23 miles S of Lincoln City, 58 miles W of Corvallis, 24 miles N of Yachats
As Oregon coast towns go, Newport has something of a split personality. This lively community of 10,000 on Yaquina Bay is both a working port, with the largest commercial fishing fleet in Oregon, and a tourist destination, home to the Oregon Coast Aquarium, the top attraction on the coast. Along the downtown bayfront, dockworkers unloading fresh fish mingle with vacationers licking ice-cream cones as fishing boats. pleasure craft, and Coast Guard cutters ply the waters of the bay. The air smells of fish and shrimp, and freeloading sea lions doze on the docks, waiting for their next meal. Directly across the street, art galleries, souvenir shops, and restaurants crowd together.
The busy bayfront is the center of Newport. The aquarium and Hatfield Marine Science Center are on the south side of Yaquina Bay, reached by the beautiful arched span of the Yaquina Bay Bridge, opened in 1936 and one of seven bridges on the Oregon coast designed by Conde McCullough. At the north end of town is the historic neighborhood of Nye Beach, where many of the charming old cottages and heritage buildings date from the early 1900s, when Newport was developing as one of the coast’s first ocean resorts. Nye Beach is home to the Newport Performing Arts Center, a popular year-round venue for performances and art events of all kinds. Newport is also home to two historic lighthouses, which are just 3 miles apart.
In the late 1800s, before all the fishing and the aquarium and the saltwater taffy shops, Newport got its start as an oystering community, and oysters are still important to the local economy. They’re raised in oyster beds along Yaquina Bay Road, east of town.
Though in recent years Newport has come close to matching the overdevelopment of Lincoln City, this community on the shore of Yaquina Bay still manages to offer a balance of industry, history, culture, beaches, good restaurants, and family attractions. It’s one of the most interesting towns you’ll find on the Oregon coast.