• Tue. Nov 29th, 2022

Newport, Rhode Island Travel Guide

ByKeith M. Jones

Sep 29, 2022

There is so much to do and see in Newport, RI. A visit here is more than a city with miles of beautiful coastline. A visit to Newport is a step in history. A chance to see what it was like to live like the rich and famous of the Golden Age or dine in the oldest standing restaurant in the United States. A visit to Newport will bring you delicious New England dishes of lobster rolls and clam chowder.

Newport, RI offers you a chance for adventure with its infamous Cliff Walk. You can learn to sail or sit back and relax while someone else sails. Stroll through the mansions while hearing stories from the Golden Age.

Newport, RI is a coastal town located on Aquidneck Island in the Narragansett Bay of Rhode Island. It is approximately 33 miles southeast of Providence, RI. 74 miles south of Boston, MA, and 180 miles northeast of New York.

when should we go

To really enjoy Newport, you’ll want to avoid the winter months. With the exception of the Christmas period, most major attractions close for the season. The city lights up during the holidays, so if you’re looking to visit in December, there will be plenty to see.

Summer is ideal for those who also want to experience the beaches of Newport. Thanks to the cool coastal breeze, the weather will be pleasant to explore all that the city has to offer.

Late spring or early fall will be the best times to enjoy Newport. You’ll be able to see all it has to offer while avoiding the big summer crowds. Most major attractions will still be open to enjoy. You can visit the mansions or take a sailing tour around the harbour.

Where to stay

The best places to stay in Newport will be downtown, somewhere on the water. This will give you the best of both worlds, proximity to everything happening and beautiful harbor views.

If downtown isn’t your scene, the great thing about Newport is that the whole city is within walking distance. Any location will be ideal and is only a short distance to most of the area’s main attractions.

Activities in Newport, Rhode Island

Visit the mansions
If you do one thing in Newport, let it be a tour of the mansions along the coast. Built in the Gilded Age as summer “cottages” for some of America’s wealthiest families. Visiting the mansions is a must when visiting Newport.

The tour is self-guided via an audio app, so remember to bring headphones. A printed script can also be provided if you prefer to read. The tour will take you through each room of the mansion describing what life was like in those days. You will hear stories of events that took place to make you feel immersed in the experience.

In total, there are 11 mansions that you can visit during your stay. Keep in mind that many mansions are only open seasonally, but you can’t go wrong with any of the tours you choose. The most remarkable and prestigious mansion is that of the Breakers. You can also purchase duo tickets to choose from two mansions. Other great options would be Marble House or Elms.

(Kristina Delp/Unsplash)

Visit a museum
There are so many museum options to choose from in Newport. Discover the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum. What began as a casino built in 1880, the historic grounds will give you plenty to explore. Even those who are not fans of the sport will enjoy this interactive museum with so much to see.

If tennis isn’t your thing, you’re spoiled for choice. Newport has museums for everyone. You will find amazing art museums and also automobile museums. There will be plenty to explore, whatever your tastes.

Walk on the cliff

newport, ri, cliff walk
Cliff Walk in Newport, a designated national recreation trail. (KYPhua/Shutterstock)

The Cliff Walk is a 3.5 mile stretch along the east shore of Newport, RI. You can choose to do all or part of it. In any case, you will have a spectacular view of the coast. Plan your trip by mapping out how you want to walk. Keep in mind that the 3.5 mile stretch is one way. If you plan to park at one end and walk there and back, your mileage will double. Another option is to return to Mansion Road for just under 7 miles. You can also choose to do the full walk and bring a cart back to the area where you parked your car.

There are different parts of the Cliff Walk and each has a level of difficulty. The first half will be mostly paved with some steps (no more than two or three steps). The second part is completely unpaved and will have lots of rock scrambles. Appropriate shoes for this part will be essential to avoid slipping and falling.

One of the best times to enjoy the cliff walk will be at sunrise. If you can get up early to explore, stop at Forty Steps for amazing sunrise views. This will give you the perfect photo opportunity to see the reflection of the sun rising over the water and the rocky steps.

Ocean Drive
If hiking isn’t your thing, then Ocean Drive is for you. See 10 miles of idyllic ocean views and sparkling water. Ocean Drive is more than just a drive. There are so many places to stop along the way. The best times for this will be at sunrise and sunset. The sunset will draw a lot of people, so be sure to claim your spot early.

Fort Adams State Park
Originally used as a defense location between 1799 and 1945. Fort Adams is now a state park open to the public with panoramic views of Newport Harbor. A great place to walk around and see some history. If you want to go inside, you can opt for the guided tour or the self-guided tour via the app. Both options have a small charge but will give you lessons in history and access to more places inside.

Take a sunset cruise on a sailboat
There’s no better way to see Newport than on a sailboat. Newport offers many options, but the sunset cruise tops them all. Sip champagne as you cruise around the harbor. Marvel at the beautiful sunset shimmering over the water.

Head to the beach
As a coastal town, Newport has some beautiful beaches to explore during your stay. Check out Easton Beach or “First Beach”. It’s Newport’s largest beach and you’ll have everything you need. This family beach will be a wonderful stopover during your trip. At the beach you will find all the amenities you need to enjoy your time there. Access to toilets, a snack bar and even a carousel for the enjoyment of children.

Shop and dine at Bowen’s Wharf
Bowen’s Wharf will be the perfect place to end your day in Newport. A waterfront destination filled with restaurants, eateries and boutiques. Enjoy dinner at Fluke. Then, grab an ice cream cone at Sprinkles for window shopping and people watching on the pier.

Bowen's Wharf, Newport, RI
Entrance to Bowen’s Wharf, a historic shopping and dining destination in Newport Harbor (Paul Brady Photography/Shutterstock)

Where to eat in Newport, RI

Start your day with an early brunch at Stoneacre Brasserie. Offered on Saturdays and Sundays only, you’ll love the lively atmosphere. Try the deviled eggs with smoked trout as a starter to share, you won’t regret it.

For lunch, head to the Mooring Seafood Kitchen & Bar. Ask for a seat outside to enjoy your lunch overlooking the harbor. This is a great place to enjoy this classic New England meal. The clam chowder and lobster roll are delicious.

Ready for dinner? Did you know that Newport, RI is home to the oldest standing tavern in America? The White Horse Tavern is more than a tavern. This gourmet restaurant will serve up a delicious meal and a chance to be part of history.

Summary: Best things to do in Newport, RI

Newport, RI should be high on everyone’s list of places to visit. The history, the beauty, there is so much to offer. Spend a weekend exploring the historic city and relaxing on a sailboat or on the beach.

This article was originally published on mommytravels.net.

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