Looking for the best beaches and activities in Newport, RI?
Famous for its stunning Gilded Age mansions and world-class sailing, Newport is the perfect spot to explore the rocky coastline of Rhode Island. Take your pick from over 400 miles of shoreline with dozens of beaches – ranging from those ideal for family activities to secluded spots for nature watching.
After relaxing on the beach, check out some of Newport’s many nautical boutiques or immerse yourself in culture at the International Tennis Hall of Fame, or the National Museum of American Illustration. Take a stroll along the Cliff Walk and experience the grandeur of Old New England as you tour Newport’s historic mansions. Also, if you’re lucky enough to visit during the summer season, make sure to catch the Newport Jazz Festival or Newport Folk Festival!
Best Newport RI Beaches
Newport is known for its soft sand beaches and variety of seaside options. Whether you want a peaceful beach walk, or a family swim day, Newport has a beach for you!
1. Easton’s Beach (First Beach)
Easton’s Beach, also known as First Beach, is the largest beach in Newport, Rhode Island. Easton’s Beach is conveniently located near downtown Newport and the famous Cliff Walk, providing easy access to historic mansions and downtown attractions. Easton’s offers a wide range of activities for families, including free live music, themed nights, and a variety of amenities such as a playground and snack bar.
The beach features a 3/4-mile stretch of soft sand and rolling waves, ideal for surfing and boogie boarding. Visitors can also explore the Save the Bay Exploration Center and Aquarium, which offers educational exhibits and interactive experiences.
Amenities at the beach include showers, restrooms, grills, picnic areas, and rental shops. Parking is available for a fee ($25 on weekends). It is popular among families visiting Rhode Island which means it almost always is crowded!
2. Sachuest Beach (Second Beach), Middletown
Sachuest Beach, also known as Second Beach, is a must-visit beach near Newport for boaters or surfers. Located just 10 minutes from Newport, Sachuest Beach is 1.5 miles of shore and is a family-friendly beach with fewer crowds than nearby options.
Surfers End at the end of Sachuest Beach is the most popular area for surfing and kite flying due to the wind. The beach provides amenities such as showers, restrooms, snack vendors, picnic areas, a concession stand, and even surfing lessons. Don’t forget to try the Italian Ice from Dell’s Lemonade! Parking is free in the off-season and costs $20-30 during the summer.
The Sachuest National Wildlife Refuge, located south of Second Beach, is home to migratory birds and other wildlife. Explore the trails and the small beach at the refuge to spot various bird species, rabbits, deer, and foxes.
3. King Park Beach
King Park Beach is not just your average beach in Newport, Rhode Island – it’s a hidden gem that offers so much more! Nestled along the picturesque Newport Harbor, this beach-park hybrid provides a serene and relaxing environment for all to enjoy.
Public restrooms are conveniently available. Take advantage of the picnic area and eat your lunch with great views of the ocean. If you’re visiting with kids, they’ll be thrilled to discover a playground where they can run around.
King Park Beach also caters to fishing enthusiasts, making it an ideal destination for casting a line in Rhode Island. Whether you’re an avid angler or simply want to try your luck, this beach offers a fantastic opportunity to reel in a memorable catch.
When it comes to parking, there’s good news – free street parking is available nearby (depending on the time of year). King Park Beach is a hidden oasis where you can relax, watch the boats sail by, enjoy a picnic on the inviting pavilion, and bask in the warmth of the sun.
4. Collins Beach
Collins Beach in Newport is one of the lesser-known beaches in the area, making it a hidden gem cherished by locals. What sets it apart is its stunning sunset view, which is best enjoyed from the vicinity of Castle Hill Lighthouse. Whether you’re staying at Castle Hill Inn or simply in the area, you’ll be treated to a beautiful sight of the sun setting over the boats in the water.
For a more low-key setting, you can also enjoy the sunset from the rocks across from Brenton Point State Park on Ocean Drive. Just bring your own lawn chair and picnic, and secure a spot early.
5. Brenton Point State Park
Located within a state park, Brenton Point is another one of the great beaches in Newport, RI. With its rocky shoreline, it offers a unique experience for those who prefer admiring the view over swimming. While you’re there, don’t miss the small tidal pools that provide endless fun for the kids.
One of the highlights is the Portuguese Discovery Monument, a captivating structure built in the 1980s and recently replaced in 2014 with an even more impressive and expansive monument. The breathtaking views from this beach are unparalleled in the area.
6. Bailey’s Beach
This is a very small and secluded beach, affectionately known as “rejects beach,” nestled at the intersection of Bellevue Avenue and Ocean Drive. Accessible exclusively by foot or bike, it offers a tranquil oasis to unwind and enjoy the rhythmic waves. Please note that parking options for vehicles are non-existent in the vicinity, but fear not, as bikes and scooters can easily find a spot right at the beach.
As you approach, you’ll pass by the larger section of the beach, which is privately owned and part of the esteemed Spouting Rock Beach Association. But Bailey’s Beach is completely free! Located just a short 15-minute bike ride from downtown Newport or a convenient 10-minute taxi ride, this hidden gem is a must-visit.
7. Gooseberry Beach
Gooseberry Beach, a great choice for families, is situated in a small cove along the scenic 10-mile Ocean Drive. The beach is open to the public, however, walk-on access is prohibited. You must arrive by bike, scooter or purchase a daily pass to park and arrive by car.
Daily passes are for sale on gooseberrybeach.com for $30 + tax and must be purchased in advance. Although it may resemble a private beach club, Gooseberry Beach welcomes the public.
The protected cove provides calm waters for swimming, while the rocky barrier serves as an ideal location for exploring tide pools and scrambling over rocks. Additionally, Gooseberry Beach features a fully-equipped snack bar, as well as facilities such as changing rooms, showers, and restrooms. Lifeguards are stationed daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM during the season, ensuring a safe experience for beachgoers.
8. Fort Adams State Park
Fort Adams State Park is a top choice for budget-conscious travelers seeking a beach getaway. While Newport can be expensive, Fort Adams State Park offers a cost-effective option with its free parking and beach access. Situated in Newport, RI, this beach offers stunning views of Newport Harbor. What sets this beach apart is its excellent amenities, including free parking, lifeguards, restrooms, showers, concession stands, and picnic tables.
History enthusiasts can explore the historic fort and even witness exciting reenactments. The beach may be small and the sand slightly coarse, but the views of the marina are truly remarkable.
Additionally, visitors can enjoy the scenic Bay Loop walking trail, which provides panoramic views of the Newport Pell Bridge and Narragansett Bay. Guided history tours of the fort and sailboat rentals from Sail Newport are also available for those seeking alternative activities.
9. Third Beach, Middletown
Third Beach is one of the stunning beaches in Newport, RI. Unlike other beaches in the area, Third Beach offers a tranquil atmosphere, making it a popular choice for families seeking a peaceful getaway. With amenities such as picnic tables, restrooms, and lifeguards during specific times, visitors can enjoy a half-mile shoreline perfect for leisurely walks.
While swimming is a popular activity here, many also opt for boat rides or kayaking in calm waters. This hidden gem is ideal for those looking to avoid crowds and enjoy steady breezes. Although facilities are limited, there are grills and picnic tables available for hungry visitors.
Best Things to Do in Newport RI
Newport is known for its beaches, but also its gilded mansions, sailing, and abundance of museums. Explore downtown boutiques and seafood restaurants, or take a walking food tour! You could easily spend an entire week in Newport, RI!
10. Tennis International Hall of Fame
Once known as the Newport Casino in 1881, this former social club became the location of the first U.S. National Lawn Tennis Championships (now the U.S. Open). The Tennis Hall of Fame’s lush grass courts are open to the public, inviting you to step into the footsteps of legends. Make a reservation, and immerse yourself in the rich history and exhilarating sport of tennis.
11. Cliff Walk
The ocean-side pathway, spanning a distance of 3.5 miles, provides the perfect location to admire the magnificent Gilded Age mansions of the city. The Cliff Walk is accessible to everyone, free of charge, and open daily from sunrise to sunset.
12. Tour the Breakers Mansion
Take a tour of the mansions with a trolley tour which also includes access to the mansion!
Constructed between 1893 and 1895, the Breakers stands as the most magnificent and spacious among the Newport Mansions. Originally intended as Cornelius Vanderbilt II’s summer “cottage,” this 125,000-square-foot residence and its expansive 13-acre grounds are available for self-guided tours every day.
Click here to book your Newport Gilded Age Trolley Tour. This tour will sell out!
13. Come for Newport’s Famous Music Festivals
Come for Newport’s seasonal music festivals! The Newport Jazz Festival is a world-renowned music event that started in 1954. This 3-day festival will be held at Fort Adams State Park and offer a lineup of some of the greats in jazz, R&B, funk, Latin, and more!
Newport Folk Festival was founded in 1959 by George Wein, who also founded the Newport Jazz Festival. It is held annually every July and offers a mix of folk, blues, country, and rock-and-roll music with some of the most popular acts in each genre around.
Last but not least is the Newport Classical Music Festival which started in 1969 and takes place during the summer months at different venues in Newport.
14. Wine tasting (or beer tasting!)
Spend your day relaxing and sipping on some local grapes! There are three vineyards in the Newport area to visit including Newport Vineyards in Middletown, Greenvale Vineyards in Portsmouth, and Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyards in Little Compton. I personally love Greenvale as they have a large outdoor space, live music, and food trucks- usually a pizza and chowder truck!
Prefer beer over wine? Established in 1999 by a group of four college friends, Newport Craft Brewing & Distilling Company now offers a selection of over 10 beers on tap at their tasting room. Visitors can also enjoy sampling spirits produced at the distillery, such as the official rum of the New York Mets, Thomas Tew Rum.
15. Sail in Newport Harbor
Newport is renowned for its sailing culture and offers endless possibilities to experience the water. Embark on a morning or afternoon cruise to witness the splendor of the harbor from a unique perspective on the water!
Prefer to stay on land? The Sailing Museum is one of the latest additions to Newport. It’s open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Click here to book your Newport cruise. (Plus some boat-side mimosas!)
16. Visit Museums
If beaches aren’t your thing, Newport offers a wide selection of museums to explore. Start your journey at the Museum of Newport History to discover the city’s prominent figures, rich history, and impressive architecture. Art lovers shouldn’t miss the Newport Art Museum and the National Museum of American Illustration.
For naval history enthusiasts, the Naval War College Museum showcases the history of Narragansett Bay, the Naval Torpedo Station, and the Naval War College. Reservations are required for non-base access. The Audrain Automobile Museum houses a collection of cars from different eras and features racing simulators.
Lastly, don’t forget to visit the stunning Rough Point Museum, once the home of Doris Duke, where you can admire fashion collections, fine arts, decorative arts, and breathtaking ocean views.
17. Scenic Drive on Ocean Drive
Ocean Drive in Newport, also known as the 10 Mile Drive, is a super popular and iconic attraction! This scenic route offers a whopping 10 miles of absolutely stunning coastline views and passes by some seriously magnificent mansions.
Originally used by rich New Yorkers visiting their summer cottages, Ocean Drive now has so much more to offer than just breathtaking views. It’s home to attractions like Fort Adams State Park, Gooseberry Beach, yacht clubs, and Castle Hill Inn and Resort.
You can enjoy public access shoreline for awesome activities like swimming, fishing, and kite flying. I’d recommend starting at Thames Street and ending on Bellevue Avenue to truly experience this drive.
18. Explore downtown Newport and take a food tour!
Experience the best of Newport with a unique walking tour that combines history and culinary delights. Explore the city’s fascinating past, from before the American Revolution to the Gilded Age and beyond, as your guide leads you to five top-rated restaurants.
Indulge in food and drink tastings along the 1.5-mile journey, and get ready to satisfy your appetite while learning about over 300 years of Newport’s rich history.
Click here to book your Newport Walking Food Tour. Bring your appetite.
19. Go shopping
Charter Books in Newport is a beautiful bookstore on Broadway that is worth checking out as well as Peckham’s Greenhouse. It is a bit outside Newport but a cute area to drive through with lots of farmland, and farmer’s food stands.
Best Restaurants in Newport RI
Newport is a foody dream! Check out the variety of farm fresh food and freshly caught seafood menus.
Jo’s American Bistro
A diverse menu with plenty of meat and seafood options
Midtown Oyster Bar
Try some raw oysters or seafood small plates, as well as the rooftop decks. Perfect for cocktails on a summer day!
A French-inspired restaurant in a hip space.
Seafood-heavy restaurant right on the docks in Newport!
The Lawn at Castle Hill
Open seasonally, right on the water with incredible views.
Best Places to Stay in Newport RI
Newport is full of quaint bed and breakfasts with close proximity to the beach, full of New England nautical decor and charm.
Best Bed and Breakfast: Town and Tide Inn
This bed and breakfast offers stylish accommodations and beautiful gardens on-site. It is conveniently located within walking distance of the harbor and beaches.
Visitors at the Town & Tide Inn will have easy access to numerous popular attractions in the area. Historic Colonial homes and mansions, delightful local eateries, and the picturesque waterfront are all just a short distance away.
Guests can also indulge in a daily gourmet breakfast served in the dining room or in the garden during the appropriate season.
Click here to book Town and Tide Inn now!
Best Historic Pick: Serenity Inn
This bed and breakfast is situated in a historic hill neighborhood, occupying a Victorian house constructed in 1855. It is conveniently located just a few blocks away from downtown Newport, where you can explore numerous shops and restaurants.
The Serenity Inn Newport offers rooms adorned with European-style furnishings, each equipped with a private bathroom.
Within a 10-minute drive from the inn, you can find the 450-acre Norman Bird Sanctuary, boasting 7 miles of scenic hiking trails. Newport State Airport is a little over 5 minutes away, and the city center of Newport can be reached within a 4-minute drive.
Click here to book Serenity Inn Newport now!
Best Beachside Pick: The Attwater
The Attwater is ideally located just a 5-minute drive from Easton’s Beach. It offers convenient on-site fitness facilities as well as free wifi.
Each guest room at The Attwater features a flat-screen cable TV and a refrigerator. Some suites even include a seating area with a sofa. The private bathrooms are equipped with a hairdryer and bathrobes.
Guests staying at The Attwater in Newport have access to a shared lounge area. The hotel is conveniently located 1.6 miles away from The Cliffwalk, and Newport Country Club is just an 11-minute drive away. Free parking is available on-site.
Click here to book The Attwater now!
Wrap-up: Newport RI Beaches and Things to Do
Newport RI is a great destination for couples and families alike. With its stunning beaches, cultural attractions, incredible restaurants, and a variety of activities to explore, Newport’s beaches have something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a quiet escape or an energizing getaway, Newport Beach RI will have something to offer!