Newport, RI, road trip with kids

Newport, Rhode Island, is known as the Classic Coast for good reason — the history of Bellevue Avenue is as interesting as it is beautiful. A town known for its rich history may seem daunting with kids, but Newport couldn’t be more family friendly — and it’s an easy 90-minute day trip from Boston!

The beaches

There are quite a few beaches between Newport and Middletown, the town adjacent to Newport, and they’re a great destination whether it’s beach weather or not! Easton’s Beach is the most popular and is super accessible from Bellevue Ave. and downtown Newport. It’s a very large, flat beach with ample parking and bathrooms, as well as a little aquarium. It can, however, get very crowded.

For this reason, many people prefer Sachuest Beach, known locally as Second Beach. It’s much more secluded and has bathrooms as well.

My family’s favorite is Third Beach. It’s a little cove with very calm water, and it’s rarely crowded. There are picnic tables and changing areas. It’s the rockiest of the beaches, so be sure to bring water shoes for little ones!

All three beaches do have parking fees, but they’re pretty minimal compared to some beach parking in the Boston area!

The mansions

Newport is known for its iconic mansions — formerly “summer cottages” to the likes of the Astors, Vanderbilts, and other wealthy New York City families. The Newport Preservation Society is now responsible for conserving the homes and their contents, and a number of them can be toured.

While the mansions are not stroller-friendly (strollers need to be parked outside the mansions), they are kid-friendly. There are family audio tours at the Breakers and Marble House, and our boys love finding the scavenger hunt treasures in each room. We do move through the mansions faster with the kids than we normally would, and we do have to give reminders not to touch things, but it’s definitely doable.

The Breakers also has a really beautiful lawn that overlooks the ocean and is a great place for kids to run free with a gorgeous backdrop!

The Cliff Walk

The 3.5-mile Cliff Walk is a wonderful place for an adventure with little ones. The mansions serve as the backdrop on one side of the trail, with panoramic ocean views on the other. Much of the walk is paved, and there are great spots to climb, run, and play along the way.

The food

Newport has so many great restaurants to choose from, and many have outdoor seating — always helpful for built-in entertainment with kids.

One of our favorite places to wander in Newport is Bowen’s Wharf, and the Wharf Southern Kitchen has been one of our go-to restaurants for years. From our first trip to Newport when we were dating, to dinner with my parents just before our wedding, to our now-5-year-old’s request for “the best tater tots in Newport” every time we go, the Wharf is a staple for us.

Smoke House is a seasonal favorite with all the classic barbecue dishes plus great burgers and sandwiches — and a family-size platter of pulled pork nachos!

For classic seafood dishes — from clamcakes to lobster rolls to fresh scallops — Flo’s Clam Shack is the place to go.

We also love packing lunch and snacks or picking up takeout for a picnic at Brenton Point State Park.

One of the best things about Newport is that you really can make it a day trip — with kids — with minimal planning. The downtown area along Thames Street is super walkable, and all of the main things to do and see are really close to each other.

One day, when our kids are older, we’ll share a toast at Newport Vineyards to all the memories we’ve made in Rhode Island over the years; but until then, you’ll find us sipping our Del’s Lemonades somewhere on the grounds of the Elms, reminiscing about the day my husband and I took our wedding photos there and soaking up the quintessential coastal New England charm around every corner.