How Long Does It Take To Drive Across Rhode Island Rhode Island, the tiniest state in the US, is nestled along the Eastern US Atlantic Coast, sharing its borders with Connecticut to the west and Massachusetts to the north. In this compact state composed of four primary islands and five counties, you might be curious about the duration it takes to traverse it by car.
Driving straight through Rhode Island via the I-95 between Massachusetts and Connecticut consumes approximately 45 minutes. If you include stops along the way, you can expect the journey to extend to somewhere between 2 to 3 hours. Should you choose to drive from the eastern to the western border (using I-195 and US-6), the trip can be completed in about 40 minutes without any stops.
To aid you in planning your route effectively across Rhode Island, we’ve assembled a helpful guide that outlines distances, estimated travel times, and some useful insights.
Travel Time Across Rhode Island
The time required to drive across Rhode Island can vary depending on your chosen direction and starting point. The most common route to cross the state goes from northeast to southwest through Providence on the I-95, spanning a distance of 45 miles.
Crossing Rhode Island from Southeast Massachusetts
The prevalent route to cross Rhode Island is from Southeast Massachusetts via the interstate. This is the route taken by those traveling from Boston to New Haven. Your journey begins in Southeast Massachusetts, where you head south on Interstate 95, passing through Pawtucket. While in the area, you can consider detouring off the main route to visit Lincoln Woods State Park or explore Central Falls.
The drive from the state boundary to Providence takes merely 10 minutes. Although Rhode Island is relatively small, we recommend taking a pause in this charming city, especially if you haven’t had the chance to explore it before. You can stretch your legs, peruse boutique shops, or enjoy a meal.
After leaving Providence, continue following the Providence River, passing by the Roger Williams Park Zoo and through Auburn. Optionally, you could exit the interstate and spend several hours at Conimicut Point Beach, which offers scenic views of its lighthouse, albeit at the cost of added driving time.
Alternatively, stay on the interstate, veer right at the fork, passing by Briar Point Beach, a six-acre spot ideal for swimming, and move towards the Big River Management Area, marking the halfway point of your journey across Rhode Island. Following your exploration of this expansive forest and wetland nature area, you’re just a short distance from the Connecticut border. Continue south past West Greenwich and Hopkinton to reach it.
Driving Across the Width of Rhode Island from Eastern Massachusetts
An alternate, quicker route to traverse Rhode Island runs from east to west, spanning approximately 27 miles. This option takes around 45 minutes without any stops. Beginning on Interstate 195, the route guides you through East Providence, across the Washington Bridge, and into the city of Providence. While you might encounter some traffic in this segment of the journey, it’s unlikely to add more than 15 to 30 minutes to your travel time.
Briefly merging onto I-95 before transitioning to US-6, you’ll cover the remaining 20 miles across Rhode Island. Along the way, you’ll pass by Johnson Memorial Park and Oak Swamp Reservoir, with the opportunity to explore Snake Den State Park, a sprawling 1,000-acre natural area offering activities like hiking and picnicking.
The next leg of your journey will take you past several lakes, including Moswansicut Pond, known for fishing. After another 20 minutes, you’ll arrive in Connecticut.
To gauge the duration of your Rhode Island drive, refer to the table below, bearing in mind that these times exclude stops or breaks, so consider adding a couple of hours for longer drives:
- From Attleboro (MA) to Stonington (CT): 1 hour and 5 minutes (60 miles)
- From Killingly (CT) to Seekonk (MA): 40 minutes (28 miles)
- From Millville (MA) to Newport (RI): 55 minutes (50 miles)
Factors Impacting Your Drive Time
Despite Rhode Island’s small size, you may encounter traffic, especially in and around Providence, which is a bustling and popular city. Delays due to roadworks or traveling during busy times, such as summer or weekends, could add between 15 to 30 minutes to your travel time.
As the primary route across the state, the interstate may also experience congestion as it cuts diagonally through the city, necessitating some extra time for urban driving.
Other factors that might slow your journey include meal breaks or fuel stops. If you decide to dine or explore scenic parks along the way, consider adding two to three hours to your travel time. Similarly, if you opt to spend time in Providence, exploring the city could extend your journey by half a day. However, since the drive is relatively short, you may not need to make any stops at all.
Speed limits also play a role. Most of the drive (45 miles on the main route through Rhode Island) will occur on the interstate, where the speed limit is typically 65 mph, slowing down to 55 mph as you approach Providence. Highways and general roads usually have speed limits ranging from 45 to 50 mph, although these can change due to traffic or roadworks within the city.
Tips for a Swift Drive Across Rhode Island
To streamline your journey across Rhode Island, here are some top tips for minimizing your time on the road:
- Choose a Fuel-Efficient Vehicle: Given the short distance between the Massachusetts and Connecticut borders, opting for an economical car rather than a gas-guzzler can reduce refueling stops and stretch your fuel mileage if you decide to continue driving.
- Timing Matters: Traveling on a Sunday, when traffic is typically lighter, or avoiding rush hours as you approach and exit Providence can lead to a smoother and quicker drive.
- Minimize Stops: Reducing your drive time by even 30 minutes can significantly impact your overall journey duration. Whether you aim for a quick crossing or plan to savor all that Rhode Island offers, the drive is unlikely to be arduous. So, prepare your trip and relish the journey!