Did you know that you can explore the entire Oregon coastline of the Pacific Ocean from the Columbia River to the California Border? The Oregon Coast Trail (OCT) consists of 10 sections that run the entire length of Oregon’s 363-mile coastline, and Newport is the main hub and largest town in section 5. Although section 5 of OCT runs from Otter Rock to Heceta Head, this itinerary will detail the area that surrounds Newport, from Otter Rock to South Beach.
After viewing Devil’s Punch Bowl and the majestic vistas of the Pacific Ocean that Otter Rock has to offer, descend the staircase at the west end of the state natural area onto Moolack Beach. Moolack Beach is ideal for surfing and beach combing, and Beverly Beach State Park is about 1.3 miles (2.1 km) south of Otter Rock and offers tent camping for those who want to camp along the way. Continue south along Moolack Beach another 3.75 miles (6 km) from Beverly Beach State Park to Schooner Point, which is only passable at low tide (tide tables can be found at many local establishments or online here). After crossing Schooner Point, the trail exits the beach on a rough gravel road up to NW 68th Street and continues onto Highway 101 for a little over a mile to NW Agate Way, which has access to Agate Beach. There are a couple of great restaurants close to NW Agate Way; Szabos Steakhouse and Seafood offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, and The Hill Buffet and Grill serves up lunch and dinner as well.
Agate Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Newport and is another great spot for surfing and beach combing; the trail continues south down the beach, and looking back to the north, gives way to an incredible view of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse once it’s no longer obstructed by the headland. Just past the Agate Beach State Recreation Site, Best Western Plus Agate Beach Inn up from the beach has cozy rooms for the night while also offering amazing food in their Sea Glass Bistro and Lounge. The OCT continues south on the beach for another 2 miles (2 km) before reaching access to the Historic Nye Beach neighborhood. Nye Beach has some great gift shops to browse, and food and drink options include wood-fired pizza and beer at The Taphouse at Nye Creek, chowder at Chowder Bowl, or fresh baked goods at Panini Bakery. The neighborhood also offers comfortable lodging with spectacular beach views at Sylvia Beach Hotel, Elizabeth Oceanfront Suites, and Hallmark Resort Hotel.
Follow the beach for another 1.7 miles (2.7 km) south to Yaquina Bay’s north jetty, then head inland when Newport’s other lighthouse, the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, becomes visible; the trail winds up through grass-covered dunes to stairs that lead to Yaquina Bay State Recreation Site and the lighthouse. Travel through the state recreation site toward Yaquina Bay Bridge and take the staircase up onto the bridge. Cross the iconic gothic-style bridge on a sidewalk that runs parallel to Highway 101 and take in the incredible views of both Yaquina Bay and the Pacific Ocean from 133 feet (40.5 m) above the water. This paved portion of the trail is approximately 1.7 miles (2.7km) from Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, across the bay bridge, and down another staircase onto a large grassy area in South Beach. Southwest Jetty Way is just to the northwest of the stairs, and it leads along the south jetty to the trailheads for South Beach State Park, another state park that also offers tent camping just off the beach.