The Newport area has so much to see and do that you can keep busy for literally weeks. Newport has a population of over 10,000 people and sits on the central coast of Oregon. It is located at the western terminus of US Route 20 which is the longest road in the US measuring at 3,365 miles. It is home to an aquarium, a science center, NOAA base, a distillery, and several lighthouses and a variety of state parks.
To get the most out of your beach activities it is best to reference the tide tables! You want a lower tide for beach walking and seeing tide pools and you want a higher tide to see the best waves crashing against the rocks.
Cape Perpetua lies just south of Yachats, which is about 25 miles south of Newport, along the central Oregon coast and is a forested headland managed by the US Forest Service as part of the Siuslaw National Forest.
Devil’s Churn is a narrow inlet along the cliffs where the waves roll in and splash and churn. You can walk down a trail to an overlook and even continue on down past the churn to the rocks and around to the other side of the cliff and then back up again. That’s what we did but of course not at high tide! There were lots of other rocks and lots of waves crashing! The sound of the waves crashing against the rocks was amazing.
Neptune State Scenic Viewpoint
This small isolated beach was named after the Roman God of the Sea due to the winter wave action along this rocky shore. There is a short trail down to a small beach with beautiful views. We were the only ones there and quite enjoyed it! A beautiful beach.
Cape Perpetua Scenic Overlook (Day Use area)
The scenic overlook area is close to the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center and rises to over 800 feet above sea level. “They” say that you can see 70 miles of Oregon coastline and as far as 37 miles out to sea on a clear day. We had a clear day and it was beautiful. We drove up the hill to a day use area parking lot which had picnic tables and trails. There are beautiful vistas and we could see down to Thor’s Well and the Spouting Horn. We sat on a bench and enjoyed our picnic lunch and then walked some of the trails. As we sat on the bench we received several comments from passersby who thought our location was ideal. Of course, we offered our bench to them and they just laughed!!!
Thor’s Well and Spouting Horn
Another popular tourist area is Thor’s Well which is a natural wonder that looks like an endless drainpipe of ocean water. In reality it is a hole in the rock that at high tide the water spills into the hole and it looks like it is draining. “They” say the best time to visit is either an hour before high tide or an hour after high tide. During high tide it “might” be completely covered. You can walk all the way down to the rocks where the well is located but it can be a bit slippery and a bit dangerous especially if a rogue/sneaker wave were to hit. Never turn your back on the waves.
Another site there is the Spouting Well which is simply another hole in a rock that when the waves come crashing in they spout up and out the hole looking like a geyser.
There are a number of trails around and viewing points to see both of these natural wonders along with lots of other wave action on the rocks.
Historic Bayfront – Newport
The bayfront in Newport sits along the Yaquina Bay and is a fishing port. It is a small stretch of shops and restaurants and a few seafood processing plants. It is quaint and charming and is also home to Mo’s Restaurant (and Mo’s Annex) which has excellent clam chowder and lots of seafood dishes. We were told by some people we met that there used to be a ferry taxi which would take you from the marina (where we were staying at the Port of Newport RV Park) to the bayfront. That would have been quite handy and nice to have.
Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area and Cape Foulweather
Devil’s Punchbowl is another natural area along the coast where the waves rush into a hollow rock that looks like a punchbowl. On winter stormy days it can be quite a sight.
Cape Foulweather (AKA Otter Crest State Scenic Viewpoint), which was named by Captain Cook, is a basalt outcropping about 500 feet above sea level. The day of his discovery the weather was quite stormy (winds can reach up to 100mph) and he aptly named the Cape after the bad weather. It has a gift shop (closed) and lookout points and beautiful views. Nearby is Rocky Creek State Park where we saw lots of whales out in the ocean. We hiked a short trail to Whale’s Cove nearby and didn’t see any whales. Obviously they don’t read the signs!! The trail was in a beautiful forest with magnificent views of the ocean below. We also drove down to Rocky Creek Bridge where there is a turnout and watched the whales from there.
Historic Nye Beach, located in Newport, is a long stretch of beach with lots of restaurants, shops, and lodging and is a very popular vacation spot. It has great beach access and a quaint charm and feel to it along with a rich history. Vacationers have been coming to Nye Beach since the late 1800’s and the area attracts not only surfers, crabbers, clam diggers, but artist and authors and students of natural science.
Yachats – Seal Rock
Yachats (pronounced Ya-Hots) is a small coastal town in central Oregon with a relatively mild climate throughout the year. It hosts a variety of events throughout the year along with lots of room to explore with hiking, biking, and water sports. Seal Rock is a great stretch of beach with beautiful views and lots of wave activity along with lots of potential for bird watching and seal watching.
Yaquina Bay State Recreation Site
This recreation sites sits along the outlet of Yaquina Bay to the Pacific Ocean. It offers picnic tables, trails, and viewpoints along with the historic Yaquina Bay Lighthouse built in 1871. It is no longer an active lighthouse and was only used for 3 years due to the larger Yaquina Head Lighthouse which was built in 1873.
Yaquina Head Lighthouse
Yaquina Head Lighthouse is a few miles north of Yaquina Bay Lighthouse and is the tallest lighthouse in Oregon. It was made in Paris and shipped to Oregon in 1863. There are lots of steps down to Cobble Beach which has great tide pools at low tide. We were there exactly at low tide but the weather had been stormy recently so even at low tide there weren’t any tide pools. The ocean was still a bit grumpy from the recent storm.
The waves along the cobble rocks make quite the noise as the waves retract as they clank against each other.
The area is home to a number of seals who poke their heads out of the water constantly to stare at the strange creatures walking the beach (ha, ha).
Newport is a great area and we love to visit and hope to return soon!