Exeter, Rhode Island

By | March 26, 2023

According to TRAVELATIONARY, Exeter, Rhode Island is a small town located in Washington County. It has a population of about 6,000 people and is situated on the banks of the Pawcatuck River. The town covers an area of 13.9 square miles and is bordered by South Kingstown to the east, North Kingstown to the north and Richmond to the west.

Exeter’s geography is marked by rolling hills, forests, fields and rivers. The climate here is mild with four distinct seasons; summers are warm with occasional showers while winters can be cold and snowy.

The history of Exeter dates back to 1637 when the area was first settled by English colonists who were granted land from the Narragansett Indians. During colonial times it was part of Providence Plantations before becoming a town in 1745. Exeter has also played an important role in American history; it was here that General Nathanael Greene defeated British troops during the Revolutionary War in 1778.

In terms of politics, Exeter is part of Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District which is represented by Congressman David Cicilline in Congress. The town also has its own local government which consists of an elected Town Council that meets monthly to discuss issues affecting the community such as budgeting, zoning laws and public safety regulations.

The economy in Exeter relies heavily on agriculture with many local farms providing fresh produce for markets throughout Rhode Island and beyond. In addition to farming, tourism has become an important industry as well with visitors coming from all over to explore its many historical sites such as Old Town Hall and Fort Barton Hill Park, both listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Schools in Exeter are run by the Chariho Regional School District which serves students from several nearby towns including Charlestown, Richmond and Hopkinton. There are two elementary schools located within Exeter – William Cushing Elementary School and Freetown Elementary School – as well as one middle school (Chariho Middle School) and one high school (Chariho High School).

Some notable landmarks within Exeter include Old Town Hall (built in 1749), Fort Barton Hill Park (a Revolutionary War site), Sisson Pond (a popular fishing spot) and Ninigret Park (an outdoor recreation area). There are also several local museums including Gilbert Stuart Birthplace & Museum which celebrates the life of renowned portrait painter Gilbert Stuart who was born in Exeter in 1755.

Population: 6,045. Estimated population in July 2020: 6,298 (+4.2% change)
Males: 2,972 (49.2%), Females: 3,073 (50.8%)

Washington County

Median resident age: 38.1 years
Median household income: $64,452
Median house value: $166,200

Races in Exeter:

  • White Non-Hispanic (95.5%)
  • Two or more races (1.3%)
  • Hispanic (1.3%)
  • American Indian (1.1%)
  • Black (0.7%)

Ancestries: English (27.2%), Irish (24.1%), Italian (16.4%), French (11.6%), German (10.1%), Swedish (4.8%).

Elevation: 266 feet


Exeter, Rhode Island is a small rural town located in Washington County in the southwestern part of the state. As of the 2010 census, Exeter had a population of 5,298. The population is primarily white with a median age of 44.9 years old and a median household income of $63,063. The town has a very low unemployment rate at just 3%, which is much lower than the national average of 6%. There are also many young families living in Exeter, as nearly 30% of the population is under 18 years old. Furthermore, more than 10% of the population are foreign-born individuals from countries such as Mexico and Brazil. In terms of housing, most people live in single-family homes with an average value of $232,400. Most residents own their homes rather than rent them out as rental prices are quite high in this area due to its rural location and small size. Overall, Exeter is a peaceful town with plenty to offer residents both young and old alike.

For population 25 years and over in Exeter

  • High school or higher: 86.0%
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher: 30.2%
  • Graduate or professional degree: 10.2%
  • Unemployed: 5.4%
  • Mean travel time to work: 28.2 minutes

For population 15 years and over in Exeter town

  • Never married: 23.9%
  • Now married: 62.9%
  • Separated: 0.9%
  • Widowed: 4.0%
  • Divorced: 8.4%

2.9% Foreign born (1.1% Europe, 0.6% Latin America, 0.6% North America, 0.5% Asia).

Population change in the 1990s: +677 (+12.6%).


Hospitals/medical centers near Exeter:



Airports certified for carrier operations nearest to Exeter:

  • THEODORE FRANCIS GREEN STATE (about 13 miles; PROVIDENCE, RI; Abbreviation: PVD)
  • GROTON-NEW LONDON (about 39 miles; GROTON NEW LONDON, CT; Abbreviation: GON)
  • WORCESTER REGIONAL (about 53 miles; WORCESTER, MA; Abbreviation: ORH)

Other public-use airports nearest to Exeter:

  • RICHMOND (about 9 miles; WEST KINGSTON, RI; Abbreviation: 08R)
  • QUONSET STATE (about 10 miles; NORTH KINGSTOWN, RI; Abbreviation: OQU)
  • DOWNTOWN PROVIDENCE HELISTOP (about 20 miles; PROVIDENCE, RI; Abbreviation: RI9)

Amtrak stations near Exeter:

  • 7 miles: KINGSTON (WEST KINGSTON, FAIRGROUNDS RD.). Services: ticket office, enclosed waiting area, public restrooms, public payphones, free short-term parking, free long-term parking, call for car rental service, call for taxi service, public transit connection.
  • 20 miles: PROVIDENCE (100 GASPEE ST.). Services: ticket office, fully wheelchair accessible, enclosed waiting area, public restrooms, public payphones, snack bar, ATM, paid short-term parking, paid long-term parking, call for car rental service, taxi stand, public transit connection.

Colleges and Universities

Colleges/universities with over 2000 students nearest to Exeter:

  • UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND (about 7 miles; KINGSTON, RI; Full-time enrollment: 11,759)
  • COMMUNITY COLLEGE OF RHODE ISLAND (about 11 miles; WARWICK, RI; Full-time enrollment: 8,650)
  • NEW ENGLAND INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (about 11 miles; WARWICK, RI; Full-time enrollment: 2,419)
  • JOHNSON & WALES UNIVERSITY (about 19 miles; Providence, RI; Full-time enrollment: 8,218)
  • RHODE ISLAND SCHOOL OF DESIGN (about 19 miles; PROVIDENCE, RI; Full-time enrollment: 2,086)
  • RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE (about 20 miles; PROVIDENCE, RI; Full-time enrollment: 6,208)
  • PROVIDENCE COLLEGE (about 20 miles; PROVIDENCE, RI; Full-time enrollment: 4,456)

Public primary/middle schools in Exeter:

  • METCALF SCHOOL (Students: 645; Location: 30 NOOSENECK HILL ROAD; Grades: 03 – 06)
  • WAWALOAM SCHOOL (Students: 306; Location: 100 VICTORY HIGHWAY; Grades: 01 – 02)

Private primary/middle school in Exeter:

  • CAMP E HUN TEE (Students: 40; Location: ONE CAMP E HUN TEE PLACE; Grades: UG – UG; Boys only)

Exeter, Rhode Island