20 of the Best Things To Do In Newport, RI This Summer

How To Wear A Tunic Sweater
By Jess
20 Apr 2023
Best Things To Do In Newport in summer

There’s so much to love about Newport, Rhode Island, and I’m not just saying that because I grew up here. It’s a town with a rich history, miles of scenic coastline, charming shops, opulent mansions and so much more. Newport was the original shipbuilding port in Rhode Island, and is still considered the sailing capital of the world. It was also host to the America’s Cup for more than 50 years (and I have not one but two family members who’ve sailed in several of them). Newport Rhode Island has incredible colonial-era buildings and architecture, a vibrant art and cultural scene, stunning beaches, fabulous boutiques, and tons of fresh seafood. So if you’re looking for a coastal getaway, Newport is a great place to visit this summer.

If you’re planning a trip this season, don’t miss all of my local recommendations, itineraries and tips on where to stay, eat, drink, play and shop, all written by a native Newport local (me!).

You might also like: 15 Of The Best Beaches in Rhode Island, What To Do With Kids in Newport, and 10 Great Places for Brunch in Rhode Island

20 of The Best Things To Do In Newport, RI This Summer

forty steps on the cliff walk
forty steps on the cliff walk in newport, ri

Explore The Cliff Walk

The Cliff Walk is always one of my top recommendations for visitors in Newport, especially in the summer. It runs 3.5 miles along the coast. Parts of the trail are paved and easily walkable, while other parts feature a rugged and rocky shoreline. Cliff Walk starts near First Beach and Memorial Blvd, with several exit points along the way, ending at Bellevue Ave. before Bailey’s Beach. It’s a beautiful walk that will take you along Newport’s stunning coastline, past historic mansions and rocky beaches enjoying the scenic ocean views. There’s also metered parking along Memorial Blvd at Easton’s (First) Beach and on Narragansett Ave near Forty Steps. Note there is currently a detour between Forty Steps/Narragansett Ave and Webster Street.

Visit Bowen’s Wharf

A bustling seaport in the heart of Newport, Bowen’s Wharf is known for its quaint shops, art galleries, a bustling restaurant scene, and deep-water dockage. Walk along Thames Street and watch boats and ships pull right into the harbor including well-known tours like Rum Runner and the Aquidneck. Shop, dine and also enjoy beautiful views of Newport Harbor.

Drive or Bike Around Ocean Drive

Ocean Drive covers a 5-mile distance featuring some of the most stunning coastlines in Rhode Island. It’s free and open to the public. So hop in the car or on a bike to enjoy the incredible views along the way. If you’re an early bird there’s no better time than sunrise to enjoy uninterrupted views of the sea and skies. Start from Bellevue Ave and along the way you’ll pass Gilded Age mansions, Brenton Point State Park, Fort Adams State Park, and more.

10 Places to Visit in New England During Summer
sunset cruise in newport harbor

Go for a Sunset Cruise in Newport Harbor

There’s no better way to catch a sunset during the summer in Newport than from Newport Harbor. Book a sunset cruise with one of the many boat tours in town. In fact, my favorites are private charters with Newport Charter or Antique Yacht. You can also book a sunset cruise on a classic sailboat or yacht.

The Newport Flower Show

One of my favorite events of the summer, The Newport Flower Show is a beautiful event at Rosecliff Mansion in Newport. In fact, this year’s dates are June 21-23. See garden exhibits, floral design, the flower competition with winning florals from local gardeners, and a selection of vendors for shopping.

Touro Synagogue in Newport Rhode Island

Rhode Island was the birthplace of religious freedom dating back to the 1600s. Touro Synagogue in Newport, RI is the oldest synagogue in the US, built in 1763. For the first time since the spring of 2020, Touro Synagogue has resumed tours where you can visit the National Historic Site and also learn more about why Touro Synagogue stands as a symbol of religious freedom for all Americans.

Take A Tour At Fort Adams State Park

Forever one of my favorite hidden gems on the island, though maybe not so hidden anymore. Fort Adams State Park is on the site of a 19th-century fort and is also home to events like the Newport Folk Fest and Jazz Festival. It’s a beautiful loop to take a walk with the dog or take an actual tour of the fort. In the summer pack a picnic and some chairs and then watch the sun go down from the beautiful lawn in front of the Eisenhower House.

Surfing at the Beaches

Bring your surfboard or rent one at one of Newport’s beaches. First Beach and Second Beach typically have waves in the summer and both have trucks for renting surfboards.

Surfing at second beach

Walk Around The Point Neighborhood

Did you know Newport is full of old homes—there are more colonial homes in use than any other part of New England! The historic Point neighborhood is one of my favorites to walk around and look at the many restored homes dating back to the 1700s. Also, don’t miss The Third & Elm Press and Cottage & Garden.

Walk Down Bellevue Ave

If you’ve been to Newport before, chances are you’ve driven down Bellevue Avenue. Home to some of Newports most grand estates, Bellevue Ave features historic Gilded Age mansions including The Breakers, The Elms, Chateau Sur Mer, Marble House and Rosecliff among others. Stop in for a mansion tour and then do some shopping at one of the many boutiques on Bellevue Ave closer to Memorial Blvd.

Enjoy Drinks On The Lawn At Castle Hill

Watching the sunset over Narragansett Bay with views of the Pell Bridge is pretty spectacular, especially from the Lawn at Castle Hill. Sit in one of their adirondack chairs and sip on a cocktail while you watch sailboats go by as the sun goes down. Castle Hill has great food too and also a lovely patio for outdoor dining.

Visit The Newport Art Museum

Newport Art Museum has an incredible year-round collection and interesting rotating exhibits. Located right downtown, it’s the perfect post-lunch activity. During the summer they also host various events outdoors including concerts and parties. Looking for other museums to visit while in Newport? Check out The National Museum of American Illustration, the Museum of Newport History and the U.S. Naval War College Museum.

Watch Tennis at Tennis Hall of Fame

The International Tennis Hall of Fame located on Bellevue Ave is home to the first US Open Championship held in 1881. The museum has various exhibits and there is also an on-site tennis club with a variety of playing courts available to rent. It’s also where you can watch some of the tennis greats play every summer during Tennis week, July 14-21.

Go Shopping on Spring Street

Take a stroll down Spring Street and visit some of the wonderful small businesses in Newport. From home decor and fine British clothes to jewelry and also art galleries there is something for everyone.

Shopping in In Newport, RI
shopping on spring street

Get Oysters at Clarke Cooke House

Nothing says summer like fresh oysters, and The Cooke House is the place to be in Newport. Located in Bowen’s Wharf, Clarke Cooke House is an iconic Newport establishment. The Bistro/Candy Store is a relaxed and cozy atmosphere with a fresh sushi bar in the summer. The menu always features fresh ingredients and the oyster selection can’t be beat!

Do A Self Guided Tour At The Newport Mansions

You can’t go wrong at any of the Newport Mansions and a self-guided tour is a family friendly activity for everyone. Once known as “summer cottages” these mansions are a step back in time at Marble House, The Elms, Rosecliff or the Breakers. Parking is free at all Newport mansions and you can also buy outdoor only tickets which allows you to have a picnic on the grounds at Green Animals and Marble House.

Fly A Kite At Brenton Point State Park

Take a cruise down Ocean Drive and pull in to Brenton Point State Park where you can fly a kite, have a picnic or take in views of where the Atlantic Ocean meets Narragansett Bay. There’s also trails for walking, restrooms and usually you can find a Del’s Lemonade Truck!

Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge

The Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge in Middletown, Rhode Island is just a 10 minute drive outside of Newport. This refuge is a beautiful oasis, home to a variety of migratory birds. For all bird-watchers enjoy the harlequin ducks, loons, eiders, gannets, peregrine falcon, northern harrier, snowy and short-eared owls. The refuge provides 3 miles of walking trails, observation platforms and a visitor center with exhibits. With 40 acres of salt marsh lands and rocky shorelines this makes for a beautiful bird sanctuary. Located just down the road is 3rd Beach a recently restored salt marsh and another birdwatchers heaven! Nature awaits in Newport!

See a Movie With Newport Film

NewportFilm has an outdoor film program from mid-June through September where they screen critically acclaimed documentaries at iconic locations in Newport. Bring a picnic and enjoy a beautiful summer evening as the sun goes down.

Newport RI Tours

Looking for someone to guide you while enjoying your stay in Newport? Check out some of the different tour options listed below.

Newport RI Mansion Tours

Newport RI Boat Tours

Newport RI Sailing Tours

Map of Newport RI

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  1. Valerie wrote:

    My family and I are spending a couple of nights in Newport on our way to our yearly vacation in Maine. This is a wonderful list! I’m making a note of a few of these to do with my crew. Thank you!

    6.8.22 | Reply
  2. y67aert wrote:

    Thanks for sharing about 15 of the Best Things To Do In Newport, RI This Summer. Those who have never been to this place really need to know about these notes. I am very happy to know this wonderful blog and I will recommend this blog to many people
    @happy wheels unblocked

    10.3.22 | Reply

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