Newport, Rhode Island is a place we both often say has a special place in our hearts. What started as a place we stopped by briefly on our way from an anniversary vacation to Provincetown, MA, turned into a place that we look forward to visiting, regardless of how many times we’ve been there.
Recently on our blog’s Instagram, we were asked in our DMs if we had any tips for visiting Newport, RI because they noticed that we’ve gone there a lot. If you’ve researched Newport, RI, you probably know that it can be a little pricey during peak season, so they were wondering what recommendations we had for things to do and see. In today’s post, we thought we’d share some of the things we’ve learned during our visits that might be helpful for you! We figured that rather than bullet-pointing each point, we’d phrase them in question format in hopes of making the post a little more reader-friendly – especially considering some of these were posed as questions when we were initially asked.
I want to preface that we’re not locals to Newport, so we’re writing this from the perspective of tourists who have frequently visited Newport and have learned a few things from our visits. We thought it might be helpful, since we’ve been asked about Newport before, to share some of those things in a blog post. If you’re looking to explore Newport from a local’s perspective, I’d highly recommend Jess Ann Kirby’s guide to Newport.
WHAT’S THE BEST TIME TO VISIT BOWEN’S & BANNISTER’S WHARF?
In our opinion, the mornings are the best time if you’re hoping to explore the wharf without the crowds, but everything is pretty much closed during that time. We’ve been at various times during the day, but we’ve enjoyed the mornings more because there’s a lot more space to move around and see what’s there, even if some of the establishments aren’t open yet. It makes for a serene and quiet place to walk around while drinking your cup of coffee. It’s a great time to view the water, get a close-up on some of the boats on the wharf, and see what’s around so that by the time dinner comes you already know where you want to eat and what activities (such as sailing) that you’d want to participate in.
WHAT’S THE BEST TIME TO VISIT NEWPORT?
Honestly, this depends on the experience you’re hoping for and whether you’re hoping to experience Newport with the crowds or without them. It also depends on your preference for the weather because it gets very cold in New England, especially along the coastline. However, we personally have deduced that the late spring/early summer time is probably the best time to go if you’re hoping to enjoy Newport with the weather being a little warmer without it being too hot and if you’re hoping to enjoy some of the seasonal activities without the huge summer rush that tends to come on some of the major holidays. We visited Newport in April and while we enjoyed it, it was still pretty cold. We’ve also gone during the summer in July and in August and both were very hot some days during our trip there, so we’re guessing that somewhere around middle-late May and early June would be ideal.
We also recommend (if you can do so) going during the week rather than the weekend because hotel rooms are cheaper and you can experience a lot without as many people.
WHAT’S THE BEST TIME TO VISIT OCEAN DRIVE?
Personally, we love visiting Ocean Drive in the early mornings and around dinnertime, during the week. On the weekends during the summer, there are a lot of people flying kites, so Benton State Park can get a bit crowded and can be difficult to find parking spots, depending on when you go. However, we’ve never run into a problem finding a parking spot during those times of the day.
WHAT ARE SOME SPOTS AROUND NEWPORT THAT YOU’D RECOMMEND TRAVELING TO?
One of the many reasons why we love staying in Newport, RI is its proximity to some major cities and other towns. It’s just a short drive away from Boston, Narragansett, Mystic, and Providence. We have even gone to Maine from Newport! We’ve often driven outside of Newport to visit some of these places and would definitely recommend you do the same!
DO YOU RECOMMEND THE COFFEE GRINDER?
We wrote a post about The Coffee Grinder a while back and we both would visit at least once during our trips to Newport because the coffee was good and the barista was so friendly! The views were also great too because it was truly nothing like getting a cup of coffee and a pastry while sitting on chairs facing the dock. However, I believe they closed their original location, but I think they might be reopening elsewhere! Let’s hope so as we love their coffee!
WHAT IS A RESTAURANT YOU’D RECOMMEND FOR SEAFOOD IF YOU’RE VISITING FOR THE FIRST-TIME?
Definitely Flo’s Clam Shack. It’s one of those places we HAVE to go to whenever we’re in Newport because we find ourselves craving it every trip. While there are other restaurants that sell great seafood, Flo’s is reasonably priced and you still get good quality seafood. We’re always satisfied with our meals and with the portion sizes.
WHAT HOTELS OR INNS DO YOU RECOMMEND WHEN VISITING NEWPORT ON A BUDGET?
We love the Marshall Sloculm Inn. We cannot speak highly enough of the innkeepers and how thorough they are. We also enjoyed The Attwater, but it was very…um expensive. Like $300 a night expensive – probably even more now. We SAVED for that trip, y’all, because whew, haha. It was a lesson learned with that one, and a very long story regarding why we ended up staying there in the first place as opposed to somewhere else, but it was a beautiful experience. It’s just now something I’d recommend if you’re hoping to save some money on lodging. There are also a few other inns in the area that we’ve heard good things about. The hotels we also here are nice, but we’d recommend sticking to inns since they’re a little bit cheaper but you still get a great experience while there.
WHAT ACTIVITIES WOULD YOU RECOMMEND DOING IF YOU’RE VISITING FOR THE FIRST TIME?
If you’ve never been to Newport before and you’re visiting for the very first time, I’d highly recommend that you try to do Rail Explorers (post coming eventually on our experience with this haha), visit some of the historical mansions in the area such as Breakers, view the ocean along Ocean Drive, go on a sailing cruise at least once, walk along the wharf and view the boats in the dock, visit one of the car museums, and of course, eat copious amounts of seafood. We have some other recommendations, but I think if you’ve never been before, those are things you should try to do at least during the first visit.
What about you? Have you ever been to Newport? If not, are there any questions you have about Newport?