moving to rhode island

Moving to Rhode Island

As you’ll see after moving to Rhode Island, it’s fitting that the state motto is “Hope.” Founded by religious dissidents, Rhode Island is still one of the most tolerant states and home to people of many different cultures, religions and beliefs.

Moving Advice

If you’re setting sail for the Ocean State, keep the following moving tips in mind.

Spring and fall are typically when students move, so if possible, plan on moving to Rhode Island during the winter or the summer to get cheaper rates.

Always check your route with the RI Department of Transportation before hitting the road. There may be detours or roadblocks that could cost you hours.

If your route takes you across the Newport Bridge, check the fee ahead of time and have the cash on hand.

If you’re moving to RI, check your city’s calendar for events or festivals that could lead to heavy traffic and long wait times.

Though RI doesn’t require any moving permits, it’s important to note that a lot of cities don’t allow overnight parking for moving trucks. To avoid steep fines or even being towed, check with your local municipality ahead of time.

If you’re using moving containers, note that most cities won’t allow you to place them in your driveway or yard until you’ve closed on your property, so plan all delivery dates carefully.

Before moving to RI, remember change your address online with USPS!


Get Organized

Check out our downloadable planners and checklists.

Moving-out-for-the-first-time Checklist

Last-minute Moving Checklist

Move Planner


Cities and Metro Areas

If you’re moving to Rhode Island, you’re moving to a state that’s made up of historically individual towns that have grown into large cities, but still maintain much of their unique character. There’s Providence, a revitalized textile town; Cranston, with its new Garden City Center; Warwick, boasting a picturesque coastline; sleepy Coventry with its rural and residential sections; and Newport, with its many stately homes. Rhode Island offers historic charm and progressive amenities. Other cities to consider are Woonsocket, East Providence, South Kingstown, Pawtucket and Cumberland.


Cost of Living

The cost of living in Rhode Island is 10.4 percent higher than the US average, but fortunately, at approximately $47,000, the average income is relatively high, too. Rhode Island is a highly populated state with little available land, so the cost of housing is high, due to both high demand and the fact that property taxes in the Ocean State are the fifth-highest in the country. In addition, with little agricultural production, Rhode Island has to import most of its foodstuffs, which adds to higher prices of groceries.



If you’re moving to Rhode Island, be prepared for hot and humid summers with plenty of rainfall and averages of approximately 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Winters are cold with rain, sleet, icy rain and snow, as well as temperatures that can be as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Be prepared for winter nor’easters. These ruthless storms can last for over 24 hours, bringing heavy precipitation—usually snow—and can cause severe damages. After moving to RI, you’ll have the beautiful fall foliage to look forward to, as leaves on the trees and shrubs turn from green to shades of red, brown and gold.



If you’re moving to Rhode Island, you’ll find there’s a discrepancy between the overall quality of elementary, middle and high schools and the higher educational institutions. However, both state and local governments are working hard to improve the quality of their schools, so here are a few of the most notable schools and colleges in the state.

  • Elementary Schools: Primrose Hill School in Barrington, William Winsor School in Smithfield and West Kingston Elementary School in West Kingston are some of the highest-ranked elementary schools.
  • High Schools: Three of the best high schools are Barrington High School in Barrington, Classical High School in Providence and South Kingstown High School in South Kingstown.
  • Higher Education: Students moving to RI can attend top-notch colleges and universities, including Brown University, Bryant University, Rhode Island School of Design and Roger Williams University.



If you’re moving to Rhode Island, visit RI’s state government website to find information about all sorts of topics pertaining to living here.

  • Permits: You don’t need to apply for a moving permit in Rhode Island, but check with your city about parking restrictions.
  • Taxes: After moving to Rhode Island, your city will collect a seven percent excise tax on your vehicle in the year following its registration.
  • Tolls: Rhode Island doesn’t have any toll roads, but you do have to pay a toll to cross the Newport Bridge. You can pay unpaid tolls at the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority’s website.
  • Voter Registration: After moving to RI, you can register to vote by submitting a voter registration form, which you can download from the Board of Elections, to your local Board of Canvassers. Rhode Island doesn’t permit online voter registration or voter registration through a DMV.
  • Trash & Recycling: Trash and recycling are handled by each city or town individually. Contact your local municipality for more information.
  • Driver’s Licensing: After moving to RI, you have 30 days to transfer your driver’s license and register your vehicle. A license costs $41.50, while the fees for vehicle registration are prorated by date and based on the vehicle’s weight plus $1.50. Transferring a title costs $51.50, and any lien recording also costs $51.50. Before going to the DMV, download the appropriate forms and checklists so you have all of your information ready to go.