Headed to New England and looking for the perfect long weekend in Newport, Rhode Island itinerary?! I promise you, after spending 3 days in Newport, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to make it over here!
Newport is the epitome of a coastal New England town. Think opulent, gilded-age historic mansions. A buzzing waterfront district with shops, art, and frozen lemonades. Multi-million dollar yachts and exclusive beach clubs. Seafood pasta and delicious lobster rolls. Breathtaking coastal paths and drives right on the water. A vibrant sailing culture and sunset boat rides.
If this chic seaside town sounds like your kinda fun, you’ll wanna plan your 3-day Newport weekend getaway right away!
Growing up on Long Island, I spent over 25 years less than 5 hours away from Newport. Someone please tell me why it took me moving across the country 10 years ago to come back and finally visit. If I had known just how chic and charming it was, I’d 100% gone way sooner!
So when I recently visited my sister in NY and she suggested a long weekend in Newport, RI, of course I happily agreed! I mean, who can say no to lobster rolls and sunset sails?! Not this girl, haha. She’s been to Newport a few times, so I was lucky that she offered to show me around and take me to her fave spots!
Get ready for that perfect East Coast summer! But before we get into the perfect weekend in Newport RI itinerary, there’s lots of logistics to get outta the way first!
Weekend in Newport Itinerary Logistics
Where is Newport, RI and How to Get There
Newport is located on the coast of Rhode Island, which is actually the smallest of all the US states. It’s located in the heart of New England, bordered by Connecticut to the west and Massachusetts to the north and east.
And get this – Newport is actually located on an island, Aquidneck Island in Newport County to be exact, found in the southeastern part of the state. It’s the largest island in Rhode Island, separated from the mainland by the Sakonnet River to the east and Mount Hope Bay to the north. Don’t worry, there’s lots of bridges connecting the island to other parts of Rhode Island!
Newport sits on the southern tip of Aquidneck Island, with the Atlantic Ocean to the south and Narragansett Bay to the west. This means lots of gorgeous coastal views, scenic walks, beaches, and harbors.
Flying to Newport, RI
If you’re coming from further afield, plan to fly into Boston Logan International Airport in Boston, MA. The airport’s only about 70 miles from Newport, and you’re bound to find the cheapest flights there.
There’s actually also an airport in Rhode Island itself (T.F. Green Airport (PVD) in Warwick, Rhode Island), but flights will most likely be much pricier. If you do find a good flight, snatch that baby right up because the airport’s less than 30 miles away from Newport.
Driving to Newport
Thankfully, Newport is pretty close to some major cities in New England, so it’s not terribly difficult to get to!
- From Providence, RI: 30 miles away, 45 minutes – the capital of Rhode Island!
- From Boston, MA: 75 miles away, 1 ½ hours
- From Hartford, CT: 85 miles away; 1 ½ hours
- From New Haven, CT: 100 miles away, 2 hours
- From Martha’s Vineyard, MA: 90 miles away, 2 ½ hours (route includes an inevitable ferry crossing)
- From Portland, ME: 175 miles away, 3 hours
- From Manhattan, NY: 180 miles away, 4 hours
- From Nassau County, NY: 185 miles away, 4 hours
If you’re doing an East Coast road trip, definitely consider adding a few of these into your longer itinerary! The East Coast in general (especially the New England states) are so underrated!
Taking the Ferry to Newport
Since Newport’s on an island (Aquidneck Island!), you can also take a seasonal ferry from a few spots, namely Providence, Block Island, and Martha’s Vineyard. Taking the ferry is way more fun than driving, but it’s a lot more expensive and may not save you much time if you don’t plan it out right.
If you’re coming from Long Island like we were, it may actually make sense to take a ferry! Plus, you can skip some of that nasty NYC traffic. There aren’t any ferries that dock in Newport itself from Long Island, but you can get kinda close!
Instead of driving the island, up and around NYC, and back east to Newport, you cross the Long Island Sound. Taking the ferry drastically cuts down on driving time, but it’s pretty pricey, about $85-95 each way for 2 people plus the car.
Check the ferry schedule here and reserve your tickets in advance. Ferries do sell out, especially in the prime summer months. There’s about 35-50 spots for cars.
Note that depending where you’re coming from, there’s two different ferry options.
- Orient Point (Suffolk County) to New London, then about an hour drive to Newport
- Port Jefferson (Nassau County) to Bridgeport, then about 2 hours to Newport
Regardless of the ferry which makes most sense for you, you’ll need to arrive at the ferry port a half hour ahead of time.
For reference, we took the ferry one way from Orient Point to New London, and decided to drive back home at the end of our trip. To make sure we got to Newport early on our first morning, we spent the night in Greenport beforehand.
Train and Bus to Newport
Unfortunately, there’s no major train that serves Newport itself, but you’ll find Amtrak trains headed to nearby Providence. There’s also a seasonal train called the Newport & Narragansett Bay Railroad, which operates from Portsmouth to Newport during the busy summer months. And it’s pretty scenic, so no complaints there!
If you’re already in Rhode Island, check out the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) for buses that connect Newport with other parts of the state.
How to Get Around Newport
During our weekend in Newport, we found it relatively easy to get around!
On foot: Since Newport is such a compact little city, we walked a ton! Our hotel was walking distance from Bowen’s and Bannisters Wharfs, lots of restaurants and shops, and even where our trolley tour picked us up. Definitely wear some comfy shoes – we got almost 20k steps a day!
Trolley Tours: We took a trolley tour our first afternoon and it was a great way to get to know the area right away! These tours drive you around to the main attractions in the city, all while explaining some history and info on landmarks. Highly recommended!
Free bus: Yes, there’s a FREE (seasonal) bus in Newport, Rhode Island! Woooo! Look for the classic RIPTA green and gold hybrid trolley buses around town.
You’ll want to hop on Route 67, which takes you to some of Newport’s most popular destinations, like the Newport Mansions, Cliff Walk, Audrain Automobile Museum, International Tennis Hall of Fame, and more.
By Car: If you wanna explore a bit further than the main downtown area near the wharfs, you’ll need a vehicle. We drove around Newport a bit on our last day – to get to the Cliff Walk, drive a portion of Ocean Drive, and do some quick last minute shopping at the wharf before heading back home.
Thankfully there’s paid lots around town (and even a few free ones), but these spots get taken rather fast, so plan to park on the earlier side. Wanna head to the beaches in Middletown and/or stop at some wineries? A car will be helpful!
When to Spend a Weekend in Newport, RI
Summer – Peak High Season: June to August
Newport is a warm-weather destination for sure. Everyone flocks to this cute nautical town once the weather warms up – summer in Newport is totally poppin! Why? The weather is just perfect for enjoying the beaches, going sailing, and walking the Cliff Walk (although it can be a tad too hot in the afternoon).
Just know you won’t be the only ones there – expect lots of crowds, and higher accommodation prices. If there’s any special restaurants you wanna go to (HIGHLY recommend The Mooring), make a reservation in advance.
If you’re not interested in the Newport Jazz Festival and the Newport Folk Festival (both in summer), plan your weekend in Newport around these festivals. It’ll be exceptionally crowded these times!
For reference, we visited Newport in early June mid-week. It wasn’t as crowded as I expected it to be, but I can only imagine just how busy it is on the weekends in July. I’d definitely visit midweek if you can during the prime summer season!
We had beautiful cool mornings and mild afternoons, with just a tad of rain. Locals told us summer weather hadn’t yet arrived, and it felt like winter was lasting forever, haha.
Shoulder Seasons – Spring (April – May) & Fall (September – October)
Spring and Fall bring mild weather, ranging from the 50s to 70s F. You can expect smaller crowds, and still enjoy all that Newport has to offer – visit the mansions, explore the wharf areas, and even go on a sunset sail.
Plus, the flowers are blooming in spring (with some great festivals), and there’s even some fall foliage (and harvest festivals) come September/October.
Winter – Off Season: November through March
Winter is most definitely the off-season in Newport. The weather is much colder (30s and 40s F, sometimes even 20s), and there’s way fewer tourists. Plus lots of SNOW and festive holiday decorations!
But this just means discounted hotels, quieter attractions, and time to cozy up in quaint cafes. Prepare for below freezing temps at night though – you’ll definitely need your full winter attire. It sure gets quite frosty!
Do note that some mansions and attractions may have limited hours during the off-season.
Note: You may wanna skip Tuesdays/Wednesdays year round, as some shops and restaurants are closed, especially in the off season. But as many people spend long weekends in Newport, this just means it’ll be less crowded these days. Your pick!
Brief History of Newport
All this glitz and glam must’ve come from somewhere of course! Newport traces its roots back to the colonial era when it was founded in 1639. Quickly, the city flourished as a bustling trading and seaport, attracting merchants and shipbuilders.
Due to its strategic location along the Atlantic coast, it was a vital hub for the triangular trade, where goods were exchanged between Europe, Africa, and the American colonies. This trade brought tons of wealth to Newport, seen in the opulent mansions that were built during the Gilded Age (late 19th and early 20th centuries).
The city’s historic architecture reflects the prosperity of this era, with magnificent mansions like The Breakers and Marble House standing as testaments to the wealth and lavish lifestyles of the industrialists and elites who once called Newport home.
Where to Stay in Newport
Face it, if you’ve only got a weekend in Newport (or at most 3 days), you wanna make sure you stay in a convenient location! If it’s your first time to the area, I’d choose a hotel within walking distance to the wharf, or at least in Newport proper itself.
- Serenity Inn: A bed and breakfast on the National Register of Historic Places (built in 1885). This is where my sister and I stayed, and it was such a cute spot in such a perfect location. It felt more like staying in a friend’s home instead of a hotel, and we devoured the included breakfasts each and every morning. Only a few blocks from the wharf, and super homey and cozy. Request room 9 – lots of character (with the cutest wallpaper) and bright and airy.
- The Brenton Hotel: Chic and classy with tons of natural light, this spot right on the water is pretty pricey, but worth the splurge for a special occasion. We visited one afternoon for the rooftop views, and they definitely didn’t disappoint. Plus, the hotel’s down the block from one of the best lobster spots in the entire city!
- Castle Hill Inn: A GORGEOUS upscale inn right on Ocean Drive (an absolute must), but a bit removed from the downtown area. I’d only stay here if you’re renting a car, and got some cash to blow (it’s expensive). A great pick if you want a more relaxed, romantic trip – think Atlantic Ocean views, breezy rooms in a landmark Victorian mansion, and a fabulous great lawn with amazing cocktails at sunset.
Looking to save some cash (more money to spend on lobster rolls, am I right?!). Middletown is another town on Aquidneck Island, north of Newport and south of Portsmouth. Hence the name, Middletown! Staying here will be less expensive, quieter, and introduce you to a bunch of restaurants/activities (like Purgatory Chasm!) you probably wouldn’t have visited otherwise.
Middletown is actually quite large, so if you’re planning to stay here, I recommend choosing a hotel near Easton’s Beach (like Wyndham Newport Hotel with its cozy fire pits, friendly staff, and free shuttle – an absolute must!).
Is a Weekend in Newport really enough?
I think so! We spent 2 nights and about 2.5 days in Newport, and felt we got to see the town’s highlights.
Personally, I felt pretty satisfied with our ~3 days in Newport. It was the perfect amount of time to see the main attractions of the city, eat a bunch of lobster rolls and seafood pasta, go on an afternoon sail, admire the gilded mansions on Ocean Drive, learn some history on a trolley tour, watch sunset at Bannister’s Wharf, and even spend a few hours wandering and shopping down on Thames Street.
We hardly felt rushed – Newport is a great spot for a quick weekend getaway.
If you wanna take a day trip or two (to maybe Middletown, the beaches, wineries, and/or even Providence), plan 4 or 5 full days. Since it’s not a massive city, spending any longer is probably overkill if you’re not breaking up your trip.
Other FAQs About Newport
- Does Newport have a beach? Yes, and quite a few actually! With over 400 miles of beautiful coastline in the Newport area, there’s several public beaches nearby. The largest of these is Easton’s Beach – locally known as First Beach. There’s also Sachuest Beach (Second Beach), Third Beach (in Middletown), and Rejects Beach (smaller and lesser-known), plus a few private beach clubs you need to be a member of.
- What are some must-try foods in Newport? Any weekend in Newport needs to include a lobster roll (a classic New England favorite), clam chowder (oh so creamy!), Rhode Island-style calamari (crispy calamari rings in a tangy sauce), and of course my favorite – Del’s Frozen Lemonade (kinda like a lemon slushie).
- Should I plan a bachelorette party in Newport? Totally! It’s the perfect spot for a “nauti”cal themed bach party, haha. Think a day at the wineries, indulging in lobster rolls, morning walks on the Cliff Walk, a mimosa boat ride (“last sail before the veil” anyone?!), and even a sports car mansion tour. Can’t miss cocktails at Castle Hill Inn at sunset, too!
Finally, what you came here for – the perfect long weekend in Newport itinerary! Let’s get to it!
The Best Weekend in Newport, RI Itinerary
Psst: This Newport itinerary assumes you have 2 or 3 full days in the city. Meaning you got here the night before and can start your first full day in the morning. You can probably squeeze everything in on Day 1 if you arrive in the AM (like we did), but depending on your travel style, you may feel kinda rushed.
Unlike most of my itineraries, this weekend in Newport itinerary isn’t super-crazy jam packed. One of the best parts about a trip to Newport is just taking in the nautical atmosphere. Like enjoying the yacht-ridden coastline at a cozy cafe or strolling the wharf with some frozen lemonade in hand. No need to rush around these parts; take it slow and just enjoy!
Weekend in Newport Day 1
We arrived in Newport mid-morning , after taking the ferry from Eastern Long Island. And with only a weekend in Newport, we quickly dropped off our bags and promptly started exploring!
Stop 1: Explore and wander Bowen’s Wharf and Bannister’s Wharf
If you like a mix of shopping, dining, and scenic views, you’ve gotta come to the wharf! And there’s actually two, within walking distance to each other. We found ourselves at both wharfs multiple times during our weekend in Newport, and I think you will, too! They’re both so charming, with cobblestone streets and honestly tons to do.
Plus loads of food – from casual seafood shacks to upscale waterfront restaurants.
Here’s a few highlights not to miss:
Check out the shops: There’s loads of cute shops around here, with everything from clothing, jewelry, home decor, and of course nautical-themed souvenirs. We bought souvenir sweatshirts from Newport Breeze, loved SeaBags, and of course browsed everything within the Kiel James Patrick Flagship Store.
Sip some Del’s Frozen Lemonade: Any Newport itinerary NEEDS to include some Del’s Frozen Lemonade, you’ll quickly see why. It’s practically synonymous with summertime in Newport! I mean, they’ve been serving their signature frozen lemonade since the 40s, so you know it’s good!
The lemonade tastes so sweet and refreshing (especially on a hot summer day), without that gross artificial sugary taste. An iconic local treat in Newport – don’t miss it! There’s a few stands and trucks throughout Newport, but you’ll find one of their main locations right at the wharf.
Stop 2: Indulge in a lobster roll (or two)
Time to enjoy a quintessential New England seafood treat – the beloved lobster roll! Thankfully, there’s a few spots to indulge at the wharf and nearby.
- The Lobster Bar: Located right at the edge of Bowen’s Wharf, this spot has both the classic New England lobster roll (made up of cold lobster salad in a bun) or Connecticut-style (stuffed with warm lobster tossed with a little melted butter). Great views of Newport Harbor in an airy space!
- Luke’s Lobster Newport: We wanted something quick and casual (with picnic-style seating), so chose to grab some rolls at Luke’s Lobster (and how funny that they actually have a location in San Francisco, haha). The rolls are also a tad cheaper than others, probably since it’s oh so casual.
- The Mooring Seafood Kitchen & Bar: Huge lobster rolls (literally STUFFED to the brim) in such a chic and fun space – this place is such a vibe! Make sure to request an outdoor table for fantastic views of the harbor and sea. Psst – the seafood pasta, bag o donuts (lobster fritters), and scallop chowder are all amazing too. Gets busy so make a reservation (we ate here later on in the trip for dinner – highly recommended).
- Newport Lobster Shack: By far the BEST spot in Newport for lobster rolls, as the lobster shack works with the fishermen that very morning. It’s essentially a food truck on the water serving up Maine style lobster rolls – cold with mayo and celery. If that’s your jam (I much prefer the warm and buttery CT-style), you can’t go wrong! Grab some sides too, like corn and chowder!
If you don’t get to all of this before your trolley tour don’t fret — we found ourselves back at the wharf a handful of times during our weekend in Newport
Stop 3: Take a Historic Trolley Tour
One of my favorite things to do when first arriving in a new-to-me destination is to take a walking tour. And while Newport doesn’t offer many of those, they’ve got something even better – a trolley tour. Especially helpful when it’s a little too toasty to be wandering around for hours in the heat.
On the trolley tour, we learned all about Newport’s landmarks and history, plus tons of interesting historical facts and fun stories. Plus a few dad jokes, because who doesn’t love those?
This is the exact trolley tour we took and we loved it – not only did it include all the city highlights (and then some), but it made a stop at The Breakers! This made it exceptionally easy for us since we didn’t wanna have to move the car from the hotel parking lot until we absolutely needed to, haha.
A few highlights included the historic mansions along Bellevue Avenue, Fort Adams State Park, Ocean Drive, Newport Harbor, International Tennis Hall of Fame, Brenton Point State Park, the Marble House, and The Rosecliff Mansion (where The Great Gatsby was filmed!).
I’m so glad we signed up for it – we passed by so many of Newport’s most popular points of interest, and didn’t need to navigate or find parking once! A must if you’re not a fan of driving and/or wanna learn about the city’s history and unique tidbits!
Stop 4: Tour a Gilded Mansion or Two
No weekend in Newport is complete without touring a historic Gilded Age mansion! These stunning mansions, more like European castles and palaces (!!!), were once home to famous families like the Vanderbilts, Kennedys, and the Astors.
Why were they built? So they could all display their wealth and high social status to each other, haha. Yes, these were all private homes – kinda insane.
Opulent. Extravagant. And over the top. All built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. And once you see these “summer cottages”, you won’t believe that they were only used for a few months as wealthy summer retreats – how wild is that?!
Rich families would leave their primary residences in nearby cities (like New York, Boston, and Philly) during the hot summer months and head to their grand Newport estates. Talk about extra cash!
The city’s historic district (where all of these mansions are located), are now a designated National Historic Landmark. Thankfully, many of these historic Gilded Age mansions are open to the public – so we can all see what it’s like to live like the rich and the famous during America’s Gilded Age. Many are over 25,000 square feet, and some with over 70 rooms.
We decided to check out The Breakers, an iconic U.S. National Historic Landmark built in 1895 for the Vanderbilt family. Only one of the wealthiest and most influential families during the Gilded Age…
And OMG were we blown away. Not only is The Breakers the largest (and most famous) summer cottage in the area, but it’s actually Rhode Island’s most visited tourist attraction. So don’t expect to have the mansion all to yourself!
In the 125,000 square foot mansion (yes, told you it’s beyond huge), you’ll find lavish interiors, over 70 rooms, intricate details, opulent furnishings and carvings, and exquisite artwork. Including a grand staircase made entirely of white Italian marble (the dream!), elaborate ceiling frescoes, and stunning mosaic tiles throughout. Plus stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean from plenty of the rooms.
All designed and inspired by 16th century Italian Renaissance palaces – with a mix of Classical and Beaux-Arts architectural styles.
The Breakers was used and belonged in the Vanderbilt family until 1948, where it was then sold to The Preservation Society of Newport County. Which is why we the public are able to access it!
If you’ve got more time and/or are particularly interested in opulent mansions/ornate architecture, there’s quite a few other Gilded Age mansions to check out:
- Marble House: Another Vanderbilt family home, the Marble House was constructed for William K. Vanderbilt and his wife, Alva Vanderbilt. The mansion was inspired by the Petit Trianon in Versailles (yes, in France), and is well known for its opulent use of marble.
- Rosecliff: This mansion was commissioned by silver heiress Theresa Fair Oelrichs and designed by Stanford White of the architectural firm McKim, Mead & White. Rosecliff is known for its elegant ballroom and stunning gardens – one of the main reasons it was included in many movies, including “The Great Gatsby.”
- The Elms: The Elms was built for Edward Julius Berwind, a coal magnate, and his wife, Herminie. It’s an excellent example of Italian Renaissance architecture and beautiful terraced gardens.
- Château-sur-Mer: Constructed in the mid-19th century, Château-sur-Mer is one of the earliest and most elaborate of Newport’s Gilded Age mansions. It showcases a mix of Gothic, Italianate, and Second Empire architectural styles.
Stop 5: Seafood Dinner
First night of your long weekend in Newport? You gotta get some seafood – Newport’s absolutely famous for that! It’s a coastal destination afterall (with a rich maritime heritage!), so it’s practically renowned for its seafood! Think succulent lobster dishes, creamy clam chowder, fresh oysters, and tons of white fish. Yumm….
While there’s tons of restaurants to choose from, here’s a few popular spots:
- The Red Parrot Restaurant: A huge menu with surf n turf, oysters, lobster rolls (can never have too many!), and even (lobster!) pizza and pasta. Plus lobster bisque and lobster nachos, because why not?! I’ve never eaten here, but my sister raved about her entire meal. It’s super casual (no need to get all dolled up if you don’t want to), great for families, and all housed in a historic 1898 building.
- Brick Alley Pub: Right on Thames Street, this famous spot in Newport has lobster bisque, lobster rolls, clam chowder, fantastic fish n chips, and even a great all you can eat soup and salad bar (that’s actually fresh). Plus over 250 vintage wines if you’re feeling fancy! Save some room for the brownie – I heard it’s legendary!
- Midtown Oyster Bar: Where we ate our first night! Such a great seafood-focused menu, with surf ‘n’ turf, a large raw bar, scallop crudo, lobster rolls, char grilled octopus, cod chowder, and a perfectly-balanced charcuterie board. We shared a delicious meal and left pleasantly full and happy!
Newport Itinerary Day 2
Stop 1: Grab iced lattes and pastries at Springline Coffee
Before heading out for the day, stop by Bannister’s Wharf (again!) for some caffeine at Springline Coffee. Kinda a hidden gem at the end of the wharf with the cutest outdoor seating with direct views of the boats and water. We spent an hour or two hanging out here one morning, sipping our cinnamon lattes and enjoying the scenic views.
They’ve also got muffins, donuts, cookies, and croissants. Plus some fruit cups and yogurt/granola if you’re feeling kinda healthy.
Stop 2: Shopping on Thames Street
Next up on this Newport itinerary – some time on Thames Street, one of the most well-known and vibrant streets in the city!
It runs parallel to the waterfront, with vintage clothing stores, a bunch of souvenir shops, and plenty of eclectic boutiques. I loved the Anchored In Pink Lilly Pulitzer Signature Store (so many fun patterns and prints, despite the high price tags), Ben’s Furniture Store (for tons of nautical themed housewares), and Matriarch (for books, gifts, and colorful prints).
We made the mistake of coming to Thames Street a tad too early, and some of the shops weren’t even open yet. I’d plan to venture over to Thames in the late morning as most shops don’t open until 10 or 11am. It’s not a crazy long street (takes about 30-35 minutes to walk the entire thing), but plan at least an hour or two here so you’ve got time for some shopping!
Also, if you’re opting for a later sightseeing cruise, grab some lunch on Thames as well! There’s tons of options, with Wally’s Weiners (casual food and fun vibes), Scales and Shells (more upscale with fresh seafood), and Midtown Oyster Bar (featuring surf n turf and a large raw bar) being some of the more popular spots!
Stop 3: Newport Harbor Sightseeing Cruise
You can’t spend a weekend in Newport without getting out on the water! The city’s got a huge sailing community and nautical feel, so it’d be a shame to miss out. Thankfully, there’s a bunch of sightseeing cruises to choose from.
Depending on the time of day you’d like to set sail, you can choose from a morning mimosa sail, afternoon sail (what we did!), or even a romantic sunset sail!
On our afternoon sail, we saw the city’s historic waterfront, some stunning mansions, and tons of natural beauty all while cruising along Narragansett Bay. Plus Fort Adams, the Newport Bridge, Castle Hill Lighthouse, and the famous Clingstone house. And learned all about Newport’s rich maritime history.
We chose to book a sightseeing cruise with Gansett Cruises, and have to say, the entire operation is so well-run and such a great experience. The crew was fantastic (and funny), we sipped on Del’s frozen lemonade (a staple on any Newport itinerary), and we saw some insanely huge billion-dollar yachts.
Plus, the narrated tour takes place on an open-air, fully restored lobster boat – how fun is that?! Other companies use classic schooners, catamarans, and/or yachts, but we thought hanging out on a lobster boat sounded the most authentic, considering where we were and all.
Note that many sightseeing cruises in Newport have seasonal availability. They’re typically available from late spring through the fall when the weather is milder and the seas are calmer. Visiting in the prime summer months (mid-June to early-September)? I definitely recommend booking your Newport Harbor Sightseeing Cruise in advance! Don’t miss out due to poor planning!
Stop 4: Rooftop Drinks at The Brenton Hotel
After our sightseeing cruise, we popped by The Brenton Hotel to check out their rooftop.
We admittedly came just for the view (since they were still setting up their bar when we arrived), but it looks like a perfect spot for a pre-dinner drink.
Stop 5: Dinner at The Mooring Seafood Kitchen & Bar
If there’s one spot you NEED to go for dinner, it’s The Mooring. Fresh seafood with a hint of creativity and the best views.
Upscale. Airy. And downright delicious. Do not skip this restaurant during your weekend in Newport. It was by far the best meal we had. I’m practically BEGGING you to go. Our entire experience was THAT GOOD. Promise you won’t regret it.
We feasted on their popular seafood pasta (complete with fresh calamari, shrimp, and scallops), chimichurri chicken with mashed potatoes and veggies (sounds simple but trust me it’s divine), and sipped on a bunch of fruity mocktails.
I also heard great things about the scallop chowder, calamari with fried jalapeños, and their signature “bag of donut” lobster and shrimp fritters – which we kinda wanted to get but knew we’d be wayyyy too full.
A few insider tips for dining at The Mooring:
- Ask to be seated outside. That’s where the real vibes are. And go a bit before sunset so you can stare out at the yachts and get great views of the water.
- Make a reservation. In advance. This place gets jam packed for a reason. You don’t wanna miss it.
- There’s a large parking lot directly in front of the Mooring, so don’t fret if your hotel isn’t within walking distance. Just know that the restaurant cannot offer any kind of validation as the lot is privately owned.
Stop 6: Watch Sunset
End your second day of your Newport itinerary by watching the sunset! Since we finished dinner at tad later than originally planned, we hopped right over to Bowen’s Wharf and watched the sunset from there.
You can also take a short drive over to Ocean Drive if you’re looking for something a bit more romantic – my sister did that with her husband and her photos looked amazing!
Of course we grabbed some ice cream (complete with a fresh waffle, strawberries, and nutella) from Newport Sticks and Stones afterwards!
Weekend in Newport Itinerary Day 3
Stop 1: Meander on The Cliff Walk / 40 Steps
Imagine wandering along the coast, with breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and rugged cliffs on one side, and beautifully manicured gardens and historic mansions on the other. It’s picturesque and super chill, and by far one of the most popular things to do on any Newport itinerary. There’s a reason it’s been designated as a National Recreation Trail!
The Cliff Walk is pretty iconic to the area, so don’t miss it during your weekend in Newport! I totally wish we had more time, as the views are outstanding and I always love an early-morning coastal walk! There’s a reason I live in California after all!
Here’s a bunch of logistical information:
Location and Length of The Cliff Walk
The Cliff Walk runs along the eastern shore of Newport, directly along the shoreline in some parts and along the backyards of some (gorgeous!) Gilded Age mansions (The Breakers, Marble House, Rosecliff) in others.
Since the trail is about 3.5 miles (each way!), don’t feel like you need to walk/hike the entire thing, especially if it’s hot out. From 40 Steps (a popular spot on The Cliff Walk), we walked about 15 minutes in one direction, turned around, and continued on for about 30 more minutes before heading back to the car. Sooo many pretty views.
The Cliff Walk is a combo of paved walkways, rough paths, and even some rocky terrain! Parts of the trail are super easy to navigate, but others are more challenging, so make sure you wear comfy shoes! It all kinda depends which sections you plan to walk – the path we ended up walking near 40 steps was completely paved!
ALSO! The season you visit will have a big impact – you can walk The Cliff Walk in winter, but it’ll probably be more challenging in poor weather (the rocks get especially slippery when wet)!
Parking at The Cliff Walk
Parking can be notoriously difficult at The Cliff Walk, although it really varies depending on the time of year and what time you arrive.
Thankfully, if you get there early, paid parking is pretty easy. We parked right near 40 Steps and had no problems at all (I think we parked around 9:30ish or so at the start of summer – early June). I’d expect it to be way busier late June – September.
A few things to note:
- There’s a small parking area near the western end of the trail, accessible from Memorial Boulevard. But expect this to fill up fast during peak summer season.
- Street parking is available on some nearby roads, although it can be limited. ALWAYS read parking signs carefully – you don’t wanna get a ticket!
- Don’t wanna worry about parking at all? Take the free seasonal green and gold hybrid trolley buses straight to the Cliff Walk (you’ll wanna hop on Route 67).
Stop 2: Cruise down Ocean Drive
Once you get your early morning hike in, it’s time for a drive through the Ocean Drive Historic District.
Expect to see Newport’s Gilded Age Mansions lining the Atlantic Ocean, Hammersmith Farm (where Jackie Kennedy grew up!!!), Castle Hill Inn, tons of breathtaking coastal scenery, Brenton Point State Park, Fort Adams State Park, and even Gooseberry Beach, a favorite summertime spot.
Ocean Drive is technically a loop (running along the southern tip of Aquidneck Island) along the coastline for about 10 miles.
As the name suggests, Ocean Drive is a road, so don’t expect to make many stops. Plan to drive on the slower end so you can really take in the scenery and all the stunning vistas of the ocean and shoreline.
If you wanna walk a bit, park near Brenton Point State Park – there’s a huge lot here with open green spaces and pristine views of the ocean right next door!
Fun fact – some of these mansions are owned by famous celebrities, like Jay Leno and his wife Mavis. I did a quick Zillow search and there’s some on the market for upwards of 15 million. Imagine waking up to those sweeping ocean views every morning – yes please!
We actually drove this road twice since we loved it so much – once on our historic trolley tour, and once ourselves independently in our own car!
Stop 3: Grab a drink at Castle Hill Inn
Along Ocean Drive, you’ll find Castle Hill Inn tucked into a semi-hidden mini-peninsula on Ocean Avenue. Make the short stop!
Not only is Castle Hill Inn a prestigious and historic luxury hotel, but the grounds are open for visitors! So yes, you can totally check this place out without the high price tag of staying overnight!
As soon as you walk over, you’ll see the expansive green space overlooking the water – this is The Lawn at Castle Hill Inn, and it’s well worth a bit of your time.
While we just enjoyed relaxing on the adirondack chairs for a bit (and taking in the stunning views of Narragansett Bay), if you come a bit later in the day, you can grab a drink or two. Just know they’ll be on the pricier side (ok, super pricey), but how often are you spending a weekend in Newport?!
I heard the espresso martinis are exceptionally delicious – the perfect spot to spend an afternoon sipping cocktails. Do note they also serve some food, although the menu is pretty limited, so I’d plan to come for drinks only.
Stop 4: Choice Time! Newport Food Tour, Winery, or Beach Time
Depending on your energy levels (and the weather!), there’s lots more to do!
Option 1: Newport Food Tour
Any foodies out there?! Sign up for a Newport Food Tour! We love taking food tours when we travel (we’ve done them in Rome, San Francisco, Porto, and Mexico), and always have the best time (besides stuffing our faces with the most delicious food).
On a Newport Foodie Stroll, you can expect to indulge in Italian food, ice cream, pizza, chowder, fish tacos, and more. Did someone say homemade Italian appetizers, mahi mahi tacos, gelato/sorbet, and some locals only spots (off the main tourist drags)? Plus, there’s also two alcoholic drinks included throughout the tour!
Not only will you discover (and eat!) some of the best food the area has to offer, but you’ll learn about over 300 years of Newport history. A combined Newport food and history walking tour if you will!
Unfortunately we didn’t have time for a Newport Food Tour during our 3 days in Newport, but my sister did on an earlier trip and highly recommends it. Wear comfy shoes – she told me it’s a lot of walking (almost 2 miles in about 3 hours!)
Note that the Newport Food Tour is seasonal, and runs from early May to mid-October, every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Worth planning your itinerary around.
Option 2: Sip Some Wine and Go on a Winery Tour
If you can’t make the trek out to Sonoma or Napa Valley anytime soon, head on over to the Newport Vineyards! There’s award-winning wine (my sister said it was outstanding), fresh craft beer, and even farm to table dining experiences on over 100-acres of preserved farmland! Plus, the winery is family owned and operated for nearly 25 years which I love!
They’ve even got an onsite brewery – Taproot Brewing Company (which is perfect if you’ve got any beer lovers in your party). And there’s a whole slew of wines, ranging from traditional varietals to refined blends (plus a whole bunch of rosés – super refreshing on a hot Newport day!).
Get a tasting – you get to pick out 4 wines and 4 beers! The vineyard also offers winery tours, where you’ll learn about the Newport Vineyards history, winemaking, and even get a sneak peak into their onsite brewery. Psst – ALL bookings are released one month in advance.
Option 3: Easton’s Beach
Beach time, anyone?! Easton’s Beach (also known as First Beach) is one of the most popular public beaches in Newport. Why’s it so well-loved? It’s super accessible from the downtown area (and even Middletown), meaning you don’t need to drive very far.
The water is relatively calm, there’s a long stretch of sandy shoreline, and there’s lots of amenities, including bathrooms, outdoor showers, changing rooms, and even picnic areas.
Do note Easton’s Beach gets exceptionally crowded in the heat of summer, so decide for yourself if that’s your vibe or not.
So there ya have it – the best way to spend a long weekend in Newport, Rhode Island! Are you hoping to visit soon?!