The sand: Beaches for every budget, from exclusive clubs to free, secluded spots on Aquidneck Island.
Marine life: Hey, if we were a Vanderbilt, we would have built a summer cottage here, too. Only an hour and a half from Beantown, Newport has a dramatic, ocean-crashing-on-rocks side facing the Atlantic; a cutesy, colonial side facing Narragansett Bay; and a third, Rhode Island Sound– oriented side that's swept with beaches. Easton's Beach—better known as First Beach—is the classic Americana spot, with a carousel, snack bar, and cabanas; Sachuset (Second) Beach is a 1.25-mile stretch below St. George's prep school that catches the crowd runoff. Few make it as far as Third Beach, a quiet spot for kiteboarding, kayaking, and bird-watching. Fewer still know about Bailey's Beach, reached at the end of the mansion-lined Bellevue Avenue. Most of the sand belongs to the blue-blooded members of the Spouting Rock Beach Association, but the west end is open to the public, with no fee for parking. Spend your cash instead on a platter of fried clams from Flo's Clam Shack.
The sanctuary: The Victorian furniture at the Chanler at Cliff Walk invokes the Gilded Age of the nearby mansions, and most of the 20 rooms have views of First Beach, plus Vanderbilt-quality niceties like Fili D'Oro linens and working fireplaces.
The Chanler at Cliff Walk
Tel: 401 847 1300 - Doubles from $595
Flo's Clam Shack
Tel: 401 847 8141
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