Newport, Rhode Island is as classic a vacation destination as they come. But just because it’s tried and true doesn’t mean it’s dusty. The 11-mile town is beaming with shiny new places to discover right alongside the gilded age classics that have remained must-see attractions for generations. Come here to promenade down Thames Street, cruise up the wharf to watch the fishing boats process the daily catch, and stroll along the Cliff Walk to catch a glimpse of some of the most famous mansions on earth on one side and a fleet’s worth of sailboats breeze by on the other.
Step into historical Newport with a stay at The Chanler, a hotel inside a revamped 19th-century mansion built by New York Congressman John Winthrop Chanler. The Chanler sits on the famed Cliff Walk — in fact, it’s the only accommodation you’ll find along the walking route. Guests can choose between 20 charming rooms, each decorated to represent a different historical period.
Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina
For a taste of modernity, book a few days and nights at Gurney’s. The hotel is located on the very edge of Goat Island in Newport, providing panoramic views of the bay and stunning Newport bridge. Thanks to its robust children’s programming, it’s a paradise for families but doesn’t skimp on the adults-only fun either, with an outdoor bar that’s the perfect place to grab a crisp glass of wine, an adirondack chair, and watch the sun go down.
The White Horse Tavern
The White Horse Tavern has been pulling pints and pouring drams since 1673, making it the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the U.S. and the 10th oldest in the world. And really, not much has changed over the last few centuries. Find original details inside, including its wide-beamed ceiling and fireplace, alongside contemporary takes on dishes like clam chowder, escargot, and steak frites that will knock your socks off.
Sometimes, you just need a quick bite of perfection, and on that, Knots Norms more than delivers. The locally-sourced eatery is an ideal pit stop before or after the beach to pick up a lobster roll so good you’ll want to write about it on the internet too. The secret is in its simplicity. It’s just poached and steamed lobster in house-made butter, with a bit of micro celery and lemon juice all on a just right toasted bun.
Despite the Italian name (which means “quite right”), Giusto really is a born and bred Rhode Island spot. It’s the first independent restaurant concept from Kevin O’Donnell, a Rhode Island native and a chef who’s cooked at Michelin-starred restaurants like Del Posto in New York. He’s brought his talents back home again to serve simple, traditional Italian fare, like squid ink mafaldine and summer squash, all via locally sourced purveyors.
The Lobster Bar
Yes, The Lobster Bar serves food, but its extensive cocktail menu is the real star of the show (though its idyllic ocean view doesn’t hurt). Come here for a sundowner with your travel companions and order something special like the cherry lemonade with black cherry vodka, lemonade, and a splash of grenadine or the honey orange old fashioned that’s a splendid mix of sweet and smoky.
The Cliff Walk
The Newport Cliff Walk runs for 3.5 miles along the shoreline, which offers lovely ocean breezes along the way. On the route, guests can peek at the exteriors of a few of the stunning Newport Mansions, including Rosecliff, Beechwood, and The Breakers.
For more than just a taste of the outside, book a tour of the area’s best mansion, The Breakers. The massive abode was actually the summer cottage for the Vanderbilt family. Made of steel, brick, and limestone, the home has stood the test of time, so you can get just a glimpse of what life was like for one of America’s wealthiest families (or at least how they spent their weekends).
International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum
Honor the history of tennis by learning all you can about the sport, its heroes, and its future. Tour the exhibits, including its in-depth historical timeline, and “chat” with Roger Feder — or at least a very realistic hologram of him, along with plenty of other interactive exhibits.
Toast to a vacation well spent by visiting Newport Vineyards, a 50-acre vineyard that’s been producing crisp chardonnay and pino gris, rich merlots and pinot noirs, along with summer-ready rosé for two decades. The vineyard is technically just over the border in Middleton, but we’ll forgive this little sin as the wine is just that good.