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Perched at the southern tip of Aquidneck Island, Newport is a beautiful seaside city with a rich, storied past. Famous for its colonial buildings, 19th-century mansions, and breathtaking coastal views, Newport is known as a New England summer retreat and is full of things to do on shore and in the water. Enjoy an active vacation by setting sail on the Atlantic Ocean or wandering along the clifftops that line the sea. There is an abundance of National Historic Landmarks to explore as well—tour the city's most resplendent residences to get a grasp of how the wealthy lived during America's Gilded Age, or visit the largest coastal fortification in the United States while you uncover 180 years of American and military heritage.
Newport is home to three National Historic Landmark Districts thanks to early immigrants who established the area well before the American Revolution. Explore the many Registered Historic Places sprinkled throughout the city's neighborhoods for a look into their past.
Covering 250 acres (101 ha), the Newport Historic District is known for its well-preserved colonial buildings and storefronts from the 18th century. Most of the structures are maintained as museums, giving you the opportunity to explore history firsthand. Tour landmarks like the Brick Market—now called the Museum of Newport History—or the Hunter House and its Georgian architecture.
This historic district is rich with opulent mansions constructed during the late 19th century in the Gilded Age of America. Bellevue Avenue is home to 8 National Historic Landmarks that represent a range of architectural styles, from the ornamented Shingle style to Italian Renaissance and Classical Revival designs. Visit Kingscote, the first large house to be built in the city in 1839, or Chateau-sur-Mer, considered to be one of the first great Newport mansions.
The Fort Adams State Park is home to Fort Adams, a coastal fortification dating back to the War of 1812. During a tour, see quarters where officials lived and go beneath the walls in a network of underground tunnels as you learn about the fort's role throughout American history. Soccer, rugby, and picnicking are common activities on the park's lush fields, and the area also hosts the Newport Jazz Festival and Newport Folk Festival in the summer.
The historic homes and buildings found around Newport are one of the highlights of the city. Admire the opulent ornamentation of its splendid mansions and the practical designs of colonial buildings during your stay. When you're not marveling at the area’s majestic architecture, go for a stroll along the 3.5-mile (5.6-km) Cliff Walk, a National Recreation Trail that traces Newport's stunning coastline. As you wind over the path, watch waves roll in from the Atlantic and crash against the rocks below, and catch sight of nearby mansions with a waterfront view. While walking, keep an eye out for the more than 300 bird species that make Newport their home.
Explore the activities and local entertainment in Newport and discover what makes the city a favorite summer destination. Charter a boat and go sailing around the coast, learning about the rich maritime history of the region, which hosted the America's Cup from 1930 to 1983. For land-based recreation, explore Newport's nature-laden trails and bucolic bike paths that run through protected habitats, enjoying picturesque landscapes along the way. As the host of the first US Open in 1895, Newport has a long golfing legacy and is home to storied courses like the Newport Country Club and Newport National Golf Club. Newport is also a foodie paradise, serving up fresh seafood like oysters, clam chowder, and lobster. Wash down your meal with a beer from one of Newport's craft breweries, or indulge with a glass of red or white from a local winery. In the summer, watch live music performances during the Newport Jazz Festival and Newport Folk Festival, or find a spot on the city's 400 miles (644 km) of coastline to kick back and work on your tan.