by Nikki Cleveland
Newport is the largest city on Oregon’s Central Coast, on the southern end of Lincoln County. There is a lot to do in this area whether you’re a local or a tourist—and you don’t even have to spend a dime! Check out these five amazing places the next time you’re in the Newport area.
1. Nye Beach District
The historic Nye Beach District is a small neighborhood with several local shops, restaurants, and of course, beach access. Grab breakfast from one of the small cafes like Ultra Life, Cafe Stephanie, or the Nye Beach Cafe; or visit The Taphouse at Nye Creek, Pacific Kitchen, or Panini Bakery for lunch. Afterward, the area has quite a few gift shops to browse including a book house, wine cellar, and beads shop.
Nye Beach is free to visit, down a short hill from the Nye Beach arch (pictured below), with wind-swept dunes and sweeping ocean views. The area gets a lot of traffic, especially on summer afternoons, so visit early or during the off-season to avoid the crowds and find parking more easily.
2. Agate Beach
Another slice of paradise in Newport is Agate Beach. This park is easily accessible off Highway 101 on the north end of town. Take a walk along the four-mile sandy beach or go razor clamming, fishing, or surfing. Those who prefer teeing it up may also want to visit the Agate Beach Golf Course nearby.
3. Yaquina Bay Lighthouse
Yaquina Bay Lighthouse can be seen from the area beaches, but it is even more impressive up-close. The lighthouse is part of the Yaquina Bay State Recreation Site, on the north end of Yaquina Bay. It is the only lighthouse in Oregon that has its living quarters still attached. It’s also the only historic wooden lighthouse in Oregon that is still standing.
The lighthouse is usually open to the public for tours, but it’s currently closed due to COVID restrictions. Visitors can still stop by for spectacular views and to hike the trails to the beach.
4. South Beach State Park
Unlike the first two beaches on this list, South Beach State Park is located on the southern end of Newport after crossing the beautiful Yaquina Bay bridge. The state park has miles of sandy ocean beach to explore along with an RV-friendly campground, a 9-hole disc golf course, trails for hiking and biking, and a playground for the kids. The campground includes 227 electrical sites with water, 60 sites for tents only, and 27 yurts, along with restrooms, showers, and an RV dump station.
5. The Oregon Coast Aquarium
The Oregon Coast Aquarium is one of Newport’s top attractions. They showcase fascinating exhibits to help educate visitors on various marine wildlife. In addition, they host live cameras of the sharks, seabirds, and otters, that you can watch anytime from the comfort of home.
Please note: They are temporarily closed due to current restrictions. See their Facebook page for the latest updates.