No wonder why Newport remains a very popular destination for many tourists and has served as a residence for the wealthy throughout history. We recently took a two hour drive from Boston to visit this historical port city and its famous 19th century mansions, but I did not know the area had such a magnificent natural beauty.
Newport’s Main Attraction: Its Mansions
Many visitors that come to Newport stop at its city center to enjoy its museums, historical buildings and a wharf filled with shops and restaurants.
Located nearby are the mansions built by some of the wealthiest families in American history and considered Newport’s most visited attractions. These former private estates now are controlled by the Preservation Society of Newport County and are located just east of downtown along the coast.
To visit the mansions, you can purchase a 5 property pass that will give you the ability to choose between 11 different homes and see them at your own pace since it is not dated and it doesn’t expire.
Each immense home has its own character and still retains the charm built by their former inhabitants.
If you are short on time, I recommend going to at least one to understand the financial power of these individuals and to listen to their stories from a guided tour.
The Main Reason to Come: A Stunning Coastline!
Even though we were delighted by the old town and the magnificent estates, nothing can describe the spectacular scenery of the area.
The city’s shoreline Cliff Walk is a wonderful way to experience this beauty. This well maintained 3.5 mile trail, journeys along Newport’s rugged cliffs and affords stunning views of the mansions and the Atlantic coast.
Tip: You can also drive along a 10 mile scenic Ocean Drive, not far from the cliffs, for more rocky coastline and even some quiet beaches.
If you enjoy forts and historical military buildings, drive 15 minutes from Newport to visit Fort Adams. The fort was built between 1824 and 1857 and is one of the largest in the nation. I recommend taking a guided tour as they are really knowledgeable and will take you to areas that are usually off limits to general visitors.
If you are heading to Newport, expect to spend an entire day in the area. During the summer, the place gets packed, but it dies down during the fall and winter months. Not to worry though as you can still enjoy the town year round because most of the mansions and downtown are always open for business.