Newport, Rhode Island is famous for sailing and beaches. It is such a fun summer destination, most people don’t think to visit this coastal town during the colder months. Newport is actually a great winter destination! Here are the best things to do in Newport in the winter.
1. Deck the Halls at the Breakers
Of course Newport is known for the gilded age mansions lining Bellevue Avenue, but none are more famous than the Breakers. This former summer home of the Vanderbilt’s is well known for their impressive Christmas decorations.
A giant Christmas tree of red poinsettias adorns the great hall. As you walk through the house on the self-guided tour, you will see a different Christmas tree in almost every room.
Be sure to download the Newport Mansions App and bring your ear buds, because your phone will be your audio tour. There is an audio tour geared for children which will have them searching for special discoveries in each room. There is also a scavenger hunt for kids that you can pick up at the entrance.
It is very easy to visit the Breakers. No reservations are needed. Just purchase your tickets online before your visit and present the QR code when you arrive.
Website: The Breakers
2. Ice skating at Gurney’s
Gurney’s is a large resort on Goat Island, which is a part of Newport. Each winter, they set up the most idyllic ice skating rink that is right on the ocean and even has a lighthouse for a backdrop.
Roaring fireplaces and string lights overhead add to the festive atmosphere. The admission for adults is $12 and children 12 and under are $7.
You don’t have to be staying at the hotel to use the skating rink. The general public is welcome and you can also rent skates for $10 if needed. Skate trainers are available for kids who are just learning.
Tip: pack a change of clothes for your kids or put snow pants on them. My kiddos fell so much, their pants were soaked.
Website: Gurney’s Resort & Marina
3. Eat in an Igloo
The igloo experience is also at Gurney’s Resort. No matter how cold it is outside, you will be cozy and warm in your own private igloo. They are heated and blankets are provided.
We had lunch in the igloo and it was so much fun. Gurney’s is very family friendly and gave each child a coloring activity. The children’s menu had a great selection that made everyone happy. At the end of our visit, they were even given little stuffed animal seals. They were over the moon.
Please note that there is a $175 food minimum to have lunch in an igloo and that minimum is higher at dinner time and even higher on holidays.
There is also a four person limit in the igloos and that is a strict fire marshal code.
Website: Gurney’s Resort & Marina
4. The Hot Chocolate Bar at the Chanler
The Chanler is a mansion turned hotel with a great location at the starting point of the Cliff Walk. During the winter months, they set up an outdoor hot chocolate bar. Adults have an option to spike theirs.
You can either sit on an Adirondack chair looking out over the ocean or stroll down the Cliff Walk. This paved walkway goes 3.5 miles where you will have mansions on one side and crashing waves on the other. It is my favorite part of Newport.
One thing I want to mention is that the hot chocolate is decadent by adult standards, but may be a bit thick for children who are used to a packet of Swiss Miss.
At $13 a cup, it is pricey and none of my little ones would drink it. Maybe start with one cup to share and see how they like it. Pouring out $70 worth of hot chocolate was pretty painful.
Website: The Chanler
5. Take a hike at the Norman Bird Sanctuary
The Normal Bird Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary and environmental center with more than 325 acres of diverse habitats and seven miles of hiking trails.
I can’t get enough of this place. It is so beautiful any time of year. I love the Hanging Rock Trail which is a mile long and ends with views of the ocean. You will also see “puddingstones” which are really unique rock formations.
Website: Norman Bird Sanctuary
I hope this lists shows you that there are many things to do in Newport in the winter. Let me know your favorite activity in the comments below!
For my full travel guide to Newport, click here.
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