Newport, Rhode Island, is known for its historic mansions that are enriched with centuries of history. Each historical view of these fantastic mansions leaves many tourists hungry for the good old ways that entailed exquisite tastes.
Did you know Rhode Island is also referred to as Aquidneck Island? The island is home to three towns which include Newport, Middletown, and Portsmouth. Newport is considered a New England summer resort due to its many tourist attractions, sandy beaches, and sailing history. Moreover, Newport is more remarkable than most coastal cities such as Boston due to its ocean water surroundings.
Named as the Sailing Capital of the World, Newport is home to the National Sailing Hall of Fame, with several sailing clubs being based in the city. You will get to experience many sunny activities on the many beaches surrounding the area, including Easton beach, which is its largest public beach.
There is no shortage of activities for adventurous tourists who want to soak in historical sites and enjoy scenic views in a cool climate. We will show you several places to visit and things to do when you arrive in Newport, Rhode Island.
Things to Do and Places to Visit in Newport, Rhode Island
1. Cliff Walk
The Newport Cliff Walk is a famous and world-renowned walking path that stretches 3.5 miles along the Atlantic Ocean in Newport. This is a historic walking area with multiple hiking trails for a fun outdoor vacation. The cliff walk borders the back lawn of many historic mansions in the area, including The Breakers. You will also get to see a ½ mile-long view of the ocean.
The cliff is long and beautiful, enough to make you enjoy yourself while losing a few pounds in the process. Additionally, restrooms near the beach start to accommodate the many visitors who walk along the paths. The only downsides to the cliff walk are the stony terrain that requires you to wear boots/sneakers and beach parking which may cost you as much as $40.
2. Sandy Beaches of Newport
Newport is the homeplace of several beaches. These include First Beach (Easton’s Beach), Fogland Beach (Tiverton town Beach), Fort Adams Beach, Goosewing Beach, Barrington Town Beach, Bristol Town Beach, Grinnell’s Beach, and King Park Beach, to mention a few.
Newport includes eight miles of these beaches stretching from Santa Ana River jetty to Crystal Cove State Park and border Newport Bay. These beaches can be visited by the public between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m; while others may close as early as 6 p.m. You will find plenty of parking spots near the beaches with an easy app called Park Mobile to make parking more convenient.
3. National Museum of American Illustration
The National Museum of American Illustration contains relics from the Golden age of American illustration between the 1870s and 1950s. The museum is located at Vernon Court Mansion on Bellevue Avenue and is home to Maxfield Parrish originals and part of the Norman Rockwell collection.
The average length of a guided tour through the museum is one hour and fifteen minutes, with some lasting less than that. You will find free parking on the opposite side of the main gate on Victoria Avenue on Olmsted Park.
4. Newport Sailing Tours
There are several cruises and sailing tours in Newport Bay to give you the majestic experience of a beautiful sunset while seeing the historical monuments. You will find a massive catalogue of planned sports and ocean trails to quench your sea enthusiast’s side. These cruises can cost you as little as $4 per person for a few minutes to an hour of sailing.
You may also learn to sail yourself depending on which cruise you choose to take. These skills are taught by professional sailors who curate mini-sailing courses for interested tourists. You will have a better sailing experience during the late hours of the evening with beautiful sunsets.
5. Touro Synagogue
Touro Synagogue is the oldest synagogue in the United States and is considered one of the ten most architecturally distinguished buildings of the 18th Century. The synagogue was designated as a National Historic site in 1946; since then, the building has continued to receive many visitors each year, with an average of 30,000 visitors per annum.
The building is located at 85 Touro Street, Newport Island, and any bookings can be made through their website –www.tourosynagogue.org.
6. Museum of Newport History
Owned and operated by the Newport Historical Society, the Museum of Newport History is a National Historic Landmark that was built in the 1760s. The museum tells the story of Newport through graphics, historical photographs, and audiovisual programs.
A tour through the Museum of Newport History will take you about one hour, and it will focus on Newport before the revolutionary war and its role in the American Revolution. Needless to say, you do not want to miss this retelling of history. There is no admission charge, but there is a donation jar for those who would like to contribute to the preservation of this piece of history.
7. Trinity Church
The Trinity Church is both a religious and historic site that was attended by the former United States president, George Washington. It is an amazing feeling to know that if you walk in these walls, then you might be partaking in the same activities that such a great president once partook in.
It was founded in 1698 and constructed from 1725 to 1726 with the help of an architect called Richard Munday. The church is located near the harbor on Queen Anne Square, making it very easy to locate. Trinity Church is made out of wood, and it is quite small despite having held a lot of famous people. You will also find graves outside which bury prominent people like the famous French general, Chevalier de Ternay.
8. Fort Adams State Park
The Fort Adams State Park is located at the Newport Harbor and features amazing views of the harbor and the East Passage of Narragansett Bay. The Fort itself is operated by the Fort Adams Trust, which helps protect historic places and public spaces.
There are no parking fees in the Fort Adams State Park, and the amenities include restrooms, picnic tables, fishing areas, and showers. A couple of events are held at the park, including the Newport 10 miler that brings hundreds of visitors and residents to participate in a 10-mile run around the park. The park was even the official venue for the America’s Cup World Series in Newport in 2012.
9. Newport Classic Car Tours
Can you imagine living in Newport 100 years ago? Well, you do not have to imagine since the Newport Classic Car tours help you see, and be seen, in beautiful classic cars that used to be driven in the area 100 years ago. The company has a range of classic vehicles of the era that you can get to ride in to reenact how living used to look in a time long past.
The classic cars are new, fun, and fashionable, just like they were years ago. You can get to experience the tour between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. The guide will take you along cobblestone roads to see the historical sites around the city while explaining every piece of history related to each region. This is one of the most enriching experiences in Newport that most tourists recommend.
10. International Tennis Hall of Fame
The International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport is dedicated to preserving and promoting the history of tennis to improve the growth of tennis worldwide. The Hall of Fame honors both players and contributors to the sport by showcasing their history in a museum, indoor tennis facility, and grass tennis courts.
There are lots of artifacts and memorabilia, which include tennis equipment, apparel, trophies, art, videos, photographs, and audio recordings. You can visit the place physically or virtually to take a look at various exhibitions like theFrench Open: A Tribute, When Tennis StoppedandBreaking the Barriers: The ATA, and Black Tennis Pioneers.
11. Audrain Automobile Museum
Are you into vehicles, especially the rarest and most remarkable vehicles of the past? Then the Audrain Automobile Museum is the place to be. This museum celebrates the Machine Age, a time when art and automobiles came together. You will get to see over 200 rare and impressive automobiles that were made from 1899 to date.
The vehicles are alternated between various visits to give a unique look and experience with each visit. Each display usually has 15 to 20 cars at a time. The displays also have detailed descriptions to showcase the uniqueness of each vehicle in correlation with Newport history.
12. Newport Vineyards
Newport Vineyards will offer you wine flights, beer flights, and dining. This is more than a vineyard. It is a culinary destination that merges award-winning wines, beer, farm to table dining experiences on top of unique experiences around a 60 to 100-acre farmland. The vineyard vegan in 1977 as a wine producer, and it has been able to extend its portfolio to catering and offering vacation experiences.
The Newport Vineyard is open from Sunday to Monday. You can visit the place between 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Friday to Saturday. You can choose your experience from a selection of events which include: indoor winery, covered vineyard porch, outdoor brewery lawn, and Tank Patio. An important thing to note is that there is a maximum of 9 guests per party reservation.
13. Newport Helicopter Tours
The private helicopter tours by the Newport Helicopter Tours began in 2000 to provide an aerial experience around the region. The tour is open at all times during the year and caters to people of all ages. You can get to see Newport mansions and other historical sites from the comfort of the helicopter seat at over 1,000 feet above the ground.
The Helicopter tour is located at 211 Airport Access Road, Middletown in Rhode Island. Additionally, working hours are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday to Saturday. Fun fact: there is background music from the Bose headsets that you are given during the flight. You and your family are bound to have a blast on this tour.
14. Newport Trolley Tours
Trolleys are a great way of exploring Newport city at low prices without getting out of the vehicle. Several tours last from one and half hours to three hours. The tours are cheap, with the least going for $26 and the most expensive at $50.
The Newport Trolley Tours will take you through more than 150 tourist zones, including the Ocean Drive, Cliff Walk, and the Newport mansions. There is a guide who will tell you all about each location, and you can choose whether to take the tour in the morning or during the afternoon. However, most of the tours do not allow you to bring kids younger than five years old.
15. Newport Best Eateries, Restaurant, and Hotel
What better way to compliment your trip than with good food at amazing eateries? Newport is not short of amazing cuisines that will leave you wanting more. One of the best hotels in the Castle Hill Inn is a luxurious restaurant that has the Castle Hill Lighthouse to give you a scenic sunset as you enjoy your pricey dinner.
There is also a rooftop bar at the Vanderbilt Hotel that has amazing sunset views that look over the Newport bridge and downtown Newport. Other notable eateries include the Bouchard restaurant, Salvation Café, Perro Salada, White Horse Tavern, Pasta Beach.
Related Read: 12 Best Restaurants In Newport RI
16. Ocean Drive
Ocean Drive is a scenic route along the Atlantic Ocean that encompasses Newport. It is filled with various tourist sites that showcase the rich and privileged heritage. The ocean scenery is breathtaking, and the path gives you access to multiple restaurants like Castle Inn. Another upside to the ocean drive is that you are allowed to cycle but be careful not to bump into other cyclists as they are many.
17. Thames street
Thames Street is a historical street that is in the middle of downtown Newport. The street is home to a lot of fancy hotels and local bars that exhibit the culture and traditions of Newport. This is the best place to be to soak in all the good things about Newport, Rhode Island.
18. Summer festivals
Newport is home to a lot of summer festivals like the Newport Jazz and Folk festival that is normally held every July at Fort Adams. Join crowds of people as they sing along to amazing songs and celebrating various heritage during the summer. Furthermore, it is during these festivals that you may get to fully take in the great cuisine of Rhode Island.
19. Newport Visitors Information Center
The Newport Visitors Information Center is open to the public between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. every weekday. The visitor center should be your first stop to get local maps, tickets, and any tour you may need during your visit. There are trained specialists that will show you directions and direct you on what to do in the area to ensure your safety and enjoyable stay.
20. Brenton Point State Park
This is a public park that stretches over 89 acres to give you picnic facilities, fishing zones, hiking paths, kite-flying areas, and enough room for festivals like the Newport Kite Festival. It is also the home to the Portuguese Discovery Monument, which is a tribute to navigators. The park is located near Newport Country Club and is governed by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Division of Parks and Recreation.
Chateau-ser-Mer is another historical site in Newport that serves as a landmark of High Victorian architecture, wallpapers, and furniture. This is one of the famous mansions in Newport before the construction of Vanderbilt houses in the 1890s that replaced its rich architecture. A lot of visitors rank the Chateau-ser-Mer as the best mansion in Newport.
22. Bowen’s Wharf
This is a Newport region surrounded by brick walls, granite quays, and wharf buildings from the 18th Century. Bowen used to be a thriving seaport that attracted many businesses and visitors throughout the year, with its central attraction being trade. Bowen has upheld its business and commerce success to date, making Bowen Wharf the Anchor of Newport Waterfront.
23. St. Mary’s Catholic Church
St. Mary’s Catholic Church has stood still since the 1850s and is known to have hosted the wedding of Jacqueline Bouvier and Senator John F. Kennedy in 1953. The church has free parking next to it, and various structures highlight more of the church’s history ranging from its construction to the number of ceremonies that took place there.
24. Newport Playhouse and Cabaret
The Newport Playhouse and Cabaret is an award-winning restaurant that has been in business since 1083 and serves local cuisines that have attracted visitors for decades. The hotel is unique due to the dinner theatre that compliments the hotel’s buffet and fun-filled cabaret.
The tickets to the Playhouse and Cabaret include a buffet lunch, stage play, and a cabaret performance after the play. The plays are normally comedies with heartfelt humor and an impeccable exciting cast.
25. Exploration Center and Aquarium
This is a good place to go with your family, especially with young kids who want to play around interactively. The Exploration Center and Aquarium is located near the beachfront and is regarded as a marine science center housing over 140 species. You will get to see and touch a lot of aquatic animals, which is exhilarating, especially for kids.