Newport Main

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In the early 20th century, a time when a million dollars was still a lot of money, Newport was the perfect backdrop for the so-called Gilded Age. The richest of the rich, Astors and Vanderbilts among them, built a neighborly string of opulent mansions along the oceanfront that are still Newport's leading visitor attraction. (If you have time, or patience, for only one, don't miss The Breakers, a less-than-modest, 70-room Italian Renaissance-style villa built by Cornelius Vanderbilt.)

But the mansions are not the only draw. Newport, nestled at the southern tip of Aquidneck Island, hosted sailing's America's Cup for most of the last century and its Museum of Yachting is a paean to sailors of all stripes. Tennis players need not feel left out either, because Newport is also home to the International Tennis Hall of Fame, the sport's equivalent of baseball's Cooperstown.

For the less historically minded, a summer day in Newport remains a classic setting for a day at the beach, watching a regatta, or attending one of the many musical events, including the famed Newport Music Festival each July.