We love an outdoor sunset picnic moment, and Newport is not short on easy-to-access, free outdoor spots to live out your low-cost sunset dreams. Here’s the Newport OUT list of favorite spots to bring your DIY picnic and take in the evening sky. Enjoy!
All photos below come from the locations mentioned in this blog and were taken by Newport Out team members Daniel Cano Restrepo and Sean O'Connor unless noted.
📍 Point Neighborhood
This park on Washington Street has a big ol’ grassy knoll and a kayak launch spot down on the rocky beach below. It’s also right up the street from the Van Zandt Pier, a great jumping spot with ladders and stairs for easy in-and-out after diving in the ocean. It overlooks the north side of Newport Harbor with great views of the Newport Bridge and Rose Island and faces west for your sunset viewing pleasure!
4 or 5 blocks south along Washington Street and close to the Goat Island Causeway is Storer Park, which has basketball courts and an even bigger grassier area for picnicking. The park is rimmed with concrete walls for sitting with your legs dangling over the water below. And there are ladders if you are keen to jump in to the harbor. The west-facing view looks directly at Gurney’s Hotel on Goat Island (another great sunset spot, but rather than a DIY picnic you can buy food and drink from the Pineapple Club at Gurney’s)
📍 5th Ward Neighborhood
This iconic Newport city park runs along the southern edge of Newport Harbor along Wellington Avenue. There’s nearly a ½ mile of the sea wall for sitting, plenty of grass, and a summer concert series on Sundays. Food trucks regularly pull up here, as well. The park's west side also has a kayak and paddle board launching beach.
📍 Ocean Drive
Rhode Island has several coastal state-managed parks that are really incredible, including Colt State Park in Bristol and Beavertail in Jamestown. And Newport is home to Brenton Point State Park, where you’ll see tons of kites flying on most summer weekends, and a monument to Portuguese explorers. There are picnic tables, plenty of grass with some walking trails to an old tower at the backside, and of course…the coastline.
Also, somewhere on Ocean Drive, there's a place affectionately known to locals as Secret Beach. If you don’t know it, we may be feeling kind if you send us a DM after making a donation to Newport Pride :-)
📍 Fort Adams
Fort Adams is the iconic home to Newport Folk & Jazz Festivals and many other events. We recommend heading up Lincoln Drive past the Eisenhower House to the backside or just parking in the main lot and walking around the fort to the water facing Jamestown.
Runner Up - Moonrise All-Star
We stan Purgatory Chasm in Middletown! There’s only a small lot there for 6 or so cars (or ride a bike or take a scooter from downtown Newport!), but sitting out on the rocks with the sweeping vista of Sachuest Beach and Wildlife Refuge is like no other. Although the sunset is at your back, catching a moonrise any time of year from this location is epic, especially when the moon is full and rising over Sachuest Wildlife Refuge. So mark your calendars for that!
HISTORY FUN FACT: Back in the days before Grindr and online dating sites when oppression of non-heteronormative sex and relationships was very much a thing here, Purgatory Chasm was one of the cruising hot spots on Aquidneck Island. (Not familiar with "cruising"? Here's one resource to learn more).
**Need a charcuterie board to go for your picnic, check out Bellevue Boards!**
We hope you've enjoyed this list of some of our favorite sunset spots for picnicking.