Newport is a super unique coastal town located in the Pacific Northwest state of Oregon. It is most known for its lighthouses, museums, historic district, and delicious bayfront restaurants.
Newport’s sandy beaches offer beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean, are full of tidepools to play in, and are prime areas to spot marine wildlife such as whales, sea lions, and birds.
This Oregon city is an excellent place to bring the whole family, as there are plenty of museums, an aquarium, and an amazing science center. Enjoy fresh seafood at amazing restaurants along The Historic Bayfront, or in nearby Waldport.
If you love outdoor activities, Newport has you covered! Visit the lighthouse at Yaquina Head, go kayaking in South Beach State Park, dig for razor clams in Agate State Park, or go camping at Beverly Beach State Park.
No matter what you like to do, there’s something for everyone here. Keep reading to learn the best things to do in Newport Oregon!
COOLEST PLACES TO STAY IN NEWPORT, OREGON
- Best for Foodies: The beauty of the Oregon Coast is your constant backdrop when you’re staying at the Hallmark Resort in Newport. With all of their rooms offering oceanfront views and the award-winning Georgie’s Beachside Grill, it’s the perfect spot for a frolic-filled family adventure or a serenely romantic escape.
- Best Relaxing Beachside Choice: Featuring the only infinity spa overlooking the ocean in the Pacific Northwest – The Inn at Nye Beach features luxurious accommodations, available massage treatments, complimentary made-from-scratch breakfast, and select pet friendly rooms that will provide you with an unforgettable getaway. There is a fireplace in every room at this beachfront boutique hotel.
- Best Tried and True Option: The Holiday Inn Express Newport is a 4-minute walk from Oregon Coast Aquarium and 2 miles from Nye Beach. It features spacious rooms with a flat-screen cable TV and serves a buffet breakfast. You’ll also find an indoor pool and hot tub here! This hotel is a family- and budget-friendly choice, that receives high marks from reviewers.
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YAQUINA HEAD LIGHTHOUSE
The Yaquina Bay Lighthouse is the star of Yaquina Bay. It is located in the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area and is part of the Yaquina Bay State Recreation Site, all the way at the north end of Newport.
This lighthouse is historic for many reasons and well worth a visit! Standing at 93 feet tall, the Yaquina Head Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in Oregon. It is also the only remaining wooden lighthouse in the state, and the only lighthouse with living quarters still attached to it.
When the interpretive center is open, you are able to go inside to learn more about the history of the area and view exhibits focusing on marine life. Be sure to check their website to see if tours of the lighthouse are currently running! If not, it’s still worth a stop to admire from the outside.
HATFIELD MARINE SCIENCE CENTER
The Hatfield Marine Science Center is part of Oregon State University’s oceanographic research and educational wing. Here there are academic programs suitable for people of all ages to learn about marine life.
Schedule a K-12 tour, visit the library to conduct your own research, or attend any of their many local events and seminars. If you’re a college student, the Hartfield Marine Center offers internships and other academic programs. If you’re interested in the marine sciences, this is a great place to learn more.
AGATE BEACH STATE RECREATION SITE
Agate State Beach Recreation Park is an Oregon state park that stretches between the Columbia River South and the Oregon/California border, in between the new and old Highway 101. It features both sandy beaches and Pacific Northwest rocky shorelines with large agate rocks rising out of the water.
The park is most known for being the best place to dig for razor clams, but there are so many other fun, unique activities to enjoy in the park. Go surfing on the sandy beaches, visit the tidepools, or take a walk along the shores. Go kitesurfing with the family, explore some lighthouses, and end the day with smores around a campfire on the beach.
If you’re feeling up for a big adventure, Agate State Park is part of the 362 mile Oregon Coast Trail, so you could hike all or part of that!
No matter the season you’ll find locals and tourists alike enjoying the shores and trails of Agate Beach State Recreation Park.
OREGON COAST AQUARIUM
A trip to Newport would simply be incomplete without a visit to the Oregon Coast Aquarium. This aquarium sits on 23 acres in Yaquina Bay in Newport, Oregon and is a haven for marine life education. It is consistently named one of the best aquariums in North America, and a visit here would never disappoint!
Oregon Coast Aquarium has both indoor and outdoor exhibits that feature marine plants and animals native to the Oregon Coast. Inside you’ll find four permanent exhibits that display the different types of Pacific Northwest terrain.
The largest (and coolest) exhibit is called “Passage Of The Deep.” Walking through the crazy tunnel display feels like you’re actually in the ocean with these animals. The tank was once home to Keiko, the orca whale star of the movie Free Willy, but now is home to animals as small as jellyfish and as large as sharks.
I highly recommend booking a tour and spending at least 2-3 hours in Oregon Coast Aquarium on your visit to Newport. Not only does the aquarium have excellent displays, they also serve as an excellent role model in ocean conservation and help take care of the surrounding community.
Read More: 29 BEST AQUARIUMS IN THE U.S. YOU HAVE TO VISIT
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NEWPORT HISTORIC BAYFRONT
If you only had one day in Newport, I’d still recommend spending the afternoon in the Newport Historic Bayfront district as it’s a perfect hub for all the best Newport has to offer. It’s a mixed use area, where you can watch fisherman hard at work catching crabs off the dock, enjoy fresh seafood at the local restaurants, and visit other main attractions along the pier, such as museums, glass art galleries, and quirky mom and pop shops.
The Waxworks Museum, Undersea Gardens, and Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum are some really unique museums that you’ve got to stop by!
When it comes to food, you definitely will not be leaving the historic district hungry. Grab some chowder from Mo’s Seafood & Chowder, have happy hour drinks at Local Ocean Seafoods, or admire the views from Georgie’s Beachside Grill.
After dinner, take a walk along the bay to admire the sunset, watch the last of the boats dock, and laugh at the sea lions as they bark at one another all night long.
BEVERLY BEACH STATE PARK
The best place in Newport for the outdoor lover to visit is Beverly Beach State Park!
This park is home to one of the state’s largest campgrounds, located deep in a forest between Cape Foulweather and Yaquina Head. It has three campground areas containing 53 full hook up sites, 76 electrical sites with water, 128 tent sites, and 21 yurts.
Bring your family or friends for a visit in the summertime to enjoy the many recreational activities available during the day, and sleep among the giant ancient trees at night. Make sure you book you campsites at least 6 months in advance as reservations fill up rather quickly.
If you’re not planning on spending the night, Beverly Beach has day use beach access on the Pacific Ocean where you can surf, do some whale watching, or explore the tidepools.
The state park is located near some other main attractions in Newport, such as the Oregon Coast Aquarium and locals shops and restaurants. It’s the perfect place to enjoy some peace and solitude without being too far away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
SEAL ROCK STATE PARK
Seal Rock State Park is a park on the southern side of Newport that you must stop by! The park is a sanctuary for seals, sea lions, and other marine life as they love to lay on the large off-shore rock formations.
Seal Rock is an excellent place for photographers to visit, as it’s not as crowded as other beaches and features a pretty (and accessible) ocean view overlook just a quick walk away from the parking lot.
The park provides access to sandy beaches, where you’ll stumble across many interesting tidepools to play in. I highly recommend making at least a quick stop for sunset to admire the animals and enjoy some serenity.
SOUTH BEACH STATE PARK
South Beach State Park offers access to a gorgeous sandy stretch of beach located next to the Yaquina Bay Bridge. It sits along Newport’s south shoreline and provides a perfect gateway to the rest of the city.
South Beach State Park has some great hiking trails that showcase views of the ocean through 7 miles of marshes. The park has access to plenty of walking, biking, and equestrian paths throughout the marshes, or you can bring your kayak in the summer for a view from the water.
Bring some friends to make a day out of it, and camp in one of the many yurts or tent sites throughout the park at night.
Nye Beach is an old resort destination turned hip and trendy urban neighborhood in Newport that I highly recommend you stop by on your visit! It’s a mixed-use neighborhood featuring everything you could be looking for in a coastal town. The historic downtown area is lined with local shops, cool hotels, art galleries, coffee shops, wine stores, and restaurants. Apartments live above the shops as the neighborhood continues to develop.
One of the biggest draws to Nye Beach is the easy beach access — it’s just a short walk from the downtown area. The best parking is actually the public parking lot by the beach. I recommend parking there for the day, having lunch and exploring the downtown area, then watching the sunset on the beach to end a perfect day on the Pacific Coast.
One of the best things to do in Nye Beach is eat! There are so many delicious restaurants to choose from for any taste! The Chowder Bowl is famously known as the best place to go to grab some chowder, and they have excellent seafood as well. Cafe Stephanie is an adorable little place with great American fare, while Nana’s Irish Pub is your go-to stop for Shepard’s Pie or Bangers and Mash.
If you’re looking for great places to drink, visit Coast & Vine for fine dining or The Tap House to try some excellent local beer!
SEA LION DOCKS
One of the absolute best things to do in Newport, Oregon is visiting the Sea Lion Docks to see the harbor seals up close. Not too close, of course!
The Sea Lion Docks consists of eight floating wooden docks where the seals and sea lions live for nine months out of the year, after they return from mating in Southern California. Most of the sea lions you’ll see are males, as the females are busy having babies and raising pups. The males, though, sure do know how to put on a show between yelling, playing around with one another, and sunbathing.
The Newport Sea Lion Docks Foundation has done a lot of great work within the past few years to maintain the docks, make sure the sea lions are well taken care of, and that visitors have the best experience possible. You’ll soon find new viewing platforms at the docks.
You definitely need to make a stop out to visit the harbor seals on the Sea Lion Docks during your visit to Newport. You’ll be so glad that you did.
YAQUINA BAY BRIDGE
The Yaquina Bay Bridge is a picturesque bridge along Highway 101 in Newport. It is one of 11 bridges along the Oregon Coast Highway designed by architect Conde McCullough, and definitely one of his most famous pieces of art.
The 600-foot bridge is recognizable by its main arch and gothic architecture. Before you take a drive along the bridge, stop in the grass nearby for a great view of the bridge and water below.
DEVIL’S PUNCH BOWL
Visiting Devil’s Punch Bowl State Natural Area in Otter Rock is one of the best things to do near Newport! I always recommend making a quick pit stop, because it’s just so easy. The park is just a short drive and a short hike away from Highway 101.
Devil’s Punch Bowl State Natural Area is a small park with picnic areas, a hiking trail, beach access, and the star of the park: the punch bowl. The punch bowl is thought to be created by two caves that collapsed to create a small tide pool.
Do as the locals do and jump in if you dare, but be careful because the waves can get pretty gnarly.
If you’re not feeling like as much of a daredevil, or don’t want to get in the cold Pacific water, I recommend just watching the waves churn. Enjoy a picnic while keeping an eye out for whales in the distance.
HISTORIC BURROWS HOUSE AND PACIFIC MARITIME HERITAGE CENTER
The Burrows House and Pacific Maritime Heritage Center are located right next to each other between the Bayfront and Nye Beach.
The Burrows House is a Victorian-style home built for newlyweds John and Susan Burrows in 1895 with a rich history. Susan ended up being awarded the house in the divorce shortly after it was built. She took boarders into the home, in what she named, the Sea View Rooms. In 1919, Susan sold the house and it became a funeral parlor. Later, it was eventually turned into a museum showcasing the area. You can visit today to learn more about the history of the house and other Newport artifacts.
The Pacific Maritime Heritage Center is located next to the Burrows House in Newport’s historic Bayfront area. It is a museum all about the diverse culture of the ocean.
Here you’ll find interactive exhibits and educational programs showcasing the art and history of the Pacific and its wildlife. Learn more about the fisheries in the Newport community and hear stories from those who work around the ocean daily.
Admission to the Maritime Center is free for kids ages 12 and under and only $5 for adults, so it’s definitely worth a stop on your visit to Newport.
DAY TRIP TO WALDPORT FOR CRABBING
If you have some extra time while you’re in Newport and love to fish, you’ve got to make a day trip over to Waldport, the Dungeness Crab Capital.
Waldport is a beautiful little coastal community less than an hour away from Newport. It sits right on the bay and is surrounded by the lovely woodlands of the Siuslaw National Forest. There are so many outdoor recreational activities to enjoy in this hidden gem!
Rent a bike for free and take a cruise alongside the ocean, rent a kayak to search for sea otters, or spend the day fishing for salmon, crab, and hundreds of other marine animals. Take a walk among the pure solitude or the trees and just listen to the sounds of the forest.
If the outdoors aren’t as much your thing, stop into the local shops and restaurants in town! No matter what you like to do, there’s something for every taste in Newport and Waldport, Oregon.
Read More: 16 GORGEOUS OREGON COAST TOWNS YOU’VE GOT TO VISIT
NEWPORT, OREGON FAQ
Is Newport, Oregon worth visiting?
Absolutely! Newport, Oregon is definitely worth a visit. This awesome coastal town features great beaches, a historic downtown, plenty of wildlife, and lots of family friendly activities. It’s the perfect place for a family vacation.
What is Newport, Oregon known for?
Newport is best known for its lighthouses, natural wonders, and wildlife. Newport’s beaches are great for spotting whales and bald eagles.
What can I do on a rainy day in Newport, Oregon?
Newport, Oregon may be known for its amazing outdoor adventures, but there’s plenty to do indoors as well. Visiting the Oregon Coast Aquarium, the Hatfield Marine Science Center, or the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! World of Adventure are all great things to do in Newport on a rainy day.
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MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO OREGON
- YOUR OREGON VACATION
- EUGENE: 15 Fun Things To Do In Eugene Oregon
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WHERE TO STAY IN NEWPORT OREGON
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