It’s time to start planning beach vacations! Our series of best beach towns for families is constantly building. Our latest addition: Newport, Rhode Island. For a New England beach feel, plenty of shopping and seafood, and quaint lodging, Newport can’t be beat. Its location along Narragansett Bay is ideal during the summer months, but Newport has much to offer families in the ‘shoulder seasons of spring and fall, too.
What to do in Newport:
1. Tour the Newport mansions along Cliff Walk: Starting from the easy-to-access public beach, Cliff Walk takes visitors along–you guessed it–the cliff overlooking the beach, where a long string of impressive mansions stand sentinel. These mansions are mainly relics of Newport’s golden era of wealth (pre-Depression), but many are still in use today. The walk is 3.5 miles, but it’s just as easy to turn around at any point and return the way you came. You’ll get great views of sailboats on the water as well, and there are numerous benches to stop and picnic or rest.
2. Play at Easton’s Beach (First Beach): This wide-open beach comes with a $20 parking fee during the summer season, but you get a lot for your ‘entrance fee’: a carrousel and concession stand, lots of space for setting up camp along the beach for the day. There’s even a small aquarium, though this certainly isn’t ‘destination-worthy’.
3. Explore the Newport Historical Museum: The Newport museum is located in the heart of historic downtown and while small, is very well done. It’s fee is by donation only, and will take guests from native times to colonization and war periods. It’s great for school-aged kids, with exhibit descriptions just for them, and a welcome relief from the sun and sand for all kids.
Where to stay in Newport:
The Newport Harbor Hotel is located downtown right on America’s Cup Drive. During the high-traffic summer months, you can park your car and leave it, walking to all the area attractions and beaches with kids. The Newport Harbor Hotel is convenient for families with an indoor heated pool, saunas, and on-site dining for easy meals. They offer seasonal packages, and many rooms have great views of the harbor and boats coming and going. Read a full review on Trekaroo!
Photo credit: Dougtone.