Summer Fun Never Dies in Newport

What to do on an island during the autumn

bowens wharf

You see the signs ominously creeping in: the sun is setting noticeably earlier, back-to-school anxiety is forming a visible smog over New England, the birds are starting to pack up so they can leave town — along with the tourists. The end of summer is nigh!

But there’s no need to clutch that beach towel in dramatic despair! Fall is a most magical time of year in New England, and in coastal communities like Newport, that sentiment rings loudly. So leave your shorts unpacked because it’s not over yet!



Here are five reasons why it’s all going to be okay.

1. The Weather Is #@*%#@ Spectacular!

September and early October in Newport, RI: the air is still warm, the humidity has nearly died out completely, and the water is still swimmable. It’s a great time to take advantage of those vacation days you need to use up, or that weekend plan you were too busy to follow through on. There’ll be plenty of days left to enjoy one of Newport’s many fantastic beaches — not to mention that it’s far easier to enjoy them when they aren’t packed to the gills.

But Newport isn’t just a great beach city; it has all sorts of outdoor attractions to explore. Newport is host to 10 lighthouses and five state parks — many of these are great spots to snap photos or have a picnic. Feeling more adventurous? Take the Cliff Walk — one of the best walking routes in all of New England. It’s a three-and-a- half-mile trek, which will take you through some of the most gorgeous spots in the city. This is easily one of the best ways to see the Newport Mansions, such as the world famous Breakers, and other attractions, like the 40 Steps.

2. The Summer Tourists Are Going, Going …

Simple tasks like driving to the store or getting a seat at your favorite waterfront spot can get utterly mind-numbing in a summer tourist mecca like Newport, so it’s a breath of fresh air when the crowds dissipate. Early fall is the perfect time to have a condensed version of the summer of your dreams — and you can actually navigate comfortably down Thames street! It’s one of the best times of year to walk around and explore all the features that the City By The Sea has to offer.

3. Festivals Abound!

Fall may be the harbinger of winter — but that doesn’t mean it’s time to lock yourself indoors with a couple bowls of soup and a Netflix marathon. Newport is ripe with activities that will remind you — or at least convince you — that the summer lives on in spirit.

The 43rd annual Newport International Boat Show (September 12th – 15th), for example, will leave you locked in a summer mentality. The event offers looks at the latest trends in boating, has live music, food and drink from local vendors, and even provides kid-friendly exhibits like face painting.

Miss the chowder cook-off? Fear not, because the Seafood Festival is in October! The 23rd annual Bowen’s Wharf Seafood Festival (October 19th and 20th) is a great way to enjoy the flavors of summer and welcome the tastes of fall.

Another great end-of-summer escape is the Newport Sailing Festival (September 28) — an all-ages public event, where you can get a free high seas outing throughout Newport harbor.

4. The Fall Was Made for Foodies 

Amazing food and spectacular cocktails are very much alive and well in Newport all year long. Boasting well over 100 bars and eateries, there will be plenty of places to experience good times and good tastes. Have a relaxing adult beverage at spots like the Red Parrot or The Pier. Or, cozy up for some end-of-the-season ocean-side dining at hot spots like 22 Bowens, The Black Pearl or Castle Hill, among many others. 

If you’re a hardcore foodie, the fall harkens the return of Restaurant Week (November 1st – 10th), which everyone knows is the perfect time to try the best food the city has to offer. It’s also one of the most cost-effective times of the year to try something new or indulge in an old favorite.

And what’s fall without Oktoberfest? Newport has you covered, with one of the most spirited celebrations in all of New England (October 12 and 13). Head down to the Yachting Center to enjoy the music and dance the night away, or just fill up on festival-inspired beer and German foods!  It’s the perfect send-off for summer and a great way to settle into a fall state of mind.

 5. There’s Seriously Always Something To Do 

The end of the summer does not have to mean the end of fun. Newport is a living city, home to a rich cultural scene, which includes dozens of museums and galleries, vineyards, farmsteads, the Newport Storm Brewery, and even a casino! Let’s not forget shopping. Newport is loaded with local businesses that are open all year long and offer very competitive, off-season prices. So don’t fret, because whether it’s summer, fall, spring, or (gasp!) winter, Newport has something for everybody.