The heart of Rhode Island is Narragansett Bay, a sparkling body of gentle ocean water which is considered the state's greatest natural resource. Bountiful fishing and shellfishing, challenging sailing conditions, quiet coves and wide, sandy beaches make the bay ideal for water sports. For more than 50 years, 12-meter yachts competed on the bay for sailing's prestigious America's Cup, earning host city Newport the nickname "Sailing Capital of the World." But there's not just the ocean, spectacular fresh-water trips await along such lauded local rivers as the Blackstone, Pawtuxet, and pristine Wood and Narrow rivers. Bring your camera and take breathtaking photos of lighthouses from the sea, or gear up for an urban trip and follow the route that led the state's founding father, Roger Williams, to Providence.
There are many unbelievable resources to help launch your paddle of the season. Visit the Rhode Island Blueways Alliance for its comprehensive and searchable boat launch map, which lets visitors know where to safely launch into both fresh and salt water. The site also lists guidebooks that detail paddling the Narragansett Bay Watershed. The Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association lists prime access points for the beautiful Wood and Pawcatuck rivers.