Newport


Newport is really one of those places designed for sunny Summer days. From long outdoor walks, to drinks on the fishing wharfs, virtually everything we’ve recommended below is designed for enjoying outside. Cross your fingers with us and hope for great weather so you can enjoy some of our favorite parts of Newport.

Beaches

You’d think that Newport being practically surrounded by water (in the Ocean state no less!) would be chalk full of prime beach real estate. But the truth is, Newport is much more known for being a boating town. Newport is home to the International Boat Show, the America’s Cup Yachting Championship and was even the temporary home of the US Naval Academy during the Civil War; the Naval War College is still in the city (Boom! History lesson). The good news is that you shouldn’t unpack your bathing suit just quite yet. While Newport isn’t much of a beach mecca, Middletown, where our room blocks are mostly located, is. Some of the hotels are actually within walking distance to some really great beaches. So we’ve included a few below based on what you’re looking for.

What Where Why
Atlantic Beach Directions Attached to the Atlantic Beach Club, this is the beach you go to if you want to party. It’s very much associated with the trendy, college aged crowd. The ABC is a restaurant/bar with a patio right over Atlantic Beach. They have a beach volleyball court out by the water and usually have a live band that starts in the afternoon and plays into the evenings. Their food is terrible and expensive so avoid it.
We Recommend: Grab a frozen drink at ABC after running around with the pretty young things on Atlantic Beach all afternoon. Just avoid any “Jersey Shore” types.
Second Beach Directions Also known as Sachuest Beach, this is considered one of the best beaches in Rhode Island and is walking distance from the Quality Inn. This beach is definitely one of the quieter, cleaner beaches in the area and it’s simply because it’s smaller and further from Newport. It also has less of the frills associated with the other beaches. It has a concession stand, a restroom and usually has a Del’s Lemonade truck. Otherwise it’s clean sand, good waves and that’s it. Adjacent to it is a 300 acre bird sanctuary if you need a break from the sun.
We Recommend: Grabbing a bottle of water, some sunscreen, a towel and hitting the water. It doesn’t matter if you’re a family or if you’re a raucous group of friends; you won’t find a better stretch of beach in Rhode Island all weekend.
Easton Beach Directions This is typically called First Beach by the locals and is what you typically think of when you think of beaches. Located in Newport proper, this is beach, boardwalk, the works. First Beach starts right at the Cliff Walk (See Below) and is the most popular beach in the Newport area. If you’re coming with young kids, this is the place that is going to keep them busy all day. The boardwalk has a carousel, a carnival, a snack bar, a “Save the Bay” Exploration Center and a playground. You’ll also find souvenir stores dotting the sides and the occasional summer concert. Parking in this area will cost you $15-20 based on the time you come in. If you come to First Beach, come early! It gets crowded quickly. If you think you’ll spend the day here, we recommend ponying up the $30 for VIP access. This will get you close, no wait parking, access to the bath houses (hot showers, private changing areas, storage spaces) and two free rentals (Chairs, Boogie Boards, umbrella, etc.); Not bad for $10 more.
We Recommend: Grabbing your tot, snacking on a Del’s lemonade and hitting up that Carousel. It’s a must!

Local Attractions

What Where Why
Mansion Tours Directions You could build an entire vacation out of just visiting the Newport Mansions. The Newport Preservation Society holds tours on its 11 properties  nearly year round, but the best time to get a view is in the summer. Homes made entirely of marble and properties measuring at 50,000+ square feet are no big deal on beautiful Bellevue and Ochre Point Streets. These houses cost millions of dollars to build in the 1700s… and these are only their summer homes. Grab a tour ticket and walk through a gorgeous relic of the Golden Age.
We Recommend: At least getting a tour in of the Breakers property. The Breakers is over 70 bed rooms, with 33 bathrooms and an AMAZING view of the Newport coast from their “outdoor living room.” The summer home of the famed Vanderbilt family (CNN silver fox Anderson Cooper is a descendant), this home was used to welcome royalty and presidents until the 1970s. Their kitchen is the size of our apartment. Yikes.
Cliffwalk Directions The Cliffwalk is a designated National Recreation Walk. The 3.5 mile path cuts right along the ocean’s path and is absolutely gorgeous. Peer past the shrouds of bushes to see the enormous private homes on your right or watch brave surfers ride waves along the very rocky coast on your left. Newport city-proper is a lovely spot to hang, but the only way to see the beautiful Rhode Island coastline is the Cliffwalk.
We Recommend: Grabbing a bottle of water and doing at least a mile of the path. Even with such a short trip, you’ll enjoy the crisp ocean breeze.
Tennis Hall of Fame Directions Did you know that the first Tennis Lawn Association Championship was held in Newport? How about that the original Newport Casino, the present location of the Tennis Hall of Fame, was never really a casino? It’s name comes from its original owners who named the home the “little house” in Italian. We learned tons of cool stuff in this small museum on Bellevue Street. Neither of us is a big tennis fan, but this museum is still interesting and fast. We banged through all the exhibits in 30 minutes! If someone could explain how to play indoor tennis to us, though, that’d be gangbusters. We watched a game and were totally lost.
We Recommend: Walking through the museum and, if you fashion yourself a good player, renting out a court. Legends like Billie Jean King, John McEnroe, Martina Naratilova and Chris Evert have played here. You don’t have to  be a tennis fan to know that that is totally awesome.
Newport Casino Directions Now that we’ve talked about the Newport Casino that never gambled, let’s talk about the one that does. Directly across the street from the Best Western, the Newport Grand Slots is a huge gambling spot. The machines go anywhere from 1 cent to $10.00 a spin, so pick your poison and go nuts. Karen once doubled her money on one machine. Score!
We Recommend: Grabbing $100.00 and trying your luck on any of the 10 cent machines with the rotating bonus rounds. These are in the back left of the building. We both came out ahead on those (Karen far more ahead than Aaron).
Tours by Boat/ Helicopter/ Kayak/ Tricycle Directions We could spout all the awesome Gilded Era history Newport has to offer, but why read it online when you can see it up close? Newport has a TON of tour options. Learn about sailing & tennis history, the “summer homes” of the rich and famous or Newport’s revolutionary history.
We Recommend: Grabbing two friends and doing a mansion tour in a Helicopter. The price drops to $49 a person when you do groups of 3 or larger.

Dining

What Type Where Why
Red Parrot American Directions Red Parrot is easily one of the biggest restaurants in the city. It’s a good thing, because this place is always busy! The menu for this place is in binders; it’s that big. Everything we’ve had is great, but we really like the quesadilla appetizer. You can also hit this place in the evenings when it becomes a three floor bar and night club.
Brick Alley Pub Pub Gub Directions This place is totally quirky and fun. It takes the Bennigans style of retro-random decor to a new extreme. We love sitting in the picnic tables in the back and enjoying the shaded porch. If you just want to grab a drink, head to the back bar and take a seat at one of their stationary ski lifts. They’re just below the huge Gulf gas station stand… really.
Cooke House American

/Seafood

Directions The Cooke House is really 4 places at once: The Cooke House, the Candy Shop, the Sky Bar and the Boom Boom Room. The BBR is a nightclub, the rest are dining. We love the big, white, open-air feel of the Candy Shop. A wide range of American and seafood options is the name of the game here. You can see the ships come in to dock, making this some of the freshest seafood you can find. The Candy Shop also offers sushi after 4:00pm. This place becomes totally bananas at night; enter at your own risk.
Gas Lamp Grille American Directions The Gas Lamp is the site of our rehearsal dinner so we definitely can’t forget to mention it here. Located on the shop-centric America’s Cup Avenue, Gas Lamp is two floors of fine American dining. Gas Lamps grace the inside main floor, making it a cute, romantic option. We had the Onion Soup and Ravioli the last time we were here and give both a big-time thumbs up. Bands play the bottom floor regularly on weekend nights. The parking lot across the street ranges from $10-20 for the night. Seems kind of steep, but it’s closes super late and is close to everything.
White House Tavern American Directions How about a bite to eat at a building built in the 1650s and made into a bar & restaurant by a pirate? This restaurant has only had 6 owners in its 350+ year history, but you wouldn’t know it when you walked into this old relic. It feels just as it would have in the 17th century, with dark wood paneling and dinner by candlelight. The food here is delicious, classic American. This is a good bet if other main road restaurants are crazy. A bit off the  beaten path, but totally worth it.

Are you tired of reading yet? No? Well, look at you. We’re impressed.
We think you can handle Newport’s…

Nightlife

In addition to all of the places listed below, all of the dining locations previously listed convert to bars after 10:00pm. We highly recommend trying the Red Parrot and Brick Alley after hours.

What Directions Why
Fluke Wine Bar Directions Located on Bannisters Wharf, Fluke is a quaint little bar with not only a good selection of wines, but also custom cocktails. Dining is available in the evenings, but we’ve only hit the bar on the top floor. A full wall of windows makes this a great place to grab a drink and watch the sun set.
We Recommend: Grabbing a quiet glass of wine here, before moving onto bigger bars for the night.
21 Bowen Outdoor Deck Directions A small space on Bannisters Wharf, this is the outdoor bar of 21 Bowen, an upscale steak house. This can get tight on busy weekend nights, but you’re golden if you get a table.
We Recommend: Grabbing a table and enjoying the summer weather, right on the water.
Black Pearl Directions The Black Pearl is in between the Cooke House and 21 Bowen on Bannister’s Wharf. This has the largest outdoor space on the Wharf and is directly on the water. The Black Pearl is your basic bar and perfect for a couple of drinks on a nice night.
We Recommend: Getting acquainted with New England and grabbing a Sam Adams (or other New England) brew.
H2O Directions This bar is virtually all out doors and has live music every night. This is the only place to regularly require a cover in the area.
We Recommend: Coming here if you’re looking to jam out with a local cover band and a group of friends.
The Irish Pub We Can’t Remember the Name of Directions Located amidst all the independently owned shops on Thames Street, this pub is all outdoor seating, all the time.
We Recommend: Grabbing a beer and testing out your toy fishing skills in their illuminated fountain.