After a few months of stagnancy, my boyfriend and I decided we were both in need of a quick getaway to refuel our adventurous souls. When he first suggested Newport, RI, I wasn’t all that excited about it since I had been there a million times before! Kyle on the other hand had not explored Newport that much at all so I was down for the adventure!
Due to some other commitments, we could only venture out for a one night stay. When all is said and done, I thought what we did was the perfect way to see the city in a short period of time! Here’s a guide for how to spend 24 hours in Newport, RI!
Morning in Newport
Depending on when you arrive to the city, you could do one of two things: head right to the mansions or grab some breakfast and fuel up! We opted for the prior option.
The first thing we did when we got into Newport was head right to the Breakers Mansion. You stop first at the visitor center and purchase tickets and are presented the options for how to tour the mansion. In previous years they always had tour guides but now they have an app with a room by room self guided tour or a map to follow along and read. With plenty of guides scattered throughout the mansion, it’s impossible to get lost so it worked out great! I found the app easy to use and very informative! Plus you could go at your own pace and hear everything which are two of the greatest downsides to guided tours.
The Breakers is the largest and most popular of the Newport Mansions so if you only have one day in the city, I would recommend you choose this stop. I’ve toured this mansion twice prior but it never gets old. Also seeing Kyle geek out over the gaudy architecture was a blast!
The Breakers is right along the Cliff Walk which was our next task but we were in much need of some food before we set out on an active adventure. I’d recommend hopping back in your car and driving down to Harvest Market for a quick lunch. We arrived around noon and they had both a breakfast and lunch menu as well as a HUGE coffee list and some baked goods! I got a breakfast sandwich that was incredible.
It seems like this is a fan favorite amongst locals so they have options for call ahead and pick up as well. If a place has regulars, you KNOW it’s good.
Once we were properly fueled, we drove back up to the street adjacent to the Breakers and parked in their free parking along the street.
You can’t go to Newport without walking along the Cliff Walk. It’s an absolute must see. The Cliff Walk carves the coast and gives you excellent views of all the major mansions along the water’s edge. The views are endless the whole way.
The path is described as 2/3 easy walking conditions but this must be in the area north of where we walked. I felt that the path got pretty tough at times with many spots of rock scrambles or jumping along boulders. Proper shoes are a must but it’s definitely doable for most people. The total length of the Cliff Walk is 3.5 miles but don’t forget to factor in the return to your vehicle!
We parked just North of the Breakers and walked south along the Cliff Walk, stopping for photo ops along the way. It was about 2 miles until the end and then we opted to walk back along the streets instead of retracing our steps along the Cliff Walk. Walking along the streets is equally as entertaining if you’ve got a Zillow app and an architecture nerd bone in your body!
Later Afternoon Regrouping
Now you don’t HAVE to do this part, but I’m a big fan of the late afternoon decompress, freshen up and venture back out. After we returned to our car from the Cliff Walk, we were perfect timing to go check into our hotel. Thanks to a prior travel mishap, I had a free night stay at any Wyndham hotel, so we opted for the Howard Johnson Middletown Newport Hotel.
I didn’t have high hopes going in but it far exceeded our expectations. It was newly renovated, close enough to the city, had balconies/patios in all the rooms and had a free breakfast in the morning! We both had the chance to freshen up after our afternoon walk, do some research on some restaurants and head back out.
Newport Dinner Scene
I don’t think there are enough hours in the day to write about ALL the amazing restaurant options in Newport but you probably can’t go wrong. We spent a little time researching some options and then had the intentions of restaurant hopping and splitting some food.
The first stop was The Mooring, located down near the water. Known for their fantastic seafood options, we actually went specifically for their signature dish “Bag of Donuts.” It sounds silly for a higher end restaurant but out came a paper bag filled with lobster, crab and shrimp fritters. Those dipped in the chipotle-maple aioli was to die for. We also split a couple chowders to do a taste comparison. They had both a typical clam chowder and a more unique scallop chowder, which were both tasty but we preferred the traditional one.
Sadly since we over indulged, we didn’t get to restaurant hop as originally planned and had to take a nice long digesting break before second dinner. Once we were ready, we ordered take out from Pasta Beach! Kyle picked this one out because of the clams and muscles dish, and i scoped out a shrimp pizza that looked fabulous. Unfortunately I’d recommend dining in if you can because they didn’t transport well back to the hotel. You can tell they were good by the massive amount of people who were there though!
Newport is also home the oldest tavern in America, the White Horse Tavern. It’s still in operation today so if you’re a history buff, this is a fun opportunity to eat delicious farm-to-table food in a historic setting.
Catch a sunset!
In between meals, we decided to go find a spot to watch the sunset. This is a no-brainer since anywhere is good in Newport, but we found a great hidden gem of a spot. There’s a small island off the coast of Newport called Goat Island that you can access by bridge. The island has several hotels and resorts across it but there was ample parking and limited people. We were able to walk down to the edge of the island near the lighthouse and capture some amazing photos of the sunset with the bridge silhouetted in front.
Disclaimer* Not confirmed if this was private property or not but no one seemed to have any issue with us being there! Nor did we see any signs.
Night Life in Newport
We didn’t venture out into the night life this time around but I can personally attest to the great time that can be had in Newport at night. The entire strip along the cobblestone Thames Street, the multiple Wharfs, and the more off-the-beaten-path Broadway area provide countless options for hitting the town. Whether you’re looking for live music, dancing, a chill pub, games, or a wine night with friends, there’s something in Newport for you.
Protip: Be mindful of your shoe choices when dealing with cobblestones and liquor!
The Morning After
Just over the bridge from Newport you’ll find Jamestown. This quaint little coastal town with has a historic village, beaches, a lighthouse and top notch scuba diving spots. Kyle and I spent an hour just driving up and down the streets to explore all of the nooks and crannies of the town. In Jamestown you’ll find Beavertail State Park, and Fort Wetherill State Park to explore. We also passed countless boat docks so you could spend a whole day here depending on your interests.
It’s worth the little detour to see the contrast of quiet Jamestown versus the hustle and bustle of Newport. Just one more of the many treasures that Rhode Island has to offer!
Have you ever spent time in Newport? Any good hidden gems to spare? Leave them in the comments below! Want help planning your own trip to Newport? Check out what I can do for you at InMotion Adventures! Until next time…