Newport, RI Cliff Walk GPS Audio Tour
The Cliff Walk is a public access path that meanders 3.5-miles alongside some of Newport’s grandest estates, and some of its most breathtaking coastline. Many of the mansions along the Cliff Walk were built during the ‘Gilded Age,’ a period from 1870 to 1900 characterized by an economic boom that created more millionaires in America than ever before. Those industry barons built their summer homes here. You can hear their stories as you walk through time on this tour.
Historic 'Gilded Age' Mansions
Bring a picnic lunch and eat seaside on the rocks overlooking Narragansett Bay
The stories behind the Breakers, Marble House, Beechwood and more
$8 per person
Available when it’s convenient for you
Starts at 40 Steps. Metered parking is available on Narragansett Avenue near the starting point.
The audio tour is available instantly upon purchase. All files stream through your phone and play automatically when you arrive at a specific point of interest.
What You Should Bring
- Bring along a smartphone to listen to the tour. You may share between people in your group, or use headphones to listen in individually.
- If you have a portable phone charger, bring that along as well, or be sure to charge your phone prior to starting the tour. You may want to enable your phone’s Low Battery Mode to extend the battery.
Best Times for This Excursion
- This tour can be enjoyed whenever is good for you during daylight hours.
Where does the tour take place?
The tour is conducted entirely along Newport’s Cliff Walk, a 3.5-mile public access trail/path that meanders between some of Newport’s grandest mansions and beautiful, rocky coastline.
Are there restrooms along the route?
Public restrooms are available at 40 Steps. This is the start of the Audio Tour.
I thought the Cliff Walk started at Easton’s Beach?
Yes, that’s true. We will not be covering the first 3/4-mile of the Cliff Walk. Although the coastline is still beautiful, there are no significant landmarks between Easton’s Beach and 40 Steps. If you would like to park at Easton’s Beach and walk to 40 Steps (3/4-mile) prior to starting the audio, then you are certainly welcome to do that.
How do I get back to my car? Do I have to walk the entire Cliff Walk in reverse?
No. You will not have to walk back to your car. Rhode Island Public Transit Authority operates a trolley/bus that will shuttle you pretty close to the starting point. The service operates year-round but has more frequent service and is free from approximately Memorial Day through October.
You will board the #67 bus INBOUND at Bellevue & Ledge Ave and debark at Salve Regina University. Click HERE for the bus schedule.
The audio tour will guide you to the bus stop after finishing at Bailey’s Beach.
If you would like to keep walking for your return, I suggest walking north on Bellevue Ave, where you can view the front sides of some of the mansions, including the grand portico of Marble House.
Preview the Cliff Walk Audio Tour
The Gilded Age
Walk Along Newport, RI’s Most Historic Route
At the turn of the 20th century, Newport was the summer home of America’s fashionable society. Millionaires from New York and beyond competed for status by building palatial estates and throwing lavish galas within the ballrooms of their “summer cottages.” On this walking tour, you’ll see one of New England’s most breathtaking coastlines from a new perspective, as you step back into the Gilded Age.
On this 90-minute stroll along the Cliff Walk, you’ll hear about all the mansions you pass by and the families who lived within them. I’ll tell you about Cornelius “The Commodore” Vanderbilt who built the most immense fortune in America at the time, and I’ll reveal how his descendants squandered it all within a few short generations. I’ll explain how the social structure of Newport’s elite was determined by Caroline Astor, the empress of ‘The 400’ – New York society’s and, by default, Newport’s unofficial ‘who’s who list.
Starting at 40 Steps, you’ll wind your way along the Cliff Walk, taking in mansions like the Breakers, Rosecliff, Belmont Estate, and Rough Point. Along the way, I’ll point out the Chinese Tea House at Marble House and Ochre Point lookout. Home by home, you’ll discover how these estates were built, and why so many of them were merely abandoned at the end of the Gilded Age when they were donated or sold off as museums for a small fraction of the cost to build them.
Some questions I’ll answer along the way include:
• What was the Gilded Age and why was it given that name?
• Were the millionaires of the Gilded Age as wealthy as the billionaires of today?
• How many servants did it take to staff a mansion in Newport?
• Why were the Vanderbilts not easily accepted into Newport’s polite society and ‘the 400’?
• How did Salve Regina University, located along the Cliff Walk, get its beautiful campus here?
On this tour, you’ll not only get to appreciate these magnificent homes, but also to walk along Rhode Island’s most impressive stretch of shoreline to see its most visited travel destination.
How It Works
Click the button below and you will be taken to a secure purchase form via my booking vendor.
After purchase, you will receive an automated email with instructions for downloading the Voice Map application through the Apple or Google Play stores, along with a voucher code to access the tour. Further instructions are included in the email, along with my cell number in the event of any technical issues (you shouldn’t have any, but just in case…). It’s pretty easy.