Day-tripping from Boston is easy — especially if you are one of the crazies with a car. (Hi, that’s me! I’m a crazy with a car!) There are plenty of nearby cities, all of which have a mix of history, food, pretty landscapes, entertainment and more.
One of my favorite day trips from Boston, especially during the summer months, is to Newport, RI. Most times we visit, we don’t stay over night. But if you plan on drinking and being out late, getting a room is always a good idea. Hotels and AirBnB prices can get up there, especially if you are traveling during the summer season. Be prepared to do some research.
If you are mostly interested in driving down for the day, here is my suggested itinerary. Before diving in, decide what you want to do or accomplish in Newport. Do you want to go to the beach, go for a walk/run, bike the coast, tour mansions, shop, or eat your way through? I suggest mixing an activity with some relaxation — because Newport is a great place for both.
The night before: Pack bag and road snacks
The night before you leave for Newport, pack a day bag with what you’ll need for the day. Think: Beach things, [very] comfortable walking shoes, change of clothes, water, snacks, directions, what have you.
Depart early: Between 8-9am
I’ve found that leaving around 8am gets me down to Newport before 10am with plenty of time to sit down for breakfast. Looking for a good spot? Try Hungry Monkey, Raw Power Juice Bar or Meg’s Aussie Milk Bar.
Park your car: Lots, streets, back roads
I’m not even going to try to attempt this one. I’ve parked in a lot, a meters, and in a neighborhood by my friend’s house. Here are some details about parking in Newport.
Beat the crowds: Plan to start touristy stuff early, between 10am-1pm
If you want to tour the Newport Mansions, one of the most popular attractions, do breakfast on the road and start once you get there. Beat the crowds to make the experience as enjoyable and memorable as possible. Start North on the Cliff Walk and move your way down.
If you’re not into mansions, head to the beach early to claim a stellar spot with some room for beach games. Try Easton’s Beach, Gooseberry Beach or Bailey’s Beach. No into sitting on the beach, bike the coastline for spectacular views. BYO-Bike or rent one at Mansion Rentals or Newport Bicycle.
Finally, Newport is a great place to run or walk. Ryo and I did a walk to Beavertail Lighthouse on one trip. On another day trip, I weaved through tree-line neighborhood streets to grab lunch with a friend downtown. If you get to Newport early enough, you could get a nice run in on the Cliff Walk without many tourists getting in your way. Another great option is walking around downtown to check out local shops and galleries. If you do that, I suggest grabbing coffee at Corner Cafe and Empire Tea & Coffee.
Eat lunch downtown, with an ocean view, or on the beach
Want to shop after lunch? I suggest eating downtown. You have plenty of food options, then the chance to walk it off. I’ve eaten at Rosemary & Thyme and Mission. I’ve also heard good things about Scratch Kitchen and Diego’s.
A lot of places do take-out! Order food to-go and take it to the beach to enjoy some afternoon fun in the sun. You could also take lunch to a spot along the Cliff Walk. Make a picnic out of it — maybe even BYO-Lunch for a picnic.
Another great option is having lunch at a spot on the water. I haven’t done this personally, but collected some recommendations from friends. Try The Mooring or The Landing for food with a view.
Finally, one of my favorite ways to “lunch” is by snacking throughout the afternoon and waiting for dinnertime. Ryo and I often go for something healthy like donuts, or coffee/pastries for lunch — but only if we have a solid breakfast that morning. I also always pack fruit, bars or trail mix on these day trips so we can even just snack without stopping anywhere.
Afternoon activity: Soak in one more activity before dinner, between 1-5pm
Walk off your lunch by spending time shopping, walking along the beach, or maybe doing the touristy things you didn’t do in the morning. Remember, Newport is an island and can get a little cold once the sun starts to get lower. Make sure you keep a layer with you to toss on when your chilly.
Stay for dinner or head home
Expect getting home to take a little bit longer than your morning drive — especially if you are traveling during the summer months, on a Sunday, or on a weekday in rush hour traffic. Maybe check the drive before you get in the car and plan to stay for dinner if traffic looks nasty.
What are your favorite day trips from Boston? Share in the comments below.