Those who are looking for an exciting and a memorable coastal experience, often head to Newport, the largest city of the Central Oregon Coast and the county seat. A popular tourist destination, Newport is home to the historic Bayfront, two lighthouses, Oregon Coast Aquarium, and Yaquina Bay Bridge.
Bayfront hosts the West Coast’s largest and most productive commercial fishing fleets that fish year round for halibut, salmon, flounder, rockfish, lingcod, sardines, tuna, herring, and crabs. Newport proudly holds the title of the “Dungeness Crab Capital of the World”. Charter boats offer trips for recreational deep sea fishing.
Newport has long been an important center for marine research. Hatfield Marine Science Center conducts marine studies and educational programs. In 2011, an American scientific agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), moved its base from Seattle to Newport. NOAA focuses on keeping track of the conditions of the ocean and atmosphere, collecting and analyzing information that helps to warn of dangerous weather conditions, predicting environmental changes, protecting endangered marine species.
Oregon Coast Aquarium which opened in 1992 is among the best 10 in the country. While visiting, you will see everything from sharks to seabirds. If you are enthusiastic about marine life, Marine Discovery Tours should be top of your list, especially in spring when you have the rare opportunity to see the Great Gray Whales on their legendary northward migration.
Newport has an abundance of history and continues to be committed to keeping its past alive. It is a city that constantly expands and makes changes to improve the experience of the tourists and the life of the residents.
Top Things to Do & See
Oregon Coast Aquarium
Opened in 1992, the Oregon Coast Aquarium is one of the city’s most famous attractions. Located along Yaquina Bay, just across the Newport Bridge, the aquarium has a variety of sea creature from exotic fish and sharks to sea birds and marine mammals. Get the most out of your aquarium experience by attending plenty of interactive activities for adults and kids. Touch tanks and feeding demonstrations are available.
Open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
2820 SE Ferry Slip Rd, Newport, OR 97365
Old Town Bayfront District is a popular tourist destination and large working commercial port. Besides chowder houses, restaurants, galleries, shops, and a variety of family attractions, there are fish-processing plants and canneries. You can enjoy sports fishing and crabbing on public piers or watch barking California sea lions on the piers, jetties and docks.
Mariner Square in Newport is a home of Undersea Gardens, Ripley's Believe or Not, and the Wax Works. Open every day: Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday & Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Wax Works in the Bayfront is an amazing attraction for anyone that has an appreciation for art. Take a peek at exhibits showcasing talent with wax, with all artworks being hand-made; this is a true amazement to behold.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not is also located on the Bayfront and is quite a fun, light-hearted attraction. Have a look at the amazing tasks people are capable of accomplishing, and learn a ton of incredible “did you know” facts.
Undersea Gardens, located in Newport's Historic Bayfront, are the largest collection of a local underwater world. See the World-famous marine species of the Pacific Northwest through the windows onto the bay bottom. A Live Dive Show with actions and special effects is available regularly.
250 SW Bay Blvd, Newport, OR 97365
Yaquina Head Lighthouse
The Oregon's tallest and oldest active lighthouse, Yaquina Head Lighthouse is the most striking attraction in Newport. A 93-foot tall structure in Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area (YHONA) is positioned 162 feet above sea level. Outstanding Natural Area has stunning 360-degree views of land and sea. Views can be seen from inside or out of the lighthouse, as well as along the hike at the top of Salal Hill.
It is easy to understand why this region is called “outstanding” when you behold the natural surroundings. The park has accessible trails leading to hidden undisturbed tide pools that hold starfish, mussels and clams. Open every day from 12 to 4 p.m.
750 NW Lighthouse Dr, Newport, OR 97365
Yaquina Bay Lighthouse
Located in Yaquina Bay State Park, Yaquina Bay Lighthouse is a piece of history and the second-oldest standing lighthouse in Oregon. The tower in 42 feet above ground level and 161 feet above sea level.
Open Memorial Day weekend to the end of September from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
October to Memorial Day from 12-4 p.m., November through February the lighthouse is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Yaquina Bay State Recreation Site, Newport, OR 97365
Nye Beach has been a popular attraction for visitors since the time when first American pioneers came to explore its raw beauty. The beach and surrounding areas earn their name from John Nye who claimed rights to the land in 1866.
One of the famous hotels in the area includes Sylvia Beach hotel that was opened in the late 1800s and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. It is a hub for tourists with its eateries, bookstores, and shopping locations. Artistic individuals will enjoy spending some time at the Newport Performing and Visual Arts Museum.
Other Newport Beaches
- The Beach at Yaquina Bay State Recreation Area - the northwest of Yaquina Bay.
- South Beach State Park - 2 miles south of the Yaquina Bay Bridge.
- Agate Beach - nearby Yaquina Head.
- Moolack Beach - two miles north of Yaquina Head.
- Beverly Beach - 3.5 miles north of Yaquina Head.
OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center
Located near Yaquina Bay, Hatfield Marine Science Center conducts marine and coastal research. Operated by Oregon State University in collaboration with state and federal agencies, the educational center focuses on the marine environment of the Pacific Ocean, marine species and research.
2030 SE Marine Science Dr, Newport, OR 97365
Otter Rock & Devil’s Punchbowl
Otter Rock and Devil’s Punchbowl are natural features located between Depoe Bay and Newport which can be accessed by Otter Crest Scenic Loop Drive. Stop at a viewpoint in Devils Punchbowl State Natural Area. You will find out a punch bowl, a rounded hollow sandstone formation created by the collapse of the roofs over two sea caves.
The Devils Punchbowl park has some of Newport’s famous tide pools just up the 101 where your family can play as you take marvelous photos. The area has plenty of bright sea stars, anemones, and scuttling crabs to hold you in awe.
Entertainment and Events
From seafood to steak and Chinese, this city has an abundance of some of the best dishes around. Whether you are in search of simplistic food such as a traditional fish and chips meal, or something rather extravagant, there are many dining entities to choose from. For all with a sweet tooth, indulge in some of the best pastries and cakes in cute and comfy cafes in the area.
Newport is an intimate city that boasts an assortment of attractions, amenities and dining options for the perfect getaway experience. Be a part of the cultured, flavored and wholesome city over your next vacation.
Newport Seafood and Wine Festival takes place at the end of February.
Points of Interest Nearby