Oregon Coast Vacation: Newport

Explore the Oregon Coast in Newport

Newport Oregon is a small scenic city that sits at the mouth of Yaquina Bay on the central Oregon coast. Newport has a vibrant tourism trade, and with an eclectic downtown, harbor tours, two impressive family-oriented aquariums,fishing, shopping, and not one, but two lighthouses, it makes a great family vacation spot.

Yaguina Bay Bridge in Newport, Oregon. Image copyright Carolyn Augustine 2007.
Yaguina Bay Bridge in Newport, Oregon. Image copyright Carolyn Augustine 2007.
We waited for our harbor boat tour to begin here at the docks located in the old downtown area of Newport.
We waited for our harbor boat tour to begin here at the docks located in the old downtown area of Newport.
The Discovery Tours staff were friendly and safety-minded. They are a family business who have been operating boat tours for over 20 years.
The Discovery Tours staff were friendly and safety-minded. They are a family business who have been operating boat tours for over 20 years.
During our tour we dropped crab pots and handled the crabs we caught. We learned how to distinguish male and female crabs and the captain claimed he'd be eating them for lunch!
During our tour we dropped crab pots and handled the crabs we caught. We learned how to distinguish male and female crabs and the captain claimed he'd be eating them for lunch!

Newport Oregon Attractions

Newport has the amenities of a larger city with the quaint feel of many of the Oregon coastal towns that dot the central Oregon coastline. It's main attractions are deep sea fishing, it's Oregon Coast Aquarium, and the quirky historical downtown area which showcases its fishing and dunganess crabbing industry with some unusual quirky shops sprinkled in, and miles of emerald blue coastal waters and scenic coastline.

We made a day of our Oregon coast visit to Newport, traveling in from Florence, to the south, where we stayed at Driftwood Shores Resort. Our drive was about an hour, and our travel took us past Devil's Elbow State Beach and Heceta Head Lighthouse where we stopped the day before. Between Florence and Newport you will also find Sea Lion Caves, which is an attraction that takes you down to sea level via a deep elevator. If you are interested in stopping at some beautiful scenic beaches along the way, Seal Beach is at Yachats and is unbeatable for its privacy and views. The stretch of Pacific Coast Highway between Florence and Newport is varied and beautiful. If you don't have to hurry to your destination to catch a harbor boat tour, plan to be seduced into stopping a few times along the way.

Our visit to Newport was streamlined by the fact that we had a young toddler in tow. We called ahead to Discovery Boat Tours, which offered a whale-watching tour for different lengths of time. We knew we wanted to go to the Oregon Coast Aquarium in the afternoon, so we scheduled a short tour for the morning for two children and two adults. During the tour our guide told us some interesting facts about the Yaquina Bay Bridge, which spans the Yaquina Bay, and the surrounding fishing industry. As part of the tour, since it was crabbing season, the boat operator dropped a crab trap, and we actually experienced catching Dunganesse and other local varieties of crab. Our tour operator had an on-board oceanographer to answer our questions, though I think she was a college student with a summer job.

Sightings of whales aren't as common in the summertime in Oregon as during other times of the year. If you time your visit just right, you might view whales during their annual migration south along the coastal waters of the Pacific Ocean. We were thrilled, however, to see a huge sun fish surface from the ocean's depths to soak up some rare Oregon sunshine. Our tour guide told us that sighting a sun fish was pretty rare, and that we were fortunate to see one so close up. A sun fish looks like a kind of ray, and glides through the water like an angel. It was quite a sight for Arizonans like us!

Oregon Coast Aquarium

Our afternoon stop included a visit to the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Little did we know how busy this place would be. We stood in line to get inside the aquarium for almost half an hour. But once we were inside, we understood why. This aquarium is ranked in the top 10 aquariums in the United States.

I was surprised by all that this aquarium had to offer. When I think of an aquarium I usually envision an indoor facility with lots of large fish tanks where different varieties of sea creature swim around. This aquarium included the expected water tanks full of fish and other sea creatures, but also had an enormous touch-pool area where you could touch sea stars, anemones, and other sea creatures.

Outdoors the aquarium was a lot like a zoo, with a strong focus on animal life that is native to the Oregon Coast. If you have young children you may want to go to this aquarium with its kid-friendly exhibitions.

If you have time, another place to visit is the Hatfield Marine Science Center. If you always wanted to be a marine biologist, or just want to spend a day learning more about this fascinating field of study, the Hatfield Marine Science center is the research facility for Oregon State University's Marine Sciences program. The center has exhibits for the public and a gift shop.

Travel Distances to Newport

City Name 
Miles
Kilometers
Florence
49.7 mi. 
79.7 km
Salem
91.8 mi. 
147.7 km
Eugene
101 mi.
162.5 km
Portland
137 mi.
220.4 km
Seattle
311 mi.
500.4 km
Redding
411 mi.
661.3 km
San Francisco
624 mi.
1004 km
Los Angeles
952 mi.
1531.7 km
The dunganess crab is harvested commercially in the coastal waters of Newport.
The dunganess crab is harvested commercially in the coastal waters of Newport.

Hotels and Lodging In and Near Newport

if you are planning a vacation that includes Newport, you can stay in Newport, in nearby Yachats, or in Florence, almost an hour to the south.

In Newport, you have a variety of hotels, bed and breakfasts, and vacation rentals. For more information about lodging in Newport Oregon, you can visit the Newport Chamber of Commerce web page.

In Yachats, you have a few bed and breakfasts and privately owned vacation rentals such as condominiums and beach houses. Yachats is a great place to escape and enjoy the beach and the sound of the ocean, and has some beautiful surf and sandy beaches. If I were visiting this region of the Oregon Coast for a honeymoon vacation, I would choose Yachats.

Florence to the south is another large town and has a variety of shopping, seafood restaurants, and established, large vacation resorts, like Driftwood Shores, which has been in operation for almost 50 years. Florence has additional sights to see, such as Jessie Honeyman State Park.

Where is Newport?

A markerNewport, Oregon -
Newport, OR 97365, USA
[get directions]

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13 comments

dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

I'd love to visit someday, especially the coast! I could do with a couple of those crabs now, as my mom has a great recipe that involves curry and coconut milk (it's a Thai dish). Thanks, Wannabwestern. I really wish that I could go and see the Grand Canyon this time of the year ;)


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

The seafood was a high point on this vacation. We actually stayed at a place that had a full kitchenette (probably bigger than some apartment kitchens in NYC) and we bought fresh fish from a local market and had a fish fry. It was soooo tasty. Your mom's recipe sounds great. We love Thai food. My husband especially likes anything that's spicy!

I hope you make it out to the Grand Canyon. It's one of the only places in AZ that gets cold and snowy, so dress warm!


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Well written and very interesting hub. Thank you


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

Thank you!


RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 6 years ago from Tucson, Az

fantastic hub as usual!! and sounds like you guys had a wonderful time!!


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

Thanks RNMSN! That is a great town to visit. Lots of beautiful scenery too for photographers. We actually took a vacation up the coast and stayed at Patrick's Point State Park in California, too. We had such a wonderful time there it was hard to leave, and the drive was really long with our baby, but we enjoyed the full amenities at Driftwood Shores after camping for three days.


sukhera143 profile image

sukhera143 6 years ago from Home

Nice hub.


smarleygrl7 profile image

smarleygrl7 6 years ago

Very good hub! My best friend lived near by there for years and she always talked about how beautiful it was! She is in North Carolina now stationed on an airforce base with her husband and she still talks about missing Newport!


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

I don't blame your friend at all. It's hard to leave beautiful places. I think we are deeply affected by our surroundings. But North Carolina is beautiful too, just not like Oregon. :) Thanks for reading. Cheers!


AZGuy profile image

AZGuy 6 years ago

Thanks for the great hub! I've been to Newport, RI (another quaint town on the water) and I may just have to visit the one in Oregon too after reading your hub!


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

You are most welcome. I hope you enjoy a visit there. We loved it!


izettl profile image

izettl 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

I live in SW Washington and we make several Oregon coast trips every summer- from Seaside to Florence. I love Newport and the aquarium. Every town on the Oregon Coast has something to offer. It just seems to get more crowded every year- that's the only down side


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

izettl, I agree with you. My husband's parents own a condo in Florence, so they've been visiting over the years since the 1970s. On the occasions when we have traveled back to Oregon, we have also noticed a lot of growth. Still, not as crowded as some other places and sooooooo beautiful!

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