Newport, Oregon is a terrific city to visit on the Central Oregon Coast. With a population of over 9,900 and located in Lincoln County, it is a place of constant activity and a big tourist draw. Boasting the title of Dungeness Crab Capitol of the World, this is one of my favorite places come, relax, and play.
A few of the major attraction there include the famous Oregon Coast Aquarium (once home to the orca movie star, Keiko), The Wax Works wax museum, Ripley's Believe It or Not, The Undersea Gardens, Mark O. Hatfield Marine Science Center, Yaquina Bay Lighthouse and other fun things to do and see.
My favorite part of this city on the coast is the Historic Bayfront area.
It has the feeling of a small fishing village with all the tourist shops, art galleries, both Mo's original restaurant and the Annex, along with other cozy cafes and the largest fishing fleet along the Oregon Coast. The smell of freshly cooking seafood will make you drool!
If you walk down along the docks, you'll discover about a dozen of the local sea lions, sunning themselves and protecting their spots against others. You can hear them barking, up and down the one-mile walk of the Bay Front. Check out the video to your right. I shot this the last time I was down there. Those are my best buddies and will probably become yours, too. ;)
There are a few well-stocked fishing stores, baits shops or whatever you choose to call them that will be happy to set you up with the necessary gear to go crabbing off the docks. Catching your own Dungeness crabs is so much fun, not to mention relaxing when you're doing it with someone else.
Take a nice tour of the marina and beyond by hooking up with one of the boating tour businesses. Board the Discovery at Marine Discovery Tours and go out searching for marine birds, porpoises, sea lions and whales, or take the Rocket Boat out if you have the need for some speed. This is a really great way to get off your feet after a long day of shopping and just relax, enjoying the sights.
Take a stroll or go beachcombing along the many named and unnamed beaches here. You will find Cobble Beach, Nye Beach, Agate Beach, and others to walk hand-in-hand down.
Take a visit to the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area and Interpretive Center, home to the historic Yaquina Head Lighthouse (Oregon's tallest and second oldest operating lighthouse), and enjoy the ocean view.
Yaquina Head Lighthouse is one of the few lighthouses that are open to the public, so take some time and go on a self-guided tour of this beautiful piece of maritime history.
You can also visit Newport's other lighthouse, the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse. Climbing to the top is mucho fun, although you more than likely will not be allowed in the very top where the lenses are located. As long as a lighthouse is still in operation (both are), that is off limits to the public. Coast Guard regulations, you now. The large lenses are fragile and very, very expensive.
Before you hit the beaches, grab a tide table book from one of the bait shops, wait for low-tide and investigate the sea life of the tide pools, collect wonderful shells, or maybe take some clamming equipment out and catch some lunch or dinner.
Whew! All that is enough to wear you out, but so well worth going. I think that you'll find that Newport is as cool as I say it is. For a lot more information, visit their city web site.