View of Newport Bridge from Fort Adams State Park as taken from my iPhone
Newport, Rhode Island is a seaside city in Rhode Island. It offers excellent ocean views (e.g. the Cliff Walk), good beaches, and historic mansions. I can also certify that the food is amazing, especially the seafood. If you reside in the northeast, it is a perfect weekend getaway. Since it is a small city, you can definitely do everything within 1 ½ – 2 days. If Providence is on your way or you have extra time to make a 45 minute detour, it is another hidden gem in Rhode Island that is worth the stop for awesome food (/2015/09/09/hitchhikers-guide-providence-rhode-island/).
Top Things to Do
- Cliff Walk
It is a gorgeous 3.5 mile walk along a cliff. The path is literally on the edge of a cliff. It runs along the backyard of historic mansions. A couple of presidents (Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy) and wealthy individuals made their summer homes in Newport. You have views of the mansions on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other side. The path also has two parts. The first part is well paved while the second path is unpaved and consists of rocks. Of course, be careful on the rocks because there are steep drops if you are reckless. If the rocks are wet due to rain, I would just stay on the paved part of the trail. Nevertheless, it is a very doable walk if you are in decent shape. My parents, brother, and I completed it without any issues. In addition, keep in mind that some of the mansions are private property. For example, the CEO of Oracle, Lawrence Ellison is currently constructing a new mansion for his family. For this reason, do not scale and go over any fences. There are plenty of yards of historic mansions that are open to the public along the walk. In addition, tours of the mansions are available. There are deals that include tours of multiple mansions. Personally, I grew up in an area that had a lot of historic mansions and visited plenty on field trips for school. Consequently, I did not feel a need to tour them in Newport.
The beginning of the Cliff Walk is at 1st Beach and Memorial Boulevard. The path curves around the bottom tip of the cliff and ends at Reject’s Beach. Then, you can take a right onto Bellevue Avenue and follow the road north. You will get views of the front of the mansions on this Avenue. There are multiple streets where you can turn right and get back on the paved part of the trail (e.g. Ruggles Ave, Webster Street, Narragansett Ave, etc.). If you are hungry after the walk, you can take a left on Webster Street and walk a couple blocks to Thames St. We ate dinner at Mama Luisa Italian Restaurant. I discuss it below.
- Easton’s Beach (175 Memorial Blvd, Newport, RI 02840)
This beach is right next to the entrance of the Cliff Walk. It is a beautiful beach. I definitely recommend taking a couple of hours to swim in the Atlantic Ocean when you visit Newport. However, there is a lot of red seaweed in the cove. On certain days, it will make the water look completely red. It is like a scene out of the War of the Worlds. I went in the water briefly when that situation occurred and immediately came out.
- Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge
The refuge has an easy 2.5 mile loop on a flat dirt path. It offers excellent views of Newport and the ocean. If it has rained recently, there will be large puddles of water that are difficult to walk around. Nevertheless, it is a short walk that is worth the views.
- Ocean Drive
Driving through the 10 mile Ocean Drive is a must during a trip to Newport. It offers great views of mansions and the ocean. There are plenty of designated spots on the road to park and take in the sea breeze and pictures. Although we did not go there for sunset, it is also a good spot to enjoy the sun setting at the end of the day.
- Fort Adams State Park
Fort Adams is a great spot to see the Narragansett Bay, Newport Bridge, sailboats, and lighthouses. The 2.2 mile Bay Walk around the fort is completely paved and flat so you can take a relaxing stroll to enjoy the views. Admission to the grounds is free. There is a paid tour into the fort. It is another good place in Newport to see the sunset.
- Waterfront/ Wharves
The waterfront/ wharves is where the best restaurants are located in Newport (e.g. The Mooring noted below). There is also plenty of shops. Another popular attraction here are the public sailboat tours of the harbor. Of course, the sunset tours are in high demand and sell out early. As a result, definitely buy your ticket as soon as possible if you are interested.
- The Mooring (1 Sayers Wharf, Newport, RI 02840)
It is an amazing waterfront restaurant. I love the appearance. I love the food even more. The “Bag of Doughnuts” is one of its most popular appetizers. They are lobster, crab & shrimp fritters with chipotle-maple aioli. They come in a bag and are shaped like doughnut holes, which explains the name. I do not eat any of the seafood in them but my parents and brother do. They really enjoyed it. In addition, they are heavy so you may get full eating them. My mom barely ate her entrée afterwards. I ordered the clam chowder and it is excellent. For my entrée, I ate an ahi tuna wrap. It was amazing. The tuna was very fresh and the sauce on it was great. The restaurant is not cheap but not ridiculously expensive either. I highly recommend this restaurant as a nice place to eat in Newport. In addition, we got there early for dinner to beat the rush. It definitely gets busy during dinner time.
- Mama Luisa Italian Restaurant (673 Thames St, Newport, RI 02840)
It is everything I expect from Italian fine dining. I ate the bruschetta, Ravioli alle Fave (butternut squash ravioli), and the tiramisu. The bread for the bruschetta is made fresh and very soft. It is topped with a sauce instead of diced tomatoes. It is different from what I am accustomed to but the sauce is awesome so I loved it. The ravioli is handmade. I love butternut squash. The combination of it with the fresh ravioli and great sauce really makes a delicious dish. In addition, the desserts are very good and fluffy. The presentation is also top notch as the dishes look beautiful. I also enjoyed the appearance of the restaurant. We got there early for dinner so we were able to get a seat without a reservation. However, it was packed by 6 PM so I recommend making a reservation.
- Flo’s Clam Shack (4 Wave Ave Middletown, RI 02842)
It is known for its fried seafood. It also has lobster rolls on the menu. The food is not bad but not great either. We ate there after visiting and walking around Sachuest Point. It is about a 0.6 mile walk from Easton’s Beach. As a result, it is a decent spot for lunch if you are enjoying the beach and looking for something quick nearby.
We did not stay in a hotel in Newport. We used AirBnB and stayed at a home that is within walking distance from the Cliff Walk. The homes are beautiful in Newport so I definitely recommend using AirBnB if you are planning a trip.