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Newport, Oregon Travel Guide
 
Last Updated: Mar-11-2012, Hits: 2,900, Rating: 0, Reviews: 0, Votes: 0 Bookmark and Share
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Newport, Oregon Travel Guide Restaurants (48)
Hotels and Lodging (29)
Bars and Nightlife (13)
Attractions (23)
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Oregon Travel Forum (20)
 
Location: North America
Geography: Beach, Forest
Vacation Type: Family, Romantic, Adventure
Popularity: Moderate Tourism
Costs: Moderate
Attractions: Historical Sites, Scenery, Boating, Ecotourism, Fishing, Shopping, Surfing, Breweries

Facts and Stats:
Population: 9,989
Land Area: 8.9 square miles
Elevation: 134 feet
Country Dialing Code: 1
Area Code: 541
Languages: English
Electricity: 110V
Currency: US Dollar
Time Zone: Pacific (PST) UTC-8/UTC-7 (Summer)
Current Time:

Note: This travel guide also covers the communities of Toledo (3,288) and Siletz (1,095).

Introduction:
Located on the central Oregon coast, Newport is best known as home to the renowned Oregon Coast Aquarium. Newport is also a sportfishing paradise, home to the popular Seafood and Wine Festival, and is referred to as the dungeness crab capital of the world. If that's not enough, you can visit the sandy beaches, check out a wide variety of galleries and gift shops, or try some of the fresh local seafood.

Geography:
Newport is located in Lincoln County very near the exact north/south midpoint of the Oregon coast. The city is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Oregon Coast Range to the east, and Yaquina Bay to the south. Yaquina Bay is fed by the 50 mile long Yaquina River before emptying into the Pacific. The Bay is spanned by the art-deco Yaquina Bay Bridge that connects Newport to the community of South Beach. South Beach has a large marina capable of housing 232 boats. For more information on the bay, marina and jetties, visit the Army Corps of Engineers web site.

There are a few districts in Newport worth noting and a map of them can be viewed here. Historic Nye Beach is where you will find many of the lodging options as well as gifts, galleries, and restaurants. The Bayfront district hosts a number of restaurants (most are casual) as well as cheezy tourist attractions like the wax museum and Ripley's Believe It or Not!. South Beach is where you will find some of the area's biggest attractions including Rogue Ales, The Oregon Coast Aquarium, and the Hatfield Marine Science Center.

Brief History:
Yaquina Bay was first visited in the 1820's by Hudson Bay Company trappers, and in 1849 by a detachment of U.S. Army troops under Lieutenant Theodore Talbot who met the Yacona Indians living here.

In 1865, President Andrew Johnson signed an executive order that opened Yaquina Bay to white settlement taking away reservation land form the Indians. In 1866, Sam Case, a former soldier on the Coast Reservation, claimed the land at the northwest opening of Yaquina Bay and built the Ocean House, a hotel named after his favorite hotel in Rhode Island. At the time, it took visitors a full day to travel from Corvallis to the growing resort destination. Meanwhile, Lemuel E. Davis, the first white settler of South Beach in 1866, ran a ferry between South Beach and Newport, bringing tourists to the area. He also rented boats to the public for fishing and touring.

Newport was incorporated in 1882 and named after Sam Case's hometown in Rhode Island.

Newport has two historic lighthouses that were built to aid the early shipping activity, which included importing supplies for the Coast Reservation and exporting oysters, fish, seafood, and lumber. Yaquina Bay Lighthouse opened in 1871, but was decommissioned and its duties taken over in 1874 by the Yaquina Head Lighthouse.

In 1885, railroad tracks were completed from Corvallis to Yaquina City which was located 3 east of Newport. From Yaquina City, visitors would take a boat trip down the Yaquina River to Newport. The tracks never made it all the way due to disputes over land prices. The completion of the tracks increased visitation and growth in the city.

In 1908, electricity, and hence, refrigeration came to Newport. This spawned a large scale seafood industry in the Bayfront district as well as construction of the jetties.

In 1919 voters approved a local bond issue to improve the road connecting the coast to Benton County (Corvallis). That same year, Ben Jones, the representative from the district, introduced a bill in the legislature to build a coast highway citing the need for a north/south road to transport people and military supplies. This road is Highway 101. These new roads again increased tourism to the area. In 1936, the last link of Highway 101 was completed - The Yaquina Bay Bridge. The new art deco bridge replaced the ferry service that previously transported people and cars across the bay.

After World War II, Newport continued to rely on tourism, fishing, and shipping. Fishing and tourism remain staples of their economy today.

People & Culture:
Unlike most of Oregon's coastal cities, Newport's fishing industry has not died out. In fact, according to the Port of Newport, the largest commercial fishing fleet on the west coast is found here. Not only is Newport fortunate to have their fishing industry, they are blessed with a healthy tourism industry thanks in large part to the Aquarium which draws over 450,000 visitors per year.

In August of 2011, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration moved its Pacific fleet from Seattle to Newport. The move is estimated to bring 175 jobs and an estimated $19 million per year in revenue for the city.

Like many of Oregon's coastal cities, Newport has an impressive arts culture despite its small size. In addition to over a dozen art galleries, visitors can also be entertained by 3 dance companies, a theatre group, and the Newport Symphony Orchestra. Many of these performances can be viewed at the Newport Performing Arts Center.

Food & Nightlife:
We were very close to giving Newport the "Food Destination" tag, and maybe if things continue as they are, it will happen in the future. A lot of the food you will find here revolves around, you guessed it, seafood. Some restaurants take the traditional American approach, while others focus on Pacific Northwest cuisine. There are two districts in town where you will find most of the good restaurants: the Bayfront and Nye Beach. There is also a smattering of good choices along the Hwy 101 corridor including several Asian restaurants. Newport has a good selection of restaurants with outdoor seating and/or views.

Newport has one of the few full-blown dance clubs on the Oregon Coast. That doesn't mean that the nightlife is hopping, however. Most of the bars in town can best be categorized as dive bars. There are a few good beer specialty bars, 2 of which are owned by Rogue Ales. If you want to go bar hopping, the Bayfront is a good option as there are several bars within easy walking distance of each other.

Money & Costs:
Most of the lodging options in Newport fall in the inexpensive to moderate range. Most accomodations run between $100 and $150 per night. Restaurants also fall in the inexpensive to moderate range with average entree prices running between $10 and $15.

Oregon does not have a sales tax, although there is a 10.5% lodging tax. Tipping follows the standard range of 10%-15%.

Most of the banks in town are regional, however, there are a couple of national banks. ATMs are easily found all over town.

Getting There & Around:
In the past, there have been commercial flights to Newport, however, at the time of this writing there aren't any available. If you are planning to visit Newport from elsewhere in the country, you basically have 2 choices for commercial flights. You can fly to Portland and drive 2.5 to 3 hours, or you can fly to the Eugene Airport and drive about 2 hours. While Eugene is a little bit closer, your flight to Eugene will likely stop in Portland, so it is basically a wash. The Newport Municipal Airport does provide service for charter flights.

Most people that visit Newport drive here. The route you will take will obviously depend on where you are coming from, but note this important point: The more time your route spends on Highway 101, the longer your trip will be. Typically, you will want to take I-5 then cut over at Albany if coming from the north, or the Corvallis exit if coming from the south. Once you get to Corvallis, head west on Highway 20 until you reach Newport. The drive from Corvallis to Newport is quite beautiful.

The table below shows the distances between Newport and other Oregon cities.

City Miles
Toledo 7
Siletz 12
Waldport 16
Lincoln City 25
Corvallis 52
Eugene 99
Portland 134
Bend 180

Getting around Newport is easy. When the weather is nice, walking or biking are good options as it is only a 1 mile walk from Nye Beach to Bayfront. In the colder wetter months, or if you are looking to go further than Nye Beach and the Bayfront, there are taxi services as well as bus (more like a shuttle) service.

Weather:
Newport has a temperate Mediterranean climate featuring very wet winters and drier, warm summers. Comparatively, the temperatures do not fluctuate much throughout the year, nor from day to night. The high season is July to September when temperatures are warmest and precipitation is at its lowest. Even during these times, you should pack some warm clothes as it rarely gets hot and evenings are often cool.

Below are the current conditions and weather forecast for Newport, Oregon.


The table below shows the average high and low temperatures.

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg High 52 53 54 56 59 62 65 65 65 61 55 51
Avg Low 40 40 41 42 46 50 52 52 49 46 42 39
Precipitation 10.41" 7.99" 7.75" 4.71" 3.56" 2.82" 0.83" 0.82" 1.91" 5.23" 10.65" 10.82"

Tips & Additional Information:
  • Toledo was once the location of the world's largest spruce mill, built by the U.S. Government to provide spruce for airplane manufacture in World War I. This mill provided all of the wood that went into Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose.
  • Like the rest of the Oregon Coast, violent crime is very rare, however, property crime is more prevalent. Use common sense and keep and eye on your belongings.
  • If you plan to visit the Seafood and Wine Festival, you should book your accomodations well in advance. This event is very popular and finding a place to stay can be difficult.
  • The Bayfront is a great place to see sea lions on the docks.





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