There’s a lot of Newport, RI travel guides out there, many that will say things like “An Insider’s Guide to Newport, RI” or “A Local’s Guide to Newport.” But none of them are actually written by a local (that I’ve seen anyway). Which is why I spent the last 6 months creating my own Newport, RI travel guide. Newport is funny, it’s a small community but also one that hosts hundreds of thousands of tourists every summer. Having grown up here, I’ve seen the island transform over the last 30+ years, but what I also love about Aquidneck Island is that many things stay the same (ok maybe a love/hate relationship with that). My family has been on this island for generations (I’m fourth generation) and there’s many places that hold cherished memories for me, my brothers and cousins, as kids growing up here, but also for my Dad, his six brothers and sisters, and my grandparents. The island has changed a lot since my great grandparents came here from Ireland, but every time I go to the beach early in the morning or take a walk at Sachuest Point or a drive down Third Beach Rd., I think about what it must have been like when they arrived, and I understand why they made this home. Aquidneck Island is a special place to me, growing up here was something out of a storybook, which is why after leaving for five years to live in New York City and Los Angeles, I knew there was only one place to return. While I love to complain about the brutally long winters (we all do it’s part of the perks of being a New Englander) I also can’t imagine being anywhere else. So this travel guide is not just a list of things to do and see while you’re here, but also a love letter to the place I get to call home. If you find yourself on our little island, I hope you have as much fun visiting as we do living here.
Over the next few weeks and months I’ll be adding to the guide regularly so be sure to keep checking back for updates. I’ve also included some details about the guide and the island below.
I had a map of Aquidneck Island made to help create a better understanding of where everything is located. While Newport is not an island it is located on one, Aquidneck Island, which consists of three towns, Middletown, Newport and Portsmouth. A good number of people who come to Newport never even make it to Middletown or Portsmouth, but the island is small and it’s worth exploring beyond downtown. The island has three bridges, one to Jamestown (also an island), one to Bristol and one to Tiverton/Little Compton. Eventually I will add more information about these places as they all make great day trips or even half day trips from Aquidneck Island. To give some perspective, it takes about 25-30 minutes to drive from one end of the island to the other (with no traffic). On a busy summer day it could take a lot longer.
Guide Categories and Key
I’ll be honest there was a lot of back and forth about how many categories and items to include in the key. Ultimately I went with the things I get asked about most, and what I thought would be most helpful for people visiting. You can click on any category (Food & Drink, Activities, Shopping, etc.) to organize the content or you can use the key to find something, for example things that are dog friendly. As I continue to add to the guide this will be helpful to sort through the content. When you get to the main guide page, the default is to show you everything, so you can also browse that way. For each location I’ve included a brief summary, the address and if applicable a link to the website. The icons below the address relate to the key so you can quickly glance and get an idea of price, best time of year to go, if it’s pet friendly, etc.
Below many of the descriptions you’ll see related content. As I continue to build out the guide I will link to blog posts that you may be interested in. I’ll be creating more locally focused blog posts and travel guides to nearby destinations off island, so check back regularly. Ultimately I want this guide to be helpful and fun to use. Please feel free to send me (or comment with) any suggestions, questions, etc.
You can find the full Newport Travel Guide here and of course follow along on Instagram @jessannkirby for more of my adventures on the island.
I’ve always wanted to visit areas of New England and your photos always make Newport look like it’s THE place to visit! Adding to my ever growing travel list…..
My Style Vita
Yes! Definitely add it to the list. There’s a lot of other good spots you can check off that are pretty close too.
This is so beautiful, Jess! xo
Thank you so much Abby!
This is gorgeous and making me so excited for our move to Newport next month! Thank you for this!
Yay! That makes me so glad. Thanks Anne.
My favorite place in the world. Lived in Middletown from 60 to 67. Attended Middletown High-61-65. I spent my summers body surfing at Second Beach. Awesome!!! Most beautiful place with so much to do.
Your travel guide looks like it will be a great reference guide. Good for you to do it!
Thank you so much Ellen.
Where to find estate sales in Newport??
I have been so looking forward to this!! The guide looks amaze!! I live in Providence and have loved having the PVD to Newport ferry back the last two summers – excited for more trips this season and to follow your recommendations! Thank you for putting together such a comprehensive and inviting guide!! Newport and the whole island (love Portsmouth) makes me happy every time I visit, we are just too lucky to live in Rhode Island!
Agreed, RI is a special place. I love PVD too. Need to eventually add my favorite spots there as well. xx
Jess…having starting to read your blogs, and posts has transported me back in time and has caught me up to the present. You have truly caught the flavor and essance of the Island and I love reading your experiences and looking at your wardrobe style. You certainly are a great spokesperson and model for all the island’s marketing. You have an exceptional talent!
Thank you so much Ellen. So nice of you to say. I really appreciate it.
Hello! My family and I will be in Newport for 2-3 days over Thanksgiving. Do u have any ideas on where to have a wonderful Thanksgiving meal? 🙂
I was really very disappointed when I saw that you are selling ‘Single-Pelt Sheepskin Rug’.
I’m against of any animal exploration and because the vanity or comfort of some beings!
I never expect this from you!!!