How Long Does it Take to Drive Across Rhode Island?

How Long Does it Take to Drive Across Rhode Island?

Rhode Island, the smallest state in the United States by area, is located along the Atlantic Coast in the Eastern US, sharing borders with Connecticut to the west and Massachusetts to the north. It comprises four major islands and is divided into five counties. If you’re curious about the time it takes to traverse this state, here’s a brief guide:

  • North to South (Massachusetts to Connecticut via I-95): Driving this route typically takes 45 minutes. However, if you plan to make stops along the way, it can extend the journey to approximately 2 to 3 hours.
  • East to West (on I-195 and US-6): Traveling from east to west across Rhode Island takes around 40 minutes without any stops.

If you are planning a trip across Rhode Island, understanding these timeframes and the routes involved is crucial. This guide provides a straightforward overview of the distances and travel times and some essential facts to consider for your journey.

How Long Does It Take To Drive Through Rhode Island

Driving through Rhode Island varies in duration depending on the route and whether you plan to make stops. For a North to South journey (from Massachusetts to Connecticut via I-95), it typically takes about 45 minutes without stops. However, if you’re planning to make stops along the way, the journey could extend to approximately 2 to 3 hours. On the other hand, traveling from East to West (on I-195 and US-6) across Rhode Island takes around 40 minutes, assuming there are no stops. This provides a quick and efficient overview of travel times across the state, covering both major routes.

Time to Drive Across Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, your chosen direction and starting point significantly influence the driving time and distance when crossing the state. A popular route is from the northeast to the southwest, passing through Providence on the I-95. This particular path covers a distance of about 45 miles.

How Long Does it Take to Drive Across Rhode Island?

Crossing Rhode Island from Southeast Massachusetts

Crossing Rhode Island commonly involves traveling from Southeast Massachusetts to Connecticut via the interstate. This route is especially frequented by those driving from Boston to New Haven. Interstate 95 is the main artery for this journey, stretching from the Massachusetts border to Connecticut.

The drive initiates in Southeast Massachusetts, heading south on Interstate 95. Along the way, you’ll pass through Pawtucket, where a detour to Lincoln Woods State Park or a stop at Central Falls offers a pleasant break.

Reaching Providence from the state line takes only about 10 minutes. Despite the brevity of the drive across Rhode Island, a stop in Providence is highly recommended. It’s a chance to explore the city’s charm, stretch your legs, visit boutique shops, or enjoy a meal.

Leaving Providence, the route follows the Providence River, passing the Roger Williams Park Zoo and through Auburn. For those with time, a detour to Conimicut Point Beach provides scenic views and a glimpse of its lighthouse, though this will extend your drive.

Continuing south on Interstate 95, keep right at the fork near Briar Point Beach, a six-acre area perfect for swimming. The journey then leads towards the Big River Management Area, marking more than halfway through your Rhode Island adventure.

After enjoying the expansive forests and wetlands, the trip’s final leg takes you past West Greenwich and Hopkinton, drawing you closer to the Connecticut border.

Driving across the width of Rhode Island from Eastern Massachusetts

Another faster route for traversing Rhode Island runs east to west, covering approximately 27 miles. This journey, taking about 45 minutes without breaks, spans from Massachusetts through Rhode Island, to the Connecticut border.

How Long Does it Take to Drive Across Rhode Island?

The drive begins on Interstate 195, leading through East Providence and across the Washington Bridge into Providence. This segment may encounter some traffic, potentially adding 15 to 30 minutes to your drive time.

After a brief stint on I-95, the route merges onto US-6, guiding you through the remaining 20 miles across Rhode Island. Landmarks like Johnson Memorial Park and Oak Swamp Reservoir are visible along this path. A recommended stop is Snake Den State Park, adjacent to the highway. This 1,000-acre park is ideal for activities like walking, hiking, or picnicking.

Further along, the route skirts several lakes, including Moswansicut Pond, a popular fishing spot. From there, it’s a 20-minute drive to reach the Connecticut border.

To understand the duration of your drive across Rhode Island, compare various routes traversing the state. These driving times are calculated without any stops or breaks, so adding a couple of hours to these estimates for longer journeys is advisable.

  • From Attleboro, Massachusetts to Stonington, Connecticut: The drive is approximately 1 hour and 5 minutes, covering around 60 miles.
  • From Killingly, Connecticut, to Seekonk, Massachusetts: This route takes about 40 minutes to drive and covers 28 miles.
  • From Millville, Massachusetts, to Newport, Rhode Island: Expect a driving time of about 55 minutes over a distance of 50 miles.

These timeframes provide a useful guide for planning your journey across Rhode Island, helping you to estimate how long it will take from various starting points to different destinations within the state.

What Can Impact Your Driving Time?

While Rhode Island is notably small, traffic can still significantly affect your drive, particularly in and around the city of Providence. If you find yourself in city traffic, especially during peak times like summer or weekends, or if roadworks are present, anticipate an added 15 to 30 minutes to your journey.

How Long Does it Take to Drive Across Rhode Island?

The interstate, serving as the primary route through the state, often experiences congestion as it cuts diagonally across Providence. This can lead to slower progress in urban areas.

Additional delays might occur if you opt for stops along your route. Pausing for meals, refueling, or exploring the picturesque parks dotted along the way could extend your travel time by two to three hours. Moreover, if you choose to explore Providence for half a day, this could lengthen your journey by a significant margin. However, given the relatively short overall driving distance in Rhode Island, stopping is not always necessary.

Speed limits are another factor to consider. On most of the interstate (covering about 45 miles of the main route through Rhode Island), the speed limit is 65 mph, which drops to 55 mph approaching Providence. As you travel through the city and on general roads, speed limits range between 45 and 50 mph, though these can vary in the presence of traffic or roadworks.

Tips to Drive across Rhode Island in the Shortest Possible Time

To ensure a swift and efficient drive across Rhode Island, consider these tips to minimize your time on the road:

How Long Does it Take to Drive Across Rhode Island?
  • Choose an Economical Vehicle: Even though the distance between the Massachusetts and Connecticut borders is not extensive, selecting a fuel-efficient car is advisable. This choice reduces the need for frequent refueling and maximizes your fuel efficiency, which is especially beneficial if you continue driving beyond Rhode Island.
  • Plan for Less Congested Times: Given the potential for traffic congestion and roadworks in and around Providence, timing your drive can make a significant difference. Traveling on a Sunday, when traffic is typically lighter, or avoiding peak rush hours as you enter and leave the city can lead to a more relaxed and quicker journey.

How Long Does It Take a Bus to Cross Rhode Island?

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) provides extensive bus service throughout the state, covering 38 of Rhode Island’s 39 cities and municipalities, with the exception of New Shoreham on Block Island. RIPTA operates 58 routes, including special trolley-like buses in Providence and Newport. Most routes start in Providence, connecting to locations like Newport, Burrillville, Coventry, and the University of Rhode Island in Kingston. 

How Long Does it Take to Drive Across Rhode Island?

The base fare for a ride is $2, increasing for longer journeys across multiple zones. For detailed route planning, the RIPTA website offers valuable information. However, bus journey times can vary, typically around 30 minutes, subject to traffic conditions.

How Long Does it Take a Car to Cross Rhode Island?

The time it takes to drive across Rhode Island varies depending on the route. The I-95 route, connecting Massachusetts to Connecticut, allows you to cross Rhode Island in about 45 minutes without stops and between two and three hours with breaks. Alternatively, taking the east-to-west route via I-195 and US-6, the drive across the state takes approximately 40 minutes. 

How Long Does it Take to Drive Across Rhode Island?

I-95 enters Rhode Island at Hopkinton, linking rural southwestern areas to the urban northeastern corner centered around Providence, and exits the state at Pawtucket. These routes offer a quick and comprehensive way to traverse Rhode Island’s diverse landscapes.

How Long Does It Take to Drive Across Rhode Island on Bicycle?

Rhode Island offers several scenic bike paths for cyclists. The Blackstone River Bikeway, once completed, will connect Providence with Worcester. The East Bay Bike Path already runs along Narragansett Bay’s eastern shore from Bristol to Providence. A signed on-road cycling route links this path to Rhode Island’s network, including a 34-mile stretch to South Kingstown and Narragansett, connected by the 8-mile William C. O’Neill Bike Path. 

How Long Does it Take to Drive Across Rhode Island?

There’s also a 19-mile route from Cranston to Coventry and a 2-mile path connecting East Providence and Pawtucket, part of a larger 54-kilometer route through the eastern part of the state. Cycling across Rhode Island takes 4 to 5 hours, depending on the cyclist’s pace.

How Long Does it Take to Visit Rhode Island by Airplane?

Rhode Island is equipped with an international airport, providing a gateway for visitors to explore the state and facilitating the sending and receiving of cargo. The state has the availability of flights and multiple airport facilities. Consequently, traveling by airplane to and within Rhode Island is a much quicker option for those looking to experience the state.

How Long Does it Take to Drive Across Rhode Island?

How Long Does it Take to Travel Across Rhode Island By Train?

Rhode Island’s rail network is well-connected, offering various options for travel. The MBTA Commuter Rail’s Providence/Stoughton Line links Boston’s South Station with Providence and T. F. Green Airport, extending south to Wickford Junction. The state is considering extending Connecticut’s Shore Line East to T.F. Green Airport and the MBTA line to Kingston and Westerly. 

How Long Does it Take to Drive Across Rhode Island?

The Acela Express, providing faster rail travel, stops at Providence Station, connecting it to cities along the Northeast Corridor. Amtrak’s Northeast Regional service also includes stops at Westerly, Kingston, and Providence. Traveling by train across Rhode Island takes about an hour and offers scenic views of the state.

How Long Does it Take to Travel Across Rhode Island By Ferry?

Rhode Island has had a varied history with ferry services. From 2000 to 2008, RIPTA offered a seasonal ferry service between Providence and Newport, supported by grants from the US Department of Transportation. Although popular, the service ceased when the federal funding ran out and was only successfully restarted in 2016. 

How Long Does it Take to Drive Across Rhode Island?

Private ferry services in the state include the Prudence Island Ferry, connecting Bristol with Prudence Island, and the Block Island Ferry, linking Block Island with Newport and Narragansett. Other private ferries connect Rhode Island towns with Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York ports. These ferry services offer a unique way to experience the scenic beauty of Rhode Island, providing memorable journeys across the state’s waters.

Final Words

Driving across Rhode Island takes roughly 45 minutes. Despite being the smallest state in the U.S., Rhode Island is rich in history, culture, and natural beauty.

Rhode Island is home to numerous exciting attractions that are definitely worth a visit. So, when you’re wondering about the time it takes to drive across Rhode Island, remember it’s not just about the journey’s duration but also about the unique experiences and sights you can enjoy along the way.