Newport, Rhode Island

Second Beach in Middletown, Rhode Island

A trip to New England doesn’t typically come to mind first when thinking of a sunny summer vacation. However, a trip to Rhode Island’s beautiful, historic Newport should not be overlooked in favor of more tropical destinations. Although there is not a palm tree to be found, there are a handful of gorgeous beaches, beautiful parks, amazing restaurants, unique shops, and wonderful cruise opportunities.

A cloudy day on Newport's Second Beach

As an added bonus, Rhode Island summers tend to stay a bit more moderate than the rest of the beach destinations on this list. Most of the time, summer temperatures stay in the comfortable upper 70s-low 80s range, which is the ideal temperature for the activities listed above.

While you may not be able to swim, you can enjoy relaxing at the beach much more in these temperatures rather than the hot, humid weather typical at other beaches in the South. Hiking, biking, taking a cruise, etc. are also much more enjoyable in the temperate climate.

Newport is home to beautiful First and Second Beach. Second Beach, pictured below, offers scenic views and smooth sand. The water is surprisingly warm, and occasionally the temps are high enough to take a quick dip. First Beach, is conveniently located next to the famous Newport Mansions.

Beautiful Second Beach in Middletown, Rhode Island

Be sure to plan a trip to the Newport Mansions. If you only have time for one, stick to The Breakers, an amazing 137,000 square feet property once the summer home of the Vanderbilts. Also be sure to take a stroll along the Oceanfront path known as CliffWalk. This relaxing journey will offer you the best photographic opportunities of the coast and mansions in the city.

40 stone steps on Newport's CliffWalk - Rhode Island

Newport’s 10 Mile Drive is also worthy of a visit. Here you will be treated to more mansion views, scenic coastal views, and pretty views of the New England countryside. Be sure to plan a break at Gooseberry Beach – Newport’s private yet open to the public beach. Amazing views here from every angle! And much quieter than the other beaches!

Dark, cloudy day on Newport's Gooseberry Beach - Rhode Island

A walk around Newport’s historic Thames Street is a must. There are so many fantastic restaurants to choose from, with everything you can think of, ranging from seafood to pubs to Italian. Mamma Luisa’s is the top authentic Italian restaurant in town.

Mamma Luisa- Thames Street - Newport, RI

Other fun activities in the area include:

Gansett cruises – Great cruise company offering morning, afternoon, or evening voyages with a special local treat. You will learn a lot about the area, in addition to relaxing and taking in the gorgeous views.

Newport, Rhode Island harbor

Sachuest Point Wildlife Refuge – Amazing nature walk with great views of the coast! Ample opportunities for bird watching and deer spotting. A quiet place to walk the trails and enjoy the beautiful Rhode Island coast.

Ocean View Loop at Sachuest Point Wildlife Refuge Center - Newport, RI

Bowen’s Wharf – Beautiful marina with brick walkways, great harbor views, waterfront restaurants, and plenty of unique shops. Aquidneck Lobster Bar is an excellent seafood restaurant overlooking the harbor.