Most people travel to this famous seaside town for its beaches, but there are so many more fun things to do in Newport RI! From cliff walks and unreal 19th-century mansions to a thriving restaurant and art scene, this is truly one of the best places to visit in New England. Join us as we take you to Newport Rhode Island, and through some of the best activities to enjoy during your stay.
New England Travel Inspiration
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How to Get to Newport Rhode Island
Newport is located in Southeastern Rhode Island in the heart of New England. There are many great public transportation options to get here including the train or bus.
One day took the ferry from beautiful Jamestown straight into the Newport harbor. You can even fly into the city’s T.F. Green Airport from several areas of the country.
The easiest way to get to Newport RI is by driving. Check out the latest rental car prices using our favorite tool Discover Cars.
18 Fun Things to do in Newport RI
1. Newport Rhode Island Cliff Walk
Let’s start off with one of the best outdoor activities in Newport Rhode Island! The Newport Cliff Walk is a world-renowned walking path that takes you 3.5 miles along the scenic Atlantic coast.
The ocean views are stunning, but you may want to look inland on this epic seaside walk. That’s because some of the world’s most extravagant mansions still stand here from the late 19th century.
2. Gilded Age Mansion Tour
After the Newport Cliff Walk, we recommend seeing more of these unbelievable mansions. Fortunately, you can explore inside two of the most exquisite summer luxury houses.
Take a self-guided audio tour of The Breakers and famous Marble House to see how some of America’s most wealthy families lived. The well-preserved mansions will give you a look into the Gilded Age as you experience the rich history of Newport Rhode Island.
3. Easton’s Beach in Newport RI
Interestingly enough, the cliff walk actually begins at Newport’s most popular beach! Easton’s is the spot to be in the summertime, and the white sandy beach is the perfect place to relax.
Know that the beach is not that long. Still, there’s more than enough room to spread out and enjoy the Rhode Island sunshine. So pull up a chair and catch some rays before you take on more fun things to do in Newport RI.
4. Local Seafood in Newport Rhode Island
Seafood lovers rejoice! Newport Rhode Island is home to some of the freshest and most delicious seafood in New England. One of the most famous seafood restaurants is Flo’s Clam Shack which is actually located right on the end of Easton’s Beach.
What we loved most about the seafood scene is how many different options you have. Whether you’re in the mood for a fancy night out or just some side of the road clams, Newport RI has you covered!
5. Cruise Ocean Drive
Didn’t get enough gilded age mansions and scenery on the cliff walk? Ocean drive has more insanely beautiful architecture and ocean views.
This is one of the best ways to see Newport RI if you have limited time, or prefer driving instead of walking the 3.5 mile cliff walk.
6. Castle Hill Beach & Lighthouse
Located at the end of Ocean Drive on stunning Narragansett Bay, this historic lighthouse is a must-see on your travel to Newport. Although it was built in 1890, it’s still used today for navigation and ships entering the passageway between Aquidneck Island and Conanicut Island.
7. Brenton Point State Park in Newport RI
Another one of the most fun things to do in Newport RI is visiting the many state parks. Brenton Point sits on the former estate of Rhode Island legend William Brenton. It offers incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean and is known as a great place to go hiking or fishing.
8. Fort Adams State Park
The most famous of all the state parks in Newport RI is Fort Adams. Here you’ll find a mix of nature and history and can even take a tour of the massive fortress.
Fort Adams also plays host to some of the best Newport Rhode Island summer activities, including jazz concerts and folk festivals.
9. Goat Island Lighthouse
By now you should know that you’re in the land of lighthouses, and Goat Island has one of the most impressive! As you may have guessed, the island is named for the early Newport settlers used to raise their goats here.
This piece of Newport maritime history was built in 1842. It features an epic backdrop of the Claiborne Pell Bridge that will surely make your day.
10. Bowen’s Wharf Newport Rhode Island
Exploring the harbor is one of the most fun things to do in Newport RI, and Bowen’s Wharf is the star of the show! The streets are filled with life and often crowded from early morning to late night.
Here you’ll find some of the best shops and restaurants on your travel to Newport RI. It also plays host to oyster and chowder festivals, among other exciting attractions on the water.
11. Historic Thames Street in Newport RI
Thames Street is the heart of downtown Newport Rhode Island. You’ll find everything from fancy restaurants to snack bars, and local dives. It’s important to note that Thames Street is HUGE and spans almost the entirety of downtown.
It makes for the perfect place to stop in and grab a meal after all the best things to do in Newport RI. Don’t miss out on french cuisine at Restaurant Bouchard or an Italian dinner at Mamma Luisa.
12. Newport Rhode Island Sailing Tour
Ready to get out on the water? This city by the sea offers an abundance of ways to do just that.
Hop on a sailing day trip right from the marina, or opt for a magical sunset cruise. It’s only right that you experience some sailing in the longtime home of America’s Cup.
13. Museum Hop Around Newport RI
Founded in 1639, Newport is one of the most historical cities to explore in New England. And with that, comes so many amazing museums to visit.
In addition to the different mansion tours, you’ll want to check out the Newport Art Museum, National Museum of American Illustration, Naval War College Museum, and the Museum of Newport History.
14. International Tennis Hall of Fame
If you’re looking for some more recent history, the International Tennis Hall of Fame is a huge draw for sports fans. Celebrate the former champions of Tennis, and learn more about how the sport has grown through various exhibits.
15. Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge
While technically just over the border in nearby Middletown, Sauchest Point is totally worth the short drive on your trip to Newport RI. The 3 miles of walking trails circle a saltwater marsh and provide views of the stunning Atlantic Coast.
Here you can see rare birds, fish, and more Rhode Island wildlife. Also, make sure to check out Sachuest Beach on your way out for a swim.
16. Attend a Newport RI Summer Festival
Newport is the place to be in the summer, and we totally recommend planning your visit around one of the many festivals. The Newport Jazz and Folk festivals are held every July at Fort Adams, but it’s not all about the music!
Celebrate all the great cuisine of Rhode Island with food truck gatherings, tasty wine, and craft beer throughout the warmer months.
17. Audrain Automobile Museum
Sailboats, mansions, and what else? How about some classic cars. Right on the famous Bellevue Ave, you can learn the history of the automobile.
With over 100 incredible cars from every time period, this makes it one of the most fun things to do in Newport RI for history buffs. You also visit the Newport Car Museum in Portsmouth for more classic cars.
18. Oldest Restaurant in the USA
Your travel to Newport RI would not be complete without a trip to America’s oldest restaurant.
White Horse Tavern was built in the 17th century, and the interior will make you feel like you’re back in colonial times. This is a great way to enjoy history while experiencing more local eats.
More Fun Things to do in Newport RI
Obviously, there are more than just 18 things to do in Newport Rhode Island. Endless sandy beaches, restaurants, and historic buildings are just waiting to be discovered in this seaside city.
Also, know that this is a very popular spot to visit in the peak summer months. However, it can be just as exciting to experience in the spring and fall seasons.
Have any questions on this article or want to share more of the top things to do in Newport RI? Leave us a comment below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Where To Stay In Newport RI
Ultra Luxury – The Vanderbilt, Auberge Resorts Collection – This former Vinderbilt mansion has been restored into one of the most exclusive hotels in Newport! Enjoy the rooftop bar for drinks in the summer while being just steps from the waterfront.
Fun Vacation – Attwater Hotel – Beautiful boutique hotel close to all the great attractions of Newport. Bed and breakfast feel, with a unique touch of class and stylish decor.
Bed & Breakfast – Bellevue House – Opening in 1828, Bellevue is known as the first and oldest hotel in Newport. Comfy accommodations and convenient location to the center of town.
For more places to stay on your travel to Newport RI you can explore the latest prices here!
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USA Travel Planning
Rental Car: We use Discover Cars when traveling. Consider renting a car in one city and dropping it off in another for an epic road trip!
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for hundreds of activities around the country. Book a tour of Fenway Park in Boston, skip the line at the Empire State Building in NYC, or go on a Sea Cave Kayak Tour in La Jolla California!
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