Rhode Island – Fort Adams State Park
Here it is: the last post about the photos in my header. This is Fort Adams State Park in the state of Rhode Island. It’s been several years since we’ve been there, but this summer will be an even better time to visit than when we were there. Fort Adams is currently undergoing a $2 million restoration project.
Located in Newport, Rhode Island, Fort Adams sits at the entrance to Newport Harbor and has a gorgeous view of Narragansett Bay and Newport Harbor. The original Fort Adams was built in 1799 and was much smaller. After the War of 1812, the military determined that a much larger fort was needed. Construction began on the existing fort in 1824. It was first garrisoned in 1841 and was in use by the Army until 1950. Today it is a state park and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Visitors can take a free self-guided tour of the perimeter of the park anytime from sunrise to sunset. It is called the Bay Walk and has informative signs along the 2-mile loop trail.
Not only is park admission free, but there is free parking and restroom facilities too. The park is also pet-friendly. Visitors will have a great view of the exterior of the fort and of the bay. Kids can get up close and check out the cannons, watch the sailboats, or even take a dip in the water at the small beach. Sailboat rentals are available through Sail Newport. We didn’t swim or sail, but my kids enjoyed exploring the rocks on the shore.
The Bay Walk is available year-round, but if you’d like to get inside for a tour, you’ll have to wait for the warmer months. Although it’s subject to the renovation schedule, Fort Adams is expecting to open on May 19 this year. In conjunction with the restoration project, they will be offering three new tour options. For the first time ever, the parade field inside the fort, encompassing 6 1/2 acres, will be open for self-guided tours. Interpretive signs will be posted. Depending on renovation timing, this tour might not be available until July, so plan accordingly. The price for this tour has not been set yet, but will be reasonable, around $5 or so for adults and half of that for kids.
Two new different guided tour options will also be offered. Both will be offered on the hour from 10 am – 4 pm. The “Life in the Fort” Tour will show visitors what it was like to live in the fort. Not only did soldiers live there, but some of the officers’ families also. This tour goes inside the fort and will include living areas of the fort that were previously off-limits to visitors. The “Storm the Fort” Tour takes a closer look at the fort’s defensive elements, including the Outworks and land defenses, which, according to Fort Adams staff, are the most complex outside of Europe. I think my son would really enjoy this one, while I would prefer “Life in the Fort”. It’s probably no accident that they planned the tours to accommodate different interests. The tour length will be one hour, so parents can decide for themselves if their youngsters have the attention span for the guided tours. Generally speaking, the fort staff estimates that most fourth-grade and older kids will be able to enjoy the tour. The prices of tours have not been set yet, but are expected to be no more than $15 for adults and less for kids. Both tours take visitors through the tunnels, which are very popular with kids.
Fort Adams State Park hosts many events throughout the year. This year they will be hosting the America’s Cup World Series Race from June 23 – July 1. Tours might be limited during that time period. There will also be a Civil War Reenactment on July 14-15.