When you think of Newport, visions of sailing, lobster rolls, Gilded Age mansions, and rocky coastlines come to mind. These are all great, but there is so much more to experience in this seafaring town. For a true Rhode Island experience, you must do these nine things, but prepare yourself for a wicked good time.
Known as the Sailing Capital of the World, experiencing Newport from Narragansett Bay’s waters will give you a true feeling of this port town. Whatever sailing outing you choose, each crew offers up local historical tidbits while pointing out interesting places along the waterfront. Beware, the wind in your hair, sun in your face, and magnificent views from the water may tempt you to consider a permanent move to beautiful Newport.
2. Cruise Along Ocean Drive
To get a good feel for Newport, take a self-guided tour along Ocean Drive. Along this scenic ten-mile route that follows Newport’s rocky coastline, you will pass beautiful homes set on expansive grounds, rolling farmland, including Hammersmith Farm, which served as President Kennedy’s Summer White House, historic Fort Adams, Breton Park where many fly kites and picnic, and vast ocean vistas. If you have the time, make a stop at historic Castle Hill Inn and Ocean Cliff Resort for a cocktail or any other spot to your liking.
3. Eat at an Authentic Lobster Shack
Chow down on some succulent lobster at Newport Lobster Shack. Located on the harbor, local fishermen provide their catch for every meal served here. At this open-air restaurant, find a spot at one of the picnic tables to enjoy a lobster-inspired dish such as lobster rolls, lobster bisque, lobster cakes and much more. As you dine, you can take in a lovely view of the harbor, enjoy the ocean breeze, and hear the sounds of Newport’s fishing fleet.
4. Cocktails on The Lawn at Castle Hill Inn
Built in 1875, this exquisite inn is a world away from the bustling streets of Newport. Head out to Castle Hill Inn for a quintessential New England experience. Slip into a white Adirondack chair on the grassy rolling slopes on The Lawn. Here you can sip on a crafted cocktail and dine al fresco, all while enjoying one of the most beautiful views Newport has to offer.
5. Tour The Breakers Mansion
Built by the Cornelius Vanderbilt family, this 70-room summer cottage is an absolutely stunning example of the opulence of the Gilded Age. At this famous landmark, an audio tour is included in the ticket price. Be sure to listen in because the Breakers will come alive while listening to actual people tell stories from their experiences back in the mansion’s heyday.
For true New England character, a walk down historic Thames Street can’t be matched. Follow the cobblestone and you’ll find coffee houses for a cup of joe, dessert shops for a sweet indulgence, or historic pubs for a brew. Along the way, you’ll find plenty of gift shops and art galleries to browse in.
7. A Cliff Walk Stroll
Ocean waves crashing on your left and stately mansions on your right are the gorgeous scenes along Cliff Walk. Parking can be tricky in the area, so jump on the trail where you can park your car. Lace up a good pair of footwear, since there are times you will have to cross over rocks to finish the 3-mile walk in one direction.
8. Exciting Bowen’s Wharf
A lively atmosphere is quickly felt when you walk down into Bowen’s Wharf. It’s a happening place where visitors can sit on the harbor, grab a bite to eat, and check out the many shops and galleries.
9. The Unforgettable Goat Island Sunset
Goat Island, a small island in Narragansett Bay was first used by early Newport colonists as a goat pasture, hence the name. Many travelers don’t even know it exists, so Goat Island can be on the quieter side if the Hyatt isn’t fully booked. When you get there, head over to Pineapple on the Bay, a restaurant at the Hyatt. Cocktails and dinner, while a stunning sunset casts an amber hue over the Newport Bridge and the Bay’s sailboats is the perfect way to end your perfect Newport Day.