Rhode Island might be a small state, but it’s bursting with scenic beauty at every turn. You can visit sprawling beaches and lush forests, as well as quaint small towns and bustling cities — all within a short driving distance of each other. Now, let's talk about some of the best places to fly a drone in Rhode Island
Plus, many of the state’s gorgeous sites are located within uncontrolled, or class G, airspace. It’s a drone pilot’s paradise. And if you’re looking for some of the best spots in the state to take flight, you’re in the right place.
Drone Laws Rhode IslandWhile RI is generally a drone-friendly state, there are still laws and restrictions you need to keep in mind. For example, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prohibits flying drones over areas like:
- Stadiums and Sporting Events
- Restricted or Sensitive Airspace
- Within 500 feet of/over the Town Beach during beach season
- During any large venue or special event
- Over public parks, roads, and public facilities during events
To avoid any potential legal headaches, you can look up the address where you’d like to fly on Airmap.com. If the area is a class G airspace, then you can follow the FAA’s usual guidelines for recreational drone pilots.
Best Places To Fly Drones In Rhode Island
NewportWant to capture drone aerial photography of the ocean? The harbor town of Newport is incredibly drone-friendly: Currently, the city doesn’t have any restrictions for drone flights. So, you’re free to survey yachts bobbing in the water, colonial-era architecture downtown, and the dazzling seaside views of the Cliff Walk. If you’d prefer to film natural scenes, Newport also sits close to Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island’s largest estuary. The rocky beaches provide an ideal place to capture lapping waves and wildlife.
NarragansettNarragansett, one of Rhode Island’s premier weekend getaways, is home to plenty of warm and sandy beaches. Currently, Narrasangent only prohibits drone flights over the beach during summer, the peak beach season. So, you’re free to capture moody shots of the beach in the fall or winter — when the water churns with mysterious fog.
Near the entrance to Narragansett Bay, you’ll also find the Point Judith Lighthouse, which is located in a class G airspace, which means that you don’t need special clearance.
CumberlandNestled in the Northeast corner of the state, Cumberland dates back to 1635 and was incorporated in 1746, making it one of the oldest towns in the state. You can feel New England’s history coming to life here. A great drone flight can be taken over the River Lofts at Ashton Mills, a historically restored apartment community, located minutes from the Blackstone State Park
The picturesque rolling hills look peaceful in any season, but the fall colors are especially gorgeous. We love flying here on foggy autumn mornings to survey lush trees and historic farmsteads and homes.
ProvidenceLooking to film an urban landscape from a birds-eye view? Providence, Rhode Island’s capital city, is waiting for you. The airport is located south of the city, making most of downtown safe for drone flights.
You can fly your drone along the Providence River and admire the reflection of skyscrapers in the water, get an overhead view of public art installations, or get a closer look at historic sites and New England architecture. It’s a rare chance to survey a thriving urban center from above.
Block IslandYou’ll find Block Island located just a few miles off the coast of mainland Rhode Island. If you’re up for the ferry ride, the views here are well worth the trip. Here, you can fly over the majestic Mohegan Bluffs, which stretch 150 feet high on the south side of the island and overlook the beach. Just a few miles off shore you will see some amazing vistas of the Block Island Wind Farm
RI Drone Photographer, Sean McVeigh, weighs in. "Rhode Island has a lot of great locations with breathtaking landscapes. Being the Ocean State, there are so many vibrant and historic towns along the coastline. You have the mansions in Newport, the beaches in South County, and lighthouses all along the coast, And if you are looking for city landscapes, Providence is a great location. A favorite spot to take off from is Prospect Terrace Park which overlooks the city."
What do I need to fly a drone in Rhode Island?If you’re a recreational drone pilot, you’ll need to pass The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST). You’ll also need to carry proof that you passed the test. Also, be sure that your drone has an FAA registration mark visible.
What’s the best drone for video and photography?Plenty of recreational drones on the market can offer premium-quality photos and videos. But if you want the absolute best quality footage, it pays to upgrade to a professional quality drone, such as the Mavic 3 Cine.
Other drones that we’re personally fond of and employ in our drone fleet include:
- DJI Inspire 2
- DJI FPV
- Matrice 200
What if I need to fly a drone in a permitted area in Rhode Island?If you need footage of an area that requires a permit, such as a state park, your options are somewhat limited.
You can either go through the process to become a permitted commercial drone pilot and obtain the necessary permits, which can be long, expensive, and time-consuming. Or, you can hire professional drone photographers who specialize in videography to do the job — such as the pros at McVeigh Media.
If you’re planning a filming project, contact us today to learn more about our Rhode Island drone photography services, and get info on bringing your next drone project to life.