17 Best Things to Do in Newport Bay (Oregon)

aquarium tunnel

Oregon is one of the best states in the United States and has long been considered a great alternative to California.

This is the better choice for people looking for a quieter and less crowded place, as well as for travelers who prefer pleasantly warm sunny summers instead of scorching heat for their summer vacation.

There are wonderful places along the coast where you can spend a few days by the ocean, and Newport Bay is one of them.

Here you can spend a quality holiday enjoying the combination of much more pleasant and healthy summer temperatures and lush temperate rainforests.

The miles long golden sandy beaches will not disappoint you.

They are among the most deserted and untouched in the country.

In addition, you will find protected areas as soon as you leave the borders of the city.

If you choose Newport Bay for your next trip, here’s what not to miss:

1. Visit Yaquina Bay Bridge

yaquina bay bridge
Yaquina Bay Bridge by Max Rae/Flickr

With its total length of 3,223 ft (982 m), Yaquina Bay Bridge is still among the largest bridges in Oregon.

It is well-known for its elegant steel structure and is definitely the most easily recognizable landmark of Newport Bay.

The iconic bridge was built in 1936. The clearance under the central arch is 133 ft (40.5 m).

Created by the talented architect Conde B. McCullough, the arch bridge has been listed in the U.S National Register of Historic Places.

2. Columbus Day Regatta

columbus day regatta
Columbus Day Regatta by Koocheekoo/Flickr

Columbus Day has been a federal holiday since 1937.

It takes place on the second Monday of October every year.

If you have decided to travel in October and if you want to spend the day in the city of Newport Bay, don’t miss the popular Columbus Day Regatta.

In fact, it is considered one of the biggest in the Pacific Northwest. According to locals, it also marks the end of the summer season.

3. Yaquina Head Lighthouse

yaquina head lighthouse
Yaquina Head Lighthouse by B Gallatin/Flickr

North of the city you will find a small rocky headland.

Here you will find the iconic Yaquina Head Lighthouse, which is one of the most visited landmarks in the city.

The structure is 28 meters high. It was completed in 1873, after two years of construction.

This is a favourite place to visit for people who love to observe the sunset and the ocean waves.

In close proximity are some of the most popular beaches of Newport Bay, such as Cobbled Beach, Agate and even Nye Beach.

4. Yaquina Bay Lighthouse

yaquina bay lighthouse
Yaquina Bay Lighthouse by Erik/Flickr

Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, better known simply as the “Old Lighthouse”, is located on the shore, on the north side of Yaquina Bay, not far from the bridge.

It falls within the borders of the Yaquina Bay State Recreation Site and is housed in an old two-story historic building from 1871, with a small lantern on the top.

In fact, the lighthouse was decommissioned only 3 years later.

It is surrounded by extensive green areas, which offer great opportunities for rest and recreation in nature.

5. Yaquina Yacht Marina

yaquina yacht marina
Yaquina Yacht Marina by Kirt Edblom/Flickr

Take a stroll to Yaquina Yacht Marina.

The place is especially attractive during the summer months, when it offers a typical holiday coastal atmosphere.

The harbour area is equally attractive both during the day and in the evening.

Most of the days in July and August offer comfortable temperatures even at noon because of the cooling effect of the ocean. Evenings are wonderful too.

There are great restaurants in the area to have a drink or wonderful and affordable dinner.

6. Visit the Aquarium

aquarium tunnel
Aquarium Tunnel by pfly/Flickr

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is one of the largest attractions of its kind in the Pacific Northwest.

The popular water park was officially opened on May 23, 1992. It covers an area of 23 acres and is situated near the water of Yaquina Bay.

Today it is definitely one of the biggest attractions in Newport Bay.

The aquarium became especially popular with visitors as the place where the orca Kaiko from the American drama movie “Free Willy” had lived for a while during the 90es before being transferred to Iceland in 1998.

7. Devil’s Punch Bowl

devil's punch bowl
Devil’s Punch Bowl by Al Case/Flickr

Devil’s Punch Bowl is a natural rock formation on the seashore.

It was formed under the influence of erosion caused by sea waves.

According to another version, the Devil’s Punch Bowl was formed under the influence of a spring under the mild and porous sandstone.

It is located about 8 miles (or approximately 13 km) north of Newport Bay, on a scenic rocky headland.

The name of the rock comes from the scary way in which water boils into the hole even in relatively calm weather conditions.

8. Try some kite-boarding

kite-boarding at yaquina bay
Kite-boarding at Yaquina Bay by Richard Griffin/Flickr

Kiteboarding is one of the most popular sports in the Yaquina Bay area.

The combination of a constant moderate sea breeze and smooth mirrored waters of the bay are the reason why this place is so favorable and preferred by water sports enthusiasts all over the year.

Of course, you should consider the cold water temperature and you will probably need a protective swimsuit.

9. Walk to the Yaquina Bay Entrance

yaquina bay entrance
Yaquina Bay Entrance by World Dad/Flickr

If you like to walk along the beach, don’t miss the area of Yaquina Bay Entrance.

This place is recommended to visit as you can take a relaxing stroll here, far from the tourist crowds.

You will find a number of narrow secluded trails along the shore.

This is a great place to relieve the stress while observing the passing vessels from and to the port of Newport Bay.

Of course, you have to stay away from the water as the canal is 40 feet (just over 12 meters) deep!

10. Go to Cobble Beach

Cobbled Beach is located between the rocks, on the southern side of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse.

The beach is extremely popular because of its unusual and remarkable appearance.

It is covered with small pebbles which are so black that they look almost like obsidian.

The beach changes dramatically depending on whether it is high tide or low tide, and that’s why it is advisable to visit it at least twice to see how big the difference is.

11. Visit Nye Beach

nye beach
Nye Beach by Suzanne Hunt/Flickr

Nye Beach is located north of the canal that connects the ocean with Yaquina Bay.

The beach is easily accessible and offers superb golden sands.

The place is very attractive for long walks.

To the north is Agatha Beach which is a natural extension is Nye Beach, followed by the Yaquina Head Lighthouse.

12. Enjoy the sea lions

the sea lions
The Sea Lions by Rick Obst/Flickr

Sea lions are natural inhabitants of the Newport area and encounters with them should not surprise you.

If you want to see these wonderful marine creatures, you can find them most easily in the Yaquina Bay area.

The Old Historic Bayfront District is one of their most favorite places.

Large colonies of the marine mammals can often be seen on the beach too.

Interestingly, you will see mostly males here, as females inhabit the warmer bays of California.

13. Go to Depoe Bay

depoe bay from above
Depoe Bay from above by Bob Heims/Public domain

Depoe Bay is a little sleepy town 12 miles north of Downtown Newport Bay.

This is a very good place to book a whale watching boat trip.

It offers beautiful nature and the coastline is mostly rocky, although you can find some nice beaches in the area too.

One of the examples is a lovely little cove right to the south of the town, which is called Whale Cove and offers a nice small beach.

14. Go to Whale Cove

whale cove
Whale Cove by ODT/Flickr

Whale Cove, as we just mentioned above, is a beautiful and picturesque little bay located on the road between Newport Bay and Depoe Bay, just before you reach Depoe Bay.

The cove is considered one of the possible places where Captain Drake stopped while making his round-the-world trip in the 16th century.

15. Go to Lincoln City

lincoln city
Lincoln City by Eric Prado/Flickr

Driving 25 miles north of Newport Bay, you’ll find yourself into a wonderful small coastal community.

Lincoln City stretches along the Pacific coast and is known for its miles long fantastic golden beaches.

In summer, the city usually experiences an amazing transformation and turns from a sleepy coastal village into a very lively and busy tourist hub.

It attracts visitors from all over the Pacific Northwest.

It is especially famous for the beautiful Devil’s Lake, which has earned the reputation of an attractive area for tourism and recreation.

16. Go to Siuslaw National Forest

siuslaw national forest
Siuslaw National Forest by Charles (Chuck) Peterson/Flickr

If you are a nature lover, don’t miss visiting the beautiful Siuslaw National Forest.

It is located half an hour drive to the south of Downtown Newport Bay.

Here you will find one of the most remarkable places in the area – a small peninsula called Cape Perpetua.

It is well-known for revealing a breathtaking view which on a clear and sunny day reaches 20 – 25 miles!

The protected territory covers an area of approximately 634,207 acres (2,566.54 km2).

It is mostly covered by lush temperate rainforests, dominated by different species of pine trees.

17. Enjoy a tasty portion of fish

ecola fish and chips
Ecola fish and chips by Lindsay Smith/Flickr

As in most coastal cities in the Pacific Northwest, fish is an important part of the diet in Newport Bay.

Considering that the city is a popular tourist center, here you can find by default some very good small restaurants.

In the harbour area it is very easy to find a nice seafood restaurant. Be sure to complement this pleasure with a glass of wonderful wine from the area.