Karyn Wofford is a freelance writer in the fields of travel, eco-tourism, and wellness. She’s an avid traveler and Georgia native. She grew up with a passion for travel, exploring everything from the mountains to the ocean, and continues to find new and unique things to do in the places she travels.
Read full bio
Newport is a gem of a city in Oregon located along the ruggedly picturesque Oregon Coast. Parks are everywhere, allowing for plenty of exploration without spending a ton of money, and each one features its own spectacular attractions form nature. Museums and galleries perfectly depict the culture and history along this section of the west coast, and restaurants serve up delicious local fare. Fish doesn’t get any fresher. Newport has a boatload to offer along its docks or through the wooded hills, and these are some of the best.
Visit Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area and you’ll have more than a day’s worth of exhilarating activities ahead. Not only does the little piece of jutting land house the tallest lighthouse in Oregon, but the interpretive center also offers all the lighthouse history you could ever imagine. While harbor seals and grey whales put on a show near Yaquina Head, some of the most spectacular sites sit nearly microscopically in tide pools along the water’s edge. A rainbow of creatures, from urchins to starfish, debut during low tide along the beautiful beaches. Not only is this an educationally enriching spot, but it’s also downright gorgeous.
Another remarkable natural area along Oregon’s dramatic coast, the Devil’s Punchbowl, is a curious crater in the shore’s rock, which fills and empty’s through a small entryway at its base. When it fills, the water can sound quite thunderous as it crashes around in the opening, hence its ferocious name. Similar to Acadia National Park’s Thunder Hole, its both audibly and visually spectacular. Some come to the state park to whale watch, while others explore the abundant tide pool anemones.
At the Oregon Coast Aquarium, the family gets more of an educational experience, as the non-profit strives to create a living classroom, while promoting conservation. Visit the funky aquarium village, experience hands-on exhibits or walk through the massive glass tunnel as sharks lurk above your head. When it’s raining outside, it’s the optimal “go to”.
While hard to pick just one of Oregon’s many beaches as a favorite, Nye Beach ranks high on the list, not only because of its beauty but because of its historical roots. The charming Inn at Nye Beach, quaint bistros and bakeries, lovely boutiques and an overall cottage feel make this one special beach town in Oregon. Folks are just bicycling from one destination to the next along the small stretch of beach accented by shingled siding and stone.
Newport Historic Bayfront is the perfect place to take in the town as a whole. Not only is the setting of old fishing boats and cute shops completely fitting, but the Yaquina Bay Bridge also sits in the background—so you get two sites in one place. So many things can be checked off the list at the Bayfront, from dining on the freshest Pacific seafood to finding the perfect souvenir. Harbor seals may even be sunning on the docks.
If you’ve ever seen an artist crafting blown glass, you know it’s genuinely a spectacle that will make one deeply appreciate the age-old art. At The Hot Spot, not only can guests watch crafters fashion the lava-like substances into stunning, complex creations, but they can participate in a class as well. While there are many places in Newport to see stunning artwork, the interactive aspect here adds a bit more magic.
We could write for days about all the parks in this portion of Oregon—it’s absolute heaven for adventurers. South Beach and Ona Beach State Parks are both fantastic. However, Lost Creek State Park stands out because of its serenity and a general lack of heavy crowds. But many come to search for fossils along the foamy shores.
Local Ocean Seafoods is the number one place to eat in Newport, quite literally. The water and bridge views are crazy beautiful, and the food sticks with the local theme. Roasted garlic Dungeness crab soup and the tuna mignon are both impeccably prepared. Then you have all the other fresh seafood options, from halibut to shrimp which are seasoned with pleasantly paired, light herbs. They have great homemade ice cream too!
Rarely does a hotel manage to maintain a solid five rating on TripAdvisor, but the lovely Agate Beach Motel stuns guests with cozy cottages, and the most scenic outdoor lounging space complete with Adirondack chairs and fire pits, facing the gorgeous waters. Agate exudes something very home-like while being nestled in an optimal spot right along the coast. Maybe it’s the convenience of kitchens and comfy furniture, or maybe the top-notch hospitality (probably both). Sunsets from the location are also out of this world.