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Beaches

Beaches in the Newport area range from tiny rocky coves to long, wide stretches of sand perfect for kite flying. Right in town, north and west of the Yaquina Bay Bridge, you'll find Yaquina Bay State Recreation Site, which borders on both the ocean and the bay. North of Newport is Agate Beach, which was once known for the beautiful agates that could be found there. However, sand now covers the formerly rocky beach, hiding the stones from rock hunters. This beach has a stunning view of Yaquina Head. Two miles south of Newport, you'll find South Beach State Park (tel. 541/867-4715; www.oregon.gov/oprd/parks), a wide sandy beach with picnic areas and a large campground (that also rents yurts).

Six miles south of Newport is Ona Beach State Park, a sandy beach with a picnic area under the trees. Beaver Creek, a fairly large stream, flows through the park and across the beach to the ocean. The state park offers guided kayak tours on Beaver Creek. For information or reservations, call tel. 541/867-6590. Another 2 miles south will bring you to Seal Rock State Recreation Site, where a long wall of rock rises from the waves and sand and creates numerous tide pools and fascinating nooks and crannies to explore.

The Bayfront

The Bayfront is tourist central for Newport. Here you'll find ice-cream parlors, saltwater-taffy stores, chowder houses, and souvenir shops. The Bayfront is also home to commercial fishermen, seafood processing plants, and art galleries, and in its waters are numerous sea lions, which love to sleep on the floating docks adjacent to Undersea Gardens. From the adjacent pier, you can observe the sea lions at close range. Their bickering and barking make for great free entertainment.

As one of the coast's most popular family-vacation spots, Newport has all the tourist traps one would expect. Billboards up and down the coast advertise the sorts of places that kids have to visit. Tops on this list are Ripley's Believe It or Not! and The Wax Works. Across the street from these you'll find Undersea Gardens, where a scuba diver feeds fish in a large tank beneath a boat moored on the Bayfront. All three attractions are on the Bayfront and share the same address and phone number: Mariner Square, 250 SW Bay Blvd. (tel. 541/265-2206; www.marinersquare.com). Admission for each is $10 for adults and $6 for children 5 to 12, or $22 for adults and $13 for children to visit all three attractions.

The Bayfront is also the place to arrange whale-watching tours and fishing trips. Two-hour whale-watching tours are given throughout the year by Marine Discovery Tours, 345 SW Bay Blvd. (tel. 800/903-BOAT [2628] or 541/265-6200; www.marinediscovery.com), which charges $35 for adults, $33 for seniors, and $17 for kids ages 4 to 13. You can charter a fishing boat on the Bayfront at Newport Tradewinds, 653 SW Bay Blvd. (tel. 800/676-7819 or 541/265-2101; www.newporttradewinds.com). Salmon, tuna, halibut, and bottom fish can all be caught off the coast here depending on the season. Fishing trips cost anywhere from $68 to $185.

Newport claims to be the Dungeness crab capital of the world, and if you'd like to find out if this claim is true, you can rent crab rings and boats at Sawyer's Landing, 4098 Yaquina Bay Rd. (tel. 541/265-3907; www.sawyerslandingnewport.com), for $55 for 4 hours or $75 for the whole day.

Nye Beach

Newport was one of the earliest beach vacation destinations in Oregon, and it was in Nye Beach that the first hotels and vacation cottages were built. Today this neighborhood, north of the Yaquina Bay Bridge along the beach, is slowly being renovated and has both historic and hip hotels, good restaurants, some interesting shops, and, of course, miles of sandy beach. There's public parking at the turnaround on Beach Drive.

The works of local and regional artists are showcased at the Newport Visual Arts Center, 777 NW Beach Dr. (tel. 541/265-6540; www.coastarts.org). The center is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11am to 5pm. Just a few blocks away, the Newport Performing Arts Center, 777 W. Olive St. (tel. 541/265-ARTS [2787]; www.coastarts.org), hosts local and nationally recognized performers.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.