Newport offers wonderful places to get out in nature settings
Newport, along with its nearby neighbors Middletown, Portsmouth, and Jamestown, is an island in the dynamic Narragansett Bay, so its places to observe nauture and plentiful and often connected to the sea. Some of the highlighrts include Norman Bird Sanctuary and Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refugein Middletown, the Green Animals Topiary Garden in Portsmouth (associated with the Newport mansions), and the historic Watson Farm in Jamestown, where visitors can watch a farm at work and attend seasonal events. The Rhode Island Audubon Society is active in the area, hosting people who love nature at its locations
455 North Road
Started in 1796, this working farm is set on 265 acres and features cattle, sheep, horses, chickens, and a garden. Trails and self-guided tours take visitors on a trip through the history and seasonal cycles of the farm. School programs and demonstrations are available. Open seasonally.
Another good bird watching spot, particularly for the wide variety of duck species that collect there.
Norman Bird Sanctuary
583 Third Beach Road
This 450-acre refuge includes several wildlife habitats and seven miles of trails. The site also houses an on-site museum, educational area, and small gift shop. Spring and fall bird walks are held. Lots of activities for kids and families in the outdoors and in nature.
Hours: Open Memorial Day-Labor Day, daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Prudence and Patience Islands Wildlife Management Area
While smaller areas are part of both parks listed above, Prudence and Patience Islands are a refuge for a wide variety of bird and mammal species. Prudence Island is known for its popularity for migrating birds and presents excellent opportunities for bird watching. Ticks are plentiful on these islands so use insect repellant and dress accordingly. Accessible only by boat.
Sakonnet Point is an ideal location for bird watching. The Sakonnet Point Lighthouse can be seen from the beach at the point, but is not open to the public.
Sapowet Marsh Wildlife Management Area
This typical coastline habitat is home to several species of game birds and is stocked with ring-necked pheasant. The area also supports a wide variety of songbirds, shore birds, and wading birds. Great spots for bird watching.
Jamestown, RI, 02835
Park with rocky shores, tide pools, salt water fishing, walking, picnicking, lighthouse
This beautiful park on a high promontory overlooking Narragansett Bay is hemmed by a rocky coastline and lots of opportunities to study life of the tide pools. The Park operates a naturalist program for adults and kids to learn about tide pools and local geology, intertidal ecology, fish life and marine mammals.
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Beavertail State Park.
A geological phenomenon caused by a thin crack in the ledges on the east side of Easton Point. The fissure has formed over the centuries due to erosion from the sea.
Dutch Island Wildlife Management Avenue
This island's 94 acres of scrub and forest provide an opportunity to observe the coastal ecosystem. Several species of waterbirds, shorebirds, and wading birds can be found there. Access to the island by boat only.
Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge
Sachuest Point Road
Very near to Newport, this national site is a haven for many types of shore birds, and very popular with Southern New England bird watchers.
Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Sanctuary
National environmental preserve with a self-guided hiking trail and guided nature walks. The park has a picnic area, swimming, and boating areas. Accessible through a ferry from Bristol, RI.
Hours: Memorial Day-Labor Day, dawn to dusk.
Newport Butterfly Zoo
409 Bulgarmarsh Road
Tiverton, RI, 02878
During the warm-weather months, visitors are free to explore the zoo independently or with a guide, who will point out the species of butterflies that are in the greenhouse that day. The zoo has up to 30 species, including many from Africa, Malaysia, South America, Thailand, New Guinea, Costa Rica, and the Philippines. Butterflies are most active on warm and sunny days with little wind. Bring a camera and wear brightly colored clothing. Call ahead for hours.