16 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Newport, OR
Author Brad Lane lives in Oregon and has traveled extensively across the state.
Newport is a fishing village turned attractive beach town roughly in the middle of Oregon's Pacific Coast. One of the state's top places to visit, it has many attractions, both in the Victorian town itself and in the surrounding areas. But, the ocean is certainly the main feature, with several of Newport's best beaches posing with postcard appeal.
Endless ocean enjoyment spans the Newport Coastline. Among the ample stretches of sand, aptly named headlands like the Devils Punchbowl and Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area also beckon for easy day trips. And, the city hosts some of the most iconic attractions on the Oregon Coast, making Newport a great base camp for coastal getaways.
But aside from planning an extensive vacation, intend to spend time in Newport relaxing by the ocean. From shopping to dining and whale fins in the water, this small coastal town delivers quintessential memories. With the jagged coastline and the nearby Siuslaw National Forest, expect to encounter a few adventures during your stay.
For more ideas on the best places to visit, see our list of the top attractions in Newport, Oregon.
1. Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area
Oregon's tallest lighthouse is the focal point of the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, towering 93 feet above a basalt headland that was once lava. A lighthouse has stood here since 1873, and today, guided tours take visitors into the structure and up its many steps. And, this lighthouse is just one focal point of this landscape.
Wildlife viewing at Yaquina Head includes migrating whales and harbor seals, and the tide pools are a favorite thing to do on the Oregon coast for families who come to search out bright sea anemones and sea stars. There's also an Interpretive Center introducing the landscape and the lighthouse's history through its exhibits.
Yaquina Head is a short drive north of downtown, on the coast, less than a 10-mile drive from both Newport and neighboring Depoe Bay. And, it stands as one of those landscapes to plan a day around. Early morning is best in summer to beat the crowds, though any time of day is appealing. Sunsets set an excellent backdrop at the end of the day.
Address: 750 NW Lighthouse Drive, Newport, Oregon
Read More: Plan the Best Oregon Coast Road Trip
2. Oregon Coast Aquarium
Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport introduces visitors to life underwater. Highlights include glass walkways that enable an upward look at sharks and rays swimming overhead. Seals, sea otters, and giant Pacific octopus also make their homes among the aquarium tanks.
Other notable attractions at the aquarium include the Secret of Shipwrecks exhibit and Sea Lion Kiss Encounters. The Aquarium also recently opened new outdoor facilities, including an expansive Nature Play Area and Outdoor Amphitheater. The Nature Play Area is already a popular place to visit for families, with several interactive play elements.
Try to catch daily feeding times when visiting. Interactive experiences like behind-the-scenes tours and animal encounters are also available. The Oregon Coast Aquarium also provides a Sleep in the Deep program for a fun overnight outing, which allows families and groups to spend the night in the underwater tunnels.
The aquarium also offers a unique opportunity to dive into the tanks with a professional guide.
Address: 2820 SE Ferry Slip Road, Newport, Oregon
3. Yaquina Bay State Recreation Site
Yaquina Bay State Recreation Site is located on the north side of its namesake bay. This scenic lighthouse destination is on the north side of the Yaquina Bay Bridge. The 32-acre park is home to the restored 1871 Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, one of the first navigational aids on the Pacific Northwest coast and later used as a Coast Guard Lifeboat Station.
The interior of the wooden building features period furnishings, and free, self-guided tours are available to the public every day of the year, with more limited hours during the winter.
Thanks to its seaside location, Yaquina Bay State Recreation Site is popular for whale watching. The winter, between December and January, as well as the spring, starting in March, are the best times to spot migrating grey whales. Binoculars or telephoto lenses help to see the massive mammals from the viewpoint at Yaquina Bay State Recreation Area.
Address: Yaquina Bay State Recreation Site, Newport, Oregon
4. Devil's Punch Bowl State Natural Area
One of the most popular tourist sites along the Oregon coast is the Devils Punch Bowl, located a short drive north of Newport, just past Beverly Beach State Park. When the surf pounds the Oregon coast, it surges into this interesting rock formation at high tide and makes a roaring sound. Visitors can look down into the cut in the rock to see the white water swirling below.
The area is also a good spot for picnics while watching for whales (look for spouting water offshore). The Devil's Punch Bowl has its most dramatic effect at high tide. During low tide, the north side of the punch bowl reveals a colorful collection of tidepools to explore.
Address: Devils Punchbowl State Natural Area, Otter Rock, Oregon
5. Hatfield Marine Science Center
Hatfield Marine Science Center is a research facility operated by Oregon State University. It's near the Oregon Coast Aquarium, on the south side of the Yaquina Bay Bridge, and connected by the half-mile Yaquina Estuary Trail.
The science center provides additional aquariums and tide pools filled with bright marine creatures. Activities at the Hatfield Marine Science Center include watching octopus feedings, viewing marine research exhibits, and taking part in a variety of educational programs.
Address: 2030 SE Marine Science Drive, Newport, Oregon
6. Nye Beach
Nye Beach faces the wild Pacific Ocean, edging a historic area of Newport that has long been a popular vacation destination. The beach itself is stunning and perhaps perfect, with miles of sandy real estate in either direction. This sprawling shoreline, with westward sunsets nothing short of fine art, ranks high as one of the best beaches on the Oregon coast.
Newport's cultural hubs also add to the air of visiting Nye Beach. Local shops and restaurants line the historic community near the shore, alongside other tourist attractions like the Newport Visual Arts Center. This whole area offers a laid-back and hidden-gem kind of vibe, offering a fun beachside experience.
Read More: Best Beaches near Newport, OR
7. Newport's Historic Bayfront
The historic Newport Bayfront sweeps around Yaquina Bay, protected from Pacific rollers by the narrow harbor mouth. Yaquina Bay Bridge is certainly the largest area landmark and an important link for the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway.
A commercial fishing fleet finds shelter on the waterfront, just as visitors find seafood restaurants, small shops, and art galleries along Newport's Bay Boulevard. The popular Marine Discovery Tours depart from the Bayfront, enabling cruise riders to spot various wildlife, including gray whales, seals, and the many resident sea lions.
8. Cape Foulweather
Cape Foulweather is a scenic day trip destination approximately 10 miles north of Newport. Don't let the misnomer of this beautiful view dissuade a visit, as Captain James Cook named this promontory in 1778 after battling rough ocean waves. Cape Foulweather is nothing short of a real-life postcard when the weather is nice.
Cape Foulweather is a good scenic detour in the day. It's an easy pull-off from the 101, and while the view comprises most of the attraction, it's one of those views that's worth however much time you decide to spend. A historic gift shop and observatory sit at the edge of the seawall, now operated by Oregon state parks.
Cape Foulweather is one stop along the Otter Crest Loop — a somewhat secret gem of a scenic drive next to the 101. Other sightseeing destinations on the Otter Crest Loop include Roadea Point and the Ben Jones Bridge.
9. South Beach State Park
South Beach State Park spans a mile south along the coastline from the Yaquina Bay South Jetty. This historic state park offers coastal access, beachcombing, and camping. It also features a paved jetty trail that is popular with cyclists. South Beach is certainly a popular destination when the weather is nice, but its sprawling nature easily handles the crowds.
South Beach has one of the best campgrounds on the Oregon coast, and it's almost as sprawling as the rest of the beach. A majority of the 300 campsites at South Beach have electric and water hookups, while approximately 60 are designated for tent camping. The state beach also has pet-friendly yurts.
10. Whale Watching
A number of whale watching expeditions operate from Newport, with views of migrating grey whales as they make the journey along the Pacific Coast (mid-December through January and again from late March to June). Some resident grey whales stay along the coast during the summer.
Popular charters in Newport include Yaquina Bay Charters and Newport Tradewinds. Coastal parks line the region, offering glimpses of whales from the land. The Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area is one of the best places in Newport to see whales without stepping on a boat.
11. Historic Burrows House and Pacific Maritime Heritage Center
The Lincoln County Historical Society owns and operates two historic buildings: the 1895 Victorian Burrows House Museum and the expansive Pacific Maritime Heritage Center. The Victorian mansion features period clothing and furniture. Admission to the house museum is by donation, and visitors are encouraged to take a self-guided tour.
The Lincoln County Historical Society also maintains the Log Cabin Research Facility next to the Burrows House, which contains an extensive archive of photos, newspapers, maps, and first-hand information related to the history of the region.
At the interactive Pacific Maritime Heritage Center, the exhibits illuminate maritime life, with lovely views of Newport's historic Bayfront. The Heritage Center itself has a unique history and was originally built as a private estate. The facility now features a diverse collection of aquatic memorabilia and artifacts, including an impressive collection of sunken treasure.
Burrows House Address
- Address: 45 SW 9th Street, Newport, Oregon
Heritage Center Address
- Address: 333 SE Bay Blvd, Newport, Oregon
12. Agate Beach State Recreation Site
Agate Beach State Recreation Area is another popular place to soak in the sun in Newport. It's also a hotspot for activities like clamming and surfing throughout much of the year. This beachfront recreation is on the northern Newport coast, just south of Yaquina Head. This proximity to Yaquina Head leads to distant lighthouse views.
Part of what makes Agate Beach so popular is its size. The beach is wide and accommodating and easily hosts the crowds that tend to gather. The most common access point is the Agate Beach State Wayside. This large parking area is right between the 101 and the old 101 (Oceanview Drive) and has a paved tunnel trail to the beach.
13. Beverly Beach State Park
One of the best state parks in Oregon, Beverly Beach State Park is seven miles north of the Newport Bayfront.
Ocean goers head to Beverly to spread out on almost five miles of beach, and surfers find good waves at the north end of the park. The lighthouse at Yaquina Bay is visible from Beverly Beach, as are migrating whales during season.
Beverly Beach also hosts a large and popular campground with more than 200 campsites available, including 21 different yurts. Many of the campsites at Beverly Creek are in forested surroundings near Spencer Creek, while some sites are within earshot of the ocean. The state park also features a hiker/biker camp for those traveling the coast by foot or bicycle.
Address: 198 NE 123rd Street, Newport, Oregon
Read More: Best Beaches near Newport, OR
14. Seal Rock State Recreation Site
About 10 miles south of Newport, Seal Rock State Recreation Site features attractions both large and small. On the big side are a number of distinctive rocks are picturesque coastal landmarks amid sweeping beaches. On the small side, the many different tide pools lining the shore host various marine life for the whole family to discover.
Seals, sea lions, and sea birds are among the wildlife-watching draws. Other fun things to do at Seal Rock include long picnics and seaside strolls, as well as simply enjoying the ocean views.
Address: 10032 NW Pacific Coast Hwy, Seal Rock, Oregon
15. Cape Perpetua Scenic Area, Siuslaw National Forest
The sprawling Siuslaw National Forest covers 630,000 acres of rivers, mountains, and coast directly south of Newport. This spectacularly diverse landscape is unusual among national forests in that it extends to the coast. This enables stunning hiking trails and mountain views within eyesight of the ocean.
Cape Perpetua Scenic Area is a quintessential coastal destination of Siuslaw's coastline, accessible from Newport with less than a 30-mile drive. It's a popular whale-watching spot, in part because it's the highest point along the coast that's accessible by car. It's also home to several roadside coastal attractions, like Thor's Well and an impressive Spouting Horn.
The Pacific Coast Scenic Byway, U.S. Route 101, cuts along the western edge of the forest, with valley roads providing access to campgrounds and hiking trails.
Read More: Top-Rated Things to Do in Yachats, OR
16. Newport Visual Arts Center & Newport Performing Arts Center
The Newport Visual Arts Center and Newport Performing Arts Center are two community anchors of the historic Nye Beach district. They are only a few blocks from one another, and the ocean, each offering renowned cultural expressions.
The Newport Visual Arts Center is accessible from the Historic Nye Beach Turnaround and features a variety of regional artworks in three gallery spaces. The center regularly rotates artist exhibits, typically with eight to 12 exhibitions in each gallery throughout the year.
Head to the nearby Newport Performing Arts Center for a mix of theater, music, and community performances. The Performing Arts Center has two venues, including the 328-seat Alice Silverman Theater. Shows occur throughout the year and often into the evening, offering a full lineup of things to do at night.
Map of Tourist Attractions in Newport, OR
Newport, OR - Climate Chart
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