Newport in Rhode Island is a seaside town that was discovered by the rich and powerful a long time ago. It’s a place where everyday walks are spectacular and mansions tell fascinating stories. But where to stay in Newport for the best experience?
Newport Harbor, the town’s lively downtown area, presents a myriad of restaurants, bars and shops. Away from the buzz, Newport Cliff Walk and Castle Hill are more hidden places to stay in Newport.
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On the western shore of Aquidneck Island, you find Newport Harbor district. It’s the best area to stay in Newport for travelers who prefer a central location.
Its Thames Street is the heart of Newport’s action. The north to south street, running steps from the Newport Harbor waterfront, offers the eateries, watering holes and other distractions you need for a good time.
If you want to have most of the city’s offerings within effortless walking distance, don’t look past the hotels in Newport Harbor.
But is there a downside with staying in Newport’s downtown area?
Well, it’s that you base yourself across Aquidneck Island from the famous Newport Cliff Walk. Still, depending on your exact location, it’s not more than 1 or 2 miles from Newport Harbor to the cliffs.
Pick Newport Harbor for: Newport’s heart.
Best Newport Harbor hotels
- Hammetts Hotel – This is a modern hotel that celebrates Newport’s history as a New England seaport. Right in the heart of Newport’s downtown area, it has an exceptional location for exploring the city. Just be warned that the water view rooms may keep you more at the hotel than you intend to.
- Wellington Resort – If you want to spread out without sacrificing a central location, the Wellington Resort calls your name. Its seven acres down the road from Thames Street are perfect for families or anyone who just wants that extra bit of space.
Newport Cliff Walk
Newport Cliff Walk is a quiet contrast to the downtown area of Newport. On the other (eastern) side of Aquidneck Island, it’s an option for where to stay in Newport that lures visitors in with first and foremost its dramatic scenery.
But what exactly is the renowned cliff walk of Newport?
Newport Cliff Walk traces the eastern shore of Newport for 3.5 miles (6 km). It’s a stunning walk about its pronounced cliffs, crashing Atlantic Ocean and progressive mansions.
Nowadays the cliff walk is both a Newport and Rhode Island symbol.
Among the many mansions that you pass along the coastal walk, The Breakers is the most iconic one. It was constructed from 1893 and 1895 by Cornelius Vanderbilt II, one of the richest men in the USA at the time.
A guided mansion tour adds fascinating American history to your Newport stay.
Pick Newport Cliff Walk for: Newport Cliff Walk.
Best Newport Cliff Walk hotels
- Cliffside Inn – The Cliffside Inn conveniently sits with Newport Cliff Walk just around the corner. However, set in a historic Victorian mansion, it feels like an attraction on its own.
- Town & Tide Inn – OK, Town & Tide Inn is not positioned directly by the cliff walk. However, it gives you easy access to both Newport Harbor and Newport Cliff Walk. So if you like the idea of a cozy Newport inn nestled between the two sides, you have found your perfect match.
Many visitors never reach the Castle Hill peninsula at the southwestern end of Newport. Hidden away from Newport Harbor and Newport Cliff Walk, it’s an option for where to stay in Newport off the beaten path.
The locals have long known it: Where Newport Cliff Walk ends, the Newport scenery continues.
Ocean Drive starts at the southern end of Newport Cliff Walk. From there, the iconic Rhode Island drive takes you along the southern shoreline of Aquidneck Island until you reach Castle Hill.
Castle Hill is both a peninsula and landmark. Home to Castle Hill Lighthouse, which peacefully guards Narragansett Bay, the peninsula defines the seaside setting of Newport.
Pick Castle Hill for: Seclusion.
Best hotels in Castle Hill
- Castle Hill Inn – This exclusive Newport inn, covering 40 magical acres and occupying 0.5 miles of coastline, is the only place to stay on Castle Hill. Enjoy Newport seaside accommodation at its best, with all from cozy beach cottages to historic rooms in the Agassiz Mansion.
If you want to stay in Newport rather than near Newport, look away now. But if you don’t mind a location a short ride away, Middletown is another option for where to stay when visiting Newport.
Newport shares Aquidneck Island with the northern Portsmouth and the direct neighbor Middletown. As Middletown and Newport are directly connected, you can go between them in minutes.
Still, a base away from the Newport attractions tends to mean lower hotel rates, compared to if you stay in Newport’s heart. That makes Middletown a great alternative for budget-friendly Newport lodging.
Additionally Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge on its own merits a Middletown visit. At the southeastern tip of Aquidneck Island, home to birds and surrounded by beaches, it’s an excellent spot for a scenic walk.
Pick Middletown for: Budget friendliness.
Best hotels in Middletown
- The Sea Breeze Inn – With homey rooms and a unique location near Newport attractions, The Sea Breeze Inn makes guests return year after year. From here, it’s just 1 miles (1.6 km) to the start of Newport Cliff Walk. Who knew a Middletown location was so convenient?
Final words about where to stay in Newport, RI
Don’t feel any pressure now, but where you decide to stay in Newport heavily influences your experience. Although the Rhode Island city’s size is convenient, it’s big enough to offer different vibes.
Check in at a hotel in the Newport Harbor area if you want to be where it happens. Thames Street is lined by those distractions that to many defines a vacation.
But if you come for the famous Cliff Walk, or just prefer seclusion, look towards the other options for where to stay in Newport. This certainly is a seaside city with something in store for every mood.
Where to stay in Newport, RI, FAQ
Newport provides a smorgasboard of fine lodging to choose from. In Newport Harbor, the Hammetts Hotel gives you effortless access to the city’s entertainment scene. For a more secluded location, look towards the Newport Cliff Walk or Castle Hill.
The Newport Harbor area is known as Downtown Newport. Its Thames Street, Newport’s center of activity, is lined by a fine selection of lively restaurants, bars and shops.
Boasting romantic water views only steps from an array of venues for memorable dinner and drinks, the Hammetts Hotel is one of the best hotels in Newport for couples who want to be where it happens. If you rather bed down away from the action, consider the cliff walk-nestled Cliffside Inn or sprawling Castle Hill Inn.
It’s between 1 and 2 miles (1.6–3.2 km), depending on your exact location, from Downtown Newport to Newport Cliff Walk. At an average pace, the walk takes anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes.
Facing Newport Harbor, the Wellington Resort lures you in with its unique vantage point. Enjoy the undulating scenery from the comfort of your own suite, or why not from the inviting pool area?
Middletown and Newport are directly connected neighbors on Aquidneck Island. No matter where you base yourself in Middletown, it’s not more than a few miles to the Downtown Newport and Newport Cliff Walk areas.
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