Newport will always hold a special place in my heart. Anel and I got married there. My parents got married there. And I’ve been visiting the island every summer since I was a baby. We had our babymoon in Newport, Bootsie learned to swim there, and Amalia even took her first steps there. My grandfather used to take me for Del’s Lemonade as our special activity together and now my dad buys it for my own daughter. I have so many memories in Newport and hopefully so many more to come.
Every time I visit, I get asked if I have a Newport travel guide, so I finally created one that includes all of our favorite spots. This guide includes places to stay, where to eat, and beaches and activities. I hope it’s helpful if you’re traveling to Newport!
Where to Stay in Newport
Poolside at The Vanderbilt Grace Hotel
Gurney’s Newport: The first time we stayed at Gurney’s Newport was for our mini babymoon. It was a great trip, but they were still renovating the hotel. The second time, we brought Amalia and it was where I learned how to sleep with a baby in a hotel room. We’ve stayed there again two more times, so it’s safe to say we’re fans of the property. We love the outdoor deck for drinks and apps, the pool and Pineapple Club (pool restaurant) are great for lunch and midday snacks, and the property boasts what I think is the best sunset in Newport. They also have Scarpetta Beach (see below) which is an incredible restaurant with great views and a cute little coffee shop, Corso, for morning lattes and croissants. It’s not right in town but they have free shuttles every half hour or you can take the 30-minute walk.
Vanderbilt Grace: I’ve only stayed at The Vanderbilt Grace one time but had a wonderful experience there. The hotel is dog-friendly, walking distance to town, and really really beautiful. The room I had was lofted which made it feel like a pretty little apartment. The rooftop bar is also fun and has incredible views of the harbor.
The Chanler at Cliff Walk: Anel and I stayed at The Chanler years ago for a press trip (my hair is so long!) and it was one of the fanciest hotels I’ve ever visited. It is at the very beginning of The Cliff Walk which is convenient for early morning and evening strolls. The whole place is really special and very old school. I definitely do not recommend bringing kids here. It’s more of an anniversary or special-event kind of hotel. Very chic. Very beautiful. Very pricey.
Castle Hill Inn: I’ve never actually stayed at the Castle Hill Inn but it’s on my bucket list. The lawn and views are incredible and the hotel is very luxe and beautiful. We go for drinks on the lawn which is another great option if it’s out of your price range.
Newport Beach Hotel & Suites: We’ve stayed here with my family 4 or 5 times because it’s conveniently located right across the street from Easton’s Beach and walking distance to The Cliff Walk. It’s far from the fanciest hotel on the list, but it’s nice, clean, and kid-friendly. Get a room or suite in the newer building though. The original building is dated and needs some work.
Where to Eat in Newport
Lobster tagliatelle at Scarpetta Beach
Breakfast in Newport
Belle’s Café: We started going here the first time we stayed at Gurney’s because it’s right next door, but now we make the drive out to the docks just for this breakfast! It’s super casual and the food is delicious and hearty. All of the tables are outside and there is plenty of room for kids to run around.
Stonacre Brasserie: Two words: Buttermilk. Biscuits. You wouldn’t think a French-inspired would make such amazing biscuits, but they do. It’s a little more upscale (but not super fancy) and worth the wait if there is one. Besides the biscuits, you must order the orange ricotta toast, truffled egg toast, and the French toast bread pudding.
Sweet Berry Farm: Jess introduced me to this spot in Middletown and it’s now one of our go-to’s. It’s a little market with great fresh berries and other produce, but also has coffee, breakfast sandwiches, and great pre-made salads and sandwiches to bring to the beach. Kids can run around in the grass and it’s a lot less crowded than any of the other breakfast spots I’ve been to in Newport. Buy the strawberries, they’re insane!
Franklin Spa: If you’re feeling like a diner-type breakfast (ahem or hungover), Franklin Spa is your spot. The portions are gigantic and delicious. Don’t expect anything too fancy but do expect mouth-watering classic diner food. And definitely try the lobster eggs benedict.
Lunch in Newport
Flo’s Clam Shack: If you’re looking for no-fuss lobster rolls, clam cakes, and other delicious fried seafood specialties, Flo’s is your spot. It’s great for kids and you can walk in with your bathing suit and flip flops. It’s right across the street from Easton’s Beach. I’ll never forget about three hours before my rehearsal dinner I had a giant wedding-related meltdown and couldn’t stop crying. My sister brought me to Flo’s and a lobster roll cured my sorrows.
Rosemary & Thyme: This all-local and sustainable restaurant is quick and easy for a salad or sandwich. Take one of their crazy delicious sandwiches to go for the beach if you want to be outside all day! It’s located downtown which makes it convenient too. The Greek and the chicken salad sandwich are my top picks.
Cru Café: I discovered Cru after visiting one of my favorite shops in Newport, Michael Hayes. It’s a great little lunch spot that also has pretty awesome sandwiches. My favorite orders are the smoked salmon club and the Italian stallion sandwich.
Dinner/Drinks in Newport
Clarke Cooke House: Where do I even start with Clarke Cooke? It’s an old Newport establishment and one of my favorite restaurants to eat at in the world, partly because of the nostalgia, partly for the view, partly for the crowd, and a lot because of the oysters. We usually go there for appetizers and drinks because the bar areas are really fun. Randomly they have amazing sushi, so don’t miss that! If you make a reservation upstairs, be prepared for more formal dining. I prefer downstairs for dinner, so be sure to tell them that’s what you want when you call. Don’t expect to walk in without a res or a long wait.
Stoneacre Brasserie: It’s on my list twice because it’s that good. On one baby-free trip, Anel and I went once for breakfast and again for dinner on the same day. It was full so we sat at the bar and ended up spending almost four hours sipping their incredible cocktails and eating escargot, grilled sardines, and moules frites. The French-inspired space and upbeat ambiance don’t hurt anything either.
Scarpetta: When this Manhattan-based Italian restaurant opened in Gurney’s, I was super excited to check it out. Now it’s one of my favorite places to eat dinner in Newport. It’s not in town so just prepared to get yourself there. The views are incredible inside or out and the food is out of this world. Outside of Italy, it’s some of the best pasta I’ve ever had. And that is no exaggeration! Don’t miss the short rib and bone marrow agnolotti and the lobster tagliatelle. For dessert, the coconut pannacotta with guava “soup” sounds really odd but is the best dessert on the menu. Although you really can’t go wrong with anything here.
The Mooring: The Mooring never disappoints. Go here for fresh seafood, especially their incredible raw bar. The restaurant itself is huge which makes it easier to get a reservation. It’s on the water and walkable from town too. If you ask anyone where to eat dinner in Newport, I would be willing to bet that The Mooring is on their list. It’s classic Newport and worth a visit.
The Black Pearl: If you walk down Bannister’s Wharf (also where Clarke Cooke is located), you can’t miss the boisterous outdoor section of The Black Pearl. I like that area for drinks, but it’s a little overwhelming and crowded for dinner. They also have “The Tavern” which is inside. It’s a little more old-school but the food is really good. They’re famous for their incredible clam chowder.
Pasta Beach: If you’re sick of seafood and want a casual family-friendly dinner that doesn’t disappoint, Pasta Beach is a great option. They also have a ton of yummy salads if you’re feeling like you’ve eaten too much on vacation. If you’re there for the pasta, try the linguini alle vongole. You can’t go wrong with any of their pizzas.
Beaches/Activities in Newport
Easton’s Beach (First Beach): Yes it’s crowded, yes it has quite a bit of red tide (crazy amounts of red seaweed), and yes it’s one of my favorite beaches ever. I’ve been going there since I was a kid, so it’s for sure nostalgia related but it’s also located centrally and has bathrooms and a great beach shack that makes my all time favorite lobster rolls.
Cliff Walk: If it’s your first time visiting Newport, the Cliff Walk is a must. You can enter in a few places, but I like to enter at the beginning, right next to Easton’s Beach. It is a beautiful walk that can be 5 minutes or 2 hours depending on how long you want to walk for. It’s an easy and pretty flat walk on a cliff overlooking the ocean. It’s a really special and beautiful thing to do.
Third Beach: My friend Jess introduced me to Third Beach which is a little off the beaten path and much quieter. It’s clean and small and really good for kids. There are no bathrooms which is it’s only downfall.
Mackerel Cove (in Jamestown): On this past trip, we rented a house in Jamestown which was walking distance to Mackerel Cove, a gem of a beach that has very very mild waves, no red tide, clean bathrooms, a Del’s truck, and $15 parking. It seemed too good to be true but it wasn’t. It’s a great little beach to bring kiddos.
Mansion Tours: When I go to Newport, I like to spend time outside so the mansion tours aren’t really my thing, but they’re very cool if you’re into architecture and/or history. The Breakers is probably the most famous of the mansions and it’s pretty spectacular to see.
Photo by Julia Dags.