Cruising to Newport, Rhode Island

Newport, Rhode Island, has as deep and storied a boating history as any place in the Northeast. And while its America’s Cup glory days may be behind it, Newport is still an exceptional, unique destination and a must-visit for any New England boater.

Newport features deep, safe approaches. The biggest navigational hazard may be Newport Harbor’s heavy boat traffic and large number of moored boats that boaters need to keep an eye out for. Also, boaters approaching from East Passage need to keep port of Brenton Reef.newportRI

One of the benefits of Newport’s storied maritime history is visiting boaters will find an extensive array of marine services. Lots of moorings for transient boaters can be found in the harbor. Boaters should contact the harbormaster (401-845-5815, VHF 14 or 16) for information. Also, boats up to 40 feet can tie up at the Newport Maritime Center (401-845-5870; VHF 9) at the Ann Street Pier, and at Perotti Park (401-845-5817), in the north end of the harbor, for an hourly fee. The Maritime Center offers WiFi, showers, laundry, vending machines, ice, TV and lockers.

Boaters will find a large number of options for dockage and fuel in Newport. Among them, Goat Island Marina (401-841-8868, VHF 9) has slips plus gas and diesel. Newport Harbor Hotel & Marina (800-955-2558, VHF 9) offers transient slips from May to October. Newport Yachting Center Marina (800-653-3625, VHF 9) has transient dockage and fuel, plus pumpout. Newport Shipyard (401-846-6000, VHF 9) also has dockage and fuel, plus full repair services. And boaters can find fuel and dockage at Bannister’s Wharf (401-846-4500).

Once on land, you’ll have plenty of choices for how to spend your day. No visit to Newport is complete without visiting its jaw-dropping waterfront mansions. The Newport Mansions Preservation Society of Newport County (401-847-1000) offers in-season tours of nine mansions, including Marble House, the Breakers and the Elms. Fort Adams State Park (401-841-0707) features a magnificent fort built on Castle Hill in 1824 that was once the largest coastal fortification in the U.S. Boaters will love visiting the Museum of Yachting, located on the grounds of Fort Adams. The museum is opened daily (with the exception of Tuesdays) from May through October 1, and features many yachting-related exhibits, plus the 12-meter America’s Cup yachts Courageous and Freedom.

When you’ve worked up an appetite or thirst, Newport has a huge selection of diverse, world-class restaurants and bars to satisfy you. The White Horse Tavern (401-849-3600) is a historic tavern that has been in business since 1673. It serves lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch, including local seafood, beef and chicken dishes. Scales & Shells (401-846-3474) is an award-winning seafood restaurant and raw bar located on Thames Street. A wonderful dock-and-dine option at the Newport Shipyard is Belle’s Café (401-846-6000), which offers free dockage for restaurant patrons and features delicious, creative breakfast and lunch options. And the Black Pearl (401-846-5264) is a popular watering hole and restaurant with both outdoor and indoor seating on Bannister’s Wharf.

For more information on visiting Newport, Rhode Island, visit