Top Things to Do in Newport, Rhode Island
If you want to see one of the prettiest cities in New England, you need to book a trip to Newport. We just returned from visiting Newport for the fourth time and I’m excited to share a list of the top things to do during your visit to The Classic Coast.
Is Newport worth visiting?
Yes, definitely. Newport is a beautiful coastal city that is worth visiting any time of year. Set on Aquidneck Island in the New England state of Rhode Island, Newport is rich in history, with plenty of lovely parks, great restaurants, and boutiques.
What is Newport known for?
This seaside city in Rhode Island is known for its Gilded Age mansions, spectacular sailing, all-around nautical vibes, miles of beaches, and magnificent sights. If you are into sailing, you likely know that Newport has hosted the American’s Cup, a renowned annual sailing regatta, for many years.
If you are looking for a vacation destination with beautiful beaches, restaurants, and that is family-friendly, then Newport is for you! Here is a selection of the best spots in the city that will surely take your breath away. At the bottom of the post, you will find a list of hotels & restaurants to enjoy during your stay in Newport.
Cliff Walk & The Forty Steps
Cliff Walk has been an icon for centuries. It runs 3.5 miles and about two-thirds of the walk is in easy walking condition. This enjoyable walk offers panoramic ocean views and the perfect amount of sea breeze. A total must-see!
The Forty Steps is a landmark dating back to the 1830s that is located right by Cliff Walk (at the east end of Narragansett Ave).
How to get there: The walk starts at the western end of Easton’s Beach at Memorial Blvd. and runs south with exits at Narragansett Ave., Webster St., Sheppard Ave., Ruggles Ave., Marine Ave., Ledge Rd., and ends at Bellevue Ave.
Castle Hill Lighthouse
The Castle Hill Lighthouse was built in 1898 and it is located on Narragansett Bay in Newport, at the end of the historic Ocean Drive.
The lighthouse is not open but the grounds are adjacent to the Castle Hill Inn and are open to the public. It is worth noting that the lighthouse is still an active navigation aid for vessels entering the East Passage between Conanicut Island and Aquidneck Island!
We explored the area around sunset, and it was incredibly peaceful. The lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.
How to get to Castle Hill Lighthouse
The easiest way to arrive at the lighthouse is by parking your car at the Castle Hill Cove Marina and walking across the street. Follow the sidewalk to the left until you see a small white sign that says “Castle Hill Lighthouse” on your right. Walk through the trees, luckily it is a short path to the lighthouse! Bring your camera!
Newport Harbor is the area across Bowen’s Wharf, between Goat Island Marina and Fort Adams State Park. During this trip to Newport, we stayed at a hotel located right on the harbor, and we really enjoyed our walks there with our pups.
Bannister’s Wharf & Bowen’s Wharf
Bannister’s Wharf is a historic spot located between the Old Port and Bowen’s Wharf. Cobblestone paths, local boutiques, galleries, and award-winning restaurants are some of the things you will find in this charming area of Downtown Newport.
Newport was the summertime playground of America’s wealthiest families during the Gilded Age. The Newport Mansions is a collection of a dozen historic house museums ranging from the 18th century to the Gilded Age. And, your visit to Newport would not be complete unless you experience the opulence of one of the mansions.
Ocean Drive is a 10-mile coastal drive and a total must-see during sunrise! We drove our way around this winding path and enjoyed the scenic coastline by car, but many do it by bicycle. Either way, you will absolutely love it.
King Park is a gem along the water that I love visiting each time I am in Newport! Street parking is free and available so it is easy to park your car, walk around, take pictures of Pell Bridge, and enjoy the view!
If you are traveling with children (or pups!), this is a great spot for exploring and relaxing by the water! You will also find a beautiful gazebo, the statue of Rochambeau, and other memorials at this peaceful park.
Where is Rochambeau’s statue located?
This statue of Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, Comte de Rochambeau, is located in King Park along the waterfront at the south end of Newport.
Rochambeau led the French forces against the British at the decisive Battle of Yorktown.
How to get there: Arrive via America’s Cup and Thames Street.
Where to Stay in Newport
During this visit, we reserved a water-view king room at The Brenton Hotel on Newport Harbor, and it was the best decision. We had previously stayed here, so we were familiar with the hotel. The room was spacious, had an ultra-comfortable bed, and a wonderful view of the marina across the street.
Walking anywhere from the hotel was easy because it is located just steps from Newport’s downtown area. The Brenton Hotel has a modern nautical elegance, and all of its 57 rooms face views of the harbor and historic Newport. We loved the hotel’s rooftop and enjoyed dining at the hotel’s restaurant, The Living Room (hands down the best cocktails!).
Here’s the list of beautiful Newport hotels that I am familiar with and recommend. Click on any below to see their availability, and check rates:
- The Brenton Hotel
- The Vanderbilt, Auberge Resorts Collection
- Castle Hill Inn
- The Chanler at Cliff Walk
- Gurney’s Resort & Marina
- Hotel Viking
See my review of The Vanderbilt Auberge Resort, here.
Where to Eat in Newport
There are many great restaurants in Newport! Here are the ones that we enjoyed this time:
White Horse Tavern – A cozy and upscale restaurant in a historic setting dating to 1673! This is America’s oldest tavern, the oldest operating restaurant in the U.S., and a National Historic Landmark. We highly recommend it, this is the kind of restaurant I like to find when I visit a new city, and it was excellent.
Drift Cafe – This is my favorite breakfast spot for Açaí bowls, smoothies, and lattes! You will find it tucked in Downtown Newport, next door to some of the cutest local boutiques (they are totally worth checking out!).
The Living Room – This restaurant is located inside The Brenton Hotel and offers tons of seasonally inspired “small plate” dishes designed to share. I loved the clam chowder, grilled octopus, and warm farro salad. My husband loved his truffle fries, pork belly steam buns, and grilled lamb lollipop!
Diego’s – This casual restaurant offers Mexican food with a twist, plus delicious margaritas! I love that they have a gluten-free menu. This spot is located in Bowen’s Wharf and it is a great option if you are looking for a low-key casual lunch or dinner.
22 Bowen’s Wine Bar & Grille – This classy nautical-themed dining room offers steak and seafood with waterfront views. I am including this restaurant because so many of you recommended it to us, and we always leave Newport without trying it!
Here are two popular food tours in Newport:
Map of Newport RI
Tours recommended for your Newport visit:
MORE INFO FOR YOUR VISIT TO NEWPORT
How far is Newport from New York City?
The drive from NYC to Newport is 175 miles (282 km) via I-95 N. The drive usually takes 3.5 hours with normal driving conditions.
How far is Newport from Boston?
The drive from Boston to Newport is 71 miles (114 km) via MA-24. The drive takes 1.5 hours. Newport’s location makes it a perfect day trip or weekend destination.
Which airport is best for Newport?
T.F. Green Airport (PVD) is the nearest major airport to Newport. This airport is located in Warwick, Rhode Island, and is 28 miles (45 km) from Downtown Newport.
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