All beaches are not created equal. If you’re looking for a safe, family friendly beach with nearby food and activities, Newport has plenty of choices. Match your family’s preferences to a specific beach or explore each one for a diverse vacation.
Easton Beach, also known as First Beach, is often the only beach tourists find when they head out of town and down Memorial Blvd. Kids are easily entertained all day here, with waves to play in, a carousel, snack bar and large sandy playground. Save the Sound indoor aquarium offers a touch tank and conservation focused craft projects, so even a sudden rain storm won’t ruin the fun. If the snack bar isn’t enough, take a walk across the street to Flo’s Clam Shack for a raw bar and kid friendly food. Sit on the roof deck for expansive views of the ocean.
Additional attractions also pop up on the boardwalk during summer months, including toddler sized bumper boats and inflatable water slides. Prices range from $2 per ride to $15 for an all day pass. Parking at Easton Beach is $10 during the week, $15 on weekends and holidays.
Further down the road, you’ll find the surfer’s cove at Sachuest (or Second) Beach, followed by the main parking lot for the longest stretch of sand in the area. The cove area is dominated by surfers and parking is very limited. Older children can climb the rocks leading up the side of the cliff to Purgatory Chasm, but this area is not appropriate for young kids.
The main stretch of Second Beach draws a crowd for the surf and soft sand. This beach is ideal for building sand castles and body surfing, but younger children could easily get bowled down in the waves. There is a concession area, showers and a small playground. Walking the beach to the end will bring you to the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge, where you can see plant and animal life native to the island. Parking fees are $10 on weekdays and $20 on weekends and holidays.
Continue past Sachuest Beach to reach family friendly Third Beach. This quiet spot, officially named Navy Beach, is sheltered from the surf and has a low-key feel. Families with toddlers and preschool aged kids can relax in the calm water and collect seashells and tumbled stones. Older kids can snorkel, swim or try a new water sport, such as kayaking or windsurfing. The shack on the far right of the parking lot rents equipment and offers lessons. Bring a picnic lunch or snacks, as there are no concession stands.
After a day of fun at Third Beach, head down the road to Sweet Berry Farm. This gourmet farm store offers homemade ice cream, muffins, fresh coffee and a shaded terrace for relaxing. If you have 30 minutes to spare, pick fresh berries in their strawberry fields.
Gooseberry Beach is another option for families seeking calm water for young children. Located on Ocean Drive, its close to downtown Newport, but relatively unknown by tourists. The geography protects it from high surf and it’s out of the way location typically protects it from big crowds. Parking is $10.
Follow Ocean Drive past the multi-million dollar homes and you’ll find a sky filled with kites, a grassy park with picnic tables and a panoramic ocean view. You’ve found Brenton Point State Park, nick-named the kite park, an often missed sight in Newport. Swimming here is not recommended, but visitors can climb down to the pebbly beach and explore the rocky shore or fish from the seawalls and watch the sailboats glide toward Newport Harbor. Parking is free.
Fort Adams State Park has a small cove beach with gentle waves. This beach only draws a crowd during the summer music festivals held at the park. Fort Adams can be accessed by taking a water taxi across the harbor (for about $7) or by car. Parking is free. While you’re there, take a tour of the historical site.
Whether you are a thrill seeking, active family or seeking relaxing, quality family time, Newport’s diverse beaches will not disappoint. Find your family’s sweet spot for enjoying the sun and sand or spend a week exploring them all.