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Plan a Coastal Getaway to Newport, RI

Enjoy beautiful views like this of Newport and the surrounding water, which is one of the best things to do in Newport, RI

There are few things more classic - or classy - than a trip to Newport, Rhode Island. While Newport is famous for the Cliff Walk and the stunning Gilded-Age Mansions, there are several fabulous things to do in Newport, RI, and this summer is the perfect time to experience them!

The historic town of Newport is located on Aquidneck Island on the shores of the picturesque Narragansett Bay. Given that it's surrounded by water, it should be no surprise that getting out on the water is one of the top things to do in Newport, RI. It's so much more than a sailing and boating destination, though. 

Whether you've been to Newport, RI before, or this is your first time visiting this acclaimed City by the Sea, you'll find a superb range of things to do in Newport, RI. There's enough to keep you entertained for days, from admiring beautiful art and architecture to shopping, dining, and exploring the charming downtown. 

More importantly, you'll find that life slows down a bit when you're in Newport. Here, you'll have the time to breathe in the salty ocean air, feel the gentle ocean breezes on your face, and completely relax and unwind in a way you can't do in your everyday life. There's a reason so many of America's most storied families made Newport their go-to destination for their summer "cottages."

If you want to embrace the upscale elegance of Newport throughout your time here, there's no better place to stay than either of our Select Registry Bed and Breakfasts in Newport, RI. Both Newport, RI Bed and Breakfasts are housed in historic homes, harking back to a bygone era. There's nothing ordinary about our Select Registry member Bed and Breakfasts, where you'll find every detail of your stay is carefully tended to. If you're ready to experience all of the best things to do in Newport, RI this summer, it's time to book your room at one of our Rhode Island Bed and Breakfasts.

Many of the top things to do in Newport, RI are located on these charming downtown streets

Top Things to do in Newport, RI

As mentioned briefly, Newport, RI, became a famous summer playground for some of America's wealthiest and most prominent families during the Gilded Age. During these summers, families like the Vanderbilts, the Astors, and the Morgans, spent six weeks basking in the sun, sailing, playing tennis, and otherwise enjoying a break from the city. 

Though Newport, RI is no longer a destination only for the rich and famous, it still has remnants of these years on display, most notably in the form of the magnificent Newport Mansions. Today, what visitors will find in Newport are not only these beautiful reminders of a very different past but a town that embraces its coastal character and laid-back charm. 

This summer, visit the mansions but stay for a while to experience the best this area offers. Here are some of our favorite things to do in Newport, RI: 

  1. Of course, at the top of our list of things to do in Newport, RI, is to visit the Newport Mansions and gardens. You can also see them from the acclaimed Newport Cliff Walk!
  2. For even more views of these mansions, not to mention the sheer coastal beauty of the area, head out on the 10-mile Ocean Drive. This is arguably one of the most beautiful things to do in Newport, RI. 
  3. Go sailing, and experience the unprecedented beauty of this time-honored tradition. It's one of the most popular things to do in Newport, RI, and for a good reason!
  4. Tennis fans, don't miss your opportunity to visit the International Tennis Hall of Fame, home to the famed Newport Casino and the former home of the US Open. 
  5. Shopping Thames Street is one of our favorite things to do in Newport, RI. 
  6. Dine out!  There is an incredible range of Newport Restaurants to try. Sampling fresh seafood and other local culinary delights are among our favorite things to do in Newport, RI!
  7. Warm summer days are meant to sip and swirl your way through flights and tastings at local wineries and breweries.
  8. Speaking of warm summer days, you can't go wrong with a day at the beach! Warm sun and beautiful views - is it any wonder this is top-rated among things to do in Newport, RI?
  9. Visit the Newport Art Museum. This history museum was founded in 1912 and houses an extraordinary art collection. When you need a break from the heat, this is one of our favorite things to do in Newport, RI. 
  10. Tour the lighthouses around Newport, RI. It's a great way to learn about the area's history while enjoying its magnificent coastal beauty. 
One of the many Newport Mansions, which are the #1 things to do in Newport, RI

Visit the Newport Mansions

All it takes is one glance to see why visiting the Newport Mansions is among the top-rated things to do in Newport, RI.  Some visitors come here just for the day to see these magnificent architectural gems. They are such a storied part of Newport's past that they deserve a bit of dedicated space to talk about just how special they are.

Inside the Newport Mansions, you'll find an impressive display of opulence once enjoyed by America's wealthiest families. These Gilded-Age titans certainly lived largely, but with the immense beauty of these properties come fascinating tales of American Society.

Though not all Newport Mansions are open at all times, here are the eight mansions that are periodically open to the public.  Of these eight Newport Mansions, only The Breakers, Marble House, and the Green Animals Topiary Garden are open to the public, though more will open by summer.  

  • The Breakers is the most visited of the Newport Mansions, and it's also the grandest of Newport's summer "cottages," as they were commonly referred to by the families who owned them. The Breakers, built by the Vanderbilt family, is an impressive physical reflection of the family's social and financial status in turn-of-the-century America. Its classic Italian palazzo design features skilled American and European craftsmanship and breathtaking views of the sea.
  • Marble House, another home built for and by the Vanderbilt family, was one of the first Mansions of its era to move away from wooden coastal-style houses to stone palaces. One of the most unique features of this property is the Chinese Tea House which was later built on the seaside cliffs of the property, where rallies for Women's Suffrage took place. 
  • The Elms was designed by architect Horace Trumbauer and built for Mr. and Mrs. Edward Julius Berwind, a titan of the coal industry in Philadelphia. The Elms was modeled after the mid-18th century French Chateau D'Asnieres. The Elms will open for the 2022 season on May 27th.
  • Rosecliff was built by a silver heiress Theresa Fair Oelrichs and was designed to mirror the garden retreat of Grand Trianon of Versailles. If you think you've seen Rosecliff before, it's probably because it's been featured in several films, including The Great GatsbyTrue Lies, Amistad, and 27 Dresses. It also opens for the season on May 27th.
  • If you love high-Victorian architecture, don't miss a chance to visit Chateau-Sur-Mer. It was the largest of the homes in Rhode Island until the Vanderbilt houses were built at the end of the 1800s. This Newport Mansion will open for weekends only, starting on May 28th.
  • Kingscote is a premiere example of the Gothic Revival style in American architecture. It was also one of the first summer "cottages" to appear in Newport, thus cementing its legacy as a playground for the rich famous. You can tour this mansion on weekends only, starting May 28th.
  • The Green Animals Topiary Garden is a living sculpture garden with more than 80 topiaries in the shape of birds, animals, and geometric designs. Green Animals is the oldest and most northern topiary garden in the country. You'll also find a stunning array of flowering bulbs, perennials, annuals, and shrubs that bloom throughout the seasons.

Though the Newport Mansions we've listed above are the most popular to visit, there are other mansions worth visiting in the area. They include Blithewold Mansion, which offers sweeping views of Narragansett Bay, and Rough Point, once owned by Doris Duke. Other buildings include the Isaac Bell House, Hunter House, and Chepstow.

Of course, when you're done touring the Newport Mansions and enjoying the top things to do in Newport, RI, the only thing left to do is put your feet up and relax. There's no better place to do that than our Select Registry Bed and Breakfasts in Rhode Island.

Best Places to Stay in Newport, RI

The Frances Malbone House

Built in 1760 for shipping merchant Francis Malbone, our historic inn was designed by famed Newport architect Peter Harrison who also designed Newport's famed Touro Synagogue and Redwood Library. Located along Newport's harbourfront, The Francis Malbone House Inn exudes luxury & romance.

Each guestroom offers Italian linens, plush robes, fireplaces, and modern baths. Enjoy afternoon tea or gourmet breakfast in our manicured garden or spacious fireplaced dining room. Proudly placed on the National Register of Historic Properties. The inn is Newport’s only Five Star Diamond award-winning property.

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    Hydrangea House Inn Bed & Breakfast

    This 1856 property was constructed by the noted Newport architect, Dudley Newton. Newton built homes mostly in Newport and was famous here for the 'Newton Roof.

    This Newport, RI bed and breakfast property is recognized by the Rhode Island Historical Society for its architectural details and uniqueness. The inn was completely remodeled/redesigned in the winter of 2004/2005. Guest suites at the bed and breakfast in Newport, RI are very large and have jacuzzi spa tubs, fireplaces, flat-screen televisions, free internet service, two-person showers, and steam baths, and free long-distance telephone calling in the US. 

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    Best Places to Stay in Providence, RI

    Christopher Dodge House Bed & Breakfast 

    Built in 1858 and renovated into a bed and breakfast in 2003, this Italianate Mansion is full of charm and original touches. All 14 rooms offer a private bathroom, are appointed with period furnishings, and feature their own temperature controls. Enjoy a complimentary hot breakfast and locally roasted coffee in our sun-filled dining room.

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      Best Places to Stay in Newport

      Hydrangea House guest room
      Hydrangea House bath room
      Hydrangea House garden
      Hydrangea House breakfast
      Hydrangea House Bed
      Hydrangea House Coffee
      Hydrangea House bath room
      Hydrangea House wine and cheese

      Hydrangea House Inn Bed & Breakfast

      Newport, RI

      Front Door at Francis Malbone
      Dining Room Table
      Francis Malbone Newport 8
      Francis Malbone Newport 8
      Francis Malbone Garden
      Francis Malbone Newport 8
      Francis Malbone Newport 8
      Francis Malbone Newport 8
      Bedroom at Francis Malbone
      Garden at Francis Malbone
      bedroom with fireplace
      front entrance
      bedroom with fireplace
      dine by fireplace
      fruit salad

      The Francis Malbone House Inn

      Newport, RI

      Best Places to Stay in Providence

      Front exterior of Christopher Dodge House
      Front Entrance to inn
      Dining room
      Sitting room
      Guest room
      Room with fireplace
      Guest room
      Flower box
      Gondolas in waterway
      champagnge glasses clinking

      Christopher Dodge House

      Providence, RI

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