The all volunteer nonprofit watchdogs of the Newport Waterfront

About Us
Friends of the Waterfront (FOW) is a grass roots 501(c) (3) non-profit organization founded in 1983 by concerned Newport, Rhode Island citizens to insure continued public access to the Newport harbor front at a time when developers threatened to turn public access to private and to block nearly all access to the waterfront. These enduring public access pathways can be traced back to the colonial era.

Thanks to the hard work and funding by Friends of the Waterfront volunteers over the years, most areas of the Newport waterfront are publicly accessible. The Newport waterfront also features the State of Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council designated shoreline points of public rights-of-way to the tidal waters. These rights-of-way are of great value to the city, the state and the nation and must continue to be protected.

CRMC Public Rights-of-Way
Our Mission
  • To protect public access to the water
  • To preserve historical uses, rights of way, and waterfront views
  • ​To help foster the development of Newport, RI's shoreline and harbor front areas in ways that maximize public access
Your Support Is Appreciated
Dinghy Planters
In June of 2015 the Friends of the Waterfront in collaboration with URI Master Gardeners launched a plan to educate residents and visitors about public rights of way lining Newport’s iconic harbor while celebrating the beauty and diversity of native Rhode Island plants. The new dinghy planters featured in the heart of downtown Newport and at King Park will help identify public access to the waterfront.

The dinghy planters project took months of fundraising, planning, designing, and searching across Rhode Island for suitable plants, many of which are native to Rhode Island, that would remind people of the shoreline, a boat out at sea, and the importance of keeping the harbor open to the public. The first of the up-cycled dinghies was placed in Perrotti Park. The long-range goal of the project is to place dinghy planters all along the Harbor Walk in order to draw attention to it and to invite citizens and guests alike to visit the sites and enjoy the views of the harbor. Newport This Week article on Dinghy Planters
Newport Harbor Walk
The Newport Harbor Walk was originally conceived by Friends of the Waterfront over 34 years ago when concern that heavy development would block public access to this historic waterfront. Thanks to the work of Friends of the Waterfront, most of these areas are still accessible. The Friends of the Waterfront Public Harbor Walk signage and the URI Sea Grant map will help keep you on course to make your trek down all these historic wharves along the 2.5 mile Harbor Walk. Read more about Newport Harbor Walk

Click Here to Read Attorney General’s Press Release on Agreement to restore public shoreline access in Newport Harbor

Click Here to Read City Council Requires The Reef to Remove Outdoor Seating

Click Here to Read Deal Will Restore Public Access To Blocked Waterfront Site In Downtown Newport



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Click Here for A Message From Friends of the Waterfront


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Click Here to Read the 2022 FINAL APPEAL LETTER

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