The Best Scenic Walks on Aquidneck Island

The Best Scenic Walks on Aquidneck Island

Aquidneck Island is a picturesque setting with stunning landscapes and charming architecture. One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the island’s beauty and heritage is by exploring on foot. From historic mansions to pastoral landscapes to breathtaking coastal views, these are our favorite routes to explore within Newport, Middletown, and Portsmouth, the three towns that share Aquidneck Island.

Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge, Middletown

It’s hard to beat the scenery at Sachuest Point. The meadows are dotted with wildflowers and native species. Along the coastal paths, you’ll encounter panoramic views of the ocean and may spot ospreys and egrets. Keep an eye out for the majestic snowy owl, known to occasionally visit Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge during the winter months. Two of our favorite trails are the Sachuest Point Trail and the Pebbly Beach Trail. The Sachuest Point Trail takes you around the perimeter of the refuge for sweeping views of Rhode Island Sound, Sachuest Bay, and the surrounding salt marshes. Pebbly Beach is a short trail that leads to a rocky shoreline where you can explore tide pools and enjoy views of the ocean. You may even spot a river otter skipping along the rocks while you’re there!

Newport Historic District

Immerse yourself in the colonial history of Newport by taking a walking tour through the heart of its historic district. This route guides you through narrow cobblestone streets lined with well-preserved colonial buildings, showcasing the city’s architectural heritage. Highlights include the Newport Colony House, built in 1739, and the White Horse Tavern, America’s oldest operating tavern dating back to 1673.

Start your walk at the Brick Market on Thames Street, a marketplace with roots dating back to the early 18th century. From there, head northwest on Washington Street to the Hunter House, a beautiful mansion constructed in 1748, and one of the finest examples of Colonial architecture in Newport. Head south on Washington Street, then left onto Touro Street to find the Old Colony House, dating back to 1739-1741, which once served as Rhode Island’s state house.

Stroll east on Touro Street, then left onto Spring Street to reach Trinity Church, founded in 1698, renowned for its Gothic Revival architecture. Many members of the Vanderbilt family attended the church when summering in Newport, and local lore reports that George Washington attended services there in 1781! Trinity Church is located in Queen Anne Square, which is the perfect place to rest your feet after your walk. Take in the panoramic vista of Newport Harbor from this vantage point. Treat yourself to a freshly brewed coffee from the nearby café as you savor the picturesque surroundings.

Norman Bird Sanctuary, Middletown

The Norman Bird Sanctuary encompasses over 325 acres of protected land with seven miles of walking trails. You can choose from a variety of trails that wind through woodlands, meadows, and wetlands. The staff at the Welcome Center is very helpful and can recommend a trail that suits your interests. It’s always fun to stop at Red Maple Pond to admire the egrets and look for turtles. We recommend climbing to the top of Hanging Rock for panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean! It’s best to explore the trails during the early morning or late afternoon hours. This is when wildlife activity tends to be at its peak. 

Cliff Walk in Newport

This famous 3.5-mile trail runs along Newport’s eastern shore, offering stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, cliffs, and historic mansions. Beginning at Easton’s Beach on Memorial Boulevard, it passes landmarks like The Breakers, Marble House, and Rough Point before ending at Bellevue Avenue. The Cliff Walk combines natural beauty with Gilded Age architecture. For a shorter walk, start at Forty Steps on Narragansett Avenue and exit at Ruggles or Marine Avenue to see coastal views, Ochre Court, and The Breakers. Another option is to start at Ruggles or Marine Avenue and exit at Ledge Road, where you’ll still enjoy ocean views and see Rosecliff, Beechwood, Marble House, the Chinese Tea House, and Rough Point. Check out The Chanler, located right at the start of the Cliff Walk, for a luxurious dining experience with stunning views of the ocean. It’s a lovely setting to relax and indulge before or after your walk. 

Sakonnet Greenway Trail, Portsmouth

This scenic nature trail meanders through woodlands, fields, and along the edge of marshes, offering beautiful views of the surrounding landscape and wildlife. It’s well-marked and easy to navigate, stretching for 10 miles, making it the longest continuous nature trail on Aquidneck Island. The trail is often used for hiking, running, dog walking, wildlife viewing, and even horseback riding in some sections. The trail is dotted with bridges and boardwalks to help you traverse the wetlands. Reward yourself with a post-hike treat at Newport Vineyards & Taproot Brewery, located at one of the access points to the trail!

Aquidneck Island offers a wealth of scenic walks that promise unforgettable experiences. Get in touch with us for more information about these walks and others. If you’re interested in buying or selling a property in Newport, RI, or its surrounding communities, Hogan Associates Christie’s International Real Estate will gladly be your guide. Call us at (401) 680-6588 or send a message to info@hoganri.com.