11 things to do in Newport, Rhode Island
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11 things to do in Newport Rhode IslandNewport, Rhode Island was the historic playground of the ultra wealthy and has become the summer playground of New England. Tourists come for the beaches, the restaurant scene and to tour some of the most over the top mansions in the United States.
If you are planning a trip to Newport and haven’t booked a hotel, here are our recommendations.
Here are the 11 best things to do in Newport Rhode Island:
Best mansion tours in Newport, Rhode IslandOne of the main attractions of Newport, Rhode Island are the mansions built by New York’s ultra rich as their summer “cottages.” The Vanderbilts, the Astors, the Morgans and many other titans of industry built lavish homes overlooking the water in Newport. These enormous homes were generally occupied for 6-8 weeks every summer as their residents sought to get away from the oppressive heat in New York. Once you visit these homes you will be amazed at the opulence of these summer cottages and to think that they were only used a fraction of the year! There are 11 mansions under the ownership of the Preservation society of Newport and most can be toured throughout the summer. If you visit during winter there are few options available, but still plenty to see! Here are the mansions I recommend (Our family has seen most of the mansions over dozens of visits to Newport over the years.) for first time visitors.
The Breakers Mansion tourIf you can only tour one mansion this is the one to tour! It is the most opulent, incredible mansion you will see in Newport. (It is also the most visited and open year round.) The Breakers was the summer home of Cornelius Vanderbilt and his family and is a 70 room behemoth of a house. It is the grandest home in Newport and in my opinion has the best tour. The tour is self-guided and takes about an hour. There is a special kids self-guided tour that will keep your little ones invested in the tour. (The kids tour is soooo good even my 5 year old loved it!) If you happen to be visiting in December you are in for a treat. The Breakers is decked out for Christmas and it is even more impressive. Plan on 2 hours
The ElmsThe Elms was the home of the Berwinds of Philadelphia. Edwin Berwind had made a fortune in the coal industry and they built their home in 1901. The home was built to look like a French chateau and is the 2nd most visited mansion in Newport. The Elms has the most extensive gardens of the mansions so make sure to figure in a little extra time to visit them. There is a combination ticket available that will allow you to visit both The Breakers and The Elms. Plan on an hour
RosecliffRosecliff is vastly different from The Breakers and the Elms in style but still very grand. It was built in the style of the Trianon in Versailles and is much more French in style than any other mansion in Newport It was built for the Oelrichs family from Nevada. They loved to hold parties so Rosecliff has the largest ballroom in Newport! Plan on an hour
The Newport Cliff walkThe cliff walk in Newport is a great way to spend an afternoon. The walk is 3.5 miles of trail that takes you around the cliffs of Newport. You will be sandwiched between stunning mansions and glorious coastlines as you make your way along the path. The Cliff walk well paved in most locations but there are a few parts that require you to take some big steps between broken rocks.
- Begin at the Northern part of the walk for the best paved parts and the widest parts, it is great for strollers.
- If you want to scramble along the cliffs start at Narragansett Avenue and head north.
- Narragansett Avenue
- Webster Street
- Sheppard Avenue
- Ruggles Avenue
- Marine Avenue
- Ledge Road
- Bellevue Avenue
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