Newport, RI with Kids: Top 10 Things To Do with the Family

Newport, RI with Kids: Top 10 Things To Do with the Family

The Best of Newport, RI with Kids | Top 10 Things to Do

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Newport, Rhode Island is one of those New England cities that if you have visited, you’ll find a way to visit again. Located on Aquidneck Island in Narragansett Bay, this seaside resort is popular for so many reasons. Apart from its views of the bay and Atlantic Ocean, it has a charming and historical downtown, filled with cobblestone streets, colonial buildings, a picturesque harbor, shops, restaurants and bars.

Newport is also home to the Newport Jazz and Folk festivals, and for years it hosted America’s Cup. And then of course there are the famous Gilded Age Newport mansions on Bellevue Avenue, the Cliff Walk and the beaches, and more. Newport breathes history and allure, and transports you back to an era long ago, all the while feeling modern and happening at the same time. It’s this combination that makes you want to go back and visit again and again. There simply is no other place like Newport. It’s a fantastic place to visit with the kids on a family trip. Below is our guide to Newport, RI with kids.

Newport, RI with kids, the harbor

Newport, RI with Kids – Top 10 Things to See and Do with the Family

#1: Thames Street and the Harbor

Walk around Newport’s cobblestoned historic district and admire the beautiful colonial architecture as well as dip into as many shops your kids will allow – it is quaintness at its best; then make your way over to the harbor to view all the sailboats and yachts. The kids will love all the action and watching the boats. Which leads me to number 2.

Strolling the streets in Newport, RI with kids

#2: Go for a Sail/Cruise

Newport is the sailing capital of the nation, what with its ideal sailing conditions in Narragansett Bay, and for years was home of America’s Cup. Go for a cruise or sail! There’s various charters, but one that comes highly recommended by a friend who recently took a sunset cruise with her kids there is called Gansett Cruises. Other popular ones include Amazing Grace Harbor Tours and Classic Cruises of Newport.

RumRunnerhome

Photo Credit: CruiseNewport.com

#3: Take a stroll along the Cliff Walk.

This 3.5 mile pathway takes you along the coastal bluffs as well as the backyards of the mansions, and is a must-see. Beautiful and dramatic views of the sea await as you curve around the path. Don’t expect to fully see the mansions, though – they’re mainly fenced or hedged off, and rightfully so. Though I have walked the entire path before, with my girls we just walked a part of it. Remember you have to walk back! Note it can be narrow in parts, as well as rocky and rugged, and not great for strollers.

newport-cliff-walk

#4: Newport Mansions with kids?

Obviously it depends on the child, but yes! The Breakers has an audio tour for children, so if I had to recommend one I would say to head there. Plus this Italian style Renaissance palazzo built for the Vanderbilt family in the late 1800’s is the grandest of them all, and not to be missed. If you have more time during your stay and your kids can withstand it, also head to the Marble House, Rosewood, The Elms, among others.

These Gilded Age mansions, or “summer cottages” as they were known back then, are 50-70 room estates with stables and manicured gardens, and represent the turn of the century Newport, with all its wealth and grandeur. They’re fascinating to walk through and are National Historic Landmarks. They’re located on famed Bellevue Avenue – even if you only see one or two of them, take a drive through the beautiful Bellevue district.

A visit to the mansions in Newport, RI

Photo credit: mapio.net

#5: Newport Beaches

Newport has several beaches, and while I don’t think they’re spectacular, they’re still nice – some prettier than others – and kids always love a beach. Easton Beach, or “First Beach” among the locals, is probably the most popular for families. Located on Memorial Boulevard near the start of Cliff Walk, Easton is a surf beach with boardwalk, 1950’s carousel and Save the Bay Exploration Center and Aquarium. Another one and my personal favorite is Second Beach, or Sachuest Beach, technically located in nearby Middletown, a serene spot away from it all and with pretty views. There is also Third Beach in Middletown, and last but not least there is Gooseberry Beach off of Ocean Drive. Set back in a cove, it’s ideal for families and in a beautiful location. We love Ocean Drive, up next.

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#6: Ocean Drive 

The name says it all. Take a scenic drive on this 10-mile stretch along the coast and through the neighborhood of Newport’s wealthy summer retreaters and go back in time. There are public parks and public entryways, making it accessible for anyone to enjoy the scenery and views. I love doing this drive – it’s especially nice at the end of the day when everyone’s exhausted and the kids want to conk out. Let them sleep while you enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

#7: Fort Adams State Park

This is where the Jazz and Folk festivals take place, but it’s also a fun place for kids to roam around. Located at the mouth of Newport Harbor, it has panoramic views of Narragansett Bay, including the Newport Bridge. Fort Adams is an old coastal fortification, active until the first half of the 20th century. They offer a 1 hour guided tour, which is super cool for kids – go to the tops of the walls and down into the underground tunnels – what’s not to love!



Booking.com

Copy of W3072 Ft.Adams Tunnel

Photo credit: fortadams.org

#8: International Tennis Hall of Fame

I’m an avid tennis player and my girls love it too, so I’m biased, but even if you don’t play the sport it’s pretty awesome to see where the first U.S. Open was played, as well as view memorabilia and artifacts in its museum. See old photographs, racquets, trophies, outfits, etc. that make up the history of tennis. Located on Bellevue Avenue.

#9: Ryan’s Newport Arcade 

Located on Thames Street, this is a fun choice for the kids if you’re looking for some diversion, or if the weather’s not cooperating. My girls are obsessed with arcades and every time we’re near one we have to go. This one is old school fun and has been around for years.

Newport-Dinning 262 (2)

Photo credit: newportharborsideinn.com

#10: Restaurants

Newport has fabulous dining, some excellent fine dining, and some more casual and pub-style places that are good to take the kids. Some places not to be missed include:

The Mooring Seafood Kitchen & Bar. This harborside restaurant has wonderful views. It’s upscale, but has a great kids menu.

The Black Pearl. Another waterside restaurant, with a tavern as well, it is a Newport institution.

Corner Café. People RAVE about this little gem of a restaurant, especially for their insanely delicious breakfasts. Be forewarned there is always a wait – a 30-45 minute wait is likely, but as everyone says, completely worth it.

Brick Alley Pub. Over 30 years old, this restaurant has been around forever and is a classic. Great menu for families, and with one of the best lobster rolls around.

No visit to Newport is complete without a trip to the Newport Creamery! This no frills diner has food all kids love. Make sure to get their Awful Awful, their version of a milkshake, and you will never have a better shake again.

You can read more about Rhode Island and Watch Hill and discover why this state is a popular summer deestinantion for so many east Coasters.

Lead Photo Credit: bardorf.com

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This article is available as an app through GPSMyCity if you want to read it offline wherever, and whenever. Click here to download the article, as well as for GPS coordinates of the locations listed.

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38 Comments

  1. Jenny Jaffe
    / 4:48 pm

    Love this list! Mooring is one of our all-time faves!

  2. / 6:07 pm

    We’re starting to think a trip to New York then onwards is achievable and you’ve sold Newport to us. The images are stunning and for a coastal town it has a huge amount going on and going for it. Will come back to your blog when we are ready to actually embark – may take a year or so but the time will hopefully come 🙂

    • / 4:07 pm

      I hope you all make it happen! I have much more on NYC coming soon. Yes, that’s exactly it about Newport – a lot going on for a coastal town. You would love it. Let me know if you have any q’s about any place down the line..

  3. / 12:39 pm

    lovely place!nice photos! #monday escape

  4. / 8:07 pm

    Great post! I don’t have kids, but I’ll be passing through Newport in a couple of weeks and would love to check some of these out.

    • / 11:20 pm

      Oh fun! You will love it. I’ve spent much time there without kids (went to high school in Newport) and it’s a really, really fun town. Not on my list is Clark Cookhouse which is one of Newport’s best restaurants. I didn’t put it on bc I think of it more as somewhere to go without the kids. But it’s fab. I don’t really know the bar scene anymore otherwise I’d give some recs for that as well. Make sure to do the Cliff Walk and mansions. Thanks for reading!

  5. / 8:59 pm

    You’ve got me wanting to go, kids or not 🙂 🙂

    • / 11:16 pm

      It’s a great city and I’ve spent many times there pre-kids:).

  6. Ruth
    / 3:32 am

    Newport seems to have everything I like in a city. It feels great to visit places located next to the water but with a historical district or core. This is the second article I read about Rhode Island today. Maybe it is not a coincidence!

    • / 3:21 am

      Sounds like it’s a sign! Yes, a coastal city with history is always alluring, that’s why I love it. Hope you make it some day;).

  7. / 1:25 pm

    I want to go! Newport is one of those places I’ve read so much about and it’s wonderful seeing your photos and must-dos in the city. There are so many things on your list I’d love to do with my boys – visiting the mansions, walking, the beach, the fort, the sailing, the harbour… Really, I need to visit soon.

    • / 5:08 pm

      It’s a pretty magical spot you all would love it. Can’t take credit for most of the photos – it’s been years since we took the girls and when we did it was for a high school reunion and I wasn’t clicking away. It was also pre-travel blogging. But gives you an idea. Hope you make it some day!!

  8. / 2:17 pm

    Enjoyed your top 10 list of things to do in Newport, particularly exploring the cobble-stoned historic district and the sailing. Thanks for sharing this lovely post at #CityTripping

  9. / 4:00 pm

    It looks so pretty and love all the suggestions of things to do (as ever right up our street) I’d want to do all of these!

    • / 5:10 pm

      Yes – seeng as we both just posted about seaside towns you would love it!

  10. hehe at first I didn’t see the RI and thought this was Newport in WALES – as in miles across the pond hehe. I’d love to bring my son to the States when he is a bit older. And posts like this inspire me to explore more than just Disney and all that :/ #citytripping

    • / 5:13 pm

      Haha – this happens a lot actually when I post something and people think it’s in your all neck of the woods. Too funny. Yes, much more to the U.S. thank just Disney!

  11. / 7:28 pm

    What gorgeous gorgeous images – the Gilded Age mansions have always fascinated me, the sheer opulence and luxury of all the rare and expensive furnishings, it must be astonishing to see them (and marvel at the cost). Newport looks lovely as well, those old streets and the coast as well. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

    • / 3:01 am

      I know me too re: the Gilded Age. I just don’t understand how they lived in houses that BIG. But beautiful nonetheless.

  12. / 1:52 am

    Wow! I’ve never been to RI, but it has been on my list, looks awesome! #citytripping

    • / 3:02 am

      It has so much to offer, hope you make it some day!

  13. afamilydayout
    / 7:29 am

    I initially thought Newport in Wales too (although the Pembrokeshire coastal village rather than the industrial city – there are two Newports just in Wales). Those mansions look incredible, would be lovely to have a peek to see how the other half live! #Mondayescapes

    • / 11:23 am

      I know – the mansions are def a glimpse into a life we don’t know ;). Funny about the Newport thing – I’m sure it will come up again with future posts – thanks for reading!

  14. / 8:13 am

    Now that is a beach! What a lovely sandy space for lounging and swimming. I really want to explore more of the east coast of the US. Thanks for showing us lovely Newport, Rhode Island

    • / 11:25 am

      Thanks Katy – the east coast has some great beaches, with quaint New England towns. We do love it here. Thanks for reading:).

  15. / 8:37 pm

    I’ve only been to Newport CA, but the Newport RI looks even prettier. I can only imagine how wonderful it must be to sit outside eating seafood or ice cream at one of the restaurants on a warm summer night:)

    • / 2:59 pm

      Thanks – Newport, CA pretty too, but the New England experience def a completely different thing;).

  16. Wander Mum
    / 8:11 am

    I really want to go to Newport now. The scenery looks beautiful. The mansions, restaurants and tennis museum definitely appeal to me! Great list. Thank you for linking up to #citytripping x

    • / 1:55 pm

      Thanks – you would love it. Everyone loves Newport!

  17. / 10:44 am

    Such fabulous things to do with kids. I just love the colourful buildings and the fact you can explore so much on and off the water! Thanks for linking up with #MondayEscapes

    • / 5:17 pm

      Thanks Ting – def a town to put on your New England list:).

  18. / 7:36 pm

    I am commenting from the Pacific NW (Vancouver, Island) and loved the tour you provided of Newport – it is stunning and is definitely on my list of places to visit (and sail). Your blog is perfect, as I want to connect with sailing families and find out more about what they love to do during sailing vacations. I am a retired Principal who had several families go away for a year of sailing with their children. It always intrigued me and so I’ve written a humorous picture book illustrated by Dave Alavoine, (Pacific Yachting Magazine’s cartoonist) about a family who vacations on the water. WHO’S the CAPTAIN? should be out by the end of Sept. Loved your blog and pics- exceptional!

    • / 11:01 pm

      Thanks so much Mary! We love Newport though I have to say we are not sailors. We’d like to be ;). The Pacific NW is beautiful – my brother lives in Seattle and we are due for a visit. I will check out your book, sounds fun!

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