People have been escaping the summer heat and heading to Newport for cool ocean breezes ever since the days of the Vanderbilts. While our city still has its historic charm, its also developed some must-see-and-do family-friendly museums, parks and attractions throughout the years. If you're visiting with the family, we've got just the itinerary for you.
Embark on a scavenger hunt at the International Tennis Hall of Fame that guides young explorers through the museum and the grounds while answering questions about the history of of tennis! When you've found everything, collect a special prize.
Scavenger hunt maps are provided at the Admissions Desk. Kids 16 years and under are admitted into the Tennis Hall of Fame for free; Adult ticket prices are $12.
Fly a Kite at Brenton Point State Park. Don't own one? Not to worry, the Kite Truck located on the park lawn has every shape and color you could imagine. Located on Ocean Drive, Brenton Point offers unparalleled ocean views and the perfect spot to sit back and soak up the sun
The park is open daily from sunrise to sunset. Admission is free; restrooms and free parking are available.
Hop aboard the Jamestown Newport Ferry and journey across Narragansett Bay to Rose Island for a picnic and tour of historic Rose Island Lighthouse. Learn how this eco-friendly structure was home to dedicated keepers and families for more than 100 years, and now serves as a museum offering tours and educational programs, as well as a B&B for those looking for the ultimate seaside experience.
While there, you'll find beaches full of tide pools just waiting to be explored, as well as a natural habitat for many endangered birds and crustaceans.
Admission for the island is free for children 5 years old and younger, $4 for children ages 6-12, and $5 for adults. Picnics welcome but everything is carry-in carry-out. Rose Island is open 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM daily. Ferry rates and details.
Return to Newport and engage your inner gamer at Ryan Family Amusements touting more than 50 of the coolest arcade and games (that's two floors of fun!) that your whole family is sure to enjoy. After all, a little family competition never hurt anyone. Open 10:00 AM - 11:00 PM.
Hit the beach. Easton's Beach offers 3/4 miles of sand and sun, plus a carousel, beach volleyball court rentals, surfboard and paddle board rentals, and a snack bar (Parking: weekday $10; weekend/holiday $20). The beach also marks the beginning of Cliff Walk, a 3.5-mile path that combines the historic beauty of Newport's Gilded Age mansions with panoramic ocean views. Cliff Walk is open from sunrise to sunset.
Looking to get out on the water? Surfer's End on Second Beach in Middletown is where you'll find surf lessons, paddle board excursions and rentals by the hour provided by Rhody Surf. The beach also has a concessions building that offers public restrooms, food, and showers. Parking: weekday $10; weekend/holiday $20
Get active at Ballard Park in Newport or Norman Bird Sanctuary in Middletown. Both feature expansive hiking and walking trails, plus engaging, hands on learning opportunities designed for kids. Not to mention, they offer a full roster of free summer concert series, film screenings and children's workshops.
Your afternoon includes a sweet treat with a view aboard The Ice Cream Train, the country’s only 1950's moving ice cream parlor. Build your own ice cream sundae while your journey along the rails for scenic views of Narragansett Bay.
The train departs Saturday at 1:30 PM and 2:30 PM. Tickets are $9.50 for children ages 3-11, and $12.50 for adults.
Experience the 25th season of the Newport International Polo Series where teams from around the world compete against USA/Newport every Saturday evening at 5:00 PM at Glen Farm in Portsmouth, just 15 minutes from Newport.
Pro Tip: Tailgating is tradition you don't want to miss, as is stomping of the divots, and picnics are highly encouraged.
General admission tickets are $12, kids 15 years and younger are free. Through September.
Visit The Breakers mansion and take the Family Tour, which introduces different parts of the house through the eyes of whimsical characters. You'll be guided throughout 78 rooms within the mansion, learn its secrets, meet family members and staff that lived in the house, and meet imaginative characters like the dolphin hiding under the grand staircase and the dragon in the dining room. Kids can learn the rules that the children there were expected to abide by and experience a glimpse into their lifestyle.
Tours are offered in many languages and available during open hours, from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
Blow your own glass at Thames Glass, where kids can create ornaments, paper weights or a vase out of hot, molten glass to take home. Not to worry Mom and Dad, skilled instructors help every step of the way. Shape your glass in the design if your choosing, put it in the over, and sign it once it's complete.
Reservations are necessary. Classes are not encouraged for children under 7 years old.
Lesson rates are $38 for an ornament, $65 for a paperweight, and $175 for a vase. Note: finished pieces must be picked up two days after construction, once they've had time to cool. Shipping options available.
Explore the walls of historic Fort Adams, the largest coastal fortification in the country. Tours depart every hour on the hour and adventure through the underground tunnels and into the quarters where officers and their families lived. When you're done, ascend to the scenic overlook for a breathtaking view of Newport Harbor & Narragansett Bay.
The fort is open 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM. Tours are $12 for adults and $6 for ages 6-17.
When your tour is complete, head over to the Fort Adams Bay Walk, along the picturesque East Passage of the Narragansett Bay with unobstructed views of the sun setting over Conanicut Island (Jamestown).
Before leaving Aquidneck Island, explore Green Animals Topiary Gardens in Portsmouth, the oldest and most northern topiary garden in the United States touting more than 80 pieces of topiary animals, birds, geometric figures and ornamental designs, sculpted from California privet, yew, and English boxwood.
Grounds are open from 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM, last tour is at 5:00 PM. Admission is $15.99 for adults, $6.99 for ages 6-17.
MORE FAMILY FUN IDEAS
Enjoy free concerts on the boardwalk at Easton's Beach every Tuesday through August. All shows begin at 6:00 PM and last approximately 90 minutes.
Visit Newport Fudgery on Thames Street and watch as skilled fudge masters pour the key ingredients for the perfect fudge into giant steam kettles, then hand-whip the mixture with wooden paddles for the perfect consistency. It's probably a good idea to try a few (or all if your level of self control is similar to ours) of the flavors.
Savor Newport's most famous milkshake, an Awful Awful at Newport Creamery (locations in Newport and Middletown). For those seeking a challenge, the famous Awful Awful Challenge is open to takers anytime: finish two shakes and get the third free! But we warn you, these shakes are hearty; its easier said than done!
Pro Tip: Mondays are buy one, get one Awful Awful day.
Take the kids on a ride they'll never forget in a Scoot Coup, a two-person, small, scooter car with three wheels that goes approximately 25-30 miles per hour (available at Scooter World or Mansion Rentals, both on Thames Street). Drivers licenses are required for the driver.