Established in 1882, Newport is the ultimate coastal destination. Located on the beautiful Oregon Pacific Coast, Newport is home to many marine science museums, like Hatfield Marine Science Center, and maritime history, like Pacific Maritime Heritage Center, with lots of things to learn and explore.
With its numerous recreation sites and state parks, stunning beaches, and entertainment, Newport is the finest vacation spot. If you are into camping, fishing, beachcombing, or more of a city dweller, this town has something for everyone. Leave your worries behind in one of the natural areas, go on a shopping spree in the Historic Bayfront, and try some of the world-class fresh seafood at the Local Ocean Seafood.
Interactive Map of 25 Things to Do in Newport (OR)
1. Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area
If you’re a fan of nature and its beauty, you will enjoy the Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area. It’s a true geological wonder, located about 8 miles north of Newport. This natural park is approximately 5.34 acres and is home to a unique phenomenon – The Devil’s Punchbowl. It’s a naturally carved rock formation that resulted from the collapse of two caves. You can get the best view of the waves crashing into the rocks during the King Tide season (in the early winter), but it’s safer to visit and explore tidepools during low tide.
This place is a famous Gray Whale watching spot. You are likely to see them during migration season – from late December to early January, or from mid-March to early April. Occasionally you can spot a few seals and sea lions. Enjoy a picnic lunch or have a pleasant stroll at the seaside. If you crave something special, visit the local restaurant – Mo’s Seafood and Chowder, or stop for dessert at an ice cream shop nearby.
2. Oregon Coast Aquarium
Oregon Coast Aquarium is a world-class museum and is one of the top-10 aquariums in North America. Opened in 1992 and located along the Yaquina Bay, this 23-acre public aquarium is home to around 3,500 creatures. It can quickly become the highlight of your visit to Newport.
On this relaxing and enjoyable outing with family or friends, get ready to see permanent and changing exhibits of many sea creatures – sharks, seals, otters, jellyfish, sea horses, sea stars, and more. You’ll find some coastal birds displayed, too. The aquarium offers lots of learning opportunities and interactive experiences. One of them is the Touch Pool, where you can interact with some tide pool animals.
3. Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area
Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area is a 100-acre land that extends about a mile out into the Pacific Ocean. If you are a nature lover, this place will be a perfect addition to your itinerary. Take a short hike, explore the tidepools, or check out a rocky beach. You can also spot gray whales and seals, as well as watch the migrating seabirds. Some sea stars, urchins, and a few other sea creatures are visible at a low tide.
If you are into history, a “must-see” experience is the Yaquina Head Lighthouse and the Interpretive Center. The lighthouse, 93-feet in height, is the tallest one in the state of Oregon. Made in Paris and functioning since 1873, it still uses its original lens. Since the Interpretive Center opened in 1997, this museum offers 140 years of lighthouse history and many more of natural history.
4. Rogue Ales & Spirits
Since its opening in 1988, Rogue Ales & Spirits has been a favorite place of many locals and a delicious find for Newport’s visitors. Initially rooted in Newport, the company opened a few more places, and today the chain has 11 locations in Oregon, California, and Washington. They have more than 2000 awards and international recognition.
Rogue Ales & Spirits are unique as it is the only company in the United States that does it all – farms their ingredients at Rogue Farms in Oregon, brews and distills its produce, and coopers its barrels. Take a stroll through an actual brewery, and you’ll find a fantastic collection of tasty beers and spirits paired with great food. You can also get a tour with some tasting and buy a few souvenirs and alcohol to take home.
5. South Beach State Park
Located next to the Yaquina Bay Bridge, The South Beach State Park is a dreamlike destination for campers of any level. It has around 225 campsites with electricity and water outlets, 60 tent sites, and 27 yurts (some are even pet-friendly!).
The South Beach State Park, big but well planned, offers plenty of activities for everyone. The visitors can enjoy fishing and crabbing, boating, bike riding (with rentals available at the Hospitality Center), or jogging. In the summer months, indulge in the guided hiking in the woods, kayak tours, windsurfing, or horseback riding on the beach.
6. Siuslaw National Forest
Newport and its surroundings offer a lot for outdoor enthusiasts. One such site is the incredible Siuslaw National Forest that starts a bit south of the city. Captain James Cook first discovered the area, and the forest was established in 1908. It extends to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, and together the territory is about 630,000 acres. This spacious area is home to unique inland and coastal flora and fauna.
If you’re looking to bring joy to your body, mind, and soul, head out to explore this natural wonder. The forest lies within the Oregon Coast Mountain Range, so the visitors can enjoy the fantastic views of the mountains and beaches and even spot some wildlife. No visitor can get bored as there is camping, hiking under the big trees, fishing, hunting, and many more activities for everyone. Take beautiful pictures of your adventure at the suspension bridge or during your hike to Mary’s Peak.
7. Beverly Beach State Park
Located 5 miles north of Newport, Beverly Beach State Park is a perfect getaway spot and is one of the most popular parks on the Oregon coast. Opened as a state park in the 1940s, it’s a magnificent daytime destination and a fabulous campground. The campground is the 4th most popular in the state and offers full hookup areas, tents, and yurts with equipped bathrooms and electricity.
The camp area is flat and ideal for hiking (a 1.7-mile loop trail available), jogging, and biking. The Spencer Creek Bridge offers access to the dazzling Beverly Beach that stretches for miles in either direction. Take a walk in the sand, breath in the salty air from the ocean, and look out for wildlife – it’s easy to spot nesting birds and even whales.
8. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! World of Adventure
The Ripley’s Believe It or Not is a product of Robert Ripley, a traveler, adventurer, and explorer who lived from 1890 to 1949. He traveled around the globe and collected stories about strange and unusual things. The idea was first a newspaper feature, which later turned into radio and TV shows, comic books, and museums.
Jacob Walters funded the construction of the Newport location in 1986. Having gone through a substantial renovation, the museum has 11 galleries full of interesting artifacts, art pieces, and animal-related curiosities. The site presents a few interactive experiences with items to read and listen to. Those who love mysterious and questionable stories will enjoy this place. The museum is perfect for a family trip, especially for younger kids, as it’s full of silly and funny things to explore.
9. Yaquina Bay State Recreation Area
Established in 1948, the Yaquina Bay State Recreation Site is much more than just another natural space. This coastal park is located on the north side of the bay and has a short and easy hiking trail, picnic areas, a fishermen’s memorial site, and access to the beach. But most importantly, it’s home to the historic Yaquina Bay Lighthouse.
The lighthouse, built in 1871, is the city’s oldest building. It’s also the only lighthouse in Oregon with an actual living space attached to it, all made from wood. In 1874 the local government had to close it as the Yaquina Head Lighthouse served better. However, in 1996 it was lit again by a private owner. Go on a tour in the haunted lighthouse to feel what life was like for lightkeepers.
Another major attraction is the iconic Yaquina Bay Bridge. Engineer Conde McCullough built this Art Deco-inspired bridge in 1936. If you appreciate great architecture, this bridge and its view of the bay will leave you satisfied.
10. Newport Historic Bayfront
The Historic Bayfront is truly the heart of Newport. It is the economic center of the city and a vibrant touristic spot. It’s also an active fishing port where you can take a peek at the fishing industry life. Walk to the docks and buy a fresh catch from the fishermen, see Oregon’s largest commercial fishing fleet, and check out big seafood processing plants in action.
The Bayfront District is home to many groovy shops, galleries, and restaurants to satisfy any taste and budget. You can also take a stroll at the boardwalk and enjoy the noisy sea lions, a local attraction.
11. Agate Beach State Recreation Site
If you are looking for a vast sandy beach to spend time with friends and family, look no further. Agate Beach State Recreation Site is home to Agate Beach, a 4-mile stretch located between Newport and Yaquina Head.
True to its name, this beach is an excellent location for agate hunting and surfing, flying kites, and even razor clamming. You can also find a few shells or jellyfish. With its soft sand, Agate Beach is an excellent place to relax and be idle. There’s lots of room for everyone, and it’s never too crowded. It’s also very dog friendly and famous among pet owners.
12. Hatfield Marine Science Center
Hatfield Marine Science Center has so much to offer for young and old alike. Located next to the Yaquina Bay and operated by Oregon State University, this exceptional education center occupies about 49 acres of land. Since its opening in 1965, the center has been an incredible place for learning and fun that is open to visitors year-round.
Through interactive experiences and learning stations, you can learn about various marine species, the coastal environment, and how the scientists conduct their research. Touch the sea creatures in the simulated tide pools, or enjoy a captivating experience of a smart and social octopus. Some of the other cool things to do at the center include displays on waves where you can make a tsunami, videos, or a 3D model of our planet.
On your way out, don’t forget to stop by the gift shop to collect some memorabilia and take a picture with a small yellow submarine, “The Newmass,” displayed outside the center.
13. Seal Rock State Recreation Site
Seal Rock State Recreation Site isn’t just one of the numerous Oregon Coast parks. Positioned about 10 miles south of Newport, this site is famous for its funky rock formations and bustling wildlife. As the area’s name implies, you can spot seals and sea lions who are just basking in the sun on the rocks.
For more wildlife views, make sure to check the tide schedule because, during low tide, you can find anemones, sea urchins, hermit crabs, and starfish in unique tide pools. If you’re lucky, during the nesting season, you’ll be able to watch shorebirds go on about their life.
You can walk barefoot on a few sandy areas, have a picnic, take a few pictures, and enjoy the sound of the waves hitting the iconic rocks. You can also wander around the village of Seal Rock and check out the local galleries, shops, and restaurants.
14. Aquarium Village
Located next to the Oregon Coast Aquarium, Aquarium Village is a splendid location to take a few memorable pictures and have some family fun. The Village, a boulevard, offers its visitors a pleasing shopping experience, many dining options, and entertainment.
There are many kids’ activities – a “Yo Ho Ho” indoor bouncing house, an interactive indoor zoo, and an area to play and run around. Adults will enjoy many amusing stores, gift shops, and galleries. Bring your party and take pictures with local carved statues of marine animals and pirates, designed and created by local artist Jac Genovese.
15. Don Davis Park
Don Davis Park is a 2-acre site located in Newport’s famous Nye Beach district. It is a superb spot for whale watching, as the pavilion on the site offers 180-degree panoramic views of the ocean. You can see migrating whales in spring and winter or spot a few resident whales that tend to stay from March to October. California sea lions and harbor seals are frequent visitors, too.
Take a path down to Nye Beach and find a whale sculpture and a partial whale skeleton on the way. There’s also a Vietnam Veterans Memorial to check out. After enjoying the magical Nye Beach, continue exploring Newport by taking a stroll in the Nye Beach district. This popular vacation spot, known as the “town within the town,” will surprise you with a wide choice of restaurants and a few interesting shops.
16. Pirate’s Plunder
Take a break to shop around and check out the Pirate’s Plunder. It’s an 8000-square feet mall for pirate-themed antiques and collectibles, located within Aquarium Village. You can find over 100 vendors that sell antique items and lots of new crafts, jewelry, books, clothing, and more.
The Pirate’s Plunder is open to visitors daily and offers fabulous finds for great prices. It is a gift shop on another level. The mall resembles a pirate-themed museum as each merchant has a different theme, and there are interactive photo points everywhere. As a nice bonus, they offer a small treasure for every child when you’re leaving the store.
17. Cobble Beach
Cobble Beach is a truly unique beach and a must-see site located close to the Yaquina Head Lighthouse. Although smaller than many beaches in the area, it is an incredible experience. The beach is covered with thousands of large black volcanic cobblestones. They make a wonderful rattling sound when the tide comes in and out. Many say that the sound works like magic, and so the locals call it Magic Rocks Beach.
Visitors can access the beach with a long staircase which is quite steep and is about 200 steps. And although the cobblestones are a bit hard to walk on, it’s definitely worth the effort. Other than the impressive sounds of the tide, you’ll also enjoy plenty of tidepools with sea creatures in them to explore. During summer, you’re likely to encounter seabirds called Common Murres and seals that regularly come to hang out and rest on the rocks nearby.
18. The Wax Works
If you’ve always wanted to visit one of the Madame Tussauds museums, this is an excellent Newport option. The Wax Works is an entertaining experience for people of all ages. The place provides a walking tour of various full-sized lifelike wax figures of characters and celebrities loved by many. Here you’ll be able to meet face-to-face and take pictures with the Terminator, Johnny Depp, Marilyn Monroe, Freddie Krueger, and many more. There are exhibits with stars from the Lord of Rings, Star Trek, and Star Wars.
The Wax Works is a living museum with some animated figures and lots of photo opportunities. The museum connects with Ripley’s Believe It or Not! World of Adventure by an arcade and a whimsical gift store. When in Newport, stop by to see a working pirate ship, monsters, dragons, and even the Bigfoot.
19. Coast Park
When you need a break from the city, the beach, and sightseeing, head out to Coast Park located alongside Newport Visual Arts center in the Nye Beach district. This park is the newest addition to Newport and has lots of great play equipment and a wetland garden. It offers some incredible views of the beach and the ocean if you climb up the hill.
Adults can take out a coffee or a nice meal from the nearby cafes and enjoy themselves at one of the picnic tables while the kids can have fun at the site. There are two playgrounds for children of different ages and a detailed pirate shipwreck with a tube slide down the hill. You’ll have no problem finding this traditional playground as it is within a short reach of the beach, hotels, shops, and restaurants of the historic city district.
20. Newport Free Public Crabbing Pier
Thanks to its location, Newport is naturally a beloved spot for fishing and crabbing. One of the best places to go fishing and crabbing is the Newport Public Crabbing Pier. Located between the Rogue Brewery and the historic Yaquina Bay Bridge, it is an easy and inexpensive way to go crabbing. If you don’t want to rent a boat and go far, stay and enjoy yourself on this public pier. The best time for this activity is from late September through November.
After you place your pots so that they won’t interfere with the local boat traffic, you will likely catch some Dungeness or Red Rock crabs. To do so, you’ll need a low-cost shellfish license, equipment, and bait. In case you don’t have it, visit one of the local stores where you can rent and buy everything you’ll need. You will also find many other crabbers out on the pier who can share some useful tips and tricks.
21. Lost Creek State Recreation Site
Would you like to visit one of Oregon’s notable state parks but don’t want to bump into crowds? Then Lost Creek State Recreation Site should be your next destination. Located seven miles south of Newport, this park has a deep forest on one side and the ocean on the other, which promises picturesque views. There are usually stunning sunsets in the area, so bring your camera.
It’s a decent place for whale spotting and watching brown pelicans and seagulls fly offshore during the season. For those who are into beachcombing, there’s lots of driftwood, agates, and fossils. For the usual beach recreational activities, visitors to the park can go swimming, windsurfing or surfing, and picnicking. The place is dog-friendly, and nearby there’s the Whalers Rest RV park for the road trippers.
22. Oregon Coast Glassworks
For a perfect hand-made travel souvenir from Newport, visit the Oregon Coast Glassworks, a glass blowing studio located in the heart of town. This first Native American owned glass blowing shop in Oregon offers magnificent art pieces and exciting hands-on experiences. Take a chance to become a part of a time-honored art tradition on the Oregon Coast.
The store has gorgeous sea life sculptures, bowls and plates, jewelry, and other handcrafted things. Every piece is unique. You can buy a ready-to-go souvenir from the gift gallery, or you can take a glass blowing class to make your own. During a perfectly safe experience with eye protection and leather gloves, a patient and talented instructor will guide you through the process. In this way, you can design a perfect one-of-a-kind gift for yourself, friends, or family.
23. Pacific Maritime Heritage Center
Opened in 2013 and located on a charming hill on the Historic Bayfront in Newport, the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center is a must-visit attraction. The building used to be a privately-owned restaurant and a nightclub. It is now an important museum about maritime history. It’s also a community center and a place for many local events. The bay’s view from the building’s massive windows and an outdoor deck is worth the visit.
In the museum, visitors will discover exhibits and displays about Newport’s history and 150 years of fishing, shipping, surfing, and tourism heritage. Like the collection of shipwrecks from the area, most artifacts were donated by residents and local organizations. There’s also a theater where you can learn about highway 101 and how Oregon’s favored vacation spot used to look like a century and a half before.
24. Burrows House
The Burrows House, a museum dedicated mostly to preserving the Oregon Coast history, is one of the less touristic hidden gems of Newport. This beautiful house, styled after the Queen-Anne Victorian homes, is one of the city’s well-known museums. The house, built in 1895 for Susan and John Burrows, used to be a boarding house and a funeral parlor. In 1976 the Bank of Newport bought the property and donated it to the Lincoln County Historical Society, which later converted it into a museum.
Today visitors can look forward to gaining valuable insight about maritime history, pioneer settlements, and tourism of the 20th century. In addition to the exhibits, there is a research library and a historic law office. There are also guided tours provided by the knowledgeable museum staff.
25. Local Ocean Seafoods
Come to the Local Ocean Seafoods, and you won’t be disappointed. This restaurant, adored by locals and very popular among tourists, is the region’s best seafood restaurant. The reason for it is simple – the seafood is insanely fresh as it comes straight from the Newport docks. The restaurant works with about 50 local fishermen and runs a fish market. There you can read about each kind of fish and find out which ship caught it and with which fishing technique they used.
The place tends to be quite busy, so come a bit earlier for your dinner to avoid the long lines. However, this restaurant is worth the wait. Its big windows offer amazing views of the bay, the fishing boats, and even the Pacific Ocean’s panoramic view. They also sell weekly to-go DockBoxes, which have all the ingredients and instructions that you’ll need to make their signature dishes at home!