Rhode Island with kids By Holly Rosen Fink
Exploring Newport with kids is an awe-inspiring family weekend getaway. (Flickr: Artur Staszewski)
If you’re looking for a great family weekend getaway in the Northeast, consider one in Newport, Rhode Island. The idyllic coastal town is famous for its annual sailing regatta and the Gilded Age mansions that line Bellevue Avenue.
Set on Aquidneck Island in the heart of New England, it’s also a walking town. A Newport with kids vacation, therefore, is an effortless kind of trip. Beach strolls past mansions by the sea is one of the things this town affords for families. As are sailing and seafood sampling. To complete the experience, there are plenty of family-friendly hotels and restaurants for every budget.
We’ve got the scoop on Newport with kids, so you can start planning that family weekend getaway.
Day 1: The Cliff Walk and Mansions
A family weekend getaway in Newport with kids should start with the Cliff Walk, a fun all-day activity for everyone. The public access walk along the shoreline offers spectacular views of the Gilded Age mansions the town is famous for. It’s walkable any day of the year and makes for a well spent few hours, though some areas are rockier than others. Come equipped with cameras and be ready to Instagram and Snapchat. It’s truly the best of Newport with kids…. or anyone.
While many of these houses are private property, nine are open to the public for guided tours. If the kids are patient and you have time to spare, definitely take a tour of a mansion. Self-guided audio tours are available at The Breakers, Marble House and The Elms while others have guided tours. Hours change seasonally, so be sure to check online at each mansion, for complete information.
On your way back, have dinner at the White Horse Tavern. It’s the oldest tavern in the United States, built in the 1600s, and has a comprehensive menu. Kids can munch on clam chowder, salads, hamburgers or pork belly, a local favorite.
Day 2: History and the Harbor
On day two of your family weekend getaway in Newport, head to Touro Synagogue. It’s the oldest synagogue in the United States and the only one that survived from the colonial era. The congregation, founded in 1658, was designed by noted colonial architect Peter Harrison. It’s considered one of the finest examples of 18th century architecture in America.
Afterwards, head to the harbor for a ride on a sailboat, one of the best things to do in Newport with kids. Known as the “Sailing Capital of the World”, Newport was home to the America’s Cup for over 50 years. It’s also home to some of the world’s most luxurious yachts and boat shows. Amazing Grace offers a one-hour, narrated harbor tour around historic Newport Harbor and Narragansett Bay. Some of the sites you’ll see include the Newport Bridge, Hammersmith Farm (JFK’s summer home), and the Castle Hill Lighthouse.
For dinner, head to the Red Parrot Restaurant for fresh seafood, burgers, or salads. Kids will enjoy the Siamese Sticky Wings and Thai Spring Rolls, the smaller bites on the menu. Afterwards, grab an ice-cream cone or homemade fudge at Kilwin’s on Thames Street. Be sure to end up at Ryan Family Amusements for a few rounds of your favorite arcade games. It’s guaranteed to put smiles on everyone’s faces.
Where to Stay
The Mill Street Inn is a great choice for traveling families and is ideal for a family weekend getaway. This is quite a special and unique property. It skillfully combines contemporary and nautical, with historic charm thrown in the mix.
A former nineteenth century mill, the hotel is just one block from Thames Street, the Waterfront and other local attractions. Every room is a spacious, contemporary suite with all the amenities kids appreciate. To start, there are modern technology, comfy bed linens, and wireless Internet. Parents will love the rooftop patio, which provides the perfect setting for the hotel’s complimentary breakfast.
The Mill Street Inn is easily one of the best hotels to stay in when visiting Newport with kids.