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Newport for Children: Adventures, Outings and Activities

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Our gorgeous summer weather provides opportunities galore for children of all ages (as well as the “child within you”) to enjoy a vast potpourri of activities, sports, soon-to-be-pastimes, adventures and outings. Newport is just too good to miss, year ’round! Enjoy… we had fun putting this selection together.

Experience a new take on outdoor movies
We save Thursday nights in the summer for newportFILM Events that combine current documentary hits with  captivating outdoor settings (think grand mansions, alluring views, beloved Newport institutions). Plus offerings from local food trucks and free popcorn! 

Photo Credit: J. Clancy Photography

Hike the Norman Bird Sanctuary
With over 300 acres and seven miles of well-maintained trails, there is plenty to see here at all times of the year….bring your binoculars to scope out those local and migratory birds.

Ride a Vintage Carousel at Easton’s Beach
Step back in time…the carousel at Easton’s Beach (also known as First Beach) is a rare Allan Herschell Company four-row metal carousel that is still in its original condition….colorful, enchanting and historic.

And while you’re there, don’t forget the Save the Bay Exploration Center, a little hands-on aquarium that is chock full of educational and interesting marine life. The shark petting tank alone is  worth the price of admission!

Take to the water with Sail Newport
The go-to place for their youth programs…sailing lessons, competitive or recreational, big or little boats, with a friend or part of a team.

Photo Credits: Sail Newport

Explore the old-fashioned ballpark, Cardines Field
An urban gem nestled into downtown Newport, Cardine’s Field is the smaller cousin of the more noteworthy ballparks of the era  just prior to WWI (i.e. Fenway Park, Boston, and Wrigley Field, Chicago). Its stone facade, elliptical arches, wooden bleachers and unique outfield angles make it a Newport landmark. The Field, home to the Newport Gulls, was recently ranked as the 4th best park in the United States for summer collegiate baseball.

Photo Credit: © Marriott International, Inc.

Watch a Newport Polo Event
A lot of history and action wrapped up in one location. Newport Polo is the home of the Westchester Polo Club (America’s first polo club, est. in 1876), and founding member of the United States Polo Association. Bring a picnic and make a day, and early evening of it, when you attend their public international/USA exhibition matches!

Photo Credit: Kim Fuller

Play tennis at the International Tennis Hall of Fame
A Newport landmark! Located on the site of the original Newport Casino, The International Tennis Hall of Fame is the birthplace of American tournament tennis in 1881. With summer tournaments and an interactive museum, this is a cool place to visit (even if you’re not a tennis aficionado) AND a once-in-a-lifetime chance to take lessons on the manicured green lawn!

Fly kites at Brenton State Park
Occupying the former grounds of one of Newport’s grandest estates, Brenton Point State Park affords its visitors one of the most commanding and spectacular views on the East Coast… as well kites of a size and subject matter seldom to be seen elsewhere.

Sail the Madeleine
All the excitement of being a part of the Sailing Capital of America! Whether Newport harbor sailing tours or sunset cruises up Narragansett Bay, the 72-foot schooner Madeleine pairs 19th century classic history with a 21st century sailing yacht comfort and convenience.

Photo Credit:

Stop by Purgatory Chasm State Reservation
A breathtaking rock configuration running for a quarter of a mile between granite walls rising as high as 70 feet. Popular with picnickers and rock-climbers alike.

Visit The Breakers
There are many reasons to pop into the largest mansion in Newport, but a family audio tour is a singular excuse all its own… the entertaining recordings bring the 70-room estate to life with tales specifically from the children who lived there.

Photo Credit:

Slip into the Audrain Automobile Museum
Representing automobiles from 1899 to modern day, 15-20 cars are chosen specifically and showcased based on ever-changing exhibition themes guaranteeing you a completely unique experience with each visit.

Join Save The Bay Seal Watch & Nature Cruise
Summer isn’t the only time to enjoy Narragansett Bay. From October through April, these seal tours and nature cruises offer an educational view of our winter marine visitors and the habitat they love.

Blow glass at Thames Glass
Make an ornament, paperweight, or vase out of hot, molten glass with lots of help from a skilled glassblower.

Stroll on the Cliff Walk
Of course! In 1975 the Cliff Walk became the first designated National Recreation Trail in New England. Running along the eastern shore of Newport, the Cliff Walk is world famous as a public access walk that combines the natural beauty of the Newport shoreline with the architectural history of Newport’s gilded age. Wildflowers, birds, topography…all add to this delightful 3.5 mile walk. Recent restoration work following Hurricane Sandy has immeasurably improved the walking experience.

Saving the best for last…

Be a lighthouse keeper for the night at Rose Island Lighthouse
(we suggest booking the Barracks Room or Foghorn Building for your summer sleep). Located in prime position – the middle of the East Passage of Narragansett Bay – the island offers an extremely unique lens of Narragansett Bay, one that even many Newporters aren’t privy to…of which Rose light is the centerpiece (established in 1870).

Start with your trip over on the 32′ Lobster Boat “Starfish,” explore the 18-acre island consisting of a wildlife refuge, lighthouse and barracks and revel in being a “keeper” for the night.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Wiggs / The Boston Globe
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About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

One thought on “Newport for Children: Adventures, Outings and Activities

  1. I printed this great post for when my grandson visits next.
    Great ideas that I often forget about in my quest for activities.
    Thank you Bettie for sharing your fascinating finds.

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