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Rhode Island Best Outdoor Activities 2012

Rhode Island Best Outdoor Activities 2012
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BEST PARK
Colt State Park, Bristol
Take your choice of shore or meadow–with nature trails at the south end, access to the East Bay bike path, boat ramps, a rocky shoreline, and a hut staffed with rangers who lead eco-tours in the summer. Route 114. 401-253-7482; riparks.com/colt.htm

BEST AQUARIUM
Audubon Environmental Education Center, Bristol
A natural-history museum and an aquarium are the centerpices of the 28-acre McIntosh Wildlife Refuge. A boardwalk and trails snake through fresh and saltwater marshes to a majestic view of Narragansett Bay. 1401 Hope St. 401-245-7500; asri.org

BEST OUTFITTER
Blackstone Valley Outfitters, Lincoln
From guided hikes encompassing vegetation and wildlife identification to guided trips along the Blackstone bike path to paddles on the Blackstone River, this outfitter keeps instructional trips affordable. If you feel competent to go it alone, the company offers everything you need for water and land sports. 25 Carrington St. 401-312-0369; bvori.com

BEST BIOSPHERE
Ninigret Refuge, Charlestown
This 868-acre “biosphere,” including grassland, forestland, wooded swamps, fresh water, and a barrier beach, borders 1,700-acre Ninigret Pond, the state’s largest coastal pond. 50 Bend Road. 401-364-9124; fws.gov/ninigret

BEST OCEAN STATE BIRDING
Norman Bird Sanctuary, Middletown
Roosters to songbirds reside within this 300-acre sanctuary, with seven miles of trails crisscrossing the largest area of preserved open space in Newport County. Four ridges provide views of the surrounding ocean and ponds, and there’s a museum with hands-on exhibits for little ones. 583 Third Beach Road. 401-846-2577; normanbirdsanctuary.org

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