Riding bikes is one of my favorite active pastimes. And Newport, in Rhode Island, is one of my favorite spots to be. It is the perfect blend of colonial history and natural beauty. Although I prefer my bike rides to be on paths, I decided to take a bike ride to enjoy Newport’s natural beauty. I ended up taking a ride starting and ending at Fort Adams. There are more hills than in most of my best bike rides in Rhode Island, but this ride by Newport’s farms, mansion, and water was a lovely change from groomed paths. Enjoy this 7-mile Newport, RI bike ride around an old fort, by farms, mansions, the ocean, and through two state parks. It is an ideal way to spend a day in Newport.
Start at the Fort Adams Parking Lot.
If you have a whole day to spend in Newport, consider starting by taking a tour of Fort Adams. You can check out the story of my first visit to the fort built in 1824 and the largest fort on the east coast of the US. It is named after President John Adams, who authorized it to be built., although that happened later.
The fort is perched on Brenton Point, jutting out into Newport Bay, so it has unbeatable views. It was the perfect spot to protect the entrance to the harbor. The Fort Adams Bay Walk goes around the fort along the water. You will be riding it for part of this ride. Exit the parking lot by the road you entered in on-Fort Adams Drive. This is one of the hilliest parts of the ride. Go all the way up the hill until you reach Harrison Avenue and turn right.
While biking down Harrison Avenue, notice the farm at number 225. After their wedding at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in downtown Newport, JFK and Jackie had their reception here at her childhood home. The couple summered here through JFK’s short presidency. This property is no longer open to the public.
Turn right onto Ridge Road.
At the end of the road, turn right onto Castle Hill Road, then Ocean Drive heading towards Castle Hill Inn.
Castle Hill Lighthouse
Deviate towards Castle Hill Inn to check out the lighthouse. Lock up your bike at the marina parking lot on the right and walk up the quarter-mile dirt trail to the lighthouse. This granite lighthouse was built in 1898 and is still a working navigational aid.
Have lunch on the lawn at Castle Hill Inn.
The gorgeous Victorian Agassiz Mansion is the center of the inn’s 40-acre property on a peninsula. It has spectacular views of Jamestown and the Newport Bridge. It also has some of the best food in Newport. Dinners inside are the priciest in town, but the experience of eating on the lawn affords the views with a more modest (although not inexpensive) price tag. Think lobster rolls on china, always very good. Although you don’t have to be dressed up for this stop, you also need to look decent.
Ride back out to the street you turned into Castle Hill from and turn right onto Ocean Drive.
Brenton Point State Park
Fort Adams actually sits on Brenton Point, but this state park lies on Ocean Drive, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Narragansett Bay. The park was originally an estate, but the mansion has since been demolished. The former servant’s quarters now house the visitor’s center. It is the perfect place to stop to hike, fish, fly a kite, or simply enjoy the views. Be sure to climb up the old stone tower and explore the decaying outbuildings that are still standing, as well as the remaining military relics.
When you are done at Brenton State Park, continue along Ocean Drive.
Because we are taking a 7-mile ride, we will return to Fort Adams by turning left onto Harrison Avenue. If you are up for a longer ride, continue up Ocean Avenue passing most of Newport’s famous mansions.
Turn left onto Fort Adams Drive.
Take this time to explore the grounds of Fort Adams.
Turn left on Lincoln Drive.
On your right at the top of the hill is the Eisenhower House, an 1873 mansion that served as the summer white house for President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The road will loop you around to follow the shore back to the fort, where you can pack up your bikes after your ride around historical and natural Newport.
If you aren’t a biker, consider driving this route. It would be an excellent way to spend a day in Newport. It would be easier to add a mansion tour and a waterfront walk on the Cliff Walk by the mansions.
Enjoy your day in Newport!