The Cliffside Inn, one of Newport's best-known and most romantic B&Bs, is ideally situated for couples who want to stroll along Newport's famous Cliff Walk. This 3.5-mile pathway along the sea is one of New England's most spectacular walks. It affords views of both Newport's legendary mansions and the restless and magnificent ocean they overlook. Not bad for a free attraction.
On this Cliff Walk photo tour, you'll see some spectacular scenery and also stumble upon the meaning of life! You'll also discover tips that will help you plan your own visit to Newport's Cliff Walk.
A Walk Beside the Sea
The northern half of the Cliff Walk, nearest to Cliffside Inn, is the easiest portion to navigate. The walkway is paved and even here, and sturdy fences protect you from taking a tumble as you walk along the seaside cliffs.
Rhode Island's Rocky Coast
The views of Newport, Rhode Island's rocky coastline are spectacular from the Cliff Walk.
The Cliff Walk, which was designated a National Recreation Trail in 1975, is a public right-of-way that crosses many private properties. As you can see from this photo, many property owners allow vegetation to grow tall in order to protect their privacy.
Stairway to the Sea
After walking for a short time, you will spot this stone stairway to the sea, a Cliff Walk landmark known as the "Forty Steps." The Forty Steps are located at the end of Narragansett Avenue, less than one mile from the start of the Cliff Walk.
Rules to Follow
A sign at Narragansett Avenue explains some of the rules of Newport's Cliff Walk. For safety, it is important to stay on the trail. The Cliff Walk is open from sunrise to sunset. Bicycles are prohibited, and dogs must be leashed.
Signs Point the Way
You needn't worry about getting "lost" along Newport's Cliff Walk. Large signs indicate cross streets, which lead out to Bellevue Avenue, the main "mansion drag" in Newport.
If you read the "rules" sign carefully, you'll remember that graffiti is a no-no along Newport's Cliff Walk. Most people show great respect for this beautiful ocean pathway, so this message painted on a stone arch really caught my eye.
The Meaning of Life
You can count on seeing wonderful scenery along Newport's Cliff Walk. And you might even stumble upon the meaning of life! At least this graffiti carried a positive message.
A Romantic Walk
After passing underneath the stone arch, I turned around and photographed this couple, who had just passed by me walking hand-in-hand. Newport's Cliff Walk is one of the most romantic walks in all of New England. It's a great spot for a marriage proposal.
Cliff Walk Attractions
If you were to walk the entire 3.5-mile length of the Cliff Walk, you would see dozens of private homes, plus several public mansions including The Breakers and Rough Point. This building is Ochre Court on the grounds of Salve Regina University.
As pretty as the palatial homes along the Cliff Walk are, the show put on by the sky at sunset is even more enchanting.
The Breakers at Dusk
As the sun began to set, the imposing mansions along the Cliff Walk were cloaked in shadows. Still, The Breakers, the 70-room palazzo designed by Richard Morris Hunt for Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, is magnificent and impressive.
Framing a View
The gate's iron scrollwork frames the rosy glow of sunset as day yields to night in Newport, Rhode Island.
As much as I would have loved to see more of the Cliff Walk, I am not a rule breaker, so I turned around and started back toward the inn. It was also getting quite chilly, and I'd forgotten to grab a jacket in my haste to get out to the Cliff Walk.
On my way back along the Cliff Walk, I was able to snap this close-up picture of the Forty Steps, the nickname for the stone staircase leading down to the ocean. I didn't have time, however, to count to see if there are actually forty steps.
A Millionaire's View
During the Gilded Age, America's wealthiest families staked their claim to the lands along Newport's shore, but the Cliff Walk ensures that these prized ocean views will always be available free to everyone.