Beaches are ubiquitous in the Ocean State, and that means when you visit Newport, Rhode Island, you'll have your pick of places to play in the sand and surf. Beach time is the ideal way to balance out a vacation that will likely include active days spent touring Newport's famous mansions, strolling the Cliff Walk, shopping along the waterfront, sightseeing from a cruise boat or sailing yacht, exploring Fort Adams, and maybe even playing tennis on the historic grass courts at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. So, you'll want to head to the best of the best Newport-area beaches when you can squeeze in seaside downtime. Here's a look at the most inviting stretches of seashore near Newport, RI.
Fort Adams Beach
This beach is tiny at just 225 feet long. But if you're looking for a place for a quick dip in the heart of everything—and you don't want to pay to park—you should know that this possibility awaits inside Fort Adams State Park. Better known for its historic fortress and summertime jazz and folk festivals, the park's beach is located near Sail Newport, and it's an ideal spot to plant a chair and watch sailboats catching bay breezes. There's a concession stand nearby, too, or you're welcome to carry in your own seaside feast.
This privately owned little beach off Newport's Ocean Drive is less exclusive than most casual Newport tourists realize. You'll pay $25 to park here in season, and the beach is only open to non-members from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but the tame waves are perfect for young swimmers, and you'll feel hidden away from the crowds that populate the city's better-known beaches. Another plus: The food served by the Gooseberry Cafe outshines typical beach snack bar grub.
It may be crowded in the summertime, but for sheer convenience, Easton's Beach (a.k.a. First Beach) can't be beat. The largest public beach in Newport is located at the start of the Cliff Walk, and there are plentiful amenities right here including a store that rents everything from boogie boards to umbrellas. The Easton's Beach Snack Bar is famous for its affordable twin lobster rolls (just protect them from aggressive seagulls).
Just a walk along this almost-mile-long crescent of white sand will soothe your spirits. A ride on the vintage carousel will make you feel like a kid again. And if you happen to be vacationing with kids, they'll love Save the Bay's beachside Exploration Center & Aquarium, with its touch tanks and other interactive exhibits. Maximize your family's beach time by staying at the clean, comfortable Newport Beach Hotel & Suites, located right across the street from Easton's Beach.
Access to the beach is free if you walk on, but you'll pay to park your car in one of two public lots: $15 on weekdays, $25 on weekends and holidays. An elevator and beach wheelchairs make Easton's Beach handicapped accessible.
Don't let its "Second" Beach nickname fool you: It refers to this supremely scenic arc of sand's location in between First and Third Beaches in the chain of shoreline public parks located east of downtown Newport. Technically in neighboring Middletown, mile-long Sachuest Beach is known for its fine, soft sand and warm, penned-in water. The waves get strong enough here that the beach's west end is the domain of surfers, and you can rent a surfboard or take surfing lessons during the summer season. Mostly, though, this beach attracts families who pack sand toys and picnic fare and camp out all day.
Parking fees are steep from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day: $20 on weekdays and $30 on weekends and holidays. Stay until evening, and walk the Ocean View Loop in the adjacent Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge, and you'll be treated to Newport's best sunset views.
It's a 25-minute drive from Newport, but if you're keen to surf some epic waves or you're a fan of nostalgic beach settings, you really should consider a day trip to Narragansett. The town is understandably proud of this sweep of shoreline overlooked by the architecturally stunning Narragansett Pier Casino Towers, all that remain of the Gilded Age entertainment complex built here in 1886.
One of the best beaches in Rhode Island, the Narragansett Town Beach has beautifully groomed sand, clean water, professional lifeguards, and food trucks ready to fulfill your cravings when the saltwater stimulates your appetite. There are also fun on-beach events and activities including movie and music nights, surfing lessons, and yoga classes. Daily admission is $10 per person (cash only) for beachgoers ages 12 and up. Arrive early for your best chance at free street parking. Otherwise, you'll pay $10 per vehicle on weekdays, $15 on weekends and holidays (cash only). ADA surf chairs are available for free use by visitors with disabilities.