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7 Frugal Vacation Ideas in Newport, Rhode Island

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I was really racking my brain for an article idea for today when it came to me. Do what you always do: write about what's impacting your life. My wife and I got married in Newport, Rhode Island a little over two years ago now and we made a point to set aside a few days to relive one of America's more storied cities. In fact, if we ever finishing moving and decorating, our bedroom will have a great nautical theme. It's ironic for the guy who doesn't really like the beach or sea food.

Newport, Rhode Island is a place where people have a lot of money. When we were looking for wedding photographers, the cheapest one's cheapest package was over $5,000. That gives you an idea of the kind of money that flows. So my theory is, if you can find ways to save money in Newport, RI, you can find ways to save money anywhere. With that in mind here are 7 ideas for saving money in Newport Rhode Island:

  • Atlantic Beach Club - On Tuesday we went to the Atlantic Beach Club on Easton's Beach (better known as "ABC" at "First Beach"). Some might call me a cheater since ABC is about 100 yards over the Newport line into Middletown, RI - they can leave the site now :-). The Atlantic Beach Club has some beach volleyball and the locals were there playing at noon on a Tuesday. They often have live music in the afternoons. Parking is $10 a car, but since we were their for the restaurant the charge got waived. A pitcher of domestic beer (including some personal favorites like Sam Adams Summer and Wachusett Blueberry) were $15. So for $5 more than than parking, you get a pitcher of beer . After our light meal and drinks, we went down to the beach for a bit, and then walked to...
  • Newport's Historic Cliff Walk - The walk is a 3.5 mile mostly paved trail behind many of Newport's famous mansions. As the website says, "What makes Cliff Walk unique is that it is a National Recreation Trail in a National Historic District." My wife and I went about a mile and a half of it this time, before we realized that without water or our day packs, it was silly to continue much further in the 95 degree heat. (Plus, I had done the whole thing a few years back, so I didn't feel like I was missing much).
  • Window Shop - Thames Street and America's Cup Boulevard have some great small local business. They always attract a small crowd in the summer time. For years, I've walked by the Re-Sails, a store that recycles sails into coats, bags, and other goodies. The high price has stopped me from buying, the jackets cost $250 and up. We stopped at one place, Bite Me, Live Bait and picked up some signs: Cliff Walk with arrow and Mansions with an arrow for our bedroom theme. We passed on a sign that I found humorous: "No Malicious Cannonballing". I was going to get the B.O.A.T. - Break Out Another Thousand shirt for a friend, but they didn't have his size. Also, it's one of those things that can sometimes hit a little too close to home.
  • Go on a Historic Tour - Newport is home to the church where JFK got married... just take a trip to St. Mary's Church. You can also have a beer at America's oldest tavern, the White Horse Tavern, established in 1673. There's some controversy there as it's not the longest running tavern - it wasn't a tavern for some time. We had dinner there, which was pricey and fantastic, but if you are on a budget, save your money and have a drink there.
  • Visit a State Park - There's Fort Adams and state parks. Pack your kite, Frisbee, and picnic basket. While it's not particularly unique to Newport, it's a day well spent.
  • Tennis Hall of Fame - Since, American tournament tennis began in 1881, it is the natural home to the Tennis Hall of Fame. The adult rate is $10 and kids get in for $5 (under 5 are free). I would say more about it, but I've actually never been. It seems like there were always something else to do.
  • Newport Grand - In previous years, I could give this a higher recommendation. This used to be home to daily Jai Alai matches, but sadly it's been converted to a building full of slot machines. On the bright side it's open until 1AM or 2AM most nights. My wife and I stopped in and despite coming away disappointed, played an hour of Deal or No Deal themed slot machines. She won $7 and I lost $3. Making $4 to be mildly entertained isn't horrible.
  • Bonus: Top Side Pub - If you have military connections, the Naval Station in Newport has a place called Top Side Pub is a great place where you can get a small steak for under $8 and a pitcher for around $10. It's right on the water looking at the famous Newport bridge. Not so coincidentally, the Officer's Club that it's affiliated with also served as the location for my wife and my wedding reception.

Have you been to Newport? If so, what are your favorite places or things to do (frugal or otherwise)?

Last updated on August 1, 2011.

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6 Responses to “7 Frugal Vacation Ideas in Newport, Rhode Island”

  1. My theory is: “If you’re a wedding photographer, move to Newport, Rhode Island”

    I’m not going to make any comments about your wife being tempted to push you off a cliff during the walk. See, I didn’t make a comment about it. Oh, crap.

    State and national Parks can be a cheap source of entertainment. I think that “all you can see” pass for national parks is something like $50/yr. I spent a couple of weeks at Rocky Moutain National Park in 2003. I ate at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe (OK, so it was more of a glorified snack bar @ 11,000ish feet – but still kind of cool).

  2. Craig says:

    New Port is beautiful but not necessarily cheap, the area is pretty expensive especially during the summer, but if you are driving, then it is def a great less expensive weekend.

  3. kitty says:

    I was in Newport once. I liked the mansions – nope, that’s not frugal but for someone like me who grew up in Europe and likes visiting palaces, I like it. Newport mansions is probably the closest thing to European palaces one can find in America.

    Liked the cliff walk as well as just walking around the center of Newport.

  4. Mia says:

    They have lobsters rolls 2/$10.99 at Easton’s Beach, too – very frugal for a Newport treat. Also, the Newport Creamery has Awful Awfuls (flavored milk ice shakes) 2-for-1 on Mondays (saves you about $4 each), and across the street from the Bellevue Avenue location you can walk into the Tennis Hall of Fame and see the center court for free! Just got back from a wonderful week there with my family…

  5. My WIFE NEEDS a boat shirt. too late to pick one up? Men’s XL.

  6. Lazy Man says:

    Yep, its too late… I don’t know why they don’t sell them online.

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