If you’re looking to mix sightseeing and saltwater cruising, these Newport, RI, boat tours are worth checking out.
By Joe Bills
Nov 08 2018
Adirondack II (foreground), operated by Sailing Excursions passes Sightsailing of Newport’s Aquidneck (background) in Newport Harbor.Photo Credit : Timothy Burling/CC BY 2.0
Renowned as one of the sailing capitals of the world, Newport, Rhode Island, has a long and storied boating history. It stands to reason, then, that some of the most authentic and informative tours of this coastal town and its waters are done by boat. Indeed, you won’t find many places in New England with waterborne-tourism offerings more robust than Newport’s. With that in mind, here’s our roundup of the best Newport, RI, boat tours.
For those seeking modern-day Newport views from an old world–style yacht, Sailing Excursions serves up an array of classic experiences aboard the meticulously maintained schooner Adirondack II and the sloop Eleanor. From morning mimosa sails to “Dark and Stormy” sails (cocktail hour on the water) to romantic full-moon sails, these 90-minute tours provide memories and photo ops galore.
Step aboard the Aquidneck for a full lineup of morning, afternoon, and sunset cruises, along with such creative offerings as the “Sails and Ales” tour, featuring iconic Newport sites paired with microbrews from Newport Craft Brewing. The Aquidneck is also available for private charters.
Newport PhotoBoat specializes in individualized chartered experiences where you set the itinerary, including pick-up and drop-off locations. A favorite option is the Newport Harbor tour, which runs around two hours and accommodates up to six guests.
Tours range from a one-hour Newport Harbor tour to customized all-day adventures for up to six passengers. Among the most popular offerings is the tour of Newport’s seven lighthouses.
Featuring an extensive lineup of former America’s Cup winners, America’s Cup Charters operates daily two-hour sailing tours of Narragansett Bay and Newport Harbor. For a small taste of what it’s like to sail in an America’s Cup, the company also offers “Racing Experience” trips on select Sundays.
What could be better than taking in the beautiful sights of Newport from the water? How about eating a delicious three-course meal aboard the M/V Mermaid Star at the same time? These 90-minute dinner cruises feature locally sourced, seasonal cuisine.
Newport Sailing School promises not only scenic views but also hands-on instruction and immersion in the sport of sailing. Tours depart every 90 minutes during the summer season, with charters and private lessons also available.
Unlike most tour operators on this list, Save the Bay keeps going through winter, with one- and two-hour seal tours and nature cruises offered from October through April. More excited by lighthouses than the seals? Check out the dedicated southern bay, northern bay, and “ultimate” lighthouse tours.
With its fleet of 12-meter America’s Cup yachts, 12 Meter Charters specializes in an immersive experience, encouraging (but not requiring) passenger participation in the hoisting and lowering of the sails. Plus, the knowledgeable staff shares history and insights on Newport and its landmarks.
Step aboard the M/V Amazing Grace for a narrated one-hour tour that hits all the Newport highlights, from Fort Adams to Rose Island Lighthouse to the city’s storied mansions. With chartered trips and catering available, and room for up to 75 passengers, the Amazing Grace is also well suited for larger groups.
Choose from a serene experience aboard the 72-foot schooner Madeleine or a faster-paced tour on the 1929 motor yacht Rum Runner II, both operated by Classic Cruises of Newport. Among the many kind of outings on offer are lighthouses and mimosas cruises, scenic day sails, champagne sunset sails, and cocktail cruises.
From two-hour tours to full-day charters, the 44-foot sailing ship Lyra is the setting for customizable trips for up to six passengers. Whether you’re after a lazy sail, a historic tour, a photo op quest, or private sailing instruction, On Watch Sailing fits the bill.
The M/V Gansett is a 50-foot lobster boat refashioned into a tour boat that can accommodate up to 49 guests. It features both an open top deck and a canopied main deck, ensuring comfort regardless of the weather. Its 90-minute cruises are entertaining and informative, whether you opt for morning, afternoon, or evening departures.
Have you ever gone on any Newport, RI, boat tours? Let us know!