Blake Walsh

25 Best Things to Do in Newport, OR

  • Published 2023/03/27

Newport is a small city in Oregon that is overflowing with beautiful beaches, aquariums, and recreational parks that offer the best possible spot for wildlife sightings, especially marine creatures such as sea lions and seals.

There are several designated spots quite frequented by tourists and locals alike, where they can admire the humongous whale during the migration season.

This Victorian town’s shorelines and popular squares are lined with restaurants that serve unique seafood dishes that are not available anywhere else in the world.

Since Newport is a maritime town, there are a plethora of museums and research centers that showcase different marine creatures, at the same time educating the visitors about the ecosystem.

The small town of Oregon has much to offer to its visitors.

Here are the best things to do in Newport, Oregon:

Learn about Marine Life at the Hatfield Marine Science Center

Welcome sign of Hatfield Marine Science Center

Visitor7, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Hatfield Marine Science Center does extensive research and is essentially a part of Oregon State University.

In the year 1965, the university opened a visitor’s center so that the general public could acquaint themselves with the life of the marine animals.

The center gracefully displays live examples of marine animals in its aquarium and tide pools.

A submarine displayed on the grounds of Hatfield Marine Science Center

Visitor7, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It can provide educational information about the conditions of the ocean, ocean-based topics, and whether that has an impact on marine life.

The center opened a space where the visitors can watch the enigmatic phenomenon of octopus being fed, a sight not available elsewhere.

The Hatfield Marine Science Center is open all year round and provides guided tours to the public.

Visit the Yaquina Head Lighthouse

Scenic view of the Yaquina Lighthouse

Dee Browning /

The tallest lighthouse in Oregon, the Yaquina Head Lighthouse rests atop a hill with a picturesque backdrop.

This classic white lighthouse has provided service since August 20, 1873.

Regular guided tours are arranged to view the architectural style implemented on the lighthouse and give a detailed description of its history.

Window detail of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse

Paul W Harvey IV /

The area offers a plethora of recreational activities, such as wildlife viewing, which can be enjoyed by the family.

It also serves as an excellent whale watching viewpoint during the migration season.

The tidal pool near the coastline, which falls under the national area, is populated by brightly colored starfish and anemones.

Lamp of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse

Paul W Harvey IV /

Meet the Sea Creatures at the Oregon Coast Aquarium

People admiring the sea creatures at Oregon Coast Aquarium

steve estvanik /

Learning through interaction has always created a form of connection with the subject.

The Oregon Coast Aquarium opened in the year 1992, and its popularity has increased with time, especially with the film Free Willy, which featured the killer whale Keiko from the said aquarium.

The walk-in aquarium is home to various species of marine animals, which can be viewed through the glass.

Exterior of Oregon Coast Aquarium

Ritu Manoj Jethani /

There are some corridors where the sea creatures swim above the head of the visitors and some giant tanks occupied by octopuses, seals, giant pacific octopus, and sea otters.

The aquarium also engages in regular exhibits and interactive sessions, such as Sea Lion Kiss Encounters and Secret of Shipwrecks.

To make learning more enticing, the Oregon Coast Aquarium organizes a program called Sleep in the Deep, which allows visitors to spend a night in the underwater tunnels.

Jellyfish tank in Oregon Coast Aquarium

steve estvanik /

Explore Newport’s Historic Bayfront

Daytime view of Yaquina Bay Bridge

Allard One /

Newport’s Historic Bayfront is mainly popular for the fishing industry.

Every day, the diners that line the waterfront receive a fresh delivery of fish from the watch ships.

Yaquina Bay Bridge offers a picturesque sight and is a giant landmark of Oregon.

Apart from this, the waterfront is lined with diners, seafood restaurants, art galleries displaying local artists, and small shops where visitors can collect souvenirs.

Spend a Day at Yaquina Bay State Recreation Site

View of the waters at Yaquina Bay State Recreation site

Finetooth, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located just on the northern side of the Yaquina Bay Bridge, Yaquina Bay State Recreation Site covers an area of 32 acres.

The recreation site was gifted to the Oregon state by the US Lighthouse Service in two installments, once in 1934 and later in 1971.

The grounds of the site also have a historic lighthouse, which was later used as a lifeguard station.

The lighthouse has been restored to its original state, and the tourists can take up a self-guided tour of the place.

Due to its location beside the waterfront, the building is a popular destination for sighting whales, especially grey whales, during the migration season.

Enjoy Shopping, Food, and Art at Nye Beach

Scenic sunset over Nye Beach

John DeJarnatt /

Nye Beach stands facing the serene Pacific Ocean, which promises the best sunsets in the state.

One of the most popular vacation destinations, this part of the town comprises the major cultural hubs, as the shore is flooded by exquisite restaurants, cafes, food joints, and shops.

Archway of Nye Beach

Hrare, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There are several art galleries, such as the Newport Visual Arts Center, which displays the work of the local and native artists in their giant gallery space.

The Newport Performing Arts Center ups the game by a notch as it provides mixed entertainment, such as music, art, dance, theatre, performances and many more.

The music and performances bring life to the area and promise a day of absolute bliss.

People along Nye Beach neighborhood

Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visit the Geological Wonder That Is the Devil’s Punch Bowl

Scenic view of Devil’s Punch Bowl

Panpilas L /

Devil’s Punch Bowl is not as ominous as it sounds.

Rather, the place has a unique rock formation that appeals to tourists and locals alike.

It covers an area of eight acres and was turned into a park in the year 1971.

Aerial view of Devil's Punch Bowl

Russ Heinl /

During the high tide, the interesting rock formation gets filled with seawater.

Meanwhile, during the low tide, the depressed bowls of the northern part of the park reveal tide pools abundant with marine creatures.

The place is frequented by surfers and surf watchers as well.

The empty Devil's Punch Bowl during lowtide

Romiana Lee /

Go Back to the Victorian Era at Burrows House Museum

Burrows House Museum was built in the year 1895 and is currently owned by Lincoln County Historical Society, a body that maintains and manages the museum.

The museum showcases the costumes and furniture of the Victorian period in all its glory.

Visitors are made to go on a self-guided tour as all the items are properly detailed.

The Log Cabin Research Facility that stands beside Burrows House Museum stores all sorts of archived newspapers, articles, maps, photos, and information related to the region and its history.

Have Some Fun in the Sun at Beverly Beach State Park

The waters of Beverly Beach State Park

Finetooth, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Beverly Beach State Park occupies an area of 135 acres and is located seven miles away from the center of Oregon.

Within the beach area, there is a designated spot for camping, where all the necessary equipment is provided to make visitors’ stays worthwhile.

Ancient stump sign at Beverly Beach State Park

RickObst, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The serene beach is one of the city’s most sought-after tourist locations.

When the weather is good, it is the best spot to indulge in kite flying competitions, spend quality time with the family, and collect fossils from the south side of the beach.

This beach is also frequented by surfers and surf watchers.

Take the Kids to the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center

The Lincoln Country Historical Society purchased a building in the year 2004, which they turned into a research center and museum.

The Pacific Maritime Heritage Center preserves the history and culture of the region while researching the lives of the sea creatures.

The museum has a plethora of exhibits conducted every week and showcases artifacts, sunken treasures they have collected through the years, aquatic memorabilia, and a working wharf.

Guided tours, educational tours, and interactive sessions are conducted for both tourists and locals.

Another enticing session for kids is the storytelling session, where folk tales related to the seas and oceans are narrated in an eloquent manner.

Sign Up for the Marine Discovery Tours and Explore Newport’s Waters

There is always a joy in roaming the saltwater with the splendid horizon as the backdrop.

To serve this unquenching desire, the Oregon Coast Aquarium started the Marine Discovery Tours.

The tours offer a plethora of activities for individuals and groups and are active from March to October.

The 65-foot-long ship is loaded with an experienced crewman and captain who not only drop the tourists from one destination to another but give a detailed account of the region’s history and ecosystem.

Plan a Kayak Tour with Ossies Surf Shop

Ossies Surf Shop is a must-visit for surfers and adventure seekers.

This shop, which has been standing for more than 15 years, mainly sells the best surfboards and other surf-related equipment.

Since there are many beaches that are frequented by surfers, the shop is always in demand.

Recently, the shop has started selling kayaks and arranging kayak tours.

The kayak tours are guided by proper professionals, and visitors have four tour options to choose from.

Each tour takes approximately one to four hours, and a minimum of two people can be accommodated in one particular kayak.

Have Some Delicious Seafood at Georgie’s Beachside Grill

Georgie’s Beachside Grill is the perfect place to enjoy the view of the serene Pacific Ocean and the tastiest dishes.

The place is tastefully decorated and offers numerous cozy setups facing the ocean.

The restaurant is filled with warm greetings and smiles, which makes the guests feel right at home.

They serve some exceptional seafood that is not available anywhere else in the world, and the portions served are more than adequate.

The menu does not have only just seafood; it is filled with different cuisines.

Hence, it is the best place to engage in some family time, as it caters to everyone’s needs and tastes.

Grab a Delicious Bite at Chowder Bowl

Apart from the beaches and parks, Newport is also known to serve the best chowder.

Chowder Bowl, which is conveniently located in Nye Beach, is the most popular place to enjoy this dish.

This restaurant has been active since the 1980s and has won several awards for its chowder, which is prepared with local ingredients.

Apart from their famous chowder, they serve all sorts of other cuisines, making it a favorite for visitors who are coming with their families.

Since the restaurant is located close to the beach, visitors are presented with the opportunity to check the condition of the beach with the help of the live webcam available on their website.

Chowder Bowl is open throughout the year.

See California Sea Lions at the Sea Lion Docks

People admiring the sea lions at Sea Lion Docks

Oleksiy Oleksyuk /

A lot of people in Newport often make it a point to take a walk around Yaquina Bay, especially when they happen to be vacationing.

It’s an ideal place to just sit back and enjoy the ocean while listening to the sea lions who occasionally visit this bay.

Most often, these animals just hang out on the docks relaxing as they wait for food to feed on.

During the summer months, they can be seen migrating back to California, where they breed before returning near the end of September.

Sea lions at Sea Lion Docks

Laura Sullivan /

Throughout most of the year, adult-like males and even subadult-like animals, can often be found in the waters throughout Alaska, California, and Washington.

Many frequent Newport specifically since there are plenty of good eating options for them here, too.

The wooden docks used by the sea lions during their stay in Newport have provided a haul out for these very interesting animals.

Members of the public are given the unique opportunity to get close to these animals and observe them.

The floating docks that these sea lions must use to rest and relax are owned by a well-known organization, the Newport Sea Lion Docks Foundation.

California sea lions at Sea Lion Docks


Explore Ripley’s Believe It or Not! World of Adventure

When visiting Newport, one trip you shouldn’t miss is visiting Ripley’s Believe It or Not! World of Adventure.

The 11-gallery museum houses some of the world’s most curious and interesting exhibits, including Ripley’s collection of the fascinating and unusual, as well as many unique displays that are sure to amaze and entertain you.

Here, you can come face-to-face with genuine shrunken heads, encounter objects from around the world, and much more.

Adults and children will be immersed in art collections, mysterious objects from across the globe, and unbelievable combos of movie memorabilia and pop-culture souvenirs.

From the giant gorilla made entirely out of tires to an oversized octopus, there is quite the impressive menagerie of roadside oddities to be seen.

If you’re into good old-fashioned educational fun, making your way through all nine levels of Ripley’s WonderWorks Infinity Maze is a must-try adventure as it further challenges your brain with optical illusions and mind games.

Greet Animals at the Newport Discovery Zoo

The Newport Discovery Zoo is a special care facility for small animals, such as a tortoise, an emu, kangaroos, goats, pudu, macaws, ducks, and other adorable creatures.

Here, you’ll find friendly volunteers ready to give you an unforgettable experience, as well as the owner who is passionate about these rescued animals and will help ensure that you enjoy your time at the zoo.

The prices here are very affordable, too.

Each customer at this animal-filled getaway gets a free cup of fruit, a photo with their favorite furry creatures, and the chance to have quality time with a sloth or fennec foxes.

Most zoos charge 10 dollars per person for just a minute with the animals, but at the Newport Discovery Zoo, you get 15 minutes in private rooms to capture the perfect pictures with them.

View Art Exhibits at Yaquina Art Association’s Gallery

Do you need a bit of artistic inspiration on your Newport vacation?

You might like a visit to Yaquina Art Association‘s gallery.

Established in 1947, this community-based arts organization has been a staple in the Lincoln County area.

Its gallery features a wide selection of artworks from the county’s local artists.

The diversity in art mediums is also fascinating!

Walk down displays of photos, handcrafted jewelry, and glass artworks.

You can get to Yaquina Art Association’s gallery on Northwest Beach Drive.

Relax by the Waterfront at Don & Ann Davis Park

Don & Ann Davis Park is your go-to family-friendly public spot in Newport.

Spanning 2 acres, this park offers beautiful waterfront sceneries and beach access.

Its cobblestone walkways circle around the park with open views of the Pacific Ocean to its side.

The park is also home to the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, where you can read the names of 24 fallen heroes.

The park has a gazebo that overlooks the ocean, where you can expect to see whales from your spot.

Further down the park and into the beach property, you might find a whale sculpture adorning the site.

Head over to Olive Street to reach the entrance to Don & Ann Davis Park.

Spot Some Birds at Yaquina Estuary Trail

If birdwatching is something you want to experience while in Newport, Yaquina Estuary Trail might be the best place for you.

This trail is home to many shorebirds.

At less than a mile, this route passes through a wooden boardwalk that offers you a glimpse of the place’s common mudflats.

To guide you on your walk, there are interpretive signs that inform you of the place’s native wildlife and plants.

The route is an easy hike, so you can bring your loved ones along for a shared discovery.

You can start your trek along Yaquina Estuary Trail from Hatfield Marine Science Center.

Go Camping at South Beach State Park

Sunny day at South Beach State Park

HDDA Photography /

South Beach State Park is famous for its 60 tent sites and ocean beach trails.

Complete with a playground and disc golf course with 9 holes, this spot easily offers a fun adventure for many.

This impressive state park stretches from south Newport to the Oregon coast.

This offers enough space for some wildlife exploration and temporary tent and RV stays.

Sand dunes at South Beach State Park

HDDA Photography /

Catch some crabs when you come by, or better yet, go surfing along the strong waves.

Hike among the trails around the park and greet a variety of flora and fauna along the way.

South Beach State Park sits next to the Yaquina Bay Bridge on the Southwest Coast Highway.

A pond at South Beach State Park

Finetooth, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Discover Japanese Culture at Mombetsu Sister City Park

Mombetsu Sister City Park may be smaller than most Newport city parks, but it’s just as remarkable as the rest.

At 0.6 acres, this park tells the story of how Newport and Mombetsu Japan became Sister Cities.

This historic event happened in 1996.

This friendship led to the creation of this park.

This public attraction now features a Torii, a traditional Japanese gate commonly placed at the entrance of Shinto Shrines.

This cultural gate even got its red paint from Mombetsu.

Don’t forget to admire Mombetsu Sister City Park’s Japanese garden while standing on the park’s footbridge.

You can find this park on Southwest Neff Way.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Escape to Cape Foulweather

Scenic view of Cape Foulweather

Joseph Sohm /

Cape Foulweather, previously known as Captain James Cook, has immense historical significance, as the said dignitary experienced particularly foul weather in this area.

Located nine miles north of Newport, the beach has a picturesque view of the ocean, with the tumultuous waves crashing against the golden beach.

The waters of Cape Foulweather

KennStilger47 /

The street near the beach is lined with small gift shops where tourists usually seek shelter during bad weather.

The place also provides a panoramic view of the ocean front, as it is situated on top of the cliff.

The beach and the gift stores are open all year round.

A house on a cliff at Cape Foulweather

steve estvanik /

Surround Yourself with Nature at the Siuslaw National Forest

A walkway beside the waters of Siuslaw National Forest

Robert Mutch /

The Siuslaw National Forest is guarded by the Pacific Ocean in the west and covers an area of 630,000 acres of land.

It encompasses numerous rivers, lush green trees, dunes, and mountains.

A gorgeous waterfall at Siuslaw National Forest

Carolyn Croyle /

The forest also comprises the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, which is known for its oblique dunes that are not available elsewhere in the world.

Cape Perpetua Scenic Area is a prominent whale sighting area, especially during the migrating season.

The area receives a moderate amount of rainfall and has mellow winters, and it is populated with a variety of flora and fauna.

Nature trail at Siuslaw National Forest

Heartwood Films /

Visit the Giant Rock at Seal Rock State Recreation Site

Scenic view of Seal Rock State Recreation Site

C. Echeveste /

Seal Rock State Recreation Site gives an indication of the nature of the place.

This recreational site is frequented by both humans and sea creatures.

The visitors can easily spot a sea lion sunbathing on the beach alongside seals and other native seabirds, which attracts a lot of wildlife watchers.

A starfish on the water of Seal Rock State Recreation Site

Jrozwado, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located 10 miles away from the main center of the city of Newport, the beach is filled with a unique rock formation that acts as a landmark because of its sheer size.

Seal Rock State Beach is a well-known picnic area for families.

The tidal pools present in the area get filled with marine creatures during the high tide and are visible during the low tide.

Final Thoughts

Newport is a unique blend of coastal fun and natural beauty.

Here, you’ll find stunning natural attractions, fascinating historical sites, and restaurants serving fresh, mouth-watering seafood—just some of the things that give this city its incomparable charm.

One will find that there’s always something amazing on the horizon in the city of Newport.

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