This adorable seaside town on the central coast of Oregon is definitely worth a visit.
- Oregon Coast Aquarium – From the adorable sea otter exhibit to the eerie octopus cave, this place has everything! Experience 360 views of sea life in the underwater tube where sharks, manta rays and exotic fish will swim beside you and above your head. Watch seals and sea lions play, turkey vultures hunt and eat and visit the wild bay estuary. This is one of the largest aquariums in Oregon and even offers the opportunity to dive with their animals! You can definitely spend a few hours enjoying this treasure trove of marine life.
- Yaquina Head Lighthouse – The Yaquina Head Lighthouse, about a 10 minute drive north of the town of Newport, is situated on a state park (use a national parks pass to enter for free). Plan ahead as it can take time to get in to the park in peak seasons. However, you can avoid the line and the minimal entrance fee by entering on bicycle! You can reserve a tour time online or by phone up to 90 days in advance. After touring the nearly 150 year old light house and learning about the fascinating and enchanting lives of the lighthouse keepers and their families, head down the wooden steps to Cobble Beach. Here you can pick up information cards and speak to rangers about the diverse marine life living in this cove. Whether the tide is high or low, you can observe, identify and even touch the sea creatures in tide pools along the shore while dipping your feet (or more) in the cool water.
- Nye Beach – This is the place to cool of in Newport, Oregon. You’ll see people tanning, swimming, surfing and parasailing at this beautiful sand beach. There are plenty of parking lots along this stretch and though it can get busy, Nye Beach is long enough for everyone to stake a private area to enjoy the day. After a day at the beach you can grab dinner and drinks at one of the many restaurants and bars between NW first street and NW sixth street. If you enjoy some exercise with your relaxation, grab a snack and something to drink at the Nye Beach Market and walk along Nye Creek through Sam Moore Parkway. Picnic at Betty Wheeler Memorial Field at the end of your short and beautiful stroll.
- SW Bay Boulevard – This stretch of local shops is the heart of Newport carries a certain charm that can only be found in a small fishing town. The family-owned coffee shops and bait shops combined with the quirky museum of the weird and Ripley’s Believe it or Not gives this town a unique vibe and electricity in the air that can’t be found anywhere else. You’ll step out of quaint shops to find gruff fishermen enjoying a beer at the dive bar across the street. Plan plenty of time to enjoy the barking and antics of the seals at Seal Dock. From this area you can also watch fishermen and women bringing in the day’s catch and cleaning it right their in front of you. It’s a joy to watch and they seem happy to have an audience. You’ll find this fresh fish, crab and other seafood served at all of the restaurants along this strip of downtown. Our favorite is Saffron Salmon, a friendly local joint where the menu changes to incorporate the freshest local Oregon ingredients. This restaurant also offers views of the Bay, the bridge and the boats bringing in their haul. You can also find tour companies along this strip for bay tours or deep sea fishing adventures.
- Yaquina Bay Bridge – You’ll cross this iconic bridge on the way to visit the aquarium. This arch bridge, designed by Conde McCullough in the Gothic style, is one of the most recognizable bridges onthe scenic Highway 101. Mr. McCullough also designed 10 other bridges along the Oregon coast. You can get beautiful pictures of the bridge from the Seal Dock. If you’re a bit more adventurous, drive or walk up SW Harbor Way at the end of SW Bay Boulevard and explore the neighborhood roads of SW 10th, 11th and Abbey St for gorgeous views of the bay and bridge below. Before crossing the bride from Newport, stop at the Yaquina Bay State Recreation area for some short hiking trails and more spectacular views.