Traveling to Newport soon? Newport, Rhode Island has long been known as "the city by the sea." Come see what makes this tiny seaside island a vacationer's paradise.
Affectionately known as "the city by the sea," Newport, Rhode Island is quickly becoming one of the world's most beloved vacation spots. Brimming with history and adventure, Newport offers something for almost any type of traveler.
Newport History Newport, Rhode Island was founded in 1639 by settlers in search of religious freedom. Within a few short years, it would prosper into a major seaport and safe place for those seeking refuge from slavery and religious intolerance. Mostly owned by those working in sea trade and lumber businesses, Newport became inhabited by seafaring dock workers, ship owners and lumber barons, though their welcome mat extended worldwide. Ship captains built large, expensive homes and would often place a pineapple at their entry point to indicate they had just returned from a voyage at sea, and that their home was once again open to visitors. Ever the welcoming city, Newport became known as the "friendly city", and one that turned no one away. With the British occupation of 1776, Newport's era as a friendly seaport came to an end. British ships blockaded the harbor and the once well known lumber trading capitol became nonexistent. Newport would be received as the thirteenth State in 1790.
Today, "The Ocean State" has a population of 991,000 people. Much of Newport has been restored and even with the addition of new and trendy shops and entertainment facilities, there is a natural blend of old and new. Newport offers it's visitors a spectacular look into the past and an exciting adventure through the present.
The Mansions It's hard not to be drawn to Newport's Ocean Drive-Bellevue Avenue area. Hugging the Atlantic Ocean, Ocean Drive and it's neighboring Bellevue Avenue are lined with Colonial Style Mansions that were once considered only summer getaway cottages for the wealthy. Today, each mansion sits on display, open daily for tours. A convenient walkway and groomed trail provide excellent vantage points for the tour unfriendly, and easy access to popular areas like Rosecliff Mansion Estates.
Cliff Walk Beginning at Memorial Blvd., Cliff Walk is a partially paved trail that runs south through Newport, exposing it's users to the mansion district, as well as a beautiful glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean, beach areas and sharp, rocky cliffs still used by fishermen. This 3.5 mile area is open free of charge to the public, and has multiple access points.
Harbor Life Still known and loved for it's sea friendly life, Newport's harbors are open daily. Beacon Rock, Trinity Church Harbor, Beach Bound and Hammersmith Farm Harbors are available to the public for tours, boat renting and sea adventures. Most Harbors also house picnic and family styled park areas which operate free of charge.
Beaches Newport is home to five city beaches, each categorized by wave size and strength. Beginning swimmers and families tend to gravitate toward the milder beaches, leaving the large tides and waves to surfers and adventure takers. Each beach offers equipment rental for daring types, and lessons, if need be. There are also two National Parks and beaches just outside of Newport, each open to the public, as well. City beaches are free of charge, though parking costs are involved. See the Newport Chamber of Commerce for a complete listing of beaches and their fees.
America's Cup Home to the most famous water race in history, Newport can help you to relive the adventure by chartering one of the original Twelve Meter Yachts that raced the America's Cup. Sail the ocean in Ted Turner's, American Eagle, or any number of ships. All are available for private and corporate outings.
International Tennis Hall of Fame One of Newport's biggest secrets is it's love of tennis and the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Located downtown on Bellevue Avenue, this 1880 social and recreation club is still open for games and tours. Two grass courts are easily rentable, as is equipment.
A Look Back There are many ways to experience sea life and history in Rhode Island. The Naval War College Museum offers a look back at Navy life with daily tours of their facilities and war related machinery. The Newport Art Museum is a favorite stopping point for travelers, featuring both local and world famous pieces of art. Newport Vineyards and Winery, located in the suburb of Middletown, open their doors to the public for tours, samples and information. Redwood Library and Athenaeum in downtown historic Newport is the oldest standing library still in use in the United States. Built in 1748, the Redwood Library stands tall on heritage and Newport pride. The Thames Science Center is a must stop for those with children. Displays and interactive projects make this a hot spot for any visitor. The Museum of Newport History, located on Washington Street, will provide you with all you need to know about Newport and it's residents. Rhode Island Fisherman and Whale Museum will let you pilot a ship from the wheelhouse and watch lobster being caught. Learn the finer art of lobster hunting, catching and cooking on location daily.
Churches Newport is famous for it's religious tolerance and as such, is home to some of the world's most famous churches. St. Mary's Church is considered one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture on the east coast and is where John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier were married in 1953. Church services are open to the public and those seeking a peek back in time are welcomed through the doors at any time.
Restaurants Newport has some of the finest seafood restaurants in all the world. With both outdoor and indoor seating available, Newport's restaurants offer up home cooked seafood and inside peek into local life. Eat on the wharf and experience family style seating and portions, watching fishermen bring in their catch of the day, or dine in a formal atmosphere and try something uniquely Rhode Island.
Newport, Rhode Island is a perfect getaway for the whole family. With all types of accommodations available, a trip to Newport can be anything you want it to be.