There are a lot of outdoor activities in Newport, RI, including a variety of different scenic walking routes. Most people head straight for Cliff Walk to enjoy the views of rugged cliffs along the water on one side, and the magnificent mansion on the other, however, the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge offers views that are just as grand.
Sachuest Point occupies the peninsula between the Sakonnet River and the Rhode Island Sound, just past Second Beach in Middletown, RI. A newly renovated visitors center welcomes you to the 242 acre Wildlife Refuge. There are over 2.5 miles of nature trails with various viewing platforms along the way. This Refuge is popular for saltwater fishing and has the largest winter population of harlequin ducks on the East Coast. The refuge supports over 200 bird species in its saltmarsh and beach strand habitats as well as its upland shrub dominated land. Some notable birds include: peregrine falcons, northern harriers and snowy owls.
This land started out as farming land and was later used as a horse racing area. During World War II, the Navy used this land as a communications site and rifle range. In 1970, the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge was established after a donation from the Audubon Society of Rhode Island.
It is amazing to me that after over 15 years of living in Newport that I still stumble upon a new hidden treasure that Newport has to offer. Sometimes these treasures are just around the corner from the Inn and other times a discovery that my wife and I make on one of our many walks around the city. Following is a list of some of the less obvious attractions/things to do/places to eat on Aquidneck Island that may not be included in the typical Newport guidebook. Most locals know about these items but this post is more for our guests and visitors to Newport.
- Southern End of the Cliff Walk/Rejects Beach – The most beautiful part and less traveled part of the Cliff Walk is the Southern end. On Summer days when town and the beaches are packed full of people you can hike this portion of the Cliff Walk and see only a few people. The same goes for Rejects Beach which is located near the end of the Cliff Walk and only a few hundred yards from the famed Bailey’s Beach Club. To get to both of these areas just take the trolley which is a short walk from the Inn. www.cliffwalk.com
- Sachuest Point – The Cliff Walk understandibly tends to get the most attention as a great outdoor activity during all four seasons in Newport. However, if you enjoy being outdoors Sachuest Point is a great seaside walk overlooking second beach in Middletown. A great place for birders, Sachuest Point also has free and ample parking. Visit the Sachuest Point website for more information.
- Newport International Polo Series – Occuring every Saturday starting in June, the Newport International Polo Series features the U.S.A. versus a multitude of International teams including such far away places as Ghana. Grab some wine and cheese and watch the entertaining game of polo field side. www.nptpolo.com
- Pineapples On The Bay – Located at the Hyatt Hotel, Pineapples has one of the best views in Newport. Unimpeded views of the Newport Bridge and the harbor can be had from any of the many outdoor tables. Plus, Tuesday is half price appetizers and there is free validated parking. Visit the Pineapples website for more information.
- Castle Hill – Castle Hill Inn and Resort is located on Ocean Drive and situated right at the entrance to Newport harbor. A huge wedding venue with room rates climbing into the $700-$800 range during peak times, Castle Hill is a great place to grab an afternoon cocktail or a dinner priced lunch. Dinner, although top notch, should be avoided unless you plan to dine early. Why pay the top prices if you cannot see the water?