While frosty winter days have us cozying up indoors with a steaming mug of hot chocolate and perhaps all the comfort food we can get our hands on, Newport & Bristol Counties are still embracing the great outdoors like it's sunny and 75. From outdoor ice bars set right on Narragansett Bay to winter bird walks and even some horseback beach trails, there's no shortage of opportunities for outdoor wanderlusting.
Below are your fresh-air picks.
GUIDED BIRD WALK
Lace up your boots and grab your binoculars for Sunday Bird Walks at the Norman Bird Sanctuary. Birding masters and beginners alike are welcome to join experts as they prowl the best bird watching spots that NBS has to offer. No registration required, just meet in the parking lot at 8:00 AM.
Date: February 19; March 5; March 19th
Time: 8:00 - 10:00 AM
HORSEBACK BEACH TRAIL RIDES
Newport Equestrian offers beautiful beach trail horseback rides. Take the hour and a half tour to Third Beach or the two-hour tour to Second Beach overlooking St. George's Castle. Ride along the ocean's edge and take in the sights.
FULL MOON FAMILY HIKE
Bid farewell to winter and welcome spring while exploring the refuge at night. Listen for signs of life and use the light of the full moon to look for animal tracks and signs while we pass through the meadow, the forest, and the wetlands on our nature path. An Audubon educator will lead the way.
Date: Saturday, March 11
Time: 6:00 - 7:30 PM
Admission: $10 member adult, $5 member child; $14 non-member adult, $7 non-member child
Join NBS staff to learn more about the special adaptations of the American Woodcock, an elusive woodland shorebird that begins its early mating season before many other species. The highlight of this program is a twilight walk through the woodland-bordered fields as you search for displaying Woodcocks. The wonderful “sky dance” of this aerial acrobat is a reminder that spring is on its way.
Date: Wednesday, March 15
Time: 6:30 - 7:30 PM
Admission: $8 members, $10 non-members
March is a great time to observe waterfowl such as ducks, geese, and swans that have traveled to overwintering grounds here in RI. Join NBS on a search around the Sakonnet River and nearby Gardiner Pond for waterfowl. Along the way you'll learn the importance of shape, size, and field marks while exploring an often-overlooked family of birds. Parking is at the Third Beach Education Center (across from Peabody’s Beach). Dress warmly for the weather.
Date: Thursday, March 23
Time: 12:30 - 2:00 PM
Admission: $8 members, $10 non-members
SPRING EQUINOX HIKE
Celebrate the first Saturday of spring with a hike at Ballard Park. Learn about the thirteen acre site’s history while exploring the mile+ of trails. Meet at the Hazard Road entrance.
Date: Saturday, March 25
Time: 2:00 - 3:00 PM
Admission: $5 suggested donation. $15 per group
Take in 360-degree views of Narragansett Bay's seals lounging on Citing Rock just off of Rose Island during Save the Bay's Seal Tours. Whether you choose a one-hour or two-hour tour (includes a visit to Rose Island Lighthouse!), each trip aboard Save the Bay's education vessel offers vast information on the life of a seal, from their migration patterns and food habits to the laws and regulations involved in conserving this species.
WEDNESDAY MORNING BIRD WALKS
Audubon offers free Wednesday morning bird walks with naturalist Laura Carberry through the end of June, 2017. Each week a new birding destination is chosen. Check Audubon's website or Facebook for locations.
Date: Wednesdays through June
Time: 9:00 AM
All tours begin at the Brick Market Museum & Shop.
- Rogues and Scoundrels Thursdays starting April 7, 11:30 AM. See where scoundrels lived, pirates profited and criminals were punished.
- Golden to Gilded Sundays starting April 2, 10:30 AM. From Newport’s colonial Golden Age to Gilded Age summer colony, discover the transformation of the city and its people.
- Discover Colonial Newport Walking Tour: Saturdays starting April 1, 11:30 AM. Hear stories of revolution and ruin, struggles for religious liberty and remarkable entrepreneurship among Newport’s diverse people.
- Road to Independence Walking Tour Tuesdays starting April 3, 11:30 AM. Riots and rebellion, enemies and allies! Learn about Newport’s role in the American Revolution.