In my recent post about Cannon Beach, I shared a few of our favorite things to do in this beautiful town along the Oregon coast, and Newport is another much-loved coastal destination that we have enjoyed every season of the year. While both towns have much to offer, Newport is arguably more family-friendly, especially during iffy weather. We’ve spent two rainy spring breaks here, and had a fabulous time.
Newport is a beautiful working fishing seaport located on the north shore of Yaquina Bay between the coastal mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The Newport Chamber of Commerce notes that folks have been flocking to this area for fun since the late 1800s. And, no wonder, there is something for everyone here. Beautiful beaches, a historic Old Town, great hikes, and plenty of fun indoor activities too. The indoor options can be a great draw if you are heading to the coast during less favorable weather, such as in the winter or spring, because you have more outings to keep everyone entertained. Newport is located 1 hour, 42 minutes from Eugene, OR; 2 hours, 18 minutes from Portland, OR; and about 5 hours from Seattle, WA.
When to go. Newport, Oregon is an all-season destination. We’ve gone in all sorts of weather, and have enjoyed it every time. Cozy resort getaways in the winter, fun-filled spring break stays, and coastal camping in the summer. COVID-19 update: Lincoln County has moved into the “Lower Risk” category as of February 26, 2021. The risk levels are re-assessed regularly, so check the website for the most up-to-date information before you go.
7 Ideas of What To Do In Newport
(1) Go fly a kite. There are many beautiful beaches to explore in Newport, but a few of our favorites are Nye Beach, Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area, and Beverly Beach State Park. High winds and wide-open beaches make kite flying an especially fun activity. If you don’t own a kite, check out The Kite Company where you can buy your own and spend the day indulging in this fun economical activity. Our cheap little octopus kite has been immortalized into so many of our family memories that my mom even wrote a children’s story about it.
(2) Get too close for comfort with the sharks at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. I was excited to learn that the Oregon Coast Aquarium has reopened for all guests because we’ve had so many wonderful family trips here over the years. Our favorite exhibit is the home of the giant Pacific octopus. COVID-19 update: The aquarium is open under a reserved general admission policy. Tickets must be purchased ahead of time online, and masks are required at all times. Click here to purchase your ticket.
(3) Take a stroll along the Newport Historic Bayfront and spot sea lions (for free)! I’ve visited Newport with my family many times over the past 13+ years, and we’ve never paid to visit tourist traps such as Ripley’s Believe it or Not! or the Sea Lion Caves. (OK we might have done the Sea Lion Caves once…) Instead, if you just stroll along Newport’s Historic Bayfront, you’ll see these cute critters for free at the docks. There are also plenty of fun little shops and restaurants to explore, and you can watch fishermen busy at work hauling in their catch.
(4) Explore Beverly Beach State Park. Just eleven minutes north of downtown Newport, beautiful Beverly Beach State Park has been a favorite of our family’s for years, and we’ve even camped here several times. It is one of the most popular beaches on the Oregon coast, and for good reason. Explore the giant wind-sculpted trees and creek, enjoy a picnic at the day-use area, and wander the wide-open beach. Make sure you bring your windbreaker: this area can experience very high winds!
(5) Look for whales (and ghosts) at Yaquina Bay State Recreation Site. You could spend the entire day or longer at beautiful Yaquina Bay State Park, located at the north end of Yaquina Bay near the Pacific Ocean, and home to a beautifully restored 1871 lighthouse that some believe to be haunted. Explore the beach, hike the scenic trails through spruce and pine forest, and visit the lighthouse. During the winter and spring migrations, you may even be able to spot gray whales migrating up and down the coast from this and other coastal state park locations, click here for a downloadable whale-watching brochure (including a map of the best spots to look for whales).
Photo credit: Francis Eatherington.
(6) Test your fear of heights at Drift Creek Falls Trail. Drift Creek Falls Trail is one of our favorite hikes along the Oregon Coast, and it is located about a one hour drive north from downtown Newport (near Lincoln City) so it makes a nice day trip if you are staying in the area for at least a few nights. We’ve hiked this 3-mile trail with our babies in packs, and then when they were able to hike it themselves. The hike features a 240-foot long suspension bridge and a lovely little waterfall and pool at the bottom just perfect for a picnic.
(7) Enjoy delicious seafood at Local Oceans restaurant. After a busy day, our favorite restaurant in Newport is Local Oceans Seafood, a dockside grill and local fish market located in downtown Newport right across from the scenic harbor. The menu has plenty of tasty fresh-caught options for everyone in the family.
A Few Ideas of Where To Stay in Newport
There are many wonderful lodging options in Newport, Oregon. We’ve enjoyed staying at the following three locations.
The beautiful Hallmark Resort features oceanfront rooms, a pool, an onsite restaurant, and it is family and dog-friendly too! We just went back in May 2021, our first hotel stay in more than a year (due to COVID-19), and were impressed with how clean and safe it felt. Extra protocols, such as a reservations system for the pool, made us even more comfortable.
Lovely Salishan Coastal Lodge is a bit farther north (26 minutes from Newport) in Gleneden Beach and closer to the Drift Creek Falls Trail. The rooms are not directly on the beach but are tucked up into the trees and are very spacious with exterior entrances. Salishan has one of the nicest pools we’ve experienced, especially for younger children, because it has a shallow end perfect for building confidence. It also allows dogs.
Last but not least, if you are feeling a bit more adventurous or are on a budget, how about camping? We’ve camped at Beverly Beach State Park Campground several times and it was one of the nicest campsites we’ve visited. The campsites are tucked into the trees directly across from the beach. More on our experiences camping at Beverly Beach State Park Campground here.
Whether you are heading to Newport, Oregon for a family-friendly vacation, a romantic getaway, or simply to recharge yourself, it is a beautiful spot along the Oregon Coast that is well worth a visit. If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy Take a Mini-Vacation in Stunning Cannon Beach, Oregon, I’d love your thoughts.
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