Ever since the Vanderbilts escaped the summer heat in New York City for the cool breezes off the water in Newport, families have been flocking to the City-by-the-Sea for family fun. We are lucky enough to live in Rhode Island and get to visit Newport often. Through the years, we have come up with our favorite things to do in the Newport area. Here is a sampling: 1. Fly Kites at Brenton Point State Park We love taking the 10-mile scenic drive along Ocean Drive. A stop of Brenton Point State Park is a must for scrambling over the rocky coast and splashing in the tide pools. Since Brenton Point is at the southern-most tip of Newport, the steady breeze off the water also offers a perfect spot for kite flying. Even if we forget our kite, we can either buy one there or just enjoy watching the multi-colored kites chase each other across the sky. 2. Take a Boat Ride There is no better way to enjoy the Ocean State than on the water. Since we dont all travel to Newport in yachts, there are plenty of other options for getting out on the water. We enjoyed Classic Cruises of Newports day sail on the Schooner Madeline. The sail goes out through the harbor and, depending on the wind and weather, down to the point where the Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean by Castle Hill lighthouse. There is a little room for kids to move around, the crew does a great job of pointing out sights of interest, and they include free beverages on board. 3. Visit a Mansion A trip to Newport is really not complete with a stop at one of the famous Newport Mansions, or cottages as the original owners called them. A number of mansions are part of The Preservation Society of Newport County. While you can purchase a combination ticket, families with young kids probably just want to pick one per trip to explore. The Breakers is a visitor favorite and offers a family audio tour designed just for kids. marble house_credit Discover Newport-2278 4. Stroll the Cliff Walk After exploring the mansions, it is nice to stretch your legs and let out some cooped up energy with a walk along the 3.5 mile Cliff Walk. This dirt path circles around the eastern shore and offers views into the mansion grounds on one side and the rocky coast on the other. It can get a bit crowded and hot in the summer so keep an eye on the kids, bring along some water and sunscreen, and plan to do just one section. (Note: The half-mile walk from Memorial Blvd. at The Chanler Hotel to 40 Steps at Narragansett Avenue is perfect for strollers as that section does not have steps.) 5. Swim at Eastons Beach Eastons Beach, also known as First Beach, is a family favorite with its mile long surf beach. When kids get tired of jumping waves, you can take a stroll down the boardwalk, ride the 1950s carousel and pop into the small, but fun, Save the Bay Exploration Center and Aquarium. At the snack bar you can pick up two lobster rolls (with fries) for the bargain price of $14.87. Close to Newport 6. Bike the East Bay Bike Path This 14-mile paved path cuts a route along the Narragansett Bay from Providence to Bristol. The nice thing about the path is that it passes through so many small towns that it is easy to jump on at any point to go the distance that is right for your family. Along the way, you pass by parks, cut through the Audubon Society, take bridges over inlets, and get a sense of what makes Newport and Bristol Counties so appealing. I recommend starting or ending in the waterfront Colt State Park in Bristol and taking a detour off the path in Warren for the states best lobster roll at Blounts Clam Shack. IMG_3056 7. Scramble over rocks at Beavertail State Park A picnic at nearby Beavertail State Park in Jamestown is one of our family favorites. Located on a rocky bluff, visitors can check out the small, one-room aquarium of local fish, visit the lighthouse, or scramble over the rocks to inspect tide pools. Beavertails location at the point of Jamestown also makes it an excellent location for kite flying. 8. Take a Hike at the Audubon Environmental Education Center The Audubon Environmental Education Center in nearby Bristol offers an award-winning nature center and state-of-the-art natural history museum and aquarium. It wont take you long to explore, but your kids will love looking at the fish, especially the rare blue lobster, and walking underneath the life size whale model. We also enjoy taking a hike through the woods and marshes all the way out to the bay. 9. Listen to Jazz at Carolyns Sakonnet Vineyards On summer Sundays, Carolyns Sakonnet Vineyards offers jazz in the vineyard. For $15 a carload, you can enjoy a relaxing jazz concert on their spacious picnic grounds. Your ticket includes a coupon for $10 off a bottle of wine, but they also sell wine and sangria by the glass. Whether you take advantage of some of their many hand-hewn lawn chairs and small tables, or spread out a blanket, it is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic. Sit off to the side and have room for a game of catch or Frisbee, or just take a stroll through the vines. If you dont bring a picnic, they have a small caf on site. carolyn's sakonnet vineyard grapes picked_credit Seven Swords Media 10. Visit the Green Animals Topiary Garden In nearby Portsmouth, the Green Animals Topiary Garden is the perfect spot for a multi-generational visit. With the countrys oldest and most northern topiary garden, adults will enjoy the sculpted gardens while kids will delight in discovering the 80 huge topiaries including animals, birds, and geometric figures. While you are in town, dont forget to spend time shopping on Thames Street or playing a game at Ryans Family Amusement Arcade. If you are looking for a great place to eat with kids, I highly recommend Scratch Kitchen for their innovative grilled cheese, clam chowder at The Black Pearl, oysters and seafood at the Midtown Oyster Bar, or the extensive menu and kids options at the Red Parrot. Tamara Gruber is a family travel writer at We3Travel.com. You can also follow her adventures on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. She lives in Northern Rhode Island with her husband and 11 year-old daughter.