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The Best East Bay Summer Ever

Fifteen awesome ways to get the most out of all of the food and outdoor fun during Rhode Island’s sunniest season

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Eat With the Season
With our wealth of delicious restaurants, it’s easy to eat fresh, local foods – but they all taste better at restaurants that are only open for a short season. Flo’s in Middletown, Evelyn’s Drive-In in Tiverton and the Blount Clam Shacks in Warren and East Providence’s Crescent Park are all officially open for your summer eating pleasure. Just remember: If you didn’t Instagram your dinner, it never happened.

Make the Parade Last All Summer

It’s a sure sign of summer when the fresh red, white and blue stripes appear on Hope Street. Thousands of people come from far and wide for the Bristol Fourth of July Parade – this year is the 232nd consecutive one! – but true patriots know that in Bristol, the celebration is much bigger than one day. Leading up to the main event are weeks of fun, including 14 days of concerts in Independence Park starting on June 20, a carnival, fireworks, the Fourth of July ball and tons more events.

Visit Jurassic Park

Okay, Portsmouth’s Green Animals Topiary Garden doesn’t exactly have live dinosaurs, but there is a giant tyrannosaurus rex plant sculpture among the 80 topiary pieces. The oldest topiary garden in the country, Green Animals is also home to flower gardens, an orchard and a Victorian home. It’s a total upgrade from your normal, no-dinosaurs-in-sight park.

See How the Other Half Golfs
The CVS Health Charity Classic is a rare opportunity to do things most people don’t normally get to do: hang out at one of the state’s most exclusive private clubs and watch celebrities play golf on a world-renowned golf course. This year’s event happens June 15-19 and includes Community Day – free admission for the Pepsi Pro-Am – and a huge food event in Providence called Crave RI, which brings together restaurants and vineyards from all over the state.

Conquer the Bike Path

If you’ve never taken a spin (or a stroll) down the East Bay Bike Path… do you even live here? This summer, challenge yourself to conquer the entire 14.5-mile thing – both ways – in one day. Start at India Point Park in Providence and bike to Bristol’s Independence Park, rewarding yourself with lunch by the water at Quito’s and some Gray’s Ice Cream, or do the reverse and hit the waterfront deck for a cold one at The Hot Club and fuel up on carbs for the ride back at the line-out-the-door PVDonuts. Either way, if you don’t stop at the Warren Del’s, you aren’t doing summer right.

Avoid the Steaming Divots
We dare you to go to a match at Newport Polo and not make a Pretty Woman reference. Regardless of whether you decide to don an oversized hat or seersucker suit, an afternoon spent watching horse-based sportsmanship is going to be the ritziest afternoon you have all summer. The season starts on June 3 with a USA vs. Peru match. Make sure to bring a cooler full of rosé and canapés: tailgating is encouraged, and they even allow small grills, tents and well-behaved dogs.

Party On
When the Newport Yachting Center closed, people rightly wondered what would happen to all of the beloved festivals that were held there. Last year, Providence’s India Point Park was a solid substitute, but for this year and the next few, Newport Waterfront Events is calling Bold Point Park in East Providence home, and bringing the Reggae Festival on August 12, a Blues and BBQ Festival on August 26 and more awesome events into the fall. The season kicks off on August 9 with a concert by none other than the Beach Boys.

Smell the (Very Fancy) Flowers
Newport doesn’t do anything halfway, and that includes yards. See how the other half gardens at two fancy events this month. The Newport Secret Garden Tours are happening this year from June 16-18, and take you through some of the city’s most prestigious – and normally private – outdoor spaces. From June 23-25, the Newport Flower Show is turning the grounds of Rosecliff into a miniature Versailles. Events include a champagne and jazz brunch, an outdoor movie picnic and an appearance by fashion maven Iris Apfel.

Drink Wine in a Vineyard
But drink it in the best possible way: during an outdoor concert. Lucky for you, those are happening all summer. Westport Rivers kicks off their Friday evening Sunset Music Series on June 16 with a performance by Rebecca Correia. On Saturdays throughout the summer, Greenvale Vineyards hosts their 18th season of Jazz Tastings with Dick Lupino and a rotating schedule of guest musicians.

Join the Club
The pool club, that is. This summer, get all the benefits of having a pool – fun in the sun! All the Marco Polo you can handle! – without actually having to deal with the hassle of pool ownership. Kendbrin Swim and Tennis in Riverside and Seekonk Swim and Tennis (SeekonkSwimClub.com) and Grist Mill Pool & Tennis in Seekonk all offer seasonal memberships. Word is out on whether they actually enforce the 30-minutes-after-eating wait period your mom still thinks is a real thing.

Make a Splash
If a summer-long investment in a swim club isn’t for you, but there’s one day you just have to jump in some water or else you’ll melt like Olaf doing whatever snow does in summer, get yourself a day pass to the pool at the Bayside YMCA in Barrington. For a full vacation experience, head to Rehoboth’s Hillside Country Club where they offer pool day passes and have an attached tiki bar, tiny umbrellas included.

Sail Through Dinner

You can drive any time of the year – but in the summer, water is the only real way to travel. Waterfront restaurants throughout the East Bay offer dockage for boaters, like Boat House in Tiverton, DeWolf Tavern in Bristol and Wharf Tavern in Warren. Killer sunsets over the water are just a bonus.

Spin Right Round
If you haven’t spent much time at Crescent Park lately, it’s time for a visit. Once the site of an amusement park, the Looff Carousel – built in 1895 – sees about 100,000 riders a year, and for good reason. There’s a family fun night on June 23, and they regularly host events like movies in the park. The August 12 Looff Arts Festival is a multi-platform event with lots of art, food and live entertainment.

Get Thrills and Chills
Seekonk Speedway hosts weekly races, but the really exciting time to make a trip is during one of their Thrill Shows. Drivers perform backwards races, figure eights, spectator drags and more. On the biggest nights – Independence Day and Labor Day – there are huge fireworks displays, too.

Take Art Outside
Once a month, galleries stay open late and performers take to the streets for Art Night Bristol Warren happening this summer on June 29, July 27 and August 31. The South Coast Artists Open Studio Tour is a self-guided tour of the surprisingly huge number of professional artists’ studios in and around Fall River and Westport. This year’s dates are July 15-16 and August 19-20.