The 12 Best Things to Do With Kids in Newport, Rhode Island

Rosemont Mansion on Mansions Drive, Newport, Rhode Island, USA
Danita Delimont/Getty Images

Heading to Newport, Rhode Island, with kids? Known as the summer playground of rich industrialists during America's Gilded Age (the late 1800s), this Narragansett Bay town still retains its resort status and offers plenty for families to do on a getaway, from hitting the beach to visiting mansions and museums. Put these fun activities on the top of your to-do list.

01 of 12

Walk the Cliffs

Cliff Walk in Newport Rhode Island
Paul Rocheleau/Getty Images
Cliff Walk, Newport, RI 02840, USA

The easiest ways to get a feel for the Gilded Age splendor of Newport is to explore its famed 3.5-mile Cliff Walk, a paved trail that winds along the coast and passes dozens of historic mansions that could have lept off the pages of Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence, which just happens to have been set in Newport. This trail also offers spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean.

02 of 12

Get Your Bearings With a Trolley Tour

Newport Trolley

Rowyn Adriano / Flickr / CC BY 2.0


Newport Visitor Center, 23 America's Cup Ave, Newport, RI 02840, USA
Phone +1 401-847-6921

Get a cheap-and-cheerful guided tour of Newport with Newport Trolley Tours, which offer multiple itineraries, including mansion tours and scenic tours. Discounted tickets are available for kids. (44 Long Wharf Mall; 401/849-8005)

03 of 12

Step Back Into the Gilded Age

The Breakers Mansion in Newport Rhode Island
Travel Ink/Getty Images
44 Ochre Point Ave, Newport, RI 02840, USA
Phone +1 401-847-6544

The most famous of Newport's eye-popping mansions is The Breakers, the 70-room opulent "summer cottage" built by the son of Cornelius Vanderbilt. The estate epitomizes the ultra-wealthy lifestyle of turn-of-the-century American robber barons. The Breakers offers a just-for-kids audio tour that brings the place to life with tales from the children who once lived there.

04 of 12

Stock Up on Taffy and Fudge

Newport Fudgery Sign

 Newport Fudgery

168 Thames St, Newport, RI 02840-6629, USA
Phone +1 401-842-6990

Got a sweet tooth? Be sure to stop at the Newport Fudgery (359 Thames St.) to get your fill of saltwater taffy and homemade fudge. Time it right, and you may be able to see candy makers making their hand-whipped fudge in copper kettles.

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05 of 12

Take a Sunset Schooner Cruise

Schooner Cruises in Newport Rhode Island
Classic Cruises of Newport
Bannister's Wharf, Newport, RI 02840, USA
Phone +1 401-847-0298

Newport is synonymous with sailing. There's arguably no better way to explore the local waters on a 90-minute sunset harbor cruise aboard the 72-foot Madeleine, a beautiful triple-masted schooner that combines 19th-century style with 21st-century yacht comfort. Daytime cruises are also available.

06 of 12

Get Your Art Fix

Dining room in The National Museum of American Illustration

National Museum of American Illustration 

492 Bellevue Ave, Newport, RI 02840, USA
Phone +1 401-851-8949

Got a budding artist in your midst? Newport boasts the National Museum of American Illustration, founded in 1998 and the first national museum devoted exclusively to American illustration artwork.


07 of 12

Sample an Awful Awful

Awful Awful Milkshake at Newport Creamery
Newport Creamery
181 Bellevue Ave #4, Newport, RI 02840-3589, USA

Love milkshakes? Make a beeline for the Newport Creamery, a New England ice cream chain that's home of one of Rhode Island’s most iconic drinks, dubiously called the Awful Awful. This sinfully rich concoction of milk, flavored syrup, and frozen ice milk is known for its nickname, a shortened version of the slogan “Awful Big, Awful Good.” It comes in several sizes and many flavors.

08 of 12

Root for the Newport Gulls

Player pitching for the Newport Gulls vs the Mystic Schooners

Newport Gulls

20 America's Cup Ave, Newport, RI 02840, USA
Phone +1 401-845-6832

If your family loves baseball and you visit during the summer, try to catch the local wooden-bat collegiate team in action. The Newport Gulls play in downtown Newport, with tickets priced for a cheap family outing.

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09 of 12

Join a Seal Safari

Seal relaxing on a rock

 Save The Bay

Climb aboard for a one-hour boat ride with Save the Bay Seal Watch Cruises, which cruises around historic Newport Harbor, offering great views of the seals resting on Citing Rock and the Newport Bridge.

10 of 12

Easton’s Beach

newport easton's beach

 maduarte / Flickr / CC BY 2.0


175 Memorial Blvd, Newport, RI 02840-3659, USA
Phone +1 401-845-5810

At the start of the Cliff Walk is Newport's largest public beach, 3/4-mile Easton’s Beach, known locally as First Beach. Take the time to stroll the boardwalk, which features a snack bar serving what many say are the best lobster rolls in town. You can ride the vintage carousel, which has been a fixture there since 1958. (175 Memorial Blvd.; 401/845-5810)

11 of 12

Pet a Spider Crab

Touch Pools at Save the Bay Exploration Center and Aquarium
Save the Bay Exploration Center and Aquarium
175 Memorial Blvd, Newport, RI 02840-3659, USA
Phone +1 401-324-6020

The Save the Bay Exploration Center and Aquarium is home to over 40 species of sea life native to the Narragansett Bay area. Three touch tanks let kids get up close and personal with little skates, urchins, spider crabs, sea stars, dogfish sharks and more.

12 of 12

Visit the Tennis Hall of Fame

International Tennis Hall of Fame

International Tennis Hall of Fame

194 Bellevue Ave, Newport, RI 02840, USA
Phone +1 401-849-3990

Tennis-loving families will love this museum that occupies the historic Victorian-era Newport Casino overlooking 13 manicured grass tennis courts. The Hall of Fame collection traces the game's history from the Middle Ages to modern times and features a vast amount of interesting tennis memorabilia.

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The 12 Best Things to Do With Kids in Newport, Rhode Island