This post has been in my drafts FOREVER. It’s probably one of the questions I get asked most from people coming to Newport, what do I pack?! Well, first of all, it definitely depends on the season, but we’re here to talk about summer, because it’s finally almost here. Summer is crazy in Newport. It’s tourist season, and we are a tourist town, so our population triples, even quadruples in summer.
Generally we are a laid back town. While there are mansions, private clubs and multi-million dollar homes dotting the coastline, it’s actually a pretty casual place. The easiest way to spot a tourist, is by what they’re wearing, like stiletto heels teetering down a cobblestone street. You really don’t need anything fancy when you’re here (maybe one nice dress if you’re going somewhere more upscale for dinner). From wardrobe to make-up (less is more) it’s really about comfort and practicality (and yes you can have that and still look stylish). The one thing about Aquidneck Island in the summer (Aquidneck Island consists of Newport, Middletown and Portsmouth) is that the weather can always be slightly unpredictable (it is New England after all) and no matter what time of year it is, if you’re on the water, it’s going to be cooler (the temp difference between Providence and Newport on a summer day is easily 10-15 degrees).
So whether you’re coming here for a family vacation, weekend getaway, Bachelorette party or a wedding, here’s what to pack for your trip to Newport and Aquidneck Island. And definitely check out my summer capsule wardrobe because most of these pieces are in there!
First and foremost, be prepared for cooler nights, especially if you’re on the water. In the hottest days of summer (August) it’s not as chilly but it’s always good to have something warm, particularly if you’re going to be on a boat.
I love this cashmere sweater from Everlane because it’s lightweight, classic and goes with everything. If you’re going out on the water and it’s going to be windy you definitely need a windbreaker/waterproof coat or even a super light puffy jacket. I basically live in this Patagonia Nano Puff and this fleece jacket is perfect for late nights at the beach.
You REALLY don’t need high heels or fancy shoes. If you’re going to a wedding or a fancy dinner bring one pair but make it a wedge or block heel so you’re not breaking your ankle on cobblestone or getting your shoe stuck in the grass.
Between biking, walking everywhere and the beach all you need is running sneakers, a pair of regular walking sneakers, and flat sandals (I also love my Birks for walking around town). If you’re going to a rocky beach or swimming off rocks Tevas are making a comeback and they will truly save your feet from barnacles and sharp rocks (I couldn’t find any sustainable or eco-friendly Teva alternatives so please share in the comments if you know of any).
Especially on the water, the sun reflecting off the ocean is intense and bright. Polarized sunglasses make a huge difference. I bought this pair from Smith last winter when I was in Florida and they are seriously the best. So lightweight, so comfortable and really reasonable for polarized sunglasses.
JEANS & DENIM SHORTS
Are you sensing a theme? I basically live in jeans, shorts and tees all summer. This is a great organic cotton style from & Other Stories, and Mate the Label is another favorite sustainable made t-shirt brand. I love my striped breton from Saint James.
I actually typically just wear a linen button down with denim shorts to the beach but 9Seed is an eco-conscious brand that has lots of great cover-ups like this gauzy top or this maxi that you can throw on over your bathing suit and wear to lunch.
A BEACH BAG
I really love the versatility of this straw tote because it’s great for the beach and/or walking around town. Sea Bags is another great option for a super sturdy, sustainably made beach/boat tote as well as L.L. Bean’s made in Maine canvas tote.
SIMPLE MAKE-UP & SPF
I’m a minimalist when it comes to make-up as it is but especially when it’s hot and humid in the summer and you’re always doing activities, simple is best. These are all non-toxic clean beauty products (if shopping at Follain click this link first for 15% off applied at checkout): Ilia tinted moisturizer with SPF 20, mascara, highlighter, bronzing tint and eyebrow pencil. I love this bronzing oil from Oilo e Osso in the summer it gives the most gorgeous glow. Of course sunscreen is super important, this is a great tinted mineral SPF30 and a good spray on. And don’t forget your lips, this is a great lip balm with SPF.
Pretty much never leave the house with my straw Brixton hat in the summer.