Going to stay in Newport in August, where should I stay for access to the best beaches ?
The best beaches (Second Beach and Gooseberry) are not really in commercial areas, you'd have to drive, bike, or take a trolley.
First beach has some hotels across from it, but it's not the nicest beach for swimming...it's ok for getting sun and walking, but better swimming is found elsewhere.
If you will be walking, try to find a place in Newport or nearby Middletown that is "within walking distance" (however you define that) to Easton's (or First as it is also called locally) Beach. Middletown landlords can rent apartment/cottage units by the week and there are a number of such rentals near the beach as another poster has indicated. You can also walk to Second Beach from that neighborhood in Middletown, though its about a mile or so. Parking, however, is expensive, so walking is best if you can handle it.
Gooseberry Beach is on the Ocean Drive in Newport, and that city doesn't allow weekly rentals (though some landlords do so illegally), and there is no nearby hotel, so a car and parking fees is probably necessary.
Third Beach is another option, even further out from Second Beach, and a car is necessary unless you are a real hiker. Third is great for young children since it is very calm. Second is best for body surfing most days, and board surfing at the west end.
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