Fort Adams

Defending the "City by the Sea" since 1798

Fort Adams has played a huge part in the history of Newport Rhode Island over the years. It has also been a huge part of my family's history.

My great grandfather was a Master Sergeant who served and lived at the Fort, beginning in 1924. He lived here with his wife (my great grandmother) and 7 children. His son (my grandfather), served in the U.S. Army as well, and also served as the lighthouse keeper here.

Fort Adams Newport RI

Deactivated in 1950, the Fort still continues to be a center of activity, especially during the summer season. In addition to being a National Historic Landmark, the Fort is home to many attractions and activities:

  • Historic tours and gift shop
  • Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals
  • President Eisenhower's summer White House (Eisenhower House)
  • Museum of Yachting
  • Sail Newport Sailing Center
  • Shake A Leg Sailing (for people with disabilities)
  • USS Bennington Memorial

The Fort is also a great location to spend the day because you can do other things here such as fishing, picnics, soccer, rugby, kite flying and photography.

Admission to the grounds is free (except during Festival weekends), so you can enjoy many of these activities without spending a dollar!

Fort Adams Newport Rhode Island

In a way, I feel that I grew up at the Fort too, because I've spent so much time there over the years. I can still remember my grandmother bringing me and my cousins here, and letting us explore the Fort as little kids.

That's me in the picture below, with my mother and great uncle (who lived in the Fort), manning the cannon. No one dared attack Newport on my watch!

Fort Adams Newport RI

As I grew older, there was always something fun to do at the Fort. My mother, grandmother and aunt would bring me and my cousins to the little beach here, where we spent hours in the water.

In high school, one of my best friends lived in the Navy housing that is still on the grounds, and we always found somewhere new to to explore.

In 1998, we had a family reunion here, at Eisenhower House (seen below), President Eisenhower's summer White House. It was the perfect location to enjoy a beautiful summer day with family.

Fort Adams Newport Rhode Island

We toured the Fort, where my great aunt and uncle told stories of the family's history here. Later, we enjoyed a nice cookout on Ike's lawn overlooking Narragansett Bay.

The Eisenhower House is a great location to hold an event, such as a wedding or corporate outing. It's a location with one of the best views in Newport, and at an affordable price.

Brief History of the Fort

Although Fort Adams wasn't built at the time, this location saw some action in the Revolutionary War against the British, who eventually occupied Newport on December 8th, 1776.

Fort Adams Newport Rhode Island

  • In 1798, Fort Adams was named for President John Adams
  • The Fort was garrisoned during the War of 1812, and remained active until 1821
  • Construction on the current Fort began in 1824
  • Soldiers were housed here for over 125 years (1824-1950)

    Statue of John Adams near cemetery on west side

    john adams statue

  • It was garrisoned in 1841 but never attacked
  • The Fort was deactivated for good in 1950
  • In 1965, the Fort became a Rhode Island State Park
  • In 1985, it became a National Historic Landmark
  • The Fort reopened for tours in 1995

Northwest lawn, where the Folk and Jazz Festivals take place

Fort Adams Newport RI

Great view of Narragansett Bay and Newport Bridge from cemetery

fort adams newport

So, if you're looking for a biased opinion, I would say that visiting Fort Adams is one of the best things to do in Newport. There's something for everyone, adults and children alike.

You've got history, scenery, festivals and much, much more.

Have fun!

Check out some photos of my latest Fort Adams tour here...

Want to see more photos of the Fort? Click here to see some more of my favorite shots.

For more detailed information on Fort Adams, including its history, tours, renting it for events and the Fort Adams Trust, visit

Fort Adams Newport Rhode Island

Historic Fort Adams Photos

To see some of our old photos of Fort Adams, click on the links below...

From the Vault #2 - Fort Adams

From the Vault #7 - Historic Fort Adams

Fort Adams - Then and Now

Return from Fort Adams to Things to do in Newport

Return from Fort Adams to Newport Discovery Guide home page

Share this page:
Enjoy this page? Here's another way to pay it forward...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.