Second Beach

If your idea of a good beach Near Newport Rhode Island is one that is both close to the many city attractions and near pristine nature and wildlife, then Sachuest Beach in Newport is the perfect choice. It is also called, a little less romantically, Second Beach by the locals, as it is one of three beaches all in a row on the eastern edge of Aquidneck Island. To the west of Second Beach in Rhode Island is Easton's (First) Beach, which has excellent facilities including a historic hand-carved carousel and an aquarium. On the other side is Navy (Third) Beach, which is a small beach in a protected cove with calm surf and excellent wind for kite and windsurfing.

Second Beach in Rhode Island is wide and about a mile and a half long. It has fine soft sand, restrooms, showers and changing facilities, food concessions, picnic tables, and volleyball courts. The beach is free, but there is a fee for parking. To get to the most secluded parts of the beach, go all the way to the end of the parking lot closest to the wildlife area. If you don't want to pay for parking, it is within walking distance of several Newport hotels and resorts, and there is trolley service from the center of town. There can be a wait during peak time to get back and forth on the trolley, so try to travel on it during the least popular times. Bicycling is also a good option. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer. You can bring your dog (leashed and well-behaved) in the early mornings (between about 5 a.m. and 7 a.m.); if you've forgotten your pick up baggie, they are available next to the lifeguard stations.

In between Navy and Sachuest Beach in Newport you will find the Norman Bird Sanctuary and Sachuest National Wildlife Reserve. Even though Second Beach is the largest of the city's beaches, the buffer of these two pristine wild areas means it is not often overly crowded and it is easy to slip away for some secluded hiking on miles of trails, and superb saltwater fishing. If you happen to visit during the winter, hiking here is quite beautiful, and you will be virtually alone. This is when you will see the largest winter population of colorful harlequin ducks on the East Coast. Throughout the year, the wetlands, salt marshes, and woodlands provide habitat for more than 200 bird species including snowy owls, northern harrier hawks, and peregrine falcons. The Visitor's Center boasts interactive exhibits and displays, a gift shop, and venue for special events.

Technically, Sachuest Beach in Newport is located in the community of Middletown, but is virtually in Newport. Second Beach faces Rhode Island Sound, as do First and Third Beach. This gives it better surf than if it faced Narragansett Bay. Still, it isn't the best for traditional board surfing, but there is good body surfing and kite surfing. The views from Second Beach in Rhode Island are some of the best anywhere in the city. You can make out the famous Newport Cliff Walk in one direction, the dramatic split rock face of Purgatory Chasm in another, and to the south Block Island Sound. This is a particularly good vantage spot to watch whenever the tall ships sail in to the bay.

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