Oregon may not be the state you think of when it comes to beach vacations, but the Oregon Coast is a fun and gorgeous place to visit. With beach towns up and down the entire west side of the state there is a wide variety of landscapes, things to do, and places to see.
Oregon has always been a special place for me personally because it’s where my mom was born & grew up. That means I got to spend nearly every summer of my childhood making trips there and getting to explore all the state has to offer.
There’s something so incredible when it comes to the coast though. It’s definitely one of the most fun parts of the state, especially to road trip!
Whether you are planning a road trip or just wanting a beach city to settle in, Newport is a great choice.
Around the mid-point though is Newport, Oregon: a smaller town with no shortage of its own culture. Just because the weather may not be typical beach weather doesn’t mean you’ll ever find yourself bored.
Where To Play:
Oregon State University has one of the top Marine Biology programs in the country, and a big part of that is the work they do at this small campus right on the coast. They’ve set up a science center for visitors to explore different animals, ideas, and research they’re conducting. Entry is simply a donation of any amount to help them maintain the center and have a few guides around to help out.
For a bigger & more in-depth ocean experience there is a full aquarium to visit. With 15 exhibits and variety of ‘hands on’ encounter options this is the place to spend a day for any sea life lover. Personally I think the sea-lion kisses sounds like a blast but also the opportunity to ‘Dive The Aquarium’ is incredible.
This is where you find the true beach town vibe. The Nye Beach shopping & downtown area is my favorite place to hang out in Newport! There are all kinds of boutique places to eat, shop, stay, and of course a massive public beach always in sight.
Yaquina Bay Lighthouse
About 10 minutes up the coast from Newport is the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse. Lighthouses are always such pretty places to explore and this one has all kinds of hiking around to get to the water or go higher for picturesque views.
Nature can do truly incredible things and Devil’s Punchbowl is one of those wonders. About 20 minutes north of Newport, this spot is best planned ahead to view at the perfect tide time. When empty you can actually hike inside, although be very careful to ensure you time it correctly. But the true wonder is when it fills all the way up with water at high tide.
Where To Eat:
Nye Beach Cafe
This small café in Nye Beach is the epitome of local eating. With a large menu for a fairly tiny place they make sure to offer a variety suited for anyone. I had no problems finding numerous gluten & dairy free options but going with seafood tacos, with fish right out of the ocean, was one of the best meals I’ve ever had.
The name itself explains it all but for those of who do have food allergies, figuring out how to eat while travelling is a big cause of stress. Having options like this makes trips so much easier.
It wouldn’t be a town in Oregon without at least one brew pub option. For the Pacific Northwest locals you’ve probably seen Rogue Beer before, well this is where it’s all made. You can visit the brewery and have a great meal to try out all the different & fresh beers.
If you want a nicer, full service option with an incredible ocean view, this restaurant is the place to be. Like all ocean town places, the menu is heavy on its seafood features. But you’re not going to find anywhere with fresher options.
For dessert make your way back to Nye Beach because this retro sweets shop is a must! From incredible salt water taffy, to all kinds of ice cream, and even fudge made daily-you’ll be hoarding sweets to take with you. I recommend the ‘Kitchen Sink Fudge’ which is made from all the remnants from the day before. That means it’s a new flavor every single day & a great way to not have to just pick one!
Where To Stay:
For a true resort place to stay, Hallmark Resort Newport offers all the amenities of a hotel, and is even dog-friendly.
If you like something smaller and still in the middle of everything, this Inn blends in to the storefronts of Nye Beach and offers the same downtown coastal vibe.
To embrace the coast, river, and really just full water experience, this Riverboat has been remodeled into a fun place to stay literally right on the water.
If you’re all about the brew, try staying at Rogue Brewery’s version of a bed & breakfast.