Family Vacations to Newport, Rhode Island

Sailing by the Castle Inn off the coast of Newport, Rhode Island
Sailing by the Castle Inn off the coast of Newport, Rhode Island (courtesy, Newport County Convention & Visitor's Bureau)

Newport Family Travel Tips

Founded in 1639, Newport soon became the most important port in colonial Rhode Island. It was used as a pirate base during the 17th and early 18th centuries, was the site of a major operation during the Revolutionary War, and later became a vacation spot for wealthy families from the mid-19th century on. The influx of summer residents led to the building of luxurious mansions and summer cottages, many of which still stand today.

A trip to Newport's Historic District treats visitors to a large selection of colonial homes and Gilded Age mansions, many of which have been lovingly restored and preserved. Other historic landmarks include the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum.

Newport boasts a rich maritime history dating back centuries, which can be experienced at the Museum of Newport History as well as Fort Adams, a military post in use from the early 1800s to the 1960s that's now open for guided tours and also houses the Museum of Yachting. The seaside location means Newport boasts diverse marine life, and you can learn all about it at the Save the Bay Exploration Center.

Native animals, birds, and plants abound in this quaint New England locale. The Norman Bird Sanctuary is a 450-acre wildlife refuge offering family-oriented activities and ample opportunity to witness the area's natural world in action. To take in some beautiful beach scenery, just head for the shoreline. Brenton Point State Park, Aqiudneck Island, Easton's Beach, and the Newport Cliff Walk, a 3.5-mile public-access walkway along the shoreline, are all great areas to enjoy the sand and surf. Whether you're looking for sand, sea, or early American history, a trip to Newport will fit the bill.

Published: 4 Mar 2009 | Last Updated: 30 Mar 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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