My husband and I never got to go on our honeymoon due to us getting married two weeks before the country shut down for COVID-19. And for our first wedding anniversary, COVID was still prevalent, and Texas went through a major snowstorm. So for our second anniversary, we decided to do a weekend in Newport, Rhode Island.
Because we were doing something for my brother’s birthday the following weekend, and due to last-minute planning, we chose a location nearby that we haven’t had the chance to visit just yet. After looking at AirBnB, we found the cutest bed and breakfast and realized that Newport, Rhode Island, would be where we would spend the weekend before our second wedding anniversary.
Now, Newport isn’t a romantic getaway per-se, which is what I loved. I wanted to learn about the history and do cool stuff, so I did plenty of research on what we could do. And since we went in February, which is the off-season, things were much cheaper, and the town was a bit more empty. But, everything I will share about how to do a weekend in Newport, Rhode Island, stands true.
How To Get to Newport, RI
Since we live in South Boston, driving to Newport didn’t take long. Depending on where you are in New England or the surrounding states, it can take 1-4 hours to drive.
If you are flying outside the Northeast, you can fly into Boston and either rent a car or take public transit. Driving from Boston Logan International Airport is an hour and a half to two hours max (unless there’s major traffic). If you decide to take public transit, be prepared to lose a day. Google Maps is your best bet to figure out what public transit to take since it can vary by time of day.
Where to Stay in Newport, RI
I am not the biggest fan of AirBnB’s, but they can come in handy in small towns. We were able to find the cutest little bed and breakfast that I FELL IN LOVE WITH. The room called the Green Terrace Room, featured an outside private terrace entrance, a cobblestone patio with a water fountain, a queen bed, and a cute little kitchenette. Did I mention the room was safari-themed? They also have a pool and hot tub, which were closed since we did go in the winter.
The location was perfect for us who wanted to feel secluded, but still close to town. The beach was a five-minute walk; Newport Mansions was a 10-minute walk and downtown was a quick 4-5 minute drive. There was also a shuttle stop nearby, but we drove since it was the off-season and driving was easier (and warmer).
If you are interested in staying at the Airbnb we stayed at, you can find it here.
Other places we looked at were:
What to do in Newport, Rhode Island
Since we were there in the winter, we couldn’t just spend the entire weekend at the beach. So I found some cool stuff to do that I hope you decide to do as well.
Visit Simmons Farm and Hike with Goats
Thinking you can hang with the goats? I thought I could, but I couldn’t. Hiking with goats is such a fun and unique adventure that I HIGHLY recommend. My husband and I had a blast and were laughing so hard. We had a bachelorette party in our group who were laughing as hard as we were. You will be covered in mud by the end, trust me. Thankfully, we got free cups of hot chocolate. In the summer, you get a free cup of lemonade to cool down.
You can check out their website for goat hike tickets and other events they have on the farm. The link is here. I will note that this isn’t technically in Newport, Rhode Island, but there is a bus stop nearby. In this case, I would say drive if you can since they have a decent parking lot.
Tour the Newport Mansions
We took a stroll back in time to see how the Vanderbilts (and other famous families) lived their best, wealthiest lives in their summer “cottages”. While we couldn’t see their entire house, the parts we did see made my eyes pop out. I could not imagine living life in a huge 70-room house (The Breakers).
You can plan your visit through their website here. We did The Breakers on Saturday and the Marble House on Sunday. Since only two houses were opened when we visited, we bought the Newport Mansions Duo for $34 each. They have an audio tour, but I just read the notes they handed out about the houses and eventually bought a book about the Newport Mansions.
Sit at the Beach
We didn’t sit at the beach since we didn’t have beach chairs or towels and it was too cold to sit in the sand. So we just walked along Easton’s Beach, or First Beach as called by the locals, where we looked for shells, watched the seagulls run around and admired the brave surfers braving the cold. Parking was free and easy to find, but again, we were in the off-season. There is a shuttle stop nearby so don’t stress too much about finding parking if you don’t mind just taking the shuttle.
Visit Fort Adams State Park
Named after President John Adams, Fort Adams is a former U.S. Army Post located in Newport. It was established on July 4, 1799. The tour is full of history and is quite interesting. During the week, they have guided tours at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. During the weekend, they have hourly tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. I highly recommend driving here, but there is plenty of parking. You can also find a gorgeous sunset here too.
You can plan your trip and get tickets here.
Do the Cliff Walk
The Cliff Walk is 3.5 miles of beauty winding its way along the Eastern shore that shows off Newport’s shoreline with views of the Newport mansions. No matter where you look, you will find gorgeous views of the water and mansions. To make the walk more fun, you can try to find the 16 QR code trail markers that were installed to inform you of the gilded age mansions as well as geographic and geological features.
Use extreme caution and watch where you’re walking. The area can be uneven and you don’t want to fall off the cliff and hit yourself on the rocks. We started from Easton’s Beach and parked our car there. There are shuttle stops on both ends so plan ahead if you decide you don’t want to the entire walk.
Along Bowen’s and Bannister’s Wharves, you will find beautiful historic cobblestone paths lined with local boutiques, galleries, artisans, restaurants, and more! I got a few touristy items, ate some damn good food and I bought a book on the Newport Mansions at their gift shop.
Where to Eat
While I knew that we were in the off-season and it wouldn’t be crazy booked, I made reservations regardless. I am not a patient person, and knowing that our days would be filled, I made sure to book those reservations ahead of time.
Here is a list of places we ate at during our weekend in Newport, Rhode Island.
Malt on Broadway
We ordered the calamari, the Malt Burger, Smithwick’s Battered Fish, and Chips, the Marscapone Cheesecake, a hot toddy, and the Blackberry Flirtini. The best thing was the Malt Burger. My husband and I split it was damn. It was the best burger we had on the whole trip. You need to call to make reservations, but I highly recommend it. Website.
22 Bowen’s Wine Bar & Grille
We ordered the half dozen oysters, Nutella Stuffed French Toast, the Surf & Turf Burger, and mimosas. The best we ate was the Nutella Stuffed French Toast and obviously oysters. You can make reservations using the OpenTable app. I should note that this place is popular so make sure to make reservations ahead of time. Website.
The Fifth Element
The Fifth Element was the only place where most of our food was special. They had specials where we ate lobster macaroni and cheese, chicken and shrimp pad Thai, and the two things we ordered from the menu: the Creamy Cheesecake with Blueberry Compote and Raspberry Ice Martini. The food and cocktails were so damn good.
If they offer you any specials, take them. You can make a reservation using the Resy app. Website.
We ordered the smoked salmon quesadilla, Diego’s breakfast torta with a side of chorizo, the hibiscus mimosa, and the Java Juice. Do not get the quesadilla, but I highly recommend the torta. You can get the torta for $8 if you order a cocktail, which was the hibiscus mimosa. But the Java Juice stole the show. While I was worried it would taste weird, we were surprised at how delicious it was and we regretted not asking one to go.
You can make a reservation using the Resy app. Website.
I am listing a few tips that can help you make the most out of your Newport, Rhode Island trip.
- If you are doing the entire Cliff Walk, it does take 2.5 – 3 hours. Plan ahead.
- Take a car if you can. While there are shuttles, it’s good to have to get to places further away from downtown.
- Newport can get pricey so I highly recommend going during the off-season. Parking was free most of the time and the shuttles weren’t filled.
- Check the weather. We didn’t and we got to experience snow.
- Reserve everything ahead of time, if you can, especially during the on-season.
My weekend in Newport, Rhode Island was so much fun! I hope to return soon to eat more, explore more of the rooftops and explore the mansions. If I return, I will continue to update this blog post.