I read in every travel guide and online article that the Newport Cliff Walk was a must; that on this walk you will see views of the steep cliffs and the famous mansions. Every resource said this is considered to be one of the greatest walks in the world. Yet I will still skeptical. I knew without a doubt that it would be an amazing walk. The Cliff Walk, a 3.5-mile-long walk along Newport’s coastline, was at the top of my list of things to do while in Newport. Yet, I feared that the mansions would be behind high fences and we would only see them in the distance. However, my worries were soon diminished. The Cliff Walk lived up to its hype and far surpassed any expectations I had for it.
The Newport Cliff Walk can not be illustrated in one photo. A photo simply cannot capture the grandeur that it is. I was in complete awe while walking the Cliff Walk. With the rugged coast against the calming waters to one side and the impressive mansions to the other.
We parked at Easton’s Beach, which offers access to the beginning of the Cliff Walk. There is a parking lot with daily rates or you can find meter parking, depending on how long you will be. We climbed up the short distance to the Cliff Walk and watched as the beach shrank into the distance. The inlet beach and the mansions across the water peaked out every so often beyond the greenery at the start of the walk.
The Chanler at Cliff Walk, a mansion turned boutique hotel was the first place we passed. With direct access to the Cliff Walk, I couldn’t imagine a better place to stay while in Newport (A girl can dream, right?).
Along the walk, you pass quite a few seaside cottages. I couldn’t imagine living here, let alone referring to these mansions as a “Summer cottage”.
As you pass the inlet, the water opens to sea as far as the eye can see and the coastline becomes increasingly more rugged. I couldn’t help but stop to take in the view every chance I got.
My heart fluttered when we reach Forty Steps, a staircase that provides direct access to Newport’s rocky coast.
At the bottom of the steps, we veered off to climb down the rocks. I was nervous at first because I thought I’d slip. But it was very easy and so worth it. People were relaxing on the rocks, each person daring to walk just a little closer to where the waves were crashing against the coast. Some people were even fearlessly swimming in the water. We rounded the corner of where the stairs where to find a cave inside the steep cliff. If I tried to approach the cave any closer, I would’ve gotten soaked. Yet I was content admiring it from a few feet away.
Next along our walk was Salve Regina University’s Orche Court, a former mansion turned university that looks over the Cliff Walk. It is beautiful. There is no gate and no entrance fee. It is like having free access to one of the mansions. All you have to do is walk up the grass to explore this mansion.
I walked around the property to view this impressive University from every angle. The perfectly manicured grounds and great attention to detail blew me away. This wouldn’t be a half-bad place to attend University. It was surprising that more people weren’t visiting the property. While I was there, we were the only people on the grounds.
The famous, breathtaking Breakers was next on the Cliff Walk. I could tell by the number of people peeping their heads above the bushes that we had made it to this prime stop along the path. The Breakers was the Summer cottage of the Vanderbilt family and is the grandest of all the historic mansions in Newport.
We kept along the Cliff Walk past more mansions, the rugged coast, and surfers by the cliffs until we got to the part where the paved path ended. We hopped along the rocks down to a sandy beach, where you could see the Japanese Tea House down the path. The Cliff Walk seemingly ends where the paved path does, yet it actually continues as a rockier path. However, we opted to end our walk at the beach as it was already getting late.
While the Cliff Walk is only 3.5 miles, it takes a while to cover all that ground, allowing for plenty of time to stop along the way. Do you like maps? Below you will find a map of all my stops on the Cliff Walk.