What to Pack for a Summer Trip to Newport

Jess Ann Kirby shares what to pack during a summer weekend in Newport, Rhode Island.

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!

LAYERS

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.

COMFORTABLE SHOES

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).

POLARIZED SUNGLASSES

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.

Jess Ann Kirbys shares what to wear in Newport in the summer, including denim shorts and sneakers.

JEANS & DENIM SHORTS

A few pairs I love for summer, the Everlane summer jean in vintage light wash, Boyish cropped jeans, AGOLDE Dee Shorts.

Tees

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.

Beach Cover-Up

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.

Sun Hat

Pretty much never leave the house with my straw Brixton hat in the summer.

Jess Ann Kirby spends sunset on a boat in Newport, Rhode Island.

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8 Comments

  1. Rach wrote:

    This post reminds me when I was in Newport like over 10 years ago! Totally agree with everything you said. I was an overpacked and didn’t know what to expect but I came prepared haha.

    http://www.rdsobsessions.com

    5.30.19 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      Haha best to prepared when you are here you never know what you’re gonna get!

      6.2.19 | Reply
  2. Jessica Camerata wrote:

    Still gotta get my butt to New England, it’s been a bucket list trip for me. Any destination that requires casual comfortable clothing is where it’s at for me.

    xo Jessica
    My Style Vita

    5.30.19 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      Haha yes, veryyyy casual vibes here.

      6.2.19 | Reply
  3. Kathy wrote:

    Hi Jess! Newport sounds like such a charming place! I must visit. Thank you for a great post. I love seaside towns. OT but could you please tell me where you got that pretty scarf you are wearing in your hair in the picture of you on the boat wearing the white sweater? I love the look of a scarf tied ponytail. Thank you and have a great weekend.

    5.31.19 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      Hi Kathy. The scarf is from Anthropologie from last season. This is the same style but new prints for this year https://shopstyle.it/l/36TJ

      6.2.19 | Reply
  4. Cathy wrote:

    One of the things I love about Newport, is you don’t have to be uber dressy in the evenings like a Naples, FL. Yes it still has the same lovely ambiance and great dining. It’s my ‘happy place’!

    6.1.19 | Reply
  5. Nice Post! I’ve never been to Newport. I will definitely add this to my bucket list and this article will surely help me there.

    6.10.19 | Reply