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A Boater’s Guide to Newport

There is little argument that Newport, Rhode Island, is hands-down New England’s premier boating destination. The former hotbed of America’s Cup yacht racing, Newport has a storied boating history and culture, a lively waterfront, world-class restaurants, interesting shops and jaw-dropping mansions from America’s Gilded Age, all of which make it a favorite among the region’s boaters.

When approaching Newport, boaters should use caution due to the heavy boat traffic and large number of moored boats in Newport Harbor. Visiting boaters interested in grabbing one of these moorings should contact the harbormaster (401-845-5815, VHF 14 or 16). Boats up to 40 feet can also tie up at the Newport Maritime Center (401-845-5870; VHF 9) at the Ann Street Pier or at Perotti Park (401-845-5817) in the north end of the harbor. Boaters can dock and get fuel at Goat Island Marina (401-841-8868, VHF 9). Bannister’s Wharf (401-846-4500) also has fuel and dockage. Newport Yachting Center Marina (800-653-3625, VHF 9) offers dockage, fuel and pumpout. Newport Harbor Hotel & Marina (800-955-2558, VHF 9) has transient slips available from May to October. And Newport Shipyard (401-846-6000, VHF 9) has dockage, fuel and repair services.

Anyone visiting Newport should tour the area’s magnificent waterfront mansions. The Newport Mansions Preservation Society of Newport County (401-847-1000) offers in-season tours of 9 mansions, including Marble House, the Breakers and the Elms. Visitors will also enjoy Fort Adams State Park (401-841-0707), which is home to an impressive fort that was built on Castle Hill in 1824 and was once the largest coastal fortification in the U.S. While at Fort Adams, boaters can enjoy the Museum of Yachting, which has many yachting-related exhibits, plus the 12-meter America’s Cup yachts Courageous and Freedom.

Visitors to Newport will love the area’s large selection of high-quality restaurants. A popular watering hole and restaurant, the Black Pearl (401-846-5264) offers both outdoor and indoor seating on Bannisters Wharf. The White Horse Tavern (401-849-3600) is an historic tavern that has been in business since 1673 and serves local seafood, beef and chicken dishes. Belle’s Café (401-846-6000) at Newport Shipyard offers free dockage for restaurant patrons. And Scales & Shells (401-846-3474) offers award-winning seafood.

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