I’ve been to Newport, Rhode Island countless times with the fam, but I’ve never had as much fun there as I did this summer. I think it’s because my family and I sought out new and exciting things to do – things we have never done before – like helicopter rides and such. So here’s a compilation of the best things to do in Newport, from all angles!
The Newport Historical Society does some serious walking tours. They bring vibrant historians together to give travelers the scoop on Newport’s history, from “Rogues and Scoundrels” and “Golden to Gilded,” to “Rum & Revolution” and “Road to Independence.” Newport is such a well-preserved colonial town so history truly comes alive during these tours. (Tickets normally $15 per person)
Get some sand between your toes at Gooseberry Beach – it’s my fave. Parking is a little nuts in the summer, but if you get someone to drop you off, it’s super easy to get in. It’s a small beach, but clean and cute. You can swim out to a little rock island, or just laze about in the sun.
The Cliff Walk
A gorgeous ocean view (with major cliff drop) on one side, and the enormous gilded age mansions on another – the Cliff Walk is a great way to spend a morning. This is where locals go to run, and tourists go to take a bunch of pictures. It’s really something. You can walk all the way from First Beach all the way to the end of Bellevue avenue.
In the air:
I went on my first helicopter tour ever in Newport with Bird’s Eye View Helicopters. We went all out with the Premiere Bay Experience – we flew over bridges and mansions and farmland and tiny islands…it was beautiful. Ok, it was a little scary at the beginning, but then I got used to it and wished the tour was longer. Our ride was so smooth and peaceful. (Tours from $75 per person)
We walked about 2 blocks from our hotel, and met Mike, who had our kayaks. Yes, we called Mobile Kayaks, which is a kayak pickup and delivery service in Newport. You can have them drop off kayaks wherever you want pretty much, then you can go enjoy yourself for a couple of hours, paddle back to shore and they will be there to pick them up. It was magical. You can also rent paddleboards! (Starts at $40 for 2 hours).
I learned to sail in Newport this year with…well…Sail Newport. Yep, and it was awesome. My brother and I did a two-hour lesson on a little sailboat with one instructor. We were able to learn all the things – so now I can totally jibe and tack on my own. (Starting at $100 per boat)
For a classy cruise around the harbor, book the Madeleine. It is super relaxing and good for the whole fam – day or night. We did a 4th of July Fireworks cruise and were basically right under the fireworks. (Starts at $25 per person).
In the car:
This is my favorite spot to stop for great views or a picnic. “Ocean Drive” starts with a drive down Bellevue (all the mansions), and goes all the way through Ocean Ave, past Fort Adams and back into town. Put the windows down and stop wherever you want along the way – it’s gorgeous!
From behind the scenes:
Backyard of a Mansion
The historic mansion, The Elms, is my fave of all the mansions. It’s just so open and airy and well, I would totes live there if I could. But alas, it is only used for tours now. So once you’re done with the tour, take a peek in the backyard. However, many times I like to just bring a book and head directly to the backyard. You can chill there for hours, pretending you’re a fancy Gilded age person.
Have you been to Newport? Well I usually go on the Fourth of July but I hear it’s great all year round – let me know when you go @maryinmanhattan!