your family in or somewhere docile to retire to, it’s worth your consideration.

Warwick

As the second-largest city in the state, Warwick boasts a population of more than 82,000. The city was officially established in 1642 and was later home to the Burning of the Gaspee in 1772. Fortunately, things have calmed down in Warwick during the centuries that followed. Today, Warwick offers a quality of life that’s practically unmatched throughout the region. And although it is a city, it remains small enough for its inhabitants to not feel daunted by its size.

If you feel as though a move to Warwick is on the cards, we feel we should highlight the cost of living. It’s above the national average. But, for its higher than normal price tag, it does give you access to excellent amenities and low crime rates. Unfortunately, schools in Warwick don’t always rank as high as they do in other nearby areas. As such, you should do a little more research before moving your family there.

Westerly

As an area that’s well known for its granite and stonecutting industry, Westerly has a vibrant history that reaches back to the 17th century. It was first established as a colonist settlement in 1661. Its location alongside the Pawcatuck River makes it an ideal setting for fishing, strolling, and relaxing. And like many other areas of Rhode Island, a property in Westerly means you’re never too far from a beach. To our team, RI living provides access to some of the best beaches in the state. Misquamicut State Beach is particularly inviting as it is immaculately clean and comes with a delightful bathhouse.

Although the median home value is higher than the national average, so is the median income. Thanks to its low population of just over 18,000, Westerly feels slightly intimate but still affords its residents some privacy. The low unemployment and crime rates make it an attractive area for people of all ages. And thanks to the high number of restaurants per capita, staying entertained is always easy. In fact, Westerly is so alluring, much of its local economy thrives on tourism. Thanks to its tourism industry, it has a year-round lighthearted vibe and regular local events that people of all tastes can enjoy.

Available Homes in Rhode Island

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When it comes to finding the best place to live in Rhode Island, you certainly have plenty of areas to choose from. No matter where you settle in the end, you’ll never be too far from a historic attraction or a beautiful beach. The low crime rates, intimate communities, and favorable cost of living throughout the state make it a popular choice for people from throughout America.

If you’re ready to move to Rhode Island or you’re looking to resettle somewhere else in the state, come to us. At RI Home Store, we’re here to make your RI living dreams come true. Whether you need an opulent new home or something that’s cozy with seaside views, there’s something in our portfolio for you. To discuss your needs with us, call (401) 527-9584.

Newport RI
Bowen’s Wharf in Newport, Rhode Island, has helped attract younger buyers looking for weekend homes © John Greim/4Corners

RI Living FAQs

Is Rhode Island a good place to live?

At RI Home Store, we’re firm believers that RI living is for everyone. But, we also know it’s natural to want some evidence of that for yourself. Many areas of Rhode Island allow you to strike the right balance between city living and enjoying an intimate community lifestyle. As a small state, it’s ideal for commuters who would rather not spend hours each week sitting in their car. Throughout Rhode Island, you’ll find low crime rates and excellent public schools. Despite its small size, it offers a number of activities for people of all interests. Thanks to the state’s Pollution Prevention Program, it’s also becoming one of the greener places to live in the United States.

Is it expensive to live in Rhode Island?

When it comes to healthcare, Rhode Island is less expensive than the national average. Thanks to the low crime rates, various types of insurance can cost less, too. Overall, the cost of living is around 9 percent lower than the national average. Depending on where you move to in Rhode Island, you may find that the cost of your new house is higher than the national average. At RI Home Store, we’re here to help you find a home within your budget. Whether you’re seeking a split-level home, an apartment, or a sprawling colonial, we can make your accommodation dreams come true.

How long do you have to live in Rhode Island to be a resident?

Once you have made Rhode Island your main place of abode for 183 days, you can become a domiciled resident. Should you live in the state for less than 12 months of the tax year, you’ll become a part-time resident.

What should I know before moving to Rhode Island?

Although Rhode Island is the smallest state in the country, it isn’t one you should overlook. At just 50 miles long and 40 miles wide, Rhode Island is home to an enviable selection of cities. Although none of them can act as a metropolis in the same way that NYC does, they all come with plenty of charm and they won’t leave you feeling lost in a crowd. If you’re craving coastal living, you’ll find plenty of opportunities in Rhode Island. However, be prepared to pay a higher than normal price tag for your new home. Rhode Island is also the place to be when you’re looking for a property that packs plenty of historic charm. Cape Cod, Victorian, and Colonial properties are available in abundance. And at RI Home Store, our agents are equipped with everything you need to find the right property to complement your RI living dreams.

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