On August 19, 2013Jane C. Govednik answered the question:Whether you're looking to kick back and unwind or take the city by storm, Newport has all the options you'll need. From picture-perfect beaches to historic cultural sites, self-guided walking tours to chartered sailing excursions, here are our top picks for things to see and do in Newport:
1. Stroll the Cliff Walk. This a uniquely Newport experience not to be missed. The Cliff Walk is a 3.5-mile walkway that takes you along the breathtaking Newport shoreline and allows an up-close view of the grand Newport Mansions adjacent to its path. There are a couple of rough and rocky sections, so it's important to wear proper shoes, but all in all, it's a stroll that most people can enjoy. Not up for trekking the entire route? That's fine — you can walk as much (or as little) of the path as you want.
2. Hit the beaches. A trip to the beach during your visit to Newport is a must. The most popular spots are Easton's Beach and Sachuset Town Beach, known to locals as First Beach and Second Beach, respectively. First Beach is a favorite for beachgoers with little ones, as it's a manageable size and has a playground and carousel. Second Beach, just over the Newport town line in Middletown, RI, is a bit more spacious, and known as a great spot to catch some waves. A short drive from downtown Newport is a third option, Gooseberry Beach. Located on famed Ocean Drive, it boasts calm waters, soft sand and a top-notch view.
3. Sail the bay. Climb aboard a chartered sail boat or yacht for a memorable trip on the sea. These tours are a great way to see Newport in style. Cruising through Narragansett Bay will give you a remarkable perspective of Newport and its surrounding coastlines. Sit back, relax and enjoy the cool ocean breeze as a professional crew does all the work for you.
4. Explore Thames Street. Quaint, lively Thames Street is the hub of downtown Newport. Stretching about 1.5 miles from beginning to end, this historic strip offers a broad selection of shops, galleries, restaurants, bars and inns. It is easy to spend hours on Thames with everything there is to see and do. Of course, no visit is complete without stopping for some ice cream or homemade fudge along the way.
5. Visit the Newport Mansions. The Preservation Society of Newport County leads comprehensive, engaging tours of 11 properties with deep roots in Newport's social and architectural history. These tours offer you unprecedented access to the Newport from the Colonial, Victorian and Gilded Ages. Go back to a time when these mansions were inhabited by some of the city's most prominent historical figures.