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The first break of warm weather in Newport, Rhode Island is not something many people—vacationers or residents—tend to forget. The seaside city is well-loved for its breathtaking ocean bluffs, lively beaches, sailboat-filled horizon, colonial heritage and Gilded Age mansions. Every year beginning in spring, people flock from all parts of the country for a delicious lobster roll or scenic walk along the Atlantic shoreline.

Whether you’re planning on visiting Newport for a week-long vacation or weekend wedding, be sure to pack a pair of your best explorer shoes, because there is so much to see, do (and eat!). Not to mention, Newport is a hot spot for some unforgettable annual festivals. Here are some of our top picks for what you can do while in town.

Explore Newport

Go on a mansion tour

Take a trip through the Gilded Age and explore Newport’s renowned mansions filled with rich history and intricate details. Visitors can participate in self-guided audio tours or even hop onto a trolley to get the full mansion experience.

Are you interested in having a wedding or event at one of these historic mansions? The Catered Affair is now a Caterer of Choice for the Preservation Society of Newport County and the Newport Mansions. Contact us for more information.

Wander through the Marble House Terrace and learn all about the Vanderbilt family and what it was like to be a part of some of the most elaborate balls or any of the women’s suffrage movement fundraisers. Explore the Elms’ French-inspired grounds, lavish gardens and monumental art. Experience the iconic Rosecliff and hear all about Tessie Oelrichs’ famous parties. Speaking of famous parties, the Rosecliff was the filming location for 1974’s The Great Gatsby.

Marble House Terrace

Catch sun at any of Newport’s beaches

Let’s pause for a moment of reflection about Newport beaches, which add up to 200 miles of mystifying coastline beauty. Easton’s Beach, fondly known First Beach, is a prime spot for beach days, and it’s located right next to the famous Newport Cliff Walk. Kids will especially enjoy Easton’s Beach Carousel.

Many locals’ first choice is the Sachuest Beach in Middletown, otherwise known as Second Beach. Second Beach boasts 1.5 miles of white sand stretching down to Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge, which includes 2.5 miles of nature trails and over 200 different types of birds.

Third Beach, also known as…Third Beach, has a much quieter atmosphere with calmer waves. If you’re looking for a more intimate spot to relax and let your mind wander, this is your beach.

Capture the Castle Hill Lighthouse from every angle

It’s safe to say the Castle Hill Lighthouse is Rhode Island’s national treasure. The guardian of Narragansett Bay is an active navigation aid for vessels entering the East Passage between Conanicut Island and Aquidneck Island. And it’s worth a gander from every side and especially at sunset.

Castle Hill Lighthouse

Venture down the Newport Cliff Walk

The Newport Cliff Walk is one of the most highly regarded nature walks in Rhode Island and across the country. The world-famous 3.5-mile trail offers the most jaw-dropping views of the Eastern shore, wildflowers and backyard shots of the Newport mansions. A MUST for any Newport visit.

Watch kites fly on Ocean Drive

Brenton Point State Park is the prime spot for kite flying. Visitors can enjoy kite flying, picnicking, hiking, fishing or simply taking in the cool breezes and majestic views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Bonus: Great photo ops for wedding or engagement photos. Or just really awesome Instagram photos.

Fly Kites Through Brenton Point State Park

Eat all the lobster you can possibly find

Welcome to lobster country, mates! Seafood lovers and food publications across the U.S. have agreed that this city can make a mean lobster roll. Whether it’s on a bun or on top of a salad, you need to try this mouthwatering delicacy before leaving Newport.

Shop and dine on Thames Street

This is one of our favorite hot spots in Newport, and luckily, it’s located by our office! Thames Street, with its vibrant bars, restaurants, shops and historic homes, is right in the middle of all the downtown action. Here you’ll find award-winning bed and breakfasts, jiving nightlife and many access points to the harbor.

Enjoy a cold brew at Newport Craft Brewing and Distilling Co.

Craft beer lovers and spirit enthusiasts alike would do well to treat themselves to this favorite Newport dwelling. Over the last 20 years, this company has been accumulating awards and building notoriety across the country, distributing to locations in 13 states and offering 100 different styles of beer and six different spirits.

Indulge in a glass of wine at the Newport Vineyards

We didn’t forget about the wine lovers. Many of us have heard of Napa Valley and Traverse City wine country, but what about Aquidneck Island? The Nune brothers, founders of Newport Vineyards, have long appreciated their home’s “cool growing season ideal for developing complex flavors in wine.” The vineyards also offer plenty of spaces to dine and celebrate various occasions.

Visit the International Tennis Hall of Fame

Attention sports fans: did you know that Newport held the first ever U.S. National Tennis Championship in 1881 or that it’s home to the International Tennis Hall of Fame? The historic center shares the narrative history of tennis from its 12th-century origins through the present day. It also houses the Casino Theater, steeped in artistic tradition and performance.

International Tennis Hall of Fame

Watch a game of polo in Portsmouth

Newport is home to the first polo club in the United States, The Westchester Polo Club. Since the late 1800s up until today, polo has become one of the city’s most cherished and fastest-growing sports. Every summer, locals and visitors alike gather together to watch the Newport International Polo Series. This year’s games take place every Saturday from June 1 until September 28.

Attend annual fests

If you’re in town during any one of our city’s festivals, you should strongly consider checking one of them out. From oysters to jazz, Newporters certainly know how to relax and have fun. Here’s a list of some of our favorites:

Create your own Newport soirée

The Catered Affair loves creating events for many of the locations throughout Newport. If you’re considering having your destination wedding, next business meeting or other special event in Newport, we’d love to hear about it. Or if you just want to know more about Newport and other activities and fun that may not be on the list, let’s talk!

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