Moving to Rhode Island: State Relocation Guide

For the smallest state in America, Rhode Island can pack quite the punch. Visitors to Rhode Island have access to beautiful beaches, delicious seafood, unique tourist attractions, and exciting activities for all ages.

Whether you’re traveling to the capital city of Providence, Rhode Island, or one of the quaint coastal towns, there’s a lot to love about this New England state. The state has some of the highest paying jobs and is home to ivy league school Brown University. And despite the high population density, the job market is booming.

If you’re contemplating moving to Rhode Island, this relocation guide has everything that potential residents should know about the state’s housing market, healthcare systems, education programs, and more.

Rhode Island Climate

Rhode Islanders will need to prepare for the variable conditions of New England weather. While the east coast is known for its beautiful autumn scenery, states in this region also experience significant snowstorms and hot summer heatwaves.

Rhode Island State Relocation Guide

Rhode Island’s climate can be described as a humid continental climate, meaning that the entire state will experience all four seasons. However, weather in this area can change at the drop of a hat, so make sure that you prepare your seasonal attire ahead of time.

The Ocean State’s summers will be perfect for visiting one of the many beach fronts in the Narragansett Bay area. The average high temperature in Rhode Island for June through August range from 75 – 82 degrees Fahrenheit

During July, the weather can feel muggy and humid. The summer heat will last well into September, with Rhode Islanders experiencing high temperatures around 72 degrees. 

Once the summer temperatures subside, New England trees turn color and create a breathtaking red, orange, and gold landscape. The east coast has perfect conditions for autumn: The season is unlike any other in the entire country. 

Residents can expect crisp temperatures around 45 to 62 degrees during October and November. As late November hits, the temperature can drop to 36 degrees as the Ocean State prepares for the winter season. 

Both locals and nonresidents know that wintertime means the east coast has a high chance of getting walloped with snow. The New England area often experiences Nor’Easters, storms that carry large amounts of snowfall with dangerous consequences. 

If a Nor’Easter hits your area, you could easily lose power and experience potentially hazardous driving conditions. Most Rhode Islanders stay put in their homes until a winter storm has run its course. 

Towns along the coastline of Rhode Island receive an average of 40 to 55 inches of snowfall. The rest of the state typically receives 25 to 30 inches, so if you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy the snow, the Rhode Island coast may not be the place for you.

Rhode Island Taxes

For such a small state, Rhode Island has some of the highest property taxes. The Ocean State has an average property tax rate of 1.53%, the 10th highest property tax in America.

Rhode Island State Relocation Guide

Rhode Island residents can expect to pay an average of $3,825 on their yearly property taxes. Newport County has the lowest tax rate at 1.22%, but residents will still pay more than the national average in property taxes. 

Providence County has the highest property tax rate in the state, approximately 1.79%. Purchasing a property in the Providence area means your property taxes will be costly. 

If you’re hoping to move to Rhode Island, it will be important to investigate the tax rates in your desired location. Towns and cities in the Ocean State independently set their property taxes and due dates, so you’ll want to be prepared before making your first payment. 

The sales tax for Rhode Island is 7% which is the second-highest state sales tax in the United States. Unlike some other states with combined state and local taxes, individuals living in Rhode Island will not have any additional local sales taxes added to the 7% rate.

Rhode Island Cost of Living

Compared to the U.S. national average (100), Rhode Island has a high overall cost of living (110.6). Nearly every category places above the U.S. average for cost of living, so before moving to Rhode Island, you should review every cost of living category to assess your specific needs and financial feasibility.

Rhode Island State Relocation Guide

By far, the highest cost of living expense will be housing (123.4), rating well above the U.S. average (100). The median home cost for a house in Rhode Island is nearly $100,000 more than other states in America. This means Rhode Island homeowners will pay substantial amounts when purchasing and maintaining their homes. 

In addition, utility prices will be high in the Ocean State, with a rating of 115.9. Transportation costs and groceries also place above the national average, rating 106.1 and 106.5 respectively. 

Not every category of cost of living in Rhode Island will break the bank. Healthcare expenses are significantly low (81.9) compared to the national average. If individuals within your household have high health care needs, Rhode Island has excellent health services and affordable costs. 

Before moving to the Ocean State, you should compare your current state’s cost of living to Rhode Island’s score. If you’re moving from a state like California, where housing costs are nearly 2.5 times the national average, the cost of living in Rhode Island will seem reasonable.

Rhode Island State Relocation Guide

Interestingly, Rhode Island property tax rates and median home costs are reversed: The counties with the highest home values have the lowest property tax rates, and counties with the highest property tax rates have lower home costs. For example, Newport County has a $375,000 median home value and a 1.22% property tax rate.

The most expensive county for Rhode Island will be Bristol County. Bristol has the second-highest median home value at $345,200 and the third-highest property tax at 1.61%. Residents in this county will pay an average of $5,553 a year in property taxes.

Rhode Island State Relocation Guide

Rhode Island workers receive an average of $71,365/year which is above the U.S. average salary of $66,665/year. While residents will earn more wages than other American states, potential residents should consider all the facets surrounding living costs before moving to Rhode Island.

Rhode Island Healthcare

One of the most significant benefits of living in Rhode Island is their healthcare services. Rhode Island is highly rated for healthcare, placing #9 in the country overall.

Rhode Island State Relocation Guide

Rhode Island hospital admissions are slightly below the national average, and their public health is rated #10 in America. So, the population is relatively healthy compared to other states. In addition, healthcare access is #4 which is higher than the overall average for the state. 

While healthcare access and public health in Rhode Island are highly rated, healthcare quality is less than favorable, ranking #32. This mid-tier rating does not mean that residents will receive poor health services. However, individuals should research physician reviews in their area before booking an appointment. 

Given the state’s high rating for accessing healthcare, residents should have success finding a highly rated doctor that fits their individual needs. 

Individuals moving to Rhode Island who will need state health insurance can apply for coverage using HealthSource RI. This company works with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island, the Neighborhood Health Plan, and Delta Dental to provide families with financial assistance for their healthcare needs. 

Since HealthSource RI opened its insurance marketplace in 2013, the number of residents without health insurance have dropped significantly. Today, only 5.9% of the population is without health insurance, half the national average of 12.9%. 

For low-income families applying to HealthSource RI, it will be determined by the company if you qualify for Medicaid services. Rhode Island residents with Medicaid will pay little to no cost for healthcare services.

Rhode Island Education

The education services in Rhode Island vary drastically between Pre-K to Grade 12 and higher education. Overall, Rhode Island ranks #39 in the country for its education programs, but it’s essential to investigate the variables that contribute to their overall rating.

Rhode Island State Relocation Guide

If you are moving to Rhode Island with school-aged children, Rhode Island is within the mid-tier for Pre-K to Grade 12 education services, placing #25 in the nation. 

However, Rhode Island has a low rating for its higher education programs. The Ocean State ranked 49th for its college education. Despite this poor rating, prospective students still have great options for universities in the state. 

Rhode Island is home to one of America’s ivy league schools: Brown University. Located in the populous city of Providence, Rhode Island, Brown ranks #14 in the country for universities and places #4 for their quality of undergraduate professors. Students who attend Brown University will receive an excellent education with teachers dedicated to their students’ success. 

The University of Rhode Island in Kingston ranks #162 in the nation for a college education. Here, students can pursue degrees in Biology, Business, Communication, Family Consumer Sciences, and Kinesiology. 

According to U.S. News, Providence College is the #1 institution for a college education in the Northern United States. However, this Rhode Island school comes with a high tuition cost of $55,988/year. Providence College is the only college in America run by a sect of Catholicism known as the Dominican Friars. 

If you are looking for a college specializing in the Culinary Arts, Rhode Island is home to Johnson and Wales University. Johnson and Wales rank #94 for regional universities in the northern United States. 

This institution trained the one-and-only world-famous chef Emeril Lagasse. Outside of their culinary program, Johnson and Wales University offers majors like Fashion Merchandising, Criminal Justice, and Computer Graphic Design.

Notable Highlights in Rhode Island

Rhode Islanders looking for an exciting beach day can visit Narragansett, a beautiful little coastal town with lots of sun, sand, and recreational activities. Visitors have three Atlantic Ocean beach fronts to choose from: Scarborough North State Beach, Roger Wheeler State Beach, and the tiny Salty Brine State Beach. 

Within Narragansett Bay is a small charming village called the Port of Galilee. This area is known for its freshly caught seafood and a ferry service to Block Island. 

And if Narragansett doesn’t have enough beaches for you, consider taking the ferry to Block Island. Here, visitors can enjoy activities like clamming, snorkeling, and surfing. Block Island offers fine dining experiences, shopping centers, and spa treatments when you want to get out of the sun. 

If you want to take a unique day trip and explore local Rhode Island vendors, visit the Fantastic Umbrella Factory. Located in Charlestown, Rhode Island, their name suggests you’ll find a wide variety of wacky umbrellas for sale–but this couldn’t be further from the truth. 

The Fantastic Umbrella Factory property has a candle store, candy shop, authentic Native American jewelry, Henna Body Art, and more eccentric shops for visitors to enjoy. 

In addition, the property is home to three Emus and has a large garden with beautiful perennial plants. The Fantastic Umbrella Factory is a Rhode Island attraction like no other. 

Another must-see attraction in Rhode Island is the Green Animals Topiary Garden. This well-manicured garden is home to carefully crafted topiary displays with elegant designs. 

You can find a wide array of daffodils here: 49 different species of daffodils with 19 distinct color pallets live within the gardens. Other flowers on display include daisies, mums, and tulips. 

For animal lovers, Roger Williams Park Zoo is an institution with 160 species of animals. The zoo cares for endangered species and promotes population growth. 

The Roger Williams Park Zoo was founded in 1872, and the park is the third oldest zoo in the country. Visitors can even take a zip ride through the park to experience an above-ground view of the zoo. 

The official state drink of Rhode Island is a beverage called coffee milk. The drink is similar to chocolate milk, for those who don’t know what coffee milk is. But, instead of incorporating chocolate syrup into milk, coffee syrup is infused into the milk base. 

Put this mixture into ice cream, and you’ll have a “coffee cabinet,” otherwise known as a coffee milkshake. 

When Rhode Island was established as one of the original thirteen colonies, the official name was “The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.” However, in modern society, the word plantation is associated with the painful history of American slavery. 

So, in 2020 Governor Gina Raimondo petitioned to remove “Providence Plantations,” and Rhode Island voters approved this amendment to the state’s official name.

Best Places To Live In Rhode Island

Before deciding to move to New England and sette in the smallest U.S. state, you’ll want to consider how to pack. Moving across state lines can be difficult for anyone, so we’ve compiled some helpful tips and tricks to make the process smoother for long distance movers: 

  • Consolidate your Essential Documents in a Safe Place You never know when you’ll need important documents, especially during a big move. Don’t make the mistake of placing your birth certificate or passport in a random box that a moving company will transport. 
  • Pack Wisely — Rhode Island experiences all four seasons, so potential residents should prepare clothes for the season of their move. 
  • Transport your Vehicle — Don’t let your car experience the wear and tear of a cross-country road trip. Consider using a state-to-state shipping service to relocate your vehicle without concern. 

If you have chosen to move to Rhode Island, here are the top five places to live in the Ocean State:


Located within Bristol County, Barrington is a suburb within Providence, Rhode Island. The population of 16,131 is majorly liberal, and the community has a rural feel. Over 50% of the individuals in the community have a Bachelor’s degree or higher.

This suburb has an above-average median home value of $433,200, and 89% of Barrington residents own their homes. For renters, the average cost of rent will be $1,318 a month.

East Greenwich

East Greenwich is another suburb in the city of Providence, and it has a population of 13,081. The East Greenwich area has many parks, restaurants, and coffee shops. In addition, the RIPTA bus service in East Greenwich will transport residents from Providence to Newport, Rhode Island.

This suburb is highly rated for families and provides residents with a dense suburban feel. However, this area has a high median home cost of $437,500 and high property taxes.


Kingston is a small suburb with a population of 6,513 in Providence, Rhode Island. This liberal community provides a sparse suburban feel within the most populous city of the Ocean State.

The suburb of Kingston is perfect for individuals relocating with a family: The area has highly rated public schools and is close to the Narragansett beach. The community has a high population of young professionals, and over half of their residents have a college degree.

North Kingstown

Located in Washington County, North Kingstown has a moderate population of 26,235. This area is home to the Quonset State Airport, one of the most convenient airports for military personnel to travel to and from.

North Kingston is one of the best communities for older individuals to retire, and the population has primarily liberal views. The suburb has a low crime rate, and its neighborhoods are highly rated for families.

South Kingstown

South Kingston is another suburb within Providence, Rhode Island, with a large population of 30,652. One of the notable highlights of South Kingston is their extraordinarily low property crime and violent crime rate in the community. This area is very safe for residents of Rhode Island and their families.


One of the thirteen original colonies, Rhode Island has many opportunities to offer potential residents: excellent healthcare, an ivy league college education, and beautiful beaches. While the cost of living is high and the weather is variable, the Ocean State is a great place for potential Rhode Island movers. 

While you plot out your move and pack up the essentials, let Guardian Auto Transport take care of your vehicle. Not only can we ship your car to Rhode Island, but also ship your car from state to state.

Our automobile moving company has an expert team of professionals who care about transporting your car safely. While other moving companies hem and haw with their pricing guides, we’ll provide you with an instant quote to relocate your new location.

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