On your Newport to Mystic road trip, you'll experience some of Rhode Island's most historic and beautiful cities as you drive through the quaint streets of Jamestown, North Kingstown, and Westerly. Modest detours along your route lead you to learn about the coastal whaling trade at New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park in Massachusetts and the innovations of the famous Colt dynasty at Coltsville National Historical Park in Hartford. Fun points of interest along your route have you sampling the culinary delights and shopping havens of Wickford Village and delving into the mysterious world and history of the ocean's apex predators at the Living Sharks Museum.
New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park
New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park stands near the shores of the Acushnet River 50 minutes east of Newport in Massachusetts. Start your learning adventure at this park at the Visitor Center, where you can watch an educational film, view exhibits, and talk to a ranger. Then, grab a map and set off for an amazing walking tour that takes you to the Seamen's Bethel, the Mariner's House, the Sundial Building, and the Buzzards Bay Center. One of the highlights of your self-guided walking tour is a visit to the New Bedford Whaling Museum, which features an extensive collection of historic maritime artifacts and exhibits about the impacts of whaling, conservation, and the underwater world of whales.
Coltsville National Historical Park
Be one of the first to explore the industrial grounds of Coltsville National Historical Park on a self-guided walking tour that offers insight into Samuel Colt's personal history and professional success. As one of America's most revolutionary businesses, the Colt Armory paved the way for more streamlined manufacturing and is easily recognizable against the backdrop of Hartford with its prominent blue dome that is aptly named the Blue Onion Dome. Be sure to check out Colt Park, a 107-acre area near Coltsville that features two swimming pools, a baseball field, and paved walking trails.
Beavertail State Park
If you add Beavertail State Park to your road trip from Newport to Mystic, you can enjoy miles of beautiful New England coastline as you soak in spectacular ocean vistas from any one of the park's four overlooks. Pop into the Beavertail Lighthouse Museum to learn about the third-oldest lighthouse in the country before exploring the unique geology of the park on a short hiking excursion. Saltwater fishing on Narragansett Bay and strolling along the beach at sunset are more great ways to experience this park.
Fishermen's Memorial State Park
Fishermen's Memorial State Park provides quick access to three popular state beaches and the Block Island Ferry Dock, so you can explore various parts of the coast at your leisure. Within the park, you can take relaxing walks along paved paths lined with lush trees, shoot some hoops, or work on your tennis game while enjoying the park's cozy village atmosphere.
Burlingame State Park
Burlingame State Park welcomes you to explore its 3,100-acres on scenic hiking trails through rocky woodlands and canoeing, swimming, and fishing adventures on picturesque Watchaug Pond. Be sure to check out the Nature Center to learn about the local wildlife before heading outside for an afternoon of bird-watching.
Wickford Village is a historic hidden gem that is filled with unique boutique shops, art galleries, and tasty eateries with fantastic views of the harbor. During your time here, you can enjoy the self-guided Wickford Walking Tour to various parks and landmarks throughout the area, followed by a savory dining experience at Tavern By the Sea. For dessert, stop at The Captain's Table to sample a few goodies at their decadent Chocolate Truffle Bar, and then check out Different Drummer, a specialty shop that features artwork created by local artists, stained glass, and handmade American crafts.
The Towers is an iconic, historic landmark situated near the beaches of Narragansett. It's known for hosting public and private events in what is now the remaining portion of a late 19th-century casino. Take advantage of the stunning architecture and spectacular background scenery by snapping a few memorable photos that capture the essence of the area and its connection to the history of this small New England town. If you feel like improving your dance moves, The Towers is a great place to learn some new steps before walking around the flower-filled grounds.
Living Sharks Museum
The first of its kind, the Living Sharks Museum lets you indulge your shark fascination to the fullest as you explore free exhibits that cover the history of sharks, conservation efforts, and scientific studies. Some of the most popular displays include an ode to the scariest shark movie of all time, "Jaws." In addition to movie memorabilia and artwork, there is an exhibit called Shark Incidents that showcases numerous shark attacks reported throughout history.
Jamestown, Rhode Island
As the first city you'll encounter on your way to Mystic, Jamestown wows with its charming 18th-century buildings, incredible bridges, and historic lighthouses. Check out Watson Farm and see how a thriving family farm is run by participating in an outdoor farming workshop, then head out for a hike or self-guided walking tour of the 265-acre property. A walk around the grounds of the Jamestown Windmill takes you on a relaxing journey back through time before you get your grub on at the East Ferry Market and Deli. If you're hankering for something fancier, enjoy a fine-dining experience on the terrace at Simpatico.
Melville Ponds Campground is located in Portsmouth, just 20 minutes away from Jamestown. This campground offers a variety of fun activities that include fishing, hiking, and volleyball, in addition to amenities such as a convenient on-site camp store, hot showers, a dump station, campsite fire rings, and scenic picnic areas.
North Kingstown, Rhode Island
North Kingstown is another awesome city you'll want to add to your road trip itinerary from Newport to Mystic. Here, you can gaze at amazing views of Narragansett Bay while chowing down on a huge "lobstah" roll from Wickford on the Water prior to touching live sea creatures at Biomes, a privately-owned marine biology center. Hop on the Martha's Vineyard Fast Ferry to explore some of the surrounding areas or spend some time at Smith's Castle, a historic site that was used to house a colonialist militia during the King Phillip War. Tours of the grounds are available from May to mid-October and feature a retelling of historical events that include the burial of 40 soldiers on the property.
Only 20 minutes from North Kingstown, Wawaloam Campground allows you to enjoy days of fun in the sun at their water park and basketball court. The campground also offers Friday night dinner and Sunday morning breakfast, in addition to spacious RV campsites, a pool, clean restrooms and shower facilities, and a dump station.
Westerly, Rhode Island
In Westerly, you can feel like a kid again as you spend a fun-filled day eating classic concessions, riding roller coasters and carousels, and enjoying the sandy beaches at Atlantic Beach Park. If you like Pina Coladas, then the Windjammer Surf Bar is the best place to kick back, relax, and soak in the sun while listening to live music on their 150-foot beachfront patio. For more stellar views, check out the Watch Hill Lighthouse, and go on a sampling adventure at Langworthy Farm Winery and Grey Sail Brewing. History awaits at the Babcock-Smith House Museum and the Westerly Armory, an impressive-looking building that houses military artifacts.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Newport to Mystic, you will enjoy historic locations and beautiful scenery along the way. If you want to travel in comfort and style, consider an RV rental from RVshare. From large motorhomes to compact campervans, there is a rig that will meet your travel and budget needs. Once you hit the road, you are protected by our renter guarantee and 24/7 roadside assistance. Find the perfect vehicle for your travel needs in Newport or Mystic.