The Thrifty New England Traveler is a blog of VisitingNewEngland, a web site that features real New England travel stories told by a lifelong local.

Why Winter in Newport, Rhode Island Warms a Traveler’s Soul

The Newport, R.I. waterfront in the winter

The Newport waterfront in the winter.

There’s an unofficial misguided rule that summer ends at coastal New England tourist destinations after Labor Day Weekend.

Not true. Winter in Newport, Rhode Island, as a prime example, can warm the soul even at its coldest temperatures. The magnetic, scenic draw of the sea remains, of course, and there’s still plenty to see and do despite the offseason label. People tend to forget that this is a real town with real people living in real neighborhoods. The small city population needs its community to be open year-round. Lucky them and lucky you, the tourist! As an added bonus, the crowds are fewer so that leaves a greater chance to enjoy this charming coastal city without traffic jams and lines.

Although some stores close for the season, many remain open. It’s especially delightful strolling historic Thames Street with its appealing mix of shops. Here, you’ll find everything from clothing and furniture to gifts and homemade fudge.

Thames Street in Newport, R.I. during the winter.

Thames Street in Newport during the winter.

The bustling Newport restaurant scene remains during the winter, too. A place like the Brick Alley Pub & Restaurant, at 140 Thames Street, provides a nice mix of comfort foods, a fabulous salad bar and full dinners including fresh seafood with good value for the money. It’s also a cozy, warm place to be during the winter!

Brick Alley Pub & Restaurant in Newport, Rhode Island.

Brick Alley Pub & Restaurant.

Some of the famous Newport mansions offer tours during the winter. Be sure not to miss this incredible experience. The Elms is a great place to start with its stunning exterior…

The Elms, one of the famous mansions in Newport, R.I.

The Elms in Newport.

And equally stunning interior…

The Elms, a famous mansion in Newport, R.I.

The Elms mansion.

And Now For The Feature Presentation…

My favorite part of Newport in the winter: the scenery. The peace and solitude and the chance to reflect by the sea offer one of the true travel treasures in New England. It’s pretty much just you and the sea at places like the Cliff Walk…

The Cliff Walk in Newport, R.I. during the winter.

The Cliff Walk in the winter.

and Easton’s Beach at the beginning of the Cliff Walk…

Easton's Beach in Newport, R.I.

Easton’s Beach.

Ocean Drive is a must-see when visiting Newport at any time of the year. It’s truly a beautiful drive…

A winter drive along Ocean Drive in Newport, R.I/

Ocean Drive.

If it isn’t too cold, get out of the car and take a refreshing walk. You’ll see fabulous scenery virtually every step of the way.

Blue sea on Ocean Drive in Newport, R.I.

Blue sea on Ocean Drive.

Bretton Point State Park offers some of the most memorable views around Ocean Drive. The lighting in the winter can seem to change by the minute. At one point gray, the scene can then yield brilliant blues in a heartbeat.

What a beautiful drive along Ocean Drive in Newport, R.I.

What a beautiful drive!

The glimmering light reflecting on the sea seems to be one constant, however.

Dramatic scene at Ocean Drive in Newport, R.I.

Dramatic scene at Ocean Drive.

Think the scenery ends when leaving Newport? Not a chance. Neighboring Middletown offers some views equally as impressive whether on a nice warm day, or a cold one like this at Purgatory Chasm…

Purgatory Chasm in Middletown, R.I/

Purgatory Chasm in Middletown.

Or sunset at Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge…

Sunset in Middletown, R.I.

Sunset in Middletown.

And that is why I love winter in the Newport area. What are some of your favorite things to do here during the colder season? Please comment below. Thanks!

Click here for more Rhode Island travel reading

For dining out in Rhode Island, I highly recommend the Coast Guard House for water views and fresh seafood, Coastal Roasters for freshly brewed coffee (and water views!) and Carmella’s Pizzeria for some of the best pizza in the Ocean State.

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