The Best Places to Fly a Drone in Rhode Island

Drone footage of Narragansett RI beaches from above

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 Island

While 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:
  • Airports
  • Stadiums and Sporting Events
  • Restricted or Sensitive Airspace
Some counties and towns may also have their own RI drone laws and restrictions. For example, Narragansett’s drone ordinance prohibits flying drones:
  • 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
Additionally, some parts of the state are off-limits to recreational pilots. For example, if you want to film at a state park, you’ll need to get special permission to fly a drone — and permits are only available for commercially licensed drone pilots.

To avoid any potential legal headaches, you can look up the address where you’d like to fly on 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


Want 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.


Narragansett, 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.


Nestled 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.


Looking 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 Island

You’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

You can find even more scenic beaches on the island’s east and north sides. A pair of historic lighthouses also stand watch over the waters, giving you the opportunity to capture historic architecture in your drone footage on your Block Island drone expedition.

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
  • 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.
Posted by Sean McVeigh
Mcveigh profile image
Sean McVeigh is an award-winning filmmaker and producer with over 25 years of experience. Sean’s work as a cinematographer and editor has been viewed on many of the major TV networks including NBC, ESPN, and the BBC. He has also worked with iconic brands like Apple, GE, Jaguar, Amtrak, US National Parks Services, and AAA.