newport seal watching

School Vacations Made Easy in Newport

While the beaches are mostly empty and the wind may be colder, that doesn’t mean Newport isn’t fun during the off-season. Many of the city’s attractions are open all year, so treat the family to hotels with indoor pools, an aquarium, a winter festival, food competitions, escape rooms, mansion tours and more.


newport reptile show

Newport Winter Festival 

Visit Feb. 16 to 25 for the Newport Winter Festival, offering 10 days of events designed for Newport guests of all ages, including live musical performances. The Rainforest Reptile Show and Princess Party are two events kids will love. If you’re more of a foodie, don’t miss the festival’s 27th Annual Chili Cook-Off on Feb. 17 at the Newport Marriott. Local restaurants compete to be the best, and you’re the judge – so bring your appetite! The following Saturday, the Newport Marriot will also be hosting the Mac and Cheese Smackdown. Festival bracelets are available for purchase that afford discounts on event admissions. 

Newport Burger Bender

The annual Newport Burger Bender is scheduled from Feb. 16 –Feb. 25. During the event, Newport area restaurants come together to compete in fun categories like “Most Napkins Needed” and “Most Likely to Become a Menu Staple.” 

Museums and Other Attractions 

newport sailing museum

The Sailing Museum 

The Sailing Museum features interactive exhibits, allowing visitors to choose a virtual “boat” that will be their avatar to guide them through the different stations, as they learn about water and waves, what a good sailor needs to know and the lives of great sailors of the past.  

Seal Tours

It’s seal watching season! Save The Bay offers seal watch tours and nature cruises in Narragansett Bay, November through April. Cruises conveniently depart from Bowen’s Ferry Landing. You can choose from a one- or two-hour tour, during which you’ll see seals swimming and laying out under the Newport Bridge and on Citing Rock located just off Rose Island.

Paradigm Escape Rooms 

Enjoy navigating through intricately designed rooms, crack codes, solve puzzles and unveil mysteries in one or both of the Paradigm Escape Rooms. The immersive gaming facility tests your abilities with “Da Vinci’s Test” or “The King’s Tomb.”   

The Breakers Family Tour

Who better to narrate a mansion tour than the mansion itself? During the Breakers Family Tour, you’ll also hear from family members and staff, as well as the friendly “dolphin” hiding under the grand staircase and the “dragons” in the dining room. Not only does the house come to life, but the sculptures and furnishings as well.   

Save the Bay Aquarium 

Newport’s Save the Bay Aquarium is relocating from Easton’s Beach to the Gateway Transportation and Visitor’s Center. Set to open this winter, it will feature marine life exhibits, hands-on activities and educational programs for kids. 

School Vacations on The Classic Coast

How Newport makes school breaks easy.

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Hotels With Indoor Pools

Whether you like to relax by the pool or have kids that are anxious to splash around no matter the weather, these hotels have you covered.  

Hotel Viking  

Head up from Thames Street to One Bellevue Avenue where you’ll find the discerningly decorated Hotel Viking. Within the hotel is a refined pool complete with armchairs and chaise lounges for relaxing. Spa services are also available at the property’s Spa Fjör. 

The Vanderbilt

The Vanderbilt’s sleek, heated indoor pool is the perfect complement to its stylish outdoor pool and the ideal place to turn when the weather gets chillier, but you are still craving a swim. You’ll find the pool tucked within a hotel influenced by the styles of Doris Duke as well as the mansion’s former owner, Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt. 

Newport Harbor Hotel 

The Newport Harbor Hotel is located just where you’d think – right on the Newport Harbor. It’s so close the hotel features its own marina. While views of the harbor and its impressive boats are exciting, sometimes the winter calls for a warm dip, and the hotel’s indoor saltwater pool is the ideal place to relax. 

Newport Marriott 

Escape the hustle and bustle that sometimes dominates Newport in the summer months with a winter stay at the Newport Marriott. Especially appealing at this hotel are the waterfront views, nautically themed guestrooms, and indoor fitness center and pool.

Wellington Resort

The Wellington Resort, conveniently located right on Thames Street, is home to 53 guest suites available for vacation renting. When the weather gets chilly, the indoor pool is a great place to hang out. 

Howard Johnson Inn  

Located just two miles north of Newport proper in Middletown, the Howard Johnson Inn is a great lodging choice if you’re looking for an affordable stay with quality, newly renovated amenities. Named Hotel of the Year 2023 by Howard Johnson and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, the property features an indoor heated pool, a whirlpool spa and sauna available for guest use. 

Looking Forward to Spring?

Planning a spring vacation? Enjoy all the wonders of Newport when it is awash in yellow during Newport Daffodil Days. Organizer Newport in Bloom has all the details as well as information about other floral festivals during the year.

Learn more about why Newport should be your next winter staycation.

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