A self-guided driving tour of Newport’s top sights

From
USD2000

Free cancellation

A full refund will apply if you cancel more than 24 hours before the activity start time.

Guide LanguageEnglish
Good To KnowE-voucher
21 reviews

About

Visit historic, coastal Newport at your own pace during this attraction-packed, self-guided tour. Follow a carefully chosen itinerary and live GPS map, with stops at celebrated mansions like the Bellevue House, the chateau-inspired Elms, and the iconic Vanderbilt home, the Breakers, plus natural sights like Easton’s Beach and Fort Adams State Park.

Highlights

A self-guided tour of Newport’s top historic and natural attractions
Ideal for groups: purchase only one tour per car, and everyone can listen in
The tour is available from the moment you book, with one year validity.
Take as long or as little as you’d like in each location, with plenty of enriching audio

Itinerary

Our journey begins in downtown Newport, just by the Newport Visitor Center. As we set off into the heart of Newport, we'll dive into the past to learn about Newport's hey-day: the Gilded Age. This era of nouveau-riche American elites like the Vanderbilts and Astors has been marked by gorgeous mansions. We'll explore the architecture and architects behind these designs as drive.
Note: This 16-mile-long tour covers the essentials of Newport Bundle in 6-7 hours.
At the International Tennis Hall of Fame intersection, we'll turn onto the famed Bellevue Avenue -- the most expensive avenue in America. We're about to see the most magnificent homes ever built in this country... facetiously known as "summer cottages". You can choose to pause here to check ou the Hall of Fame, which features tennis greats.
As we head down Bellevue, we'll soon pass the Audrain Auto Museum and won't be able to help by admire it! It boasts both beautiful architecture and a frequent rotation of stunning cars.
We'll take a quick detour off of Bellevue to get a closer look at the Edward King House, just one block away. This is our introduction to the mansions of Newport.
As we head back to Bellevue, we'll see our very first Newport Mansion: Kingscote. We'll learn all about this summer home and it's inhabitants over the years. You can even take a tour of the inside.
Bellevue House is next on our journey. This gorgeous mansion has a rich facade - and a long history to match! Since it's not open for tours, we won't try to pause here.
As we continue down Bellevue Avenue, we'll pass more eye-catching homes: Issac Bell House and Snug Harbor. We'll learn about the unique owners of both homes, and can choose to stop at Issac Bell House for an interior tour.
Finally, we'll see the Elms. This masterpiece was designed for the coal baron Edward Julius Berwind and inspired by France's Château d'Asnières. Here we'll want to slow down as much as possible to hear about the Berwinds -- and maybe pull inside for a tour!
When we spot Mr. Belmont's statue, we'll turn off Bellevue. We're now heading towards some of the largest and finest mansions in Newport -- and they're technically not even on this famously expensive avenue! As we drive, we'll learn a bit about Belmont -- whose fascinating story we'll pick back up when we see another grand house later on the tour.
As we journey along, we'll pass Chepstow, a gorgeous Italianate house museum built-in 1860. Its original inhabitant isn't usually discussed in Newport histories... but has a long connection to both early American settlers and to the nouveau-riche of the Gilded Age. We can stop here for a tour as well.
Ochre Court will immediately arrest our eyes! This châteauesque mansion cost of $4.5 million... in 1892. And it certainly shows! Now the centerpiece of the Salve Regina University, this mansion isn't open for tours... but that won't stop us from learning all about it's rich and fascinating history!
Vikings-inspired Vinland is now Salve Regina's McAuley Hall. As we pass this beautiful red-stone mansion, we'll learn all about it's inspiration and its unique owner.
Finally, we reach Newport's highlight: The Breakers. This Vanderbilt mansion is the biggest and the best of all of Newport's summer cottages -- and you can tell. We'll look past the towering wrought-iron gates, along the winding gravel drive, and up to the majestic and marvelous mansion's facade. We'll dive into the Vanderbilt backstory, the mansion's architectural wonders, and much more while here. This is another great opportunity to hop out for a tour.
As we head back towards Bellevue Avenue, we'll pause to check out the delicate beauty of Chateau-sur-Mer. Not only is the first Gilded Age mansion in Newport, but it also boasts one of the most beautiful, green, sprawling gardens. Both the house and the gardens are open for an optional tour.
Right on the corner of Bellevue, we'll pause once again for a glimpse of Vernon Court. This mansion holds a different type of treasure inside: the National Museum of American Illustrations. Norman Rockwell fans simply can't skip this hidden gem.
We continue our journey along Newport's Bellevue Avenue, passing the historic Frederick Law Olmstead Park and learning about this historic landscape architect -- and his Gilded Age gardens.
Rosecliff is next on our path. This is arguably the most beautiful of the Newport Mansions, and it contains a rotating exhibition gallery on it's top floor. If you pause here for a tour, you'll also be treated to phenomenal ocean views.
As we continue, we'll pass the Astors' summer cottage: Beechwood. Mrs. Astor famously had a "300 List" - the definitive list of the 300 people she considered high society. Where did that number come from? Well, this ballroom actually! It fit 300 guests. We'll learn more about this list, the Astors, and the Gilded Age as we continue to drive down Newport's Bellevue Avenue.
Our journey now takes us past Marble House, one of the most opulent and magnificent of Newport's Mansions. This Gilded Age marvel is another Vanderbilt home, and actually has one of the most interesting histories of all the mansions here. We'll learn all about Marble House and it's owners as we continue onwards -- or you can pause here for a tour.
We'll then pass three amazing homes in a row: Beaulieu House, Miramar, and Belcourt Castle. All three of these beautiful mansions were built in the 1800s and belonged to Gilded Age elites. Like the other Newport mansions, they were only ever intended to be used as summer homes, and left vacant for the rest of the year.
We're now at the end of Bellevue Avenue and can catch a glimpse of an English Manorial style home through the trees: that's Rough Point. Now a museum open for tours, we'll learn all about it's the eccentric (and possibly dangerous) owner.
Our tour along the beautiful Cliff Walk ends near another beach: Bailey's Beach. The northeast end of the beach, where the Cliff Walk ends, is open to the public, but Bailey’s Beach itself is private, welcoming only a very exclusive club.... reminiscent of Mrs. Astor’s “400” list. Perhaps the Gilded Age lives on in Newport!
As we meander along this scenic path, we'll enjoy the fresh ocean air and relative calm. As we drive, we'll dive into the history of seafaring, trading, and yachting in Newport -- much of which finds its roots in the Gilded Age. As we continue, we can choose to pause at some of the public beaches to stretch our legs.
Our journey continues past Brenton Point State Park, which boasts magnificent ocean views and sprawling green lawns. We'll try to spot the lighthouse as we continue forward.
We'll continue past Castle Hill Inn and it's a lighthouse, learning a bit more about Newport's history after the Gilded Age.
Next up, we'll pass OceanCliff and the Newport Country Club. We're now at the farthest point along the Ocean Drive.
Our journey brings us to Hammersmith Farm, the childhood home of Jackie Kennedy. Jackie and JFK would later return to summer here, enjoying the same scenery, views, and breeze that you feel today!
We'll continue both our history lesson and journey into Fort Adams, as we explore this historic site and it's significance to Newport's independence.
As we turn the corner on Ocean Drive, we'll gatch a glimpse of Beacon Rock through the trees. We'll learn a little about this mansion's history as we admire it's facade.
Our journey then brings us to BonnieCrest, home of the Worcestershire Sauce family! We'll then push forward to Harbor Court and finally, get some more scenic ocean views.
Off the in the distance, we'll see Ida Lewis Rock. As we pass by, we'll learn all about Ida Lewis' heroic activities here.
We'll continue past the historic Rochambeau Monument, celebrating the French commander's assistance in the fight against the British for American independence.
Our journey then brings us to Newport's Irish District or 5th Ward. Here we'll explore the lives behind the scenes -- those of the workers that made the Gilded Age possible.
Our tour through Newport finally ends at historic St. Mary's Church, almost a full circle to where we started out at the Newport Visitor Center!
Embark on this scenic walk at the Cliff Walk entrance by Easton's Beach. We'll learn a little about Easton's Beach as we set off on this journey, followed immediately by a short look at the Chanler. As we continue along, we'll dive into Newport's history, the effect of the Gilded Age, and the Cliff Walk's creation. We'll also learn a little about the "old-money" families, like the Vanderbilts and Astors, whose grand summer cottages line the Cliff Walk.
Our first major stop comes at the iconic Forty Steps. This is an alternative starting point for the tour and a wonderful opportunity to walk down these historic steps and appreciate the wild beauty of the crashing waves in front. We'll learn about the Gilded Age elites who tried to keep access to the Cliff Walk for themselves by building a wall -- and about the lower-class residents who tore those walls down! Thanks to their battles, this beautiful pathway has remained open to the public.
As we near the end of the Cliff Walk, we'll see one final mansion: Land's End. This was the home of Edith Wharton, the gifted author who abhorred being a Gilded Age elite. We'll learn all about Wharton and her works as we continue.

Inclusions

Easy-to-use app: download Action’s Tour Guide App onto your phone
Great value: purchase per car, not per person. More affordable than bus or guided tours!
Engaging storytelling: Uncover unique tales and thrilling history for a memorable journey!
Perfect narrator: nothing can beat listening to a great voice. Proven with tons of rave reviews!
Offline maps: no signal, no problem! Works perfectly without cellular or wifi.
Comprehensive route and stops: See it all, miss nothing, leave no stone unturned!
Go at your own pace: Start anytime, pause anywhere, enjoy breaks for snacks and photos freely!
Hands-free: audio stories play on their own based on your location. Easy to use!

Exclusions

Attraction passes, entry tickets, or reservations

Additional Information

  • Public transportation options are available nearby
  • Suitable for all physical fitness levels
  • How to access: Once you book a tour, you’ll get a confirmation email and an instructions email. Follow the instructions right away: • Download the app • Enter the password • Download the tour • MUST DO while in strong wifi/cellular
  • How to start the tour: Once onsite, open the Action's Tour Guide App: • If there is just one tour, launch it. • If there are multiple tour versions, launch the one with your planned starting point and direction. • Go to the starting point. (Note: no one will meet you at the start. This tour is self-guided). • The audio will begin automatically at the starting point. If you face audio issues, visit the FAQ. • Stick to the tour route & speed limit for the best experience.
  • Amazing savings: • Driving Tours: Save money by purchasing a single tour for the entire vehicle, avoiding individual fees per person like on a bus tour. Connect your phone to the car speakers to share the audio. Walking Tours: While each person typically needs their tour, couples or small groups can share one using split headphones.
  • Flexibility and Convenience: • Use the tour app anytime, on any day, and over multiple days. It's perfect for tailoring your exploration and revisiting your favorite spots on future trips. • Start and pause the tour whenever you like, taking breaks and exploring side excursions at your own pace, free from the constraints of a group.
  • Comprehensive Tour Experience: •The app provides a full itinerary, travel tips, narrated audio stories, scripts, images, videos, and recommendations for additional activities. • Enjoy a private experience without the crowds, ideal for personalized stops and photo opportunities.
  • Ease of Use and Accessibility: • The app is hands-free and activates stories via GPS, offering support through call, chat, or email. • There is no need for a continuous cell or Wi-Fi connection as the GPS map works offline.
  • Memorable Keepsakes: • Utilize the app’s images to create a photo book or share on social media, ensuring you have high-quality, crowd-free memories from your trip.
  • Preparation: • After booking, download the app and the tour using a strong Wi-Fi connection. • Review the tour at home before your trip for a better experience.
  • Starting the Tour: • Open the app upon arrival at your destination. • Select the appropriate tour based on your starting point. • Head to the starting location; the audio will begin automatically. • Follow the suggested route and adhere to the speed limit for an optimal experience. • By following these instructions and taking advantage of the app's features, users can enjoy a personalized, flexible, and in-depth exploration of their destination at their own pace and convenience.

Guide Languages

  • English

Cancellation Policy

  • A full refund will apply if you cancel more than 24 hours before the activity start time.

  • No refund is possible if you cancel less than 24 hours before the activity start time.