Rhode Island is a small state, but it’s packed with interesting sights and landmarks. Here’s five great tours you can take while you’re visiting the Ocean State.
1. Newport Mansions
Newport’s many Gilded Age mansions are a well-known attraction, featuring many homes of the fabulously wealthy dating back to the late 19th century. The most famous is The Breakers, a summer home built for Cornelius Vanderbilt II in 1895 and designed by Robert Morris Hunt, the famed architect of Biltmore Estates in North Carolina. You can also visit The Elms, Marble House, Chateau-sur-Mer and a number of others.
All of the mansions offer self-guided tours and audio tours, which are available for a modest fee. You can also pay $350 for a private tour of any of the estates. Whichever you choose, be sure to check out the Servant Lifetour at the The Elms. This daily tour highlights the life of the staff that kept The Elms running while it was in operation, revealing the behind-the-scenes work require to keep such an estate running smoothly. A must-see for any Dowton Abbey fan.
2. Gilded Age Mansion Newport Trolley Tour
Newport is small, but it’s packed with sights. To get an overview of everything in this costal community, take the Gilded Age Mansion Newport Trolley Tour. You’ll get a three-hour trip around the Newport area in an historic trolley, hitting all the best-known attractions with a knowledgeable and friendly tour guide. This trip includes a ticket for admission to The Breakers, as well as the beautiful seaside scenery of Cliff Walk, Fort Adams, and Ocean Drive.
3. Gansett Cruises
If you’re in Newport primarily for the sailing scene, be sure to check out the Gansett Cruise tour. This 90-minute tour hits all the highlights of Newport’s harbor with a knowledgeable local tour guide. You’ll see Cliff Walk, the mansions, and many other points of interest. Be sure to arrive early, and don’t pass up the opportunity for the sunset tour.
4. La Gondola
If you’re in Providence but still seeking a maritime activity, La Gondola’s tour along Providence’s main river is perfect. You can enjoy the tranquil scenery of Providence’s waterfront on this 40-minute tour that’s perfect for couples. You can even bring along some champagne and hire a guitarist to serenade you, if you’d like. And if you’re in Providence while Waterfire is happening, make sure to reserve a thirty-minute trip to see the displays up close.
5. Providence Ghost Tour
Providence tends to get quieter in the off-season, but it doesn’t shut down completely. The Providence Ghost Tour is a great way to spend some time in the autumn. You’ll get a spooky tour by latern light through Providence’s historic East Side.