Disclaimer: Aquidneck Island is a beautiful place to live, visit, and explore. However, before I begin breaking down the first part of my Local’s Guide, I would like you to consider reading this post I wrote. I feel that it is incredibly important to consider all aspects of wherever you happen to find yourself. It’s important to remember that while someone’s main concern may be choosing a dinner location or an activity to enjoy, someone else’s may be very different. That being said, part one of this Local’s Guide is breaking down all my favorite things to doon Aquidneck Island.
ONE// The Norman Bird Sanctuary
I’m a little biased on this one, considering that the Norman Bird Sanctuary has employed me the past three summers, but there is honestly no place better. With 325 acres of land, NBS has some of the most incredible views in all of Rhode Island. A hike to the top of Hanging Rock is a must, along with a long moment at the pond, sitting quietly and listening. Furthermore, as a non-profit organization, the Norman Bird Sanctuary does incredible outreach within the town of Newport and beyond, providing environmental education in a time when we need it most. If you’re planning a visit, give yourself plenty of time to explore as much of the property as possible.
TWO//The Cliff Walk
This is my second favorite place to walk in Newport. While the path is small and, in the summer, crowded with tourists, the late fall and winter provide a perfect area to stroll along the water. With the ocean to one side and the mansions of Bellevue to the other, there is plenty to see. I have so many memories of afternoon walks with my dad, or evening conversations with friends while waves crashed on the rocks below, drowning out the rest of the world. The Cliff Walk is a perfect place to go to get away from the hustle and excitement of downtown Newport.
THREE// Fort Adams
I love Fort Adams first, and foremost, for the musicians I’ve seen there. The Newport Folk Festival and Newport Jazz Festival are iconic and incredible, year after year. Their location, right on the water within the old military fort is ideal, however, exploring the Fort and the shoreline around it is just as exciting on an ordinary day. You’ll always find someone fishing off the docks, or climbing down on the rocks. I have never actually toured the Fort personally, but from what I’ve heard, it’s a great way to spend an afternoon.
FOUR// Newport Vineyard
Again, a little biased on this one. My mom and her boyfriend are case-club members which means they get free wine tastings for life (and each of them get to bring someone along). Basically, the bartenders know us by now.
Newport Vineyard is our favorite place to bring family when they visit, first because the wine is amazing, and second because the scenery is gorgeous. No matter the season, you’ll find the place welcoming- a perfect backdrop for an afternoon. Also, if you’re not a huge wine fan, they recently opened a brewery where you can grab a flight and try their craft New England IPA’s and more.
FIVE// Newport Polo
While Newport Polo is a summer event, it is always great fun. I remember when we were younger, we used to drive our cars in and back into spaces, tailgating long into the night. Now, that opportunity is reserved for those who purchase spaces for the season. However, the public is welcome to come in, put down a blanket and a couple of chairs, and watch a match. It’s great fun to picnic, stomp the divots, and watch the horses run.
SIX// Sweet Berry Farm
For those who are local, Sweet Berry Farm is the place to go for fresh produce, fresh flowers, and a great summer concert series. Just driving down the dirt road, through the trees and past the bushes of berries is an experience. The little country store and incredible food served completes a visit. I would recommend checking out the farm for sunflowers in the summer and apples in the fall. There’s something wonderfully quiet about the property and you get to escape, if only for a little while.
SEVEN// Escobar Farm
If you’re ever visiting Portsmouth in the fall, you must check out Escobar Farms and their corn maze. The farm is locally and family owned (a wonderful family I happen to know personally) and is incredibly well loved by the community. I get lost, without fail, every year, but have such great memories of trying to get through the corn. Bring a group and see who’s got the best sense of direction. Then, check out their pumpkin patch and pick a few.
EIGHT// Sandy Point Beach
You can’t talk about things to do on Aquidneck Island without talking about the beach. Sandy Point Beach is small and local, but perfect for children because there are very rarely any large waves. The shoreline is filled with soft sand and shells and during low tide, you can walk all the way to the rocks, or up onto a beautiful wooded trail. While dogs aren’t technically allowed, people are always bringing their furry friends to romp in the water. It might get busy on hot summer days, but otherwise, the beach is fairly vacant.
NINE// Second Beach
Second beach is probably the most frequented beach on Aquidneck Island. The shoreline is long and perfect for walks or runs while the waves are great for surfers and swimming. It’s almost not worth going to on the weekends in the summer, unfortunately. However, I love hanging out in the evening, when the crowds have thinned and the skies are painted pastel pink with red rimmed clouds. The winters are great too and there’s always a Christmas tree stuck into the sand come the holidays. Also, Purgatory Chasm is a short walk up the road and definitely worth checking out.
Did I forget any spots? What do you think? If you’ve got any suggestions, throw them in the comment section below, whether you’re local or not!