Rhode Island State House


Our Geography

Rhode Island Map

Rhode Island lies in the northeastern part of the United States. It is bordered on the west by Connecticut and on the north and east by Massachusetts. The southern edge of the state fronts on the Atlantic Ocean. When the many bays, coves, and offshore islands are included, the state's total coastline measures more than 400 miles (640 kilometers). Narragansett Bay forms a deep 28-mile (45-kilometer) wedge into the state. The state's many islands include Aquidneck, Conanicut, Block, Prudence, Dutch, and Hog. The greatest length of Rhode Island from north to south is 48 miles (77 kilometers). The state's greatest width from east to west is 37 miles (60 kilometers). The total area of Rhode Island is 1,214 square miles (3,144 square kilometers), including 165 square miles (427 square kilometers) of inland water surface.

  • Area: 1,214 square miles (land & water)
  • Greatest Distances: North to South - 48 miles; East to West - 37 miles
  • Elevation: Highest - Jerimoth Hill in Foster (812 feet); Lowest - Sea level along Atlantic coast.
  • Population: 1,076,164 (Census estimate, 7/1/03); Urban - 86%; Rural - 14%
  • Coastline: Over 400 miles
  • Climate: Avg. Jan. Temperature - 30 degrees Fahrenheit; Avg. July
  • Temperature - 72 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Yearly Precipitation: 44 inches (avg.)

Natural Regions

During the Ice Age Rhode Island was covered by glaciers. These great ice sheets helped shape the physical features of all the New England states. As a result the natural regions of Rhode Island are also found in several neighboring states.

The New England Upland

This region occupies the western two thirds of the state. This region is part of the Appalachian Highlands (see Appalachian Highlands). A rough and hilly plateau marked by forests and lakes, it extends into Connecticut and Massachusetts. Rhode Island's highest point, Jerimoth Hill (812 feet; 247 meters), is in the New England Upland region.

The Seaboard Lowland

This region occupies the eastern third of the state. Its boundary is a north-south line that runs several miles west of Providence. This shallow lowland area extends into southeastern Massachusetts. It is also part of the Appalachian Highlands. There are sandy beaches and salt marshes. Narragansett Bay, with its branches in the Seaboard Lowland region, forms the drainage basin for most of the state's principal rivers. These include the Providence, Pawtuxet, and Blackstone rivers. In the southwestern part of the state the Pawcatuck River drains into Little Narragansett Bay.