In their rush to get from Providence  to Newport , most travelers simply bypass the east side of Narragansett Bay, pausing just to notice the stunning views from the series of bridges between East Providence and Portsmouth . The area, however, is a destination in its own right for anyone who prizes small-town life.
The two port cities of Warren  and Bristol  are both known for their attractive main streets and summer boating communities. Bristol is also the unofficial headquarters for the America’s Cup Yachting Race, and maintains a museum inspired by the competition.
Driving from Providence , it’s a quick shot down I-95 and Route 114 to Warren  (12 mi., 20 min.) and Bristol  (18 mi., 25 min.). The Rhode Island Public Transportation Authority (RIPTA, 401/781-9400, www.ripta.com ) stops at all of the East Bay towns on its Providence–Newport route (Rte. 60).
Buses from Providence to Warren take approximately 20 minutes, and stop at Main and Joyce streets. Buses from Providence to Bristol take a half hour, stopping at Hope and State streets. Fares are a reasonable $1.75, regardless of distance.