Newport is a scenic seaside city located on the central Oregon coast. The Pacific Northwest is unfortunately known for its gloomy weather, so if you’re looking for things to do in Newport, Oregon on a rainy day, head inside to places like the Oregon Coast Aquarium and Burrows House. As for romantic things to do in Newport, Oregon, you can’t go wrong with a picnic along the coastline at Beverly Beach or South Beach.
For the best shopping in Newport, Oregon, as well as the best places to eat in Newport, Oregon, head to Nye Beach. It may be one of the city’s smallest districts, but there are plenty of fun things to do in Nye Beach, Oregon, like shopping, dining, visiting art galleries, and swimming. For more suggestions of things to do in Newport, Oregon, keep reading.
1. Oregon Coast Aquarium
As Oregon’s largest aquarium, Oregon Coast Aquarium is one of the state’s top attractions. The aquarium is primarily home to native seabirds, marine mammals, fish, and plants. With over 3500 sea creatures, exhibits at the aquarium include Passages of the Deep, where you can see five different shark species from a tunnel under the water. There’s also North America’s largest seabird aviary, giant pacific octopus encounters, a moon jelly exhibit, and behind the scenes tours for curious minds.
2. Yaquina Head Lighthouse
At 93 feet tall, Yaquina Head Lighthouse is the state’s tallest lighthouse. Sitting near the mouth of the Yaquina River, the lighthouse was actually built in Paris, before being shipped to Oregon and first lit in 1873. Automated in 1966, Yaquina Head Lighthouse is still active today. The lighthouse’s Interpretive Center has displays on being a lighthouse keeper, as well as the area’s history and marine life. The lighthouse is also a part of the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area.
3. Nye Beach
Nye Beach is both a beach and a historic district. Compact but filled with character, you will find waterfront views, a vibrant arts scene, and locally-owned boutiques and restaurants in Nye Beach. Go gift shopping at Jovi; buy a book from a Pacific Northwest author at Nye Beach Book House; enjoy dinner at April’s at Nye Beach; and see work by local artists displayed at the Newport Visual Arts Center and the Yaquina Art Gallery and Gift Shop.
4. Yaquina Bay Bridge
Spanning Yaquina Bay is an arch bridge appropriately named the Yaquina Bay Bridge. Designed by Conde McCullough with hints of art deco and gothic architectural elements, it’s one of the most recognizable bridges along the U.S. Route 101 Highway. McCullough designed 10 other bridges on the Oregon Coast Highway as well. Open to both foot and vehicle traffic, take a walk along Yaquina Bay Bridge and stop at the observation areas for scenic coastal views.
5. Newport Historic Bayfront
Directly to the west of Yaquina Bay Bridge is the Newport Historic Bayfront District. It’s one of the top things to do in Newport, Oregon, as it’s home to a waterfront boardwalk, eclectic shops like Newport Bay Candle Company and Breach the Moon Gallery, restaurants, and a marina. Although many fishermen sell their catch straight from their boats, the best place to enjoy a seafood chowder is at Mo’s Seafood and Chowder, an iconic local landmark.
6. Oregon Coast Visitors Association
One of the best things to do in Newport, Oregon when you first arrive is to visit the Oregon Coast Visitors Association’s Visitor Information Center. The organization is the main marketing and tourism board for the entire Oregon coast, which includes 363 miles of coastline. Therefore, the staff at the information center are equipped with well-researched visitor guides and will have plenty of recommendations for the area’s best restaurants, shops, state parks – you name it.
7. Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! has locations across the world, including in this seaside city. Their tagline is “where curiosity lives”, so you can expect some interesting and hands-on exhibits. Inside the Odditorium, there are hundreds of unusual and weird artifacts, while Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks features over 200 wax figures of famous people. It’s also home to Ripley’s Impossible LaseRace and Ripley’s Smash Dash. This is one of the city’s most family-friendly and interesting attractions.
8. Newport Farmer’s Market
The Newport Farmer’s Market has been operating every Saturday year-round since 1978. It alternates between outdoor and indoor venues, depending on the season. However, no matter the locale, there is always plenty of seasonal produce available from local farmers, as well as other delights like hot food, fresh pastries, and coffee. The summer farmer’s market also has fresh flower and plant stalls, and live music. Visit their website for more information and specific location details.
9. South Beach State Park
South Beach State Park is a large coastal recreational area located next to the Yaquina Bay Bridge. There are hiking, biking, and horse riding trails, as well as a playground, a nine-hole disc golf course, and a beach that’s perfect for fishing, surfing, and swimming. The South Beach State Park campground also has 227 powered sites with water, 60 tent sites, and 27 yurts. You can reserve campsites and guided tours in summer via its website.
10. Devils Punchbowl State Natural Area
Devils Punchbowl State Natural Area is one of the most scenic spots along the coastline. The Devils Punchbowl itself is a large bowl-like cavern that’s believed to have been created when two sea-carved caves collapsed many years ago. Naturally carved by waves, the punchbowl is partially open, so water does enter at times. The Devils Punchbowl State Natural Area is also a great place to surf, have a picnic, explore tidepools, and see migrating whales.
11. Pacific Maritime Heritage Center
The Pacific Maritime and Heritage Center is located in the Historic Bayfront District. The three-story building covers Lincoln County’s maritime history, including fishing, surfing, shipping, and tourism. With many displayed artifacts donated by community members, there are exhibitions on local shipwrecks; a photograph series from the 1940s to 1980s; and Oregon’s role as a world leader in sustainable seafood. So when looking for indoor things to do in Newport, Oregon, head to the Pacific Maritime and Heritage Center.
12. Beverly Beach State Park
Beverly Beach is one of the most popular state parks in the area, but for good reason. Home to a pristine white sand beach, Beverly Beach State Park extends from the Yaquina Head Lighthouse to the Otter Rock headlands. A great surf spot, it also has a sheltered day-use picnic area, a children’s playground, a Visitor Information Center, and a large campground with full hook-up sites for RVs, electric sites with water, tent spots, and yurts.
13. Burrows House
Burrows House is a Queen Anne-style Victorian home built in 1895 for Susan and John Burrows. It was previously located between the Historic Bayfront and Nye Beach, before being relocated in 1978 and becoming a local history museum and research library. Inside, there’s an early 1900s photographic display by skilled local photographer, A.L. Thomas; an exhibit on Frannie Branson and her renowned miniature horse carvings; and an exhibit dedicated to the iconic Yaquina Bay Bridge.
14. Cape Foulweather
Cape Foulweather received its name from Captain James Cook in 1778, due to the weather he encountered. But with its panoramic Pacific Ocean views, it’s another scenic spot you must visit along the Oregon coast; particularly during whale watching season. Rising 500 feet above the Pacific Ocean, the basalt outcrop is best viewed from Otter Creek State Scenic Viewpoint, where there‘s a gift shop. However, Cape Foulweather itself is also a great place to photograph Devils Punchbowl.