What is the number one attraction in Rhode Island?

Discover Rhode Island’s Must-See Attraction: The Breathtaking Newport Cliff Walk

Welcome to Rhode Island, the smallest state in the United States, yet one brimming with charm, history, and unique experiences. When visiting Ocean State, you might wonder what the number one attraction could be. With so much to see and do, from historic cities and beautiful beaches to picturesque lighthouses and delicious seafood, choosing a single highlight can be challenging.

However, after much consideration and exploration, we’ve identified the ultimate Rhode Island attraction you cannot miss. So, what is the number one attraction in Rhode Island? The answer is the breathtaking Newport Cliff Walk, a scenic trail that offers an extraordinary combination of natural beauty, architectural grandeur, and a touch of history.

In this article, we’ll take you on a journey to the Newport Cliff Walk, unveiling its unique features and explaining why it stands out as Rhode Island’s must-see attraction. So, let’s embark on this adventure and uncover the magic of the Cliff Walk.

The Cliff Walk Experience

Stunning Coastal Views

The Newport Cliff Walk is a 3.5-mile trail that winds along the dramatic coastline of Newport, Rhode Island. As you traverse the path, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, with waves crashing against the rocky shoreline below. The ever-changing scenery ensures that there is always something new to admire, making every step of the journey memorable.

Gilded Age Mansions

One of the most remarkable aspects of the Cliff Walk is its proximity to some of America’s most iconic Gilded Age mansions. These opulent homes, which once belonged to the wealthiest families of the 19th century, are now beautifully preserved and open to the public.

As you stroll along the trail, you’ll catch glimpses of mansions like The Breakers, Marble House, and Rosecliff, each with its unique architectural style and fascinating history.

Nature and Wildlife

In addition to the stunning ocean views and historic mansions, the Cliff Walk is also home to a diverse array of flora and fauna. The trail meanders through various habitats, including rocky shorelines, grassy meadows, and wooded areas, allowing observing different plant and animal species. Watch for seabirds, rabbits, and even the occasional deer as you enjoy the trail’s natural beauty.

Unforgettable Moments on the Cliff Walk

Sunrise and Sunset Views

There’s no better place in Rhode Island to witness a breathtaking sunrise or sunset than on the Newport Cliff Walk. The early morning light illuminates the rocky coastline, creating a serene atmosphere. In the evening, the setting sun casts a golden glow over the ocean, creating a picturesque backdrop for the historic mansions. These experiences are truly unforgettable and should not be missed during your visit to the Cliff Walk.

40 Steps and its History

One of the most iconic landmarks along the Cliff Walk is the 40 Steps, a stone staircase that descends to a viewing platform overlooking the ocean. This historic site was once a popular gathering spot for servants from the nearby mansions, who would relax and socialize here during their time off.

The 40 Steps now serve as a tribute to the workers of the Gilded Age and offer a perfect vantage point for admiring the stunning scenery.

Photo Opportunities

The Newport Cliff Walk provides countless opportunities for capturing amazing photographs. From the panoramic ocean views and dramatic cliffs to the majestic mansions and lush landscapes, there’s no shortage of beautiful subjects to fill your camera roll.

Bring your camera or smartphone and snap away as you create lasting memories of visiting Rhode Island’s number one attraction.

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Accessibility and Safety

Trail Difficulty

The Cliff Walk is a moderately challenging trail, with some sections featuring uneven terrain and steep inclines. While most of the path is paved or well-maintained, certain parts require navigating over rocks and more rugged areas. It’s essential to wear comfortable and sturdy footwear to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Weather Considerations

Weather conditions can greatly impact the safety and accessibility of the Cliff Walk. During periods of heavy rain or snow, sections of the trail may become slippery or impassable. Check the weather forecast before embarking on your adventure, and exercise caution when navigating the trail in less-than-ideal conditions.

Newport Cliff Walk
Newport Cliff Walk” by Eric F Savage is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Tips for a Safe Experience

To make the most of your visit to the Cliff Walk, follow these simple safety tips:

  • Stay on the designated trail and avoid straying too close to the cliff edges.
  • Keep an eye on children and pets at all times.
  • Carry water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized during your hike.
  • Be mindful of other visitors and respect their space.

Exploring the Surrounding Area

Bellevue Avenue

After completing the Cliff Walk, take the time to explore the nearby Bellevue Avenue. This historic street has more Gilded Age mansions, many offering guided tours. You’ll also find unique shops and art galleries, providing the perfect opportunity to pick up souvenirs or simply window shops.

Easton’s Beach

Located near the beginning of the Cliff Walk, Easton’s Beach is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and beachside activities. A vintage carousel, snack bar, and beach volleyball courts make it the perfect place to unwind after your hike and enjoy some fun in the sun.

Newport’s Culinary Scene

Newport is renowned for its vibrant culinary scene, which includes a variety of seafood restaurants, cozy cafes, and stylish bars. Treat yourself to a delicious meal or refreshing beverage after your Cliff Walk adventure, sampling local favorites like clam chowder, lobster rolls, and Rhode Island’s signature clam cakes.


Best time to visit

The best time to visit the Cliff Walk is during the late spring, summer, or early fall when the weather is warm, and the trail is more easily navigable. However, the Cliff Walk offers stunning views year-round, so don’t hesitate to visit during the offseason if you’re prepared for the weather conditions.

Parking and Transportation

There are several parking options available near the beginning and end of the Cliff Walk. Alternatively, you can use public transportation or ride-sharing services to reach the trailhead. Be prepared to walk back to your starting point or arrange transportation at the end of the Cliff Walk, as the trail does not loop back to the starting point.

Cliff Walk Etiquette

When visiting the Cliff Walk, respecting the environment, historic mansions, and other visitors is essential. Stay on the designated trail, dispose of trash in designated receptacles, and refrain from disturbing wildlife or picking flowers. Following these guidelines will help preserve this incredible attraction for future generations.

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