Things to do in Rhode Island

Our most recommended things to do in Rhode Island

Newport, RI: Autumn Lighthouse Cruise of Narragansett Bay

1. Newport, RI: Autumn Lighthouse Cruise of Narragansett Bay

Enjoy Daffodil Days with a sightseeing lighthouse cruise from Newport or Jamestown. Jump aboard for a uniquely narrated tour in a spacious, warm, and cozy environment. Take a seat at the beautiful teak wood bar and have a refreshment as you sail through Newport Harbor and Narragansett Bay. Board the Coastal Queen and welcome the blossoms and fresh air. Celebrate the coming of spring while listening to an interesting commentary and enjoying a drink at the bar. The boat is spacious, warm, and cozy, with each seat guaranteeing a panoramic view of the surrounding harbor and bay. Stand up and move around the spacious vessel, look out over the Atlantic Ocean, and try to catch sight of a seal or two in the water. Sit in the covered salon for some comfort, or get out on the upper deck and soar with the wind.

Newport: Scenic Trolley Tour

2. Newport: Scenic Trolley Tour

Hop aboard an old-fashioned trolley and explore Newport, Rhode Island during this 90 minutes scenic tour. Begin your day meeting at the Visitor Center of Newport where you will be greeted by your tour guide. Begin your adventure as you set off into Newport to enjoy the charm of the historic downtown area and restored homes to glorious mansions on the water. Take in the rugged beauty of Ten-Mile Ocean Drive and the fabulous mansions along tree-lined Bellevue Avenue. Enjoy viewing homes and architecture from the Modern Age to the Gilded Age. During this narrated tour you will view over 150 points of interest including Historic Thames Street, The Newport Waterfront, The Breakers, Marble House, and Rosecliff.  Upgrade your ticket and visit the historic Breakers Mansion located on the elaborate estate of Cornelius Vanderbilt. The Breakers is the grandest of Newport's summer "cottages" and a symbol of the Vanderbilt family's social and financial preeminence in turn of the century America. Take in the lavish decor and waterfront views as you tour the property grounds. The additional mansion tour will last about 3 hours.

From Boston: Newport Mansions Full-Day Trip

3. From Boston: Newport Mansions Full-Day Trip

Enjoy Newport on this van tour from Boston. See how the wealthiest families lived during the gilded age with a visit to the Vanderbilt summer home and the Elms Mansion. Along the way, enjoy some complimentary snacks and bottled water while reading over a provided Newport guide book. Begin with hotel pickup in a luxury minibus, where the approximately 2-hour journey to Newport starts. The first stop is the Breakers, the Vanderbilt family's summer home. Take a self-guided audio-tour and explore the 70-room summer cottage. Here, you can also spend some time exploring the cliffs on a scenic cliff walk. Next, it's back to the mini-coach for a bus tour of Newport, which passes St Mary's Parish, where John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier were married in 1953. After the bus tour, visit America's oldest existing synagogue, the Touro Synagogue. With your free time, you can do some shopping or have lunch on the waterfront. If you're a sports fan, you can enjoy discount admission to the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Finally, visit the Elms Mansion, where you can take a 90-minute self-guided audio tour. After the tour, return to the minibus, sit back, and relax as you enjoy the ride back to Boston.

Providence: Self-Driving Audio Tour

4. Providence: Self-Driving Audio Tour

Explore Rhode Island's capital city on a self-driving audio tour and discover the city's history, culture, and architecture. Start your self-driving adventure from the Convention Center downtown and head into the historic Federal Hill area, home to both history and the city's best restaurants. Enter the Welcome Gateway, featuring the iconic pineapple, and learn about how this neighborhood grew and changed over the years — including the infamous Macaroni Riots and the secret of the Coin-O-Matic. Continue past the 9-acre park which was a gift from one of the greatest philanthropists in Providence's history. Explore the Wedding Cake House, a 3-story historic house located in the Broadway-Armory Historic District, and other architectural marvels, such as the State House and Barnaby Castle. Finish your tour at the Lippitt House Museum, a National Historic Landmark. It is one of the finest Italianate mansion houses in the state and considered one of the best-preserved examples of Victorian-era houses in the US.

Newport, Rhode Island: Scenic Self-Driving Audio Tour

5. Newport, Rhode Island: Scenic Self-Driving Audio Tour

Discover the city known for its picturesque Gilded Age mansions on a self-driven audio tour. Found out how the rich in America made and spent their money at the turn of the twentieth century. This 12 mile-long tour covers the essentials of scenic Newport, Rhode Island, in 1-2 hours. Start from the Visitor Center on America’s Cup Avenue. Here, listen to the story of Gilded Age America and how it shaped the future. While driving, you will first see the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Next up is the Audrain Auto Museum before you start exploring the Gilded Age mansions. Marvel at the first among them, Edward King House, followed by Kingscote and Bellevue House. Continuing on the avenue, come across The Elms, Chepstow, Ochre Court, and then The Breakers. From there, proceed to Chateau-Sur-Mer, Rosecliff, Beechwood, Marble House, and Belcourt Castle before ending this part of the tour at Rough Point. From there, continue on Ocean Avenue and drive toward Crossways while enjoying the Ocean Drive and hearing its story. Next, listen to the story about Brenton Point State Park and Hammersmith Farm, the summer home of Jackie Kennedy, wife of John. F. Kennedy. On the last leg of the tour, drive and hear stories of Fort Adam, Beacon Rock, Bonniecrest, Ida Lewis Rock, and Rochambeau Monument. The tour concludes in the Irish District.

Newport: Self-Guided Combo Tour

6. Newport: Self-Guided Combo Tour

Explore Newport on a self-guided driving tour via an app that functions as your own personal guide, audio tour, and map all in one. See everything this seaside town has to offer at your own pace. Learn about local history, take a scenic walk, and admire elegant mansions as you drive. Download the app, then start the tour at the visitor center. As you drive down Bellevue Avenue, known as the "most beautiful avenue in the world." See and learn about the gorgeous Gilded Age Mansions along the way, including The Breakers, Marble House, The Elms, Rosecliff, Château-Sur-Mer, and more. Continue along Ocean Drive, featuring breathtaking vistas. Learn about Newport's historic past, and iconic American millionaires like the Vanderbilts and Astors. Then, park up and stroll along the famous Cliff Walk which features the raw, untamed, crashing waves of the Atlantic to one side and lavish Gilded Age mansions to the other. This juxtaposition creates one of the most beautiful scenic walks in the world.

Newport: Ocean Drive Historic District Self-Guided Tour

7. Newport: Ocean Drive Historic District Self-Guided Tour

Take in the awe-inspiring views and cool breeze that have attracted visitors to Newport for centuries. Learn about the colonialists who first settled along the harbor and the stunning summer cottages wealthy industrialists built on a self-guided driving journey. Download the tour app and head out on a trip through architectural gems like Rosecliff, where scenes from The Great Gatsby and 27 Dresses were filmed. See Newport’s largest house, The Breakers, as well as Rough Point, which was owned by heiress Doris Duke. While cruising through the Ocean Drive Historic District, gain a deeper appreciation for the history of the area. Drive past a 19th-century fortification at Fort Adams State Park, President Eisenhower’s old summer residence, and the Monument to Portuguese Discovery in Brenton Point State Park. Take in the impressive architecture of The Elms, Marble House, Ochre Court, and the Belcourt of Newport, and hear about Newport’s colonial and Gilded Age history from the audio guide. Enjoy the flexibility of stopping whenever you feel inspired or need a break.

Newport: Cliff Walk Self-Guided Walking Tour

8. Newport: Cliff Walk Self-Guided Walking Tour

Embark on a scenic cliff walk along a 3.5-mile trail along the eastern shore of Newport Rhode Island. Use your audio guide which has been created by local guides, curated by creative writers, and narrated by professional voice artists. Begin the tour at Easton’s Beach. As you walk down the path, see Gilded Age mansions representing an era of lavish wealth and unbridled excess. Hear the stories of the Vanderbilts, Astors, and other American millionaires behind mansions like The Breakers, Marble House, Rosecliff, and others. After the walk at 40 Steps, continue to the Ochre Court. Discover the second-largest of Newport’s famous mansions, built for banker and real estate mogul Ogden Goelet. Finally, end the tour with scenic views at Bailey’s Beach.

Newport, RI: Cliff Walk Shore Excursion Self Walking Tour

9. Newport, RI: Cliff Walk Shore Excursion Self Walking Tour

Download this activity to your smartphone and make the most of Newport’s Cliff Walk. Follow clues and learn all about the area's history while walking along the scenic route. Start by the Forty Steps landmark, once a gathering place for the servants who worked in Newport’s mansions. Head to the Overlook for views of the Atlantic, or admire Easton's Beach. Witness Ochre Court, the Vinland Estate, and The Breakers, the most famous and largest mansion on the tour. Learn about families like the Vanderbilts and see Anglesea, designed so the ocean is visible from every side. Encounter Rosecliff, Beechwood, the Marble House, and more. Pause at the Chinese Tea House, Rough Point, and Land’s End. End your tour at The Waves, and the private stretch of sand at Bailey’s Beach.

Providence: Doomed Artists Haunted Walking Tour

10. Providence: Doomed Artists Haunted Walking Tour

Walk in the footsteps of writers, like H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe, on this haunted Providence tour. Providence has a long history with artists, writers, and creatives and that history comes with a dark side explored on this walk through the city. Hear bone-chilling, campfire tales of deadly apple trees, books bound with human skin, a Rhode Island vampire, and a ghostly writer who watches people sleep. Visit the real-life Shunned House from H.P. Lovecraft’s short story, and delve into the strange details of Angela O’Leary’s death at Fleur de Lys Studio. Along the way, uncover Providence’s weird and spooky history. You may even look into the eyes of a ghost. By the time you reach the seventh and final stop, you’ll have more than a few reasons to keep the lights on at bedtime.

Other Sightseeing Options in Rhode Island

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What people are saying about Rhode Island

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 523 reviews

Like any Trolley bus/bus/coach tour visibilty of some places is restricted by your seat on the bus. However the driver/rep was very knowledgeable and made great efforts to ensure this was minimised. Having booked instead of the similar tour offered by the Cruise ship it was good value in comparison and a great introduction to the Newport area.

This tour made it an efficient way to see all the beauty of Newport. We learned all about it’s rich history which would have been challenging to learn during our short stay.

If coming off cruise ship better to schedule afternoon. Ran to catch 10 o’clock and if he wasn’t waiting on someone who was coming back from rest room we would have missed.

Fantastic driver/guide. Comprehensive without being boring.

great tour, knowledgeable guide Domenic was excellent too