3 Days in Newport, Rhode Island with the Kids
Are you looking for a quick 3 day New England getaway? From stunning sceneries and historic mansions to beachside resorts and yacht tours, Newport, Rhode Island, is one of the country’s most beautiful and kid-friendly vacation destinations. The coastal city has a rich history in sailing, art, culture, food, and architecture, so much so that there is something for everyone in Newport.
Even in this short time, you can still get a good feel for this small, historic city and have a fantastic experience in just a few days.
From swimming to sightseeing and eating local dishes, we had a fun time in Newport, and I want to share with you our 3 days in Newport, Rhode island in this guide of the famous coastal city. This guide to Newport contains information on where to stay, places to visit, and things to bring along on your trip.
A few notes about our 3 days in Newport:
- I opted for a weekday trip due to prior weekend obligations and knew it would be less busy during the week.
- Our goal while there was to see the majestic mansions, bringing a learning element to the trip.
- We stayed in our Winnebago Solis Pocket Camper van – but I will suggest a few non-van overnight options.
Where To Stay In Newport, Rhode Island?
We arrived on Tuesday afternoon and checked into our campground:
Meadowlark Park Mobile Home And RV Park
Meadowlark park mobile home and RV park is a campground reserved especially for camper vans, trucks, and RVs. Family-friendly playgrounds, Wi-Fi, picnic tables, laundry facilities, and more are all available for you to enjoy here. The park is just 1 mile from the beach and 2.5 miles from Newport, and my family stayed here during our visit because we wanted to stay as close to Newport as possible. The park was okay, but there are no bathrooms, so you must be self-contained.
There are other campgrounds scattered around Rhode Island, but not many are close to the main attractions in Newport. You can use RV parky and Ioverlander to find free stealth camping grounds for your family.
Hotels and Suites
You can also stay in hotels while in Newport. The Newport Harbor Hotel and Marina is a good choice if you need accommodation in the downtown Newport area. The hotel is located in the heart of downtown Newport, close to the area’s main tourist attractions, restaurants, and shops.
Surrounding the hotel are dozens of ships and docks, which gives visitors a great way to explore the city by the sea. There are also other hotels and short-let apartments available for rent in Newport.
Airbnb or VRBO
For large families and people who want to enjoy being a part of the Newport community, there are local houses available for rent in Newport. Many include inns, lighthouses, loading docks, and other places. The Moore House, Cliffside inn, and Rose island lighthouse are family-friendly choices. These houses are part of the Newport community’s historical heritage and serve as a museum and accommodation for visitors.
Kids-Friendly And Family Fun Things To Do In Newport, Rhode Island
Our MAIN reason for our 3 days in Newport was to explore and educate my girls on the historic mansions of Newport. But, while there, we found SO many other amazing things to do. This list includes fun things to enjoy in Newport as a family and other kid-friendly places to visit while in Newport.
Learn About and Visit The Mansions
Every year, thousands of tourists flood the streets of Newport to enjoy the breathtaking views of Newport’s historic mansions, architecture, design, and décor. Many of these mansions were built to mirror the appearances of Italian and French villas. The Breakers mansion is the most famous of Newport’s mansions, and my girls were thrilled to visit the building. The mansion is located at 44 Ochre Point Avenue.
Like other buildings and structures in Newport, the Breakers mansion also has a rich history dating back to the 19th century. The estate was built for Cornelius Vanderbilt II to symbolize the Vanderbilt’s family financial and social prowess at the beginning of the 19th century.
The breakers mansion features 16th-century Greek and Roman architecture, central loggias, arches, and stone sculptures. The estate is a must-see in Newport, but it’s not the only mansion of historical significance. The Elms mansion, Rosecliff house, Marble house, and Kingscote mansion are also worth visiting.
We spent the day exploring The Breakers; due to Covid, many of the smaller ones were not open or had limited viewing, so we decided to focus on the most famous one there. The Breakers offers a kid-friendly audio tour, which tells you about the mansion, includes a mini- “Scavenger hunt,” and teaches you the period-related history and Vanderbilt family history. – Highly recommend it!
Visit and Swim In The Beach
We ALWAYS have bathing suits stashed away in the van, and it’s a good thing! Because when packing your gear for your trip to Newport, one thing you shouldn’t forget is your swimsuit because Newport is the perfect place to get your swim game on. My girls and I drove along Ocean Ave. to look at the mansions along the shoreline, only to find that there are also small beaches located along the road. Many of these beaches are free, and tourists are allowed to play and swim in the water.
You can also enjoy the beaches along the cliff walk. Easton Beach, Gooseberry Beach, and Fort Adams state park beach are all accessible to the public, and there are lifeguards on duty and restrictions to protect children.
Asides from the historical mansions, ocean views, and beaches, Newport is also home to the 3.5-mile cliff walk path, which stretches from Memorial boulevard to Bellevue Ave. From the cliff walk, you get to enjoy stunning views of the mansions in Newport as well as architecture, crashing waves, tunnels, and bridges around the coastal lines.
Locals claim that the cliff walk path along the shoreline was first outlined by deers even before the 1800s and was later developed by colonials that made home across the coastline to collect goods that floated ashore from shipwrecks. It’s advised to go along with a map, and you can download one from the cliff walk website.
Go Yacht Touring
Another kid-friendly thing to do in Newport is to go on boat or yacht tours. There are several yacht tours available for you to choose from. You can go on public tours with other families or private tours with your family. While on your tour, you can see other ships, loading docks, and harbors. You also get to learn more about the sailing history of Newport. Did you know that Newport used to host the Newport Bermuda Race and America’s Cup Match Race? I didn’t know this, but we learned about it on our yacht tour.
Eat Local and Exotic Dishes
What’s the aim of visiting a new place without trying out the food there? On our first evening there we ate at Vieste Italian restaurant. With outdoor seating and fantastic service, you can enjoy sizzling Italian dishes and live music in the evenings. Newport is also home to dozens of seafood restaurants.
My girls and I have made it our aim to find local donut shops wherever we visit and taste test their donuts. You can call it our little ritual, and at Newport, we found one of our best donut shops yet, Ma’s donut shop. The shop is located in Middletown, Rhode Island, a quick 10-15 min drive outside Newport and close to the campground. They also serve brewed coffee, hot and cold sandwiches, and more. It is the perfect place to get something for the road.
Take Night Walks
The buzz about the mansions, beaches, boats, and walking trails in Newport almost makes people forget that Newport also has incredible nightlife. From live music and game shows to sunset cruises and walks on the beach, Newport hosts several things for your family to enjoy at night.
My girls and I explored the waterfront shops and restaurants that stay open late into the evening to accommodate tourists making it possible for you to shop, eat, and still have fun at night.
If you want your kids to have the best time in Newport, you should sign them up for scavenger hunts. The Norman Bird Sanctuary (NBS) hosts a scavenger hunt and bingo game in Middletown for fun-seeking and adventurous kids. The kids get a bingo card and a list of items to scavenge or hunt for. The game is both educative and fun. The kids also get prizes and tags after completing the hunt. At NBS, the kids also see different flowers and birds in their natural habitats.
Visit The Ryan Arcade Games
If your kids love playing games, then spending a few hours at the Ryan arcade in Newport will excite them. The arcade is located at 268 Thanes Street, Newport, and it houses over 50 of the hottest kiddie games for kids of all ages to enjoy. It’s also a perfect opportunity for your kids to meet and make new friends.
Go Sailing With The Kids
Sailing allows families to get a more hands-on feel. This experience allows your kids to try and practice sailing with the guidance of an expert sailor. It’s perfectly safe, and you can go along with your kids if you want to.
Things To Take Along When Traveling To Newport, Rhode Island
Here are ten things you should take along on your trip to Newport, Rhode Island:
- Sunscreen – You need this to shield your skin from sunburn while relaxing on the beach or touring the shorelines
- Download the local Newport Rhode Island tourism apps – giving you weekly happenings, local maps, and more!
- Good walking shoes and clothes – you will need them!
- Beach Cover-up and towels
- Your bathing suit
- Food, drinks, and snacks in the car
- Hats, sunglasses, travel bag, and a camera
- Water bottles to carry water when walking or touring the cliff walk
- An Itinerary of ideas along with alternatives in case of weather or energy level – I offer a road trip planning service to help you with this part of your journey!
- If you’ll be camping – all your essential gear is relevant to your camping needs.
Tips To Follow When Traveling To Newport
The following expert tips will help you avoid problems and enjoy your trip to Newport better:
- Be Mindful Of The Highways On The East Coast
If traveling in an RV or camper van, you must be mindful of the highways on the east coast, starting in NY and going into New England. Many do not allow RVs to travel on them due to old aqueduct systems creating low clearances. I HIGHLY recommend purchasing an RV Garmin GPS or buying the app RV trip wizard
2. Get An Updated Map Of The Route To Newport
This is important, and it helps you to stay on track. It also lets you know where the nearest emergency stops are to shop, buy gas, or make repairs.
3. Go When There Is Minimal Rainfall
Visiting a city like Newport with heavy rainfall isn’t the best time to visit. It’s best to visit Newport at the end of spring or during the beginning of the autumn season. During this time, the temperature is excellent, and there is minimal rainfall so that you can enjoy the city better.
4. Book Tickets and Tours In Advance
Ticket and admission pass to tours are usually costlier when you want to purchase them on the day of. You enjoy discounts, avoid long queues, and plan your day ahead when you book in advance.
In summary, Newport is the perfect vacation destination for families and kids that want to experience a coastal life. Seashore mansions, coastal lines, sand beaches, yacht tours, and many more are available to make your visit to Newport memorable. Did we miss any of your favorite vacation spots in Newport? Let us know in the comments below.