Everybody knows that Newport is the best place to be in the summer, and we’ve put together a list of the ten best things to do while you’re here! Of course, there are many more great places to visit and things to do than we’ve listed, but this will get you started.
Visit the Lighthouses
Newport is home to two historic lighthouses; one is perched on top of Yaquina Head and the other is at the edge of the Yaquina Bay. At 93 feet, the historic Yaquina Head Lighthouse is Oregon’s tallest and is surrounded by the amazing wildlife preserve, Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. The Yaquina Bay Lighthouse is in the Yaquina Bay Recreation Site next to the northern entrance to Yaquina Bay and is the only wooden Oregon lighthouse in existence, and the only remaining lighthouse with living quarters attached. Both lighthouses offer a unique experience, are easily accessible, and welcome visitors throughout the year.
Explore the Historic Bayfront
Spend the day exploring Newport’s Historic Bayfront, where beautiful murals cover the one-mile strip of canneries, fish markets, art galleries, gift shops, and various eateries coexist amid the cries of seagulls and the savory scent of fresh cooked Dungeness crab. Shop and dine in an atmosphere largely forgotten by time, visit the resident sea lions on the docks and enjoy all of the family-friendly attractions offered at Mariner Square. You may also want to buy fresh seafood right off the docks or try your luck crabbing in the bay.
Stroll Nye Beach
Nye Beach roughly stretches from the center of Newport to the North Jetty and extends up from the sand into a charming shopping district with a variety of shops, restaurants and visual arts center that complete the mixed-use neighborhood. The area is roughly twelve blocks long and two blocks wide and is very walkable from the seashore that extends beyond a turnaround and parking lot. The district continues south onto a cliffside that hosts the local performing arts center and great lodging options with stunning ocean views.
Hike and Bike South Beach State Park
South Jetty boarders the entrance to Yaquina Bay, with a rock wall against the channel on its north side and miles of grass-covered dunes and open beach that connect with South Beach State Park to the south. You can hike, walk, bike and even ride a horse through the many miles of trails that twist and turn through the dunes or on the beach. South Beach State Park has an established campground where you can stay, or you can use the park for free during the day. Popular activities at the park include fishing, clamming, scuba diving, and windsurfing.
Visit the Aquarium
For 30 years the Oregon Coast Aquarium has been the premier regional destination for exploring the mysteries of the ocean and the unique wildlife that call it home. You’ll love the dozens of displays of sea life and the many themed exhibits. The Animal Encounters & Experience Tours are also fun for the whole family; get up close and personal with the Sea Jelly Touch and the Octopus Encounters and learn the ins and outs of caring for the marine animals at the aquarium with a Behind the Scenes Tour.
Eat and Drink at local Breweries
Rogue Bayfront Public House and Rogue Brewers on the Bay invite you to become a member of Rouge Nation, or at least stop in for a visit! Rogue has had a solid presence in Newport for over 30 years, from humble beginnings in the Historic Bayfront to their World Headquarters in South Beach, Rogue is one of Oregon’s first and most beloved craft breweries. Bier One features a newer and much larger location right at the edge of the Deco District that provides a comfortable setting for socializing, boasts twenty rotating taps of their delicious craft beer and Kombucha, and offers select cocktails, tasty snacks, and great sandwiches. Wolf Tree Brewery is a family-run nanobrewery with a restaurant and taproom located near the campus of the Oregon Coast Community College in South Beach, and they use local ingredients as often as possible to create award-winning beverages that are as both original and bold. Newport Brewing may be the new kid on the block, but they have established themselves right away since opening in 2019. Their flagship brew is the Dungeness IPA, but other popular selections include the Hazy Crazy DIPA, Surfs Up Lager, The Guardian Hazy Pale Ale, and Tangerine Dream, and they offer a full liquor bar, wine, and great food.
Surf the Pacific Ocean
Surfers have long known that the Central Oregon Coast offers some of the best waves available anywhere. We have miles of uncrowded beaches, excellent breaks and clean waters that are perfect for surfers of all skill levels. Whether you’re an experienced surfer, new to the sport, or interested in learning how to surf, Newport’s beaches are ready to exceed your expectations. Ossies Surf Shop, Pura Vida Surf Shop, South Beach Surf Shop, and Newport Surf Shop are great places to rent or buy boards and wetsuits and take lessons that are specific to your skill level.
Kayak Yaquina River and Bay
Have you noticed all of the kayaks in Newport’s waterways and just off the coast, and thought, that looks like fun? You’re not alone! Both locals and visitors alike can often be found paddling around the many aquatic bodies of water that our area has to offer. Whether you’re an experienced kayaker, new to the sport, or interested in getting started, we have some perfect locations and suggestions that cater to every skill level. Kayaking information, lessons, rentals and tours are readily available through Ossie’s Surf Shop and the Oregon Boating Foundation.
Take a Fishing Charter
Newport is the premier spot on the Oregon Coast for fresh seafood, and it’s also home to many sport fishing charter boats with experienced crew ready to embark on daily angling excursions. Tuna, salmon, halibut, cod, and a variety of rockfish are available, and local charter captains will skillfully guide you to where these fish can be found, and they will also have all of the equipment and licensing that you will need for your fishing trip. Contact Newport Oregon Fishing Charters, Yaquina Bay Charters, Lance Fisher Fishing, Prospectors Fishing Adventures, or Good Time Charlie Sportfishing for daily fishing excursions.
Are you an avid birder or interested in birding? Birding is a fascinating hobby full of opportunities to view unique coastal birds in their natural habitats. Birding in Newport is fun and exciting, from the beaches to the dunes to the coastal forests, you’ll find scores of birds to observe and document. Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area and Yaquina Bay are both designated as Important Bird Areas (IBA) nationally and by the State of Oregon. Yaquina Bay Road, Yaquina Bay Estuary Trail, Beverly Beach State Park, South Jetty and South Beach State Park are all excellent places to watch birds throughout the year.