Things to Do in Newport Rhode Island (That Aren’t Just Eating)

things to do in newport rhode island

I’ve already covered all the places to eat in Newport, Rhode Island, but what else can you do in this charming town? The answer is: a lot. It’s a great place if you prefer low-key nights of shopping or if you’re more outdoors-y and prefer boating or hiking.

Here are some activities to do while you’re in Newport, Rhode Island and the surrounding towns.

Visit Beavertail State Park

This park (which includes a lighthouse and museum) is located in Jamestown, Rhode Island. We had to travel through Jamestown to get to Newport, so this was a stop we made on our way into Newport.

It’s a small state park with a lighthouse, a small museum, and a tiny aquarium (it’s really just 10 tanks of fish and turtles – it’s probably only worth checking out if you have little ones). You can walk along the trails and cliffs, go fishing, or just take in the scenery of the ocean.

beavertail state park

beavertail state park lighthouse

beavertail state park views

fishing at beavertail state park

newport rhode island state park


Go on a Mansion Tour

If you ever want to see how the other half lived, you should invest in the Newport Mansion Tour. We chose the package with 5 mansions, and felt that was adequate. I don’t think you need to see ALL of them, just hit up the biggest ones, noted below.

You could do guided tours, but we did the self-guided ones. You walk in and get a headset with a tablet or phone attached and you can walk through the rooms and listen to the history at your own pace. We went mid-week to try to avoid peak tourist season, which I think helped. Only one of the five places was really crowded. Parking was easily available for all and there were signs to make everything easy.

  • Rosecliff
  • Marble House – Gorgeous marble throughout the mansion. Check out the backyard and the Chinese Tea House, too!
  • The Elms
  • The Breakers – This was the largest and most robust of the mansions.
  • Green Animals Topiary Garden – This is an outdoor topiary garden with shrubs in all sorts of fun shapes (dinosaurs, chairs, and more). The gardens themselves are beautiful too, with tons of flowers, fruits, vegetables, and more. You likely won’t spend more than 30 minutes here though, and is it a bit of a drive away from the other mansions (which are all within 5 minutes of one another).

You can see a more in-depth review of all the mansions here in my previous blog post.

selfie at the newport mansions

the breakers mansion newport

rosecliff mansion

Do The Cliff Walk

This famous trail is a public access walkway where you can see the shoreline, geology, and mansions. I had done the Cliff Walk previously when I visited Rhode Island back in college with my roommates. We only did part of the walk, strategically including the parts that ran by the mansions and Salve Regina University for the scenery (it’s 3.5 miles in total each way if you’re interested in doing the full thing). We started at Forty Steps and ended once we passed the mansions.
My tips would be wear sunscreen (there is no shade except for a few short tunnels), wear sneakers (parts of the walk are on uneven rocks, so you don’t want to slip or break your ankle), and bring water with you.

selfie at cliff walk

cliff walk photo

cliff walk newport

mansion view from cliff walk

cliff walk newport rhode island

newport RI cliff walk

cliff walk views newport

Stop by the International Tennis Hall of Fame

We popped our heads in to The International Tennis Hall of Fame to see what it looked like, but didn’t have time to make a formal stop. If you’re into tennis history, it may be worth a visit. It’s also just really gorgeous to look at – the greenery is amazing and the grounds are very well-kept.

tennis hall of fame newport
tennis hall of fame

Visit a Brewery or Winery

On a previous Newport trip for a wedding, we spent time at the Newport Vineyards and did a wine tasting. If you’re more into beer, check out Newport Craft Brewing & Distilling Co where they do brewery tours and beer tastings.

Hit Up a Beach

We didn’t go to a beach this time around, but when I visited Newport back in college we did. There are a few to choose from – they’re not as nice or large as beaches in NJ, but they’re good for some time in the sun or a quick swim. This is a good breakdown of the various beaches and their locations/costs.

Go Shopping

I wrote a whole post about where to shop in Newport. But some of my favorite spots were:


  1. Additional Restaurants for Consideration: A few additional local suggestions that we haven’t yet had the opportunity to try (there are some seriously great eats in Newport!): Perro Salado, Flo’s Clam Shack, The Mooring, Clarke Cooke House, Diego’s, Bouchard Inn Restaurants,   White Horse Tavern, and Revolving Door . Jess Ann Kirby : Get a local’s take on the best of Newport. This Newport-based blogger shares her go-to finds for fashion, brunch, holidays, etc.

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