Jamestown & Newport, Rhode Island Driving Tour

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Do it Yourself Driving & Walking Tour Around Jamestown & Newport Rhode Island

My hubby, Jake, put these together for some friends who were visiting us this summer in Rhode Island. I’ve since forwarded them on to a few others and finally decided I should just share here, as I’m sure others will find them useful.


{See Map Below}

GREEN line to Fort Wetherill (free) to walk around this WWII bunker that protected Newport harbor. From the sea, you really can’t see this but this is a network of underground tunnels and gunnery stations aimed towards the open ocean ready to keep submarines and sails away from Newport. Walk along the outer path (check for ticks after!) to see the coastal view. Along the east side of this Fort park area is a view of Newport harbor and of the estates in Newport including Hammersmith.

YELLOW line to Beavertail Lighthouse (free) to walk the area around the lighthouse for this spectacular ocean view facing west towards Narragansett/mainland beaches. Within Jake’s family about 5 couples have gotten engaged at this picturesque spot! There is a small small small aquarium attached to the lighthouse, free to walk in and peek at local sea-life examples.

BLUE line to West Ferry overlooking Dutch Harbor / Dutch Island. Another pretty spot - this one to view some little boats and the lowlands of Jamestown. There is a taco spot here, Tellulah’s shack, for a quick bite.

(also before the original Jamestown bridge was built this was the ferry spot to traverse to the mainland)

RED line to downtown Jamestown along Narragansett Ave. Some cute shops to stroll along here and some upscale dining for fresh seafood along with a couple cute cafes. I love Slice of Heaven on the little strip down to the water or even more-so, Village Hearth Bakery, which is conveniently located across from an awesome playground & library that kids of all ages enjoy!

At the red circle on the map below is the East Ferry spot where you can park near the water and walk the shoreline. There is a lunch spot / light cafe along the wharf here, Spinnakers, with an outdoor waterside eating area on the water.

Here there is a water taxi / ferry that can take you to Newport for a ride on the water.

Jake’s mom grew up here before the Newport bridge was built. She took the ferry to Newport each day for school. The ferryboat captain was... her dad, who would leave any of his 7 kids on shore if they weren’t there on time! At East Ferry beach (just north of the docks here) they learned to sail Rooster sailboats designed and built by her dad, a 10 ft wooden sailboat that he built for each of his 7 kids.

Homes here as late as the 70s and 80s were inexpensive ($25k) as people didn’t want to live “all the way over in Jamestown”. Those modest homes have sold for close to a million dollars each through the 90s and beyond!


{See Map Below}

I would recommend a morning drive around the mansions ending at Cliff Walk for a stroll there, followed by lunch down by the harbor and strolling the shops along the wharf in the early afternoon.

For the driving portion you could pay for a trolley tour if you want to have a narrated ride and they can take you to visit either the Breakers or another mansion of your choice. OR if you want to do it on your own you can easily take your time driving.

Here is a driving map:

Follow the YELLOW line off the bridge and follow thru downtown Newport (to return later), go out to the BLUE circle Fort Adams (site of Newport Folk Festival, Jazz Festival, 1st X Games, etc).

You can stop to walk around outside of the fort for free or keep driving along the yellow line passing Hammersmith Farm, retreat of Jackie O’s family where JFK and the Camelot crew spent lots of time sailing and summering.

A bit further to the white circle, you can stop and have a morning drink at Castle Hill on the lawn overlooking the bay in their Adirondack chairs- very posh thing to do!

Keep following the yellow brick road along great open ocean views and lots of rocky coastline past Brenton Point park (you can stop/park here to admire the rocks and waves and where Jake’s uncles would take their dates to watch the submarine races).

Lots of great kite flying there too! Continue towards the heart of mansions and slow to admire the sprawling yards into the great cottages of the ‘20s from the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts.

The RED bar is Cliff Walk, which you can pick up midway or at the end of the yellow line you can park and walk the whole thing (it's a long walk, though!). There's a great walk along the coast and has a “40 Steps” spot to walk down to the sea.

The GREEN bar is the area to rejoin downtown Newport. Along the green bar is the International Tennis Hall of Fame and closer to town is St Mary’s church where JFK and Jackie O were married.

Park anywhere you can get a spot near town and walk towards the water to lunch at any of the spots with a view- The Mooring, The Landing, 22 Bowens, Black Pearl, etc, just find your fave. Stroll along the wharf shops for a treat on your way back. Tour complete!

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