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Marble House, Newport, Rhode Island

How to spend one perfect day in Newport RI

I recently spent one day in the adorable tourist town of Newport.

Newport sits on the coast of Rhode Island and was once a location for wealthy American families to built their summer homes. The glamorous mansions are now a destination where tourists can come to learn about that rich history, making it a perfect place to experience how the upper class lived in the 1800s.

Newport is just a 45 minute drive from Providence or a 1.5 hour drive from Boston, and is a great destination for a relaxing day trip out of the city. Here’s my suggestions for how to spend one day in Newport RI!

Newport day trip itinerary map

Newport day trip itinerary:

  1. Newport town centre
  2. Fort Adams
  3. Castle Hill Inn
  4. Brenton Point State Park
  5. Cliff Walk
  6. Mansions

Newport guided tour option:

If you won’t have a car to use while in Newport or if you’d prefer to see the sights on a guided tour, there are multiple companies offering transport around the area. I’d suggest one that includes admission into two of the mansions, such as this Trolley Tour with Breakers & Marble House, as it’ll be the best value for money.

Itinerary for one day in Newport RI:

Sweets in Newport, Rhode Island

10:00 AM – Newport town centre

Start your day in Newport by heading into town early for some breakfast and a wander around. The town centre is full of adorable colonial buildings, so make sure your camera battery is charged! Take a walk around Bowen’s Wharf, then along Thames Street in either direction for restaurants, cafes, and boutique stores.

Fort Adams, Newport, Rhode Island

11:00 AM – Fort Adams

Drive 15 minutes to Fort Adams, a fort built around the time of the Civil War to defend the US coastline from threats across the Atlantic. It stayed in action until WWII, and is now a historic site and museum. You can walk around the exterior of the fortress on your own, but you must tour the fortress to go inside (weekends hourly from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM, weekdays 12:00 PM and 2:00 PM). The tour takes about an hour and is run by knowledgable guides.

Castle Hill Inn, Newport, Rhode Island
Oysters in Newport, Rhode Island

12:00 PM – Lunch at Castle Hill Inn

Just around the corner from Fort Adams is Castle Hill Inn, a gorgeous hotel perched on the hilltop with a top-notch restaurant. The dining room has an amazing view over Narragansett Bay and is known for its seafood dishes, so this is the perfect place to try some local lobster, clams, fish, or oysters.

Newport, Rhode Island

1:00 PM – Brenton Point State Park

Next, drive along Ocean Ave to Brenton Point State Park. This spot is very pretty and peaceful, with rocks jutting out into the ocean and people flying kites in the park. Ocean Ave continues to follow the coastline and is scenic all the way up to the point where it reaches Bellevue Ave.

The Cliff Walk, Newport, Rhode Island

2:00 PM – Cliff Walk

The Cliff Walk is a hefty 3.5 miles long, but don’t worry – you don’t have to do all of it! The ocean side path begins around Easton’s Beach and follows the shoreline, taking you in front of the mansions. There are multiple access points from the road, one of which is Marine Avenue where there is some parking along the roadside.

Marble House, Newport, Rhode Island
Mansions in Newport, Rhode Island

3:00 PM – Newport mansions

The mansions of Newport are really more like palaces. These mansions are truly excessive, as the upper class of the 1800s lived a truly decadent (and also fairly wasteful!) lifestyle.

There are 11 mansions owned by the Preservation Society that are open to the public. The Breakers is arguably the largest and most popular, and the stunning Marble House is pictured above. You can get single tickets for each mansion, or discounted tickets to visit 2 or 3. 

Most of the mansions will include an audio tour with tickets (which lasts about 40 minutes) and you are free to wander around the grounds as you please afterwards. Last entry is at 4:00 PM, so if you’re going to do more than one mansion, make sure you add in some extra time.

Newport, Rhode Island

5:00 PM – Dinner in Newport

Head back into Newport for dinner. There are plenty of places to eat, many offering a selection of seafood options. If you’re interested in making the most of the local food scene, it might be worth hopping on a Newport food tour while you’re in town.

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