Ocean Drive is a nine mile long loop of road that stretches through some of the most beautiful (and expensive) areas of Rhode Island. What makes 10-mile this scenic drive special is that it showcases more than just natural beauty, like many other similar drives, it also showcases many million dollar homes and mansions through historic Newport, Rhode Island.
Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s many of the most prominent and wealthy families in the country built stately mansions on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean in the harbor town of Newport. This was known to be the summer playground of the Eisenhowers, Vanderbilts, and Astors to just name a few.
Many of these “Gilded Age” homes are still standing and offer tours to visitors. You can easily spend a full day along this nine mile road, stopping in to each of the homes, and snapping photos of the amazing ocean views.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the landmarks you’ll find on Rhode Island’s Ocean Drive.
You can certainly take your pick of incredible mansions to enjoy. Most of them are now under the control of the Preservation Society of Newport County, they provide plenty of information on tours and tickets.
A couple of the favorite mansions include:
The Elms: One of the first homes you come across on the drive, this stately home was modeled after a French Chateau from the 1750s and has beautiful gardens.
The Marble House: With a fascinating history, the tea house on the site was a frequent rallying spot for women suffragettes, the Vanderbilts spent over $7 million on just marble (in 1888).
Chateau-sur-Mer: This home is considered the first of the very stately mansions on Ocean Drive. Built in 1870 it hosted a number of the early society events in Newport.
Belcourt Castle: As the third largest home on Ocean Drive, this is one of the more unique mansions in Newport. It’s both open to the public and privately owned with the owner living in the residence.
Rosecliff: You’ve no doubt seen this home already, in loves like The Great Gatsby, Amistad and True Lies. It was modeled after the garden home of the French Kings at Versailles.
The Breakers: This is the most famous, largest, and opulent of all the homes on Ocean Drive. It was built by the Vanderbilt family and modeled after Italian Renaissance style homes of the 1700s.
If you ever grow tired of checking out the incredible mansions and gardens on Ocean Drive, there is still plenty more to enjoy.
If you want to check out some of the beautiful ocean scenery that Rhode Island is so famous for, continue along the loop until you get to Brenton State Park, which is located on the grounds of a former mansion and a prime spot to take in a picnic lunch.
Fort Adams was built in 1798 to defend the area against potential attacks. Decommissioned in the 1950s, it’s now a great place to wander around, learn history and take in the sites of Narragansett Bay. There are daily tours offered mid May through October.
Have you had the chance to take a tour of Rhode Island’s Ocean Drive? We’d love to hear about your favorite spots, let us know in the comments!