The US’s smallest state might be tiny, but it packs a punch. It’s rustic, it’s modern, and it’s one of the top destinations for East Coast travelers. From the mansions of Newport to more scenic towns like Westerly and Bristol, there’s a hidden charm around every corner.

Toss in a legion of peaceful beaches, tasty culinary traditions, and scenic hikes, and you’ve got all the ingredients of a summer wonderland. Even the clam cakes are a bit more elevated than in neighboring states. Same for the lighthouses and historic museums.

But what about visitors who want to dabble on the wild side? Is there a way to truly get off the beaten path in Rhode Island—or is it just too small for more rugged adventures?

You might surprised by what you find when you venture into the unknown in Rhode Island, especially if you’re into glamping and ghosts. Let’s take a closer look.

Glamping in Rhode Island

As outlined above, Rhode Island is home to some of the grandest displays of wealth from the Gilded Age, along with a long list of scenic campsites. Glamping combines the best of both worlds, bridging luxury with nature.

Though Rhode Island glamping isn’t quite as popular as it is in New York or Pennsylvania, I have two locations on my bucket list.

The first is Glamp Frogmore. Glamp Frogmore is located alongside the Maxwell Mays Audubon Reserve, offering guests an up-close look at birds, mammals, and more. The actual campsite isn’t too shabby, either.

Think: string lights, elevated wooden platforms, king-sized beds, and wooden stoves. You can choose between two different glamping experiences—and even learn more about creating your own glamping setup.

There’s also Melville Ponds Campground. Technically, this is a campground that lets visitors rent out its Airstream trailers. While this isn’t quite as memorable or trendy as Glamp Frogmore, you won’t need to say goodbye to Wi-Fi, hot showers, or electricity. It’s also geared toward fishers, as there’s plenty of freshwater and marsh areas to pull in a big catch.

Photo by Riccardo Chiarini on Unsplash

Ghostly getaways (aka ‘ghamping’)

Rhode Island is home to one of the US’s most famous haunted stories. If you’ve seen The Conjuring, then you’re already familiar with the tale. If you haven’t, let me catch you up.

Back in the 1970s, homeowners in Harrisville, Rhode Island were getting a little spooked in their old colonial home. Given it was built back in 1736, many were quick to blame the strange occurrences on aging architecture. Others insisted the family was experiencing a poltergeist.

Soon, paranormal investigators began flocking; fifty years later, they’re still at it.

Was the home actually haunted? Hollywood definitely thought so. In 2013, The Conjuring was released to theaters around the world. The franchise has since raked in over $2 billion and launched a handful of sequels.

But let’s stay focused: the original haunted house in Harrisville from 1736 still stands—and you can sleep there.

Officially, the overnight experience is called ‘ghamping’ since you’ll be sleeping in a tent on the grounds—not inside the house. Like the other glamping spots mentioned on this list, you can look forward to an elevated camping experience. But you might not be the only one on the grounds…

Best in Ghamping

Guests at the Conjuring House can choose from eight different ghamping experiences. If you’re a fan of getting absolutely no sleep at night, you can even sign up for a specialized program. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • The Extraterrestrial Portal. Some visiting investigators insist there’s an extraterrestrial portal on the grounds of the Conjuring House. As recently as 2021, floating orbs have been captured in this area. Sounds intriguing? The Abduction Chamber Tent (no joke—that’s what the tent is called) is waiting for you.
  • The Pet Cemetery. There’s also a pet cemetery located on the grounds, which is the resting place of many beloved pets from the decades of yore. If making eye contact with a human ghost sounds a little too intense, this is your go-to. Think: ghost cows mooing in the field while ghost cats rub against your legs.
  • Beyond the Bridge: Perron’s Purgatory Tent. This is billed as the scariest ghamping experience available. As in, you’re actually advised to bring a biodegradable offering to leave in respect of the devastating spirits that haunt this part of the grounds. Visitors and investigators have been known to graze inter-dimensional realms here. Some have even sighted Big Foot.

To glamp or to ghamp?

It’s a question as old as time. I’d probably go with the glamping at Glamp Frogmore, since I’m more into birdsong than poltergeist activity. But no judgments if you’re the opposite! In fact, if you’re into the paranormal, then ghamping at The Conjuring House is one of the US’s most cutting-edge tourism experiences. I would absolutely recommend it to my cryptid-loving friends.

published 2024-05-28 17:00:01