Rhode Island might be the smallest state in the lower 48, but you know what they say: Good things come in small packages. And when we’re talking about this colonial gem of a state, that statement has never been truer.
Few states hold as much diversity and beauty in such a small space. You could take a walk through the world-class library at one of the best universities in the world at Brown University, or find yourself relaxing with your toes in the sand along one of Rhode Island’s many pristine and picturesque beaches. (Even though it’s not technically true, the word island is in the state’s name, after all — and with all its coves and bays, you’ll quickly forget you’re firmly attached to the mainland!)
Rhode Island is also a great place to visit if you’re interested in historical tourism and getting more familiar with our nation’s history. As one of the original 13 colonies, the state has played an important role in our foundation and evolution since the very beginning. You could pay a visit to any of the state’s impressive list of National Historic Landmarks, including a variety of impressive and historic colonial houses. And don’t forget the lighthouses dotting the shoreline — there are 21 in total, a surprising number for a state whose land mass only barely breaks 1,000 square miles!
And although RV camping might more traditionally call to mind wide-open western states like Colorado or Montana, a travel trailer or motorhome is actually a fantastic way to see Rhode Island — which has a surprising number of high-quality RV parks and campgrounds sure to please any traveler, no matter your camping style.
You could get woodsy out in the western portion of the state, exploring the Pulaski/Washington State Forest or getting wet and wild at the Pascoag Reservoir, otherwise known as Lake Echo. A bit further south, you can find the Big River Management Area, a perfect place to get lost for an afternoon or longer, whether on foot or by bicycle.
Out east, of course, you’ll find the famous coastline, complete with some of the best seafood you’ve ever eaten and punctuated with postcard-perfect towns to explore and fall in love with. And don’t forget a trip to the state’s urban centers, Providence and Newport, where this small state tries its hand at big city living — and does an admirable job, to boot.
Of course, if you don’t already have an RV of your own, it’s possible to find Rhode Island RV rentals at affordable prices, both through traditional, commercial dealerships and on the peer-to-peer marketplace here at RVshare.
But for most of us, the time eventually comes when renting rig after rig just won’t cut it. Once you’re thoroughly bitten by the camping bug, it’s time to start thinking seriously about investing in your very own camper.
Camping shows and RV expos are a fantastic way to get familiar with the wide range of RVs available on the market in a very short period of time. After all, we’re talking about an investment of tens, and possibly hundreds, of thousands of dollars — so you definitely want to make sure you purchase the perfect rig for you the first time!
Motorhome shows allow you to walk through and explore a wide variety of vehicles, which helps you figure out exactly what kind of camper will work best for your family. Although researching different types of rigs online or in books is a great first step, it can only take you so far. At the end of the day, you have to see and experience the range of options out there first hand if you want to make an informed purchase decision.
RV shows can also be a great place to make your purchase if you’re ready. Since many different RV dealers will all be represented under one roof, they’ll be in heavy competition for your business… which means they can cut great deals and offer some of the best rigs at jaw-droppingly low prices. In many cases, it’ll save you hundreds, or even thousands, off the price you would have paid by walking into the dealership.
Even if you’re not ready to buy, RV shows are still a great learning opportunity, and many also offer fun organized entertainment and activities for the whole family. With inexpensive entry costs, it’s an easy way to take a family weekend getaway that might just end up supplying your next camper to boot. (Talk about a sweet bonus to a weekend!)
So, sound like a shindig you want to attend? We thought so! Luckily, RV camper shows take place all across the country — including in the Ocean State. So if you’re wondering, “Where are the RV shows near me?”
… well, we’ve got your answer.
Here’s the very best RV show in Rhode Island, and all the details you need to find yourself in the thick of the excitement and possibly finding the best buy on your next adventure getaway vehicle.
1. The Annual Rhode Island RV and Camping Show
Just because it’s the smallest state in the union doesn’t mean it can’t have one of the largest RV shows around! The Annual Rhode Island RV and Camping Show is the perfect place to find your next recreational vehicle, whether you’re looking for a travel trailer, motorhome, or even just a new destination.
Why You’ll Love the Annual Rhode Island RV and Camping Show
Taking full advantage of the Rhode Island Convention Center’s 130,000 square feet of exhibition space and convenient, central location, the Annual Rhode Island RV and Camping Show brings together some of the top Rhode Island and other area RV dealers to bring you the best selection of quality vehicles available under one roof in the state. While the full list of 2020 exhibitors isn’t yet available online, the homepage promises more than 150 makes and models to choose from — so you’re sure to find what you’re looking for at this camper and RV show.
Not ready to take the big plunge and buy an RV of your very own quite yet? Not to worry; even if you’re still traveling by Rhode Island RV rental, this travel trailer show still has something in store for you.
Along with one of the largest displays of travel trailers and motorhomes in Rhode Island, this expo also puts on some exciting and informative seminars to help you learn more about the art and craft of perfect RV camping. And with representatives from local area campgrounds on hand to answer questions and supply helpful information, you may even discover a new destination or three to stick on your travel bucket list. Even the kids will have the time of their lives: They’ll get the opportunity to meet their favorite Marvel heroes, Spider-Man and Captain America, during select hours on Saturday and Sunday.
The whole thing takes place in Providence, which means it’s easy to reach no matter where in Rhode Island you call home. (Hey, sometimes it pays to live in the smallest state in the nation!) If you’re traveling from an hour or more away for the camping show, you can easily book a room in one of the many area hotels — or check out a nearby Rhode Island RV park or campground, such as Camp Ponagansett or Holiday Acres Campgrounds.
Annual Rhode Island RV and Camping Show Information
Location: The Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, Rhode Island
Address: 1 Sabin Street, Providence, Rhode Island 02903
Phone: Contact David Marquart at (317) 714-6734
Fax: (270) 438-4723
Email: [email protected]
Dates: February 28 – March 1, 2020
- Friday, February 28: 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.
- Saturday, February 29: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
- Sunday, March 1: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Adults: $12.00
- Kids 12 – 17: $7.00
- Kids 11 and under: FREE!
Tickets: Available at the box office on the day of the show
Discounts: Good Sam Club Members will receive 50% off their ticket price when they provide an active membership card. Offer not valid or combinable with any other discounts, maximum of two tickets per party, please!
2. The Newport International Boat Show
Okay, okay, you caught us… this isn’t actually an RV show at all. But Rhode Island’s nickname is The Ocean State, after all — so if there was ever a perfect state in which to attend a boat show, this is it!
Even if you’re not ready to go seafaring yourself, boat shows are full of all sorts of nautical fun and activities for the whole family, and besides, who doesn’t love ogling a beautifully-crafted yacht? And besides, if you’re into RV camping, you’re already adventurous and nomadic. You never know when your wanderlust might just call you to the open seas.
All that aside, the Newport International Boat Show may just be the best-known show of its kind in the country, let alone the state of Rhode Island. In short, you don’t want to miss it, even if you don’t know the difference between port and starboard.
Why You’ll Love the Newport International Boat Show
Taking place annually in September, this year’s boat show actually just ended — but they’re already planning for next year’s show, which will be the 48th annual. That’s just two years shy of half a century, which means this event has a fascinating legacy… and organizers who’ve had lots of time to learn how to put on a perfect expo.
Along with gaping at a veritable flotilla of some of the most beautiful boats you’ve ever set eyes on, you’ll also be able to partake in movie screenings, valuable prize drawings and more. Your ticket also grants you access to the Newport Wooden Boat Show, which takes place at the Bowen’s Wharf Ferry Landing Marina. And if you thought those sleek fiberglass vessels were beauties, well, just wait until you see some hand-crafted wooden skiffs.
Don’t get us wrong; we know the RV camping community is separate from the boating community. But the two groups share a lot in common, so it would be surprising if you didn’t find some like-minded people to become friends with at this show — and besides, it’s such a famous Rhode Island event we couldn’t not include it in this write-up! You can’t go wrong with spending a beautiful afternoon by the water, and once you’re done exploring the docks, there’s still all of Newport to discover. Check out The Breakers or Marble House if you’re looking for even more opulence, or head to Fort Adams State Park if you’re hankering for some outdoor time. And obviously, you’ve gotta have seafood for dinner!
Newport International Boat Show Information
Location: The Newport Yachting Center in Newport, Rhode Island
Address: 4 Commercial Wharf, Newport, Rhode Island 02840
Phone: (800) 582-7846 or (401) 846-1115
Fax: (401) 848-0455
Email: Fill out this contact form to get in touch with the show organizers digitally
Dates: September 17 – 20, 2020
- Thursday, September 17: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Friday, September 18: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Saturday, September 19: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Sunday, September 20: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Price: To be announced when tickets go on sale closer to showtime
Tickets: Tickets will be available online in July 2018
Obviously, Rhode Island doesn’t boast the longest list of RV shows in the nation — but the events it does have are full of fun and excitement, not to mention fantastic deals on any kind of rig you might be looking for. Who knows? You may even discover your inner seafarer when you attend the Newport International Boat Show, or one of the many other boat shows held in this oceanside state.
But one of the best parts of living in the northeast is that you’re not very far from your neighbors, which opens up a whole host of other possible RV shows and events for you to attend this year. Besides, admit it: You could totally use the excuse to take a road trip!
From Massachusetts to New York, you’ve got all kinds of options right in your backyard. Here are the RV shows you’ll find in the states surrounding Rhode Island:
- RV Shows in Connecticut
- RV Shows in Massachusetts
- RV Shows in New York
- RV Shows in Pennsylvania
- RV Shows in Maine
No matter where you go and which shows you attend, we hope you enjoy browsing — and possibly buying your next adventure buggy or boat!