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Rhode Island was the first of the original 13 colonies to declare independence from Great Britain. It is now the smallest state in the U.S., but what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in a wealth of interesting activities. The state has over 400 miles of coastline and some truly spectacular beaches. Rhode Island is a popular beach holiday destination for families from nearby New York, and visitors from much farther afield.

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1. The Providence WaterFire

A group of volunteers designs this truly unique experience in the city of Providence. Fire tenders float down the river on small boats and light more than 80 small bonfires. The result is dozens of flickering lights "floating" on the water. The event includes new age music, and a selection of small bars next to the river, creating a party atmosphere. This art installation takes place on select nights between May and October. Try to get to the river bank early to get a good spot as the shoreline fills up quickly.

Scott F Smith / Getty Images

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