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Newport Parking Survival Guide

Being in the smallest state comes with a huge caveat: limited parking. When traveling to an RI tourist destination like Newport, it’s important to be prepared to fight tooth and nail for a parking spot (not literally, but honestly – maybe). In order to have an advantage in your parking mission, I’ve compiled some tips for you to know before you go. Happy spot hunting!

1. Come with cash.

One big thing to know about Newport parking lots is that they always cost money. Always. On average, you can expect to pay about $25 or $30 to park. There are some lots that only charge $10, like the small lot near the White Horse Tavern, and some lots charge up to $55, like the Long Wharf Mall parking lot (though this expensive of a lot is pretty rare). Whether it be $5, $10, or $30, there will be some price to pay for deciding to park in a lot, and it will be cash only. This is why it will be ideal for you to arrive at these lots with cash already in hand – sure, you could turn around and go scour for an ATM, but I don’t think it’s worth risking losing a spot in a parking lot. Just come with some cash, okay? 

2. Read signs carefully (and beware of resident parking!) 

The best strategy for parking in Newport is beginning to learn side streets, and where you can or cannot park. In the busy season (May 1st to October 1st), non-residents can only park on most of these side streets during the day — at night, parking officers enforce a non-resident ban from 6pm to 6am, and I can promise you that you will get a ticket for parking where you shouldn’t be. I may or may not know that from experience. Your best bet for nighttime parking will be meter parking, which I’ll cover in the next tip. The biggest street where you can score on daytime parking is Pelham, so feel free to plug that into your GPS. If you can’t find anything on Pelham, it’s worth checking out the surrounding side streets. They’re pretty easy to navigate, just follow the one-way signs. But remember to read the signs! 

3. Arrive prepared.

There are plenty of meters to park at around Newport, and these are going to be your best bet for parking at night since mostly all of the side streets are off limits. Recently, the town of Newport installed meters that work with debit cards (and supposedly coins, but the coins have never worked for me). It’s only $1.25 per hour, and you get a maximum of three hours. However, it’s worth noting that these meters also operate off of an app called Passport Parking. Before coming to Newport, download this app and fill in your car information as it requires. When you park at a meter, you can enter your zone number and adjust your hours on the app. So, for example, say you’re at Bar & Board having one of the tastiest meals of your stay. Suddenly, you realize your parking is about to run out — but you haven’t ordered dessert yet! Have no fear – just jump onto Passport Parking, and you can add up to three more hours to your meter! Having this app already installed will make this extending process much smoother. 

There’s a lot to see and do in Newport – fall is actually busier than summer in many ways – use these tips to make the most of your visit, and don’t let the common RI spectre of parking difficulties haunt your autumn visit.

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